Category Archives: Travel in France & beyond

Toulouse day trip

Pink mansion on rue de l’Echarpe

If we hadn’t already been to Albi, the birthplace of painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, I would have spent a lot of time during our visit to this city bearing a part of his last name trying to find his connection to the Ville Rose (Pink City because of the color of the bricks). As it turns out, the name meant that he was born into an aristocratic family with roots in the area rather than, as the museum in Albi dedicated to his works can confirm, being from there. All the better for us since we now had that much more opportunity to explore the museums, squares, medieval buildings, cafés, and 2000 or so restaurants in a city less than an hour by train from Carcassonne. Read the rest of this entry

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in 3 days

One of the remaining water wheels in town

There’s a TV show that we watch here called Affaire Conclue (roughly, Done Deal) that’s kind of like the program Antiques Roadshow, but with a twist. Members of the public bring objects from their home to the studio in Paris where an auctioneer provides a bit of history about the item and then sets a value that she/he thinks it would bring if put under the hammer. The bonus is that in the next room a panel of collectors, flea market stall holders, and decorators is waiting to bid on what has come in that day and with cash in hand hopefully take their bounty home. They filmed an extended 2-hour version of the show in a town in Provence nicknamed “Capital of antiques and flea markets” that’s only a train ride away for us, so we were off for a long weekend in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Read the rest of this entry

Corsica, top to bottom

Dramatic cliffs and crystal blue water in Bonifacio

Before we moved to France, the only thing that I knew about Corsica was that it was an island in the Mediterranean Sea where Napoleon Bonaparte was born. Now that we live here it’s hard to turn on the TV or open a magazine without seeing a beautiful image of crystal clear blue water, mountain cliffs above the sea, or lots of smiling faces enjoying afternoon drinks on a terrace looking out on all of those same marvelous views. Pair that with the universal reactions we got from everyone here when we mentioned that we’d be going to the island and you could wonder why their tourist office even bothers advertising. The place sells itself. English words like “beautiful, magnificent, fantastic” and their French equivalents rolled easily off the tongues of those around us. It was definitely time for Bill and me to visit this magical spot from which one person said, “you won’t want to come back.” Read the rest of this entry

Bonus day in Provence

Castle ruins at Les Baux de Provence

In keeping with last Sunday’s “accidental” theme, the bonus for us was discovering that our friends from northeastern France were on vacation in the vicinity of Avignon at the same time that we were there. They had a car and suggested that we spend the day with them exploring parts of Provence only half an hour or so south of the city. Their itinerary included the market town of St. Rémy de Provence and one of the gems included in the Most Beautiful Villages of France collection, Les Baux de Provence. This was all new territory for us but the day began at some place quite familiar when they picked us up at the train station. Read the rest of this entry

Accidentally in Avignon

Pont d’Avignon from the île de la Barthelasse

“You can’t get there from here,” is what the French rail website might as well have said when we were trying to get home from last week’s trip to Aigues-Mortes. Caught up in the excitement of staying on board our own boat, we anticipated that our return to Carcassonne would be as easy as the outbound journey. Unfortunately what should have taken a bit over 2 hours in travel time was showing up as 16 hours because of layovers, connections, and being sent up to Paris to catch the night train that has only seats, no sleeping berths. We then learned that because of track repairs no trains would be running for 3 days in the direction of home so it was time to get out the map and see where we could go. Since we knew that there were trains running northbound in the direction of the capital, it didn’t take long to settle on Avignon as the place to wait until the rails were once again open. Read the rest of this entry

Acutely dead

Anchored on the Canal du Rhône à Sète

If you make a direct translation of the town name we recently visited, Aigues-Mortes, one of the options that you can come up with is the title of today’s blog post. Luckily for us it was anything but dead; for the 3 days we were in town there was plenty to do. In fact, we could have been entertained right from our accommodations, a canal boat named the African Queen because it was exactly this style of a 1927 steamboat that was used in the movie that won Humphrey Bogart his only Oscar. While relaxing on board or fishing from the deck did have its appeal, there was much to see in this once-Roman town with ties to our own Carcassonne. Read the rest of this entry

Caunes-Minervois day trip

The gorge from the quarry

Earlier this month we wrote about an order for a marble column that King Louis XIV had placed in 1670 that was finally being filled. It was/is destined for the Palace of Versailles where the majority of the red marble already in place there came from a quarry about 30 minutes northeast of Carcassonne. Inspired by that story, our friends Sally and Larry, who had already been to that area suggested that they take us there to see just how beautiful the mountaintop views are. Sally said, “In half an hour you will be amazed at how different the landscape becomes.” and she was right. Read the rest of this entry

A new life in Lille

Tales of a Brit who moved to northern France

Southern Fried French

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

wcs

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

Chez Loulou

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for meaning...in between leg shavings

Post-Industrial Eating

Just another WordPress.com weblog

An Italian Point Of View

Alan and Tracy's Expat Adventures