Category Archives: Travel in France & beyond

Lots of thyme

Village of Aragon, France

When our neighbors suggested that they pick us up on Sunday to take a trip to Aragon, instantly visions of courtly love, chivalry, and Camelot sprang to mind. After all, it was Catherine of Aragon who was King Henry VIII’s first queen and in her eyes maintained that position despite the rise and fall of others after her. While our destination shared that Queen’s name, we were only traveling about 20 minutes north of Carcassonne instead of 2 hours south into Spain where the Kingdom of Aragon was located and to where Catherine could trace her family roots. Read the rest of this entry

Paris? Not exactly.

Is that the Eiffel Tower?

If you’ve only seen pictures of the capital of France, you might easily mistake some of the photos that go with this blog post as having been taken there since they appear to show familiar sites. Even if you’ve visited the City of Light, you still might wonder why the Eiffel Tower was now standing next to Sacre Coeur or since when was the Seine lined by all of those tall apartment buildings with terracotta roofs you typically find in the south of France. That’s because instead of being in Paris, we were recently in Lyon. Read the rest of this entry

What a deal

All part of the 1 euro rail network

All part of the 1 euro rail network

Earlier this month I wrote about a day trip that we had taken over to the Mediterranean seaport of Sète. Since we both enjoy train travel, half the fun of that trip was the journey itself, even if it did start at 6:45 AM. The reward for that early start, besides getting to spend even more time in a pretty town, was that the round trip transportation only cost 2 euros per person. For comparison purposes, when we stop at a sidewalk café for a coffee or a glass of wine, the total bill is around 3 euros, so we’re not talking about a lot of money for that one-hour trip along the coast. To our delight, we discovered that the regional trains (TER) of our part of France offer 1 euro tickets every day to almost every destination on this map wrapped around the Mediterranean Sea. Read the rest of this entry

Secret road trip

Sally helps owner Patrick tally up our wine purchases

We don’t have a car and I can honestly say that after having had a driver’s license for nearly 50 years, and an automobile to go with it for most of that time, I don’t miss it at all. That probably goes double for Bill who’s typically been the one behind the wheel. The costs alone including substantial monthly lease or purchase payments, license fees, insurance, fuel, and upkeep are enough to make us grateful that we no longer have to budget for any of that. Add in the hassles of navigating narrow Medieval streets laid out 800 years ago, trying to avoid solid stone buildings inches from you on one side of the street and rearview mirrors sticking out from parked cars on the other plus attempting to squeeze into a pocket-sized parking spot, should you be lucky enough to find that, and the advantage of being on foot becomes even more apparent. Having said all of that, the instant that a friend with wheels invites us on a day trip outside of the city, we’re on it! Read the rest of this entry

Set in Sète

The Canal Royal in Sète

The Canal Royal in Sète

The Canal-du-Midi that runs through Carcassonne was built 350 years ago to help connect the Atlantic ocean with the Mediterranean sea. One long river, a second canal, a bay, and an estuary all combine together to link Bordeaux on the west coast with the port city of Sète on the east. You can rent a house boat and glide along at no more than a leisurely 8 kilometers (5 miles) per hour to arrive at the Mediterranean a couple of days later, or spend just one euro and get there in about an hour on the train. Read the rest of this entry

Do you know the way to San…James?

The blue and yellow symbol point the way

The blue and yellow symbol point the way

It’s 1000 kilometers (600 miles) from Carcassonne to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Bill and I walk a lot but that distance is way more than we would want to cover on foot yet lots of people come here to do exactly that. Known by a range of names including the Way (or the Path or the Trail) of St. James, the Route (or the Road) to Santiago or the one we hear the most often, Camino de Santiago or just The Camino, it’s a pilgrimage pathway to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Believers go to the shrine there seeking the final resting place of the apostle St. James. Read the rest of this entry

Instant French

Amsterdam: bikes, canals, tall narrow buildings

Amsterdam: bikes, canals, tall narrow buildings, and English everywhere

When you move to a new country where the language is different from the one you grew up speaking, naturally there are going to be challenges. Not only do you have to learn the basics that you might know as a tourist, but now all of the nuances of how you say something or where you put emphasis come into play as well. Before we left the US, I had been studying French for a while and now that we live here I’m continuing with that online while Bill attended some classroom instruction with a live teacher and fellow students and has now gone the online route too. As effective as these classic methods are, we’ve discovered a simple, fun, and instant way to suddenly speak French. Read the rest of this entry


French Retirement Dream

A year in Périgord

The life of a British Francophile

Southern Fried French

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France


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 between leg shavings

Post-Industrial Eating

Just another weblog

An Italian Point Of View

Alan and Tracy's Expat Adventures