Photos of France

Saturday, September 30, 2006 by Michelle

To say that our three-week trip to France was well-documented would be using understatement. I took 13.5 rolls of film, restraining myself in the last week (regrettably) by only taking 1/2 a roll while on the coast. I have a sample of 44 photos on my Yahoo photos site, although it doesn't yet have the coastal photos up because those are still in my camera (oh, the suspense!). Sorry, but Yahoo photos has been closed, so no photos. Email me if you want to see some.

You'll notice there are numerous photos of architecture; the ancient ruins and buildings were awe-inspiring. Of course there was the art too, but we couldn't photograph any paintings (light from the flash is bad for paintings); I did take pictures of some of the amazing sculpture and artifacts though. The most colourful event we went to was the Uzes market - it was beautiful and felt very much like community, even to us outsiders. We went to a bull fight in Arles, but were mistaken that they don't kill the bull (it was horrid); that being said, to be in an ancient Roman colosseum when it was packed with people during an event, with the orchestra pounding out music, was magical (until they started to kill the bull, that is).

Between the natural wonders (La Gorge D'Ardeche, Orgnac L'Aven, the beach at Moliets), the astounding buildings (La Tour Eiffel, the colosseum in Arles, the theatre in Orange, the Louvre, Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseilles, etc.), the art (the Louvre and Musee D'Orsay) and the amazing food, we were overwhelmed with the beauty of France. And the people we met were delightful.

If you ever want to travel in Provence and need a place to stay, go to Gaietefleur in the little town of Saint Jean de Maruéjols outside of Barjac. We spent a week there and had a delightful stay.


Saturday, September 23, 2006 by Michelle

We just returned from a fabulous three-week trip to France. It was a dream come true; I've wanted to go since I was in elementary school and did a report on France (hey, it's an easy flag to draw!). Everything we could have hoped for and more, that was our much-needed and saved-for vacation. A brief synopsis:

* Paris for only 2.5 days (but what days they were!). We did most of the big well-known sights and learned the Metro pretty quickly. We also learned you can't eat supper before 8pm or so; we felt like barbarians if we tried to eat supper at 6:00 or 7:00. In fact, people were still arriving for supper when we were leaving at 9:30 or 10:00. And the pastery shops; my god why aren't all French people fat as houses?

* Provence for just over a week. What an amazing place, full of history, culture, scenery, and damned civilized speed limits. We explored museums, churches, ruins; went hiking, spelunking and swimming; and we enjoyed great food and wine (wine = me, anyway). We also put more km's on our rental car than you can imagine - I think we drove to Winnipeg during our trip in kilometres driven! I even went on a couple of short runs, which were relaxing and enjoyable.

* South of France for two days. It kind of sucked driving from Provence to the West coast in pouring rain, but we survived. Carcasonne was lovely, but way too much of a tourist trap. Yes I know I was a tourist, but there are limits to what one can tolerate in touristy things.

* West Coast for just under a week. We stayed at our friend Fabienne's family summer cottage in a little town called Moliets et Maa. It was heaven - just over one km from the amazing beach that stretched on forever, the self-contained cottage near the Atlantic Ocean was our home-away-from-home. Although we spent one full day in nearby Bordeaux (pedestrian heaven there, let me tell you), most of our time on the coast was spent locally and often at the beach. We were getting weary of the museums and monuments; it was time to relax. We played in the pounding surf and Chris learned the valuable lesson of never turning his back on the sea.

We returned home on a near-empty 767, so were able to stretch out and got some rest. Who ever imagined a trip as long as ours would be half-decently comfortable? It was a long trip back though and we're glad to be home. Oh to live in France!

With a bagette under my arm and a hearty "bonne soiree", I'm off to deal with the impact of jet lag....