only for part of a summer. I loved it, will return. have you been to Paris? I have a friend who lives in the city and another friend who has a home in Sceaux. If I were to live there, I would choose this charming, beautiful small village. by metro Paris is 20 minutes away.
princessa, you're so right about being a different world. when I traveled there a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to stay in a small commune (village for american minds) and it was so amazingly beautiful and the pace of life was so much slower than here in the US. it is going to be a topic of one of my hubs soon because I think people like to read about other countries and how it is different from their own. Especially France, because of its beauty. love reading your france hubs.
What can I say, I just love it here. I live in a small town where time passes along with the seasons. Everything stops at midday for at least 1 1/2 hours for lunch -a proper 3 course lunch with a glass wine!
I am not far from Paris -2 hour train ride- so whenever I feel that the country life is getting too much I can easily go to "the city of lights" and enjoy the bustling rythm of Parisian life.
idyllic is a nice way to describe it, flowers everywhere, the small round about is surrounded by flowers, the narrow cobblestone streets. everything is within walking distance, nice shops, cafes, bakeries, an amazing park which I have written about in my hub, Sitting in a Park Outside Paris. I am going to write more about my stay there as I think people like to read about lifestyles in other countries.
sitting outside in the evening in my friends garden area, we would hear someone nearby playing the flute, the smell of someone cooking with garlic and potatoes, everything seemed to slow down. people enjoy the lifestyle and ease to get in and out of Paris.
I lived in France for 7 years, from 1993 - 2000, in a tiny village in the Charente-Maritime, near Aulnay de Saintonge. My kids went to schools in La Rochelle - which is lovely, Saintes - which is lovely and Cognac which is lovely too!
However, we went on holiday a couple of times down to 'Cathar country' and it was AMAZING! Mainly because I had the strongest feeling that I'd been there before - but not in the is lifetime!
I was 'searching' for a place that I knew would be special and I visited Rennes le Chateau (after having read about it in the Holy Blood and the Holy Grail) and although it was wonderful - it wasn't THE place... but when I visted Peyreperteuse... WOW!
write it, those are the best ones! I would love to read it. I know that feeling you're talking about~~ feeling like you had been there before. I felt the same way. I've had a love affair with france since a young girl.
Hi sannyasinman - yes I do believe in reincarnation (and I have had past life regression on 3 different occasions, several years ago now, which were very interesting experiences).
When I first went to 'Cathar country' I had chills! I 'knew' the landscape, the shape of the hills and mountains and I just KNEW there was a past life link there. I visited several castles in the area, but each time I thought 'this is not the place' - until I was in the Chateau at Peyreperteuse. I felt like I was home...
My feeling is that I was a man when I was last there, in robes like a monk, but I have not had a past life regression where I visited that life. Unfortunately I was with my (now ex) husband at the time and he was angry with me, because I was trying to explain to him what I was experiencing. He was a sceptic and ridiculed me, he refused to take photos of the place, or let me pause a while to try to connect and remember... I would love to go back one day.
You went with the wrong man What a shame to visit a place like Peyreperteuse and not be allowed to fully experience it.
I do believe that there is no such thing as coincidence in life. Several years ago, I lived with a French lady in Toulouse who was also a therapist and healer. We visited many places in the area together, including Cathar sites, but not, unfortunately, Peyreperteuse. I did feel drawn to the Cathars, and probably have a past-life involvement, but I am not sure which side I was on ..?
Is it a theater festival thats on every year? I was there when they had one of those a few years ago, but I didn't think my French was good enough to sit through a play. Its still a beautiful place though.
A little more difficult to get to, but well worth the trip, is Corsica, l'île de beauté. The combination of mountains and sea so close together is wonderful. I would avoid the high season, though, and go for May, June or September. The area round Porto Vecchio has picture postcard white sand beaches and clear, turquoise sea. Bonifacio is a must; the cliffs and clifftop dwellings are spectacular, and there are views over to the larger Italian island of Sardinia.
For mainland France, Annecy in Haute-Savoie, within easy reach of Lake Geneva and Chamonix Mont Blanc. If you visit the region and have time to drop down to Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), you must not miss Yvoire, a quaint little lakeside town with an atmospheric feel, partly due to the unusual spire-dome of the church; a light lakeside mist helps too!
A few places to the north Paris worth a visit are Chantilly (superb château and lots of Brit expats), Senlis (cobbled streets, impressive cathedral) and Pierrefonds (Disneyesque château restored by Violet le Duc features in the Merlin TV series).
Hi James, you obviously know France well, and you mention some great places (some of which I know too). I used to live in Morges, in between Lausanne and Geneva, and the boat crosses the lake from there to go to Vvoire. Yes, what a beautiful little town, so well preserved, full of flowers. Annecy too is not far from Geneva, the lake, the canals - another beautiful town . . .ahh . . now I'm feeling homesick for France
Thanks for your reply. Yes, we lived in France for 11 years, mainly in EFL work, but also pastoring a francophone church in the Doubs department, near the Swiss border (Jura canton) - a lovely area. I plan to post some photos when I get time. I did my one and only hub so far while on holiday.
I once made a road trip all the way along down the west coast of France (stopping at La Rochelle) and on through Narbonne, and then to the Cote d'Azur and Provence, then driving back up through Avignon to Le Havre. I too was a pasty white English man when I set off, but I somehow metamorphosed into a relaxed, bronzed European by the time I got back - with many adventures to tell too.
maybe CrystalStarWoman was a perfecta in a previous life. I read once a book by an american author : All things are lights and that American wrote so well about that medieval France at the time of religious wars.
Nice reading you. This country is indeed full of diversity. And reading you, the idea of favourite place just vanishes. Best is to travel through all places. Let me tell you I love America too.
I spent a month touring France as a teenager with my aunt, uncle, cousin, and sister, and we stayed in Royan in Aquitaine, the Chateau de la Caze in the Gorges du Tarn, Chamonix in the French Alps, Beaune in Burgundy, and Paris.
I still really want to visit Provence and Brittany in particular, but of the places I have been, I'd have to say Royan (and Aquitaine in general) was my favorite. The countryside was so beautiful and the people so friendly, even to a group of bumbling Americans like us, only two of whom spoke mediocre French and the rest none at all. Cannot say the same of Paris, although we ran into some sweethearts there as well. I particularly remember an adorable middle aged waiter who took it upon himself to entertain my little cousin, who was 4 and tired and everything that entails, even though I'm pretty sure it was a major faux pas to have her there at all.
The food, of course, was marvelous everywhere. I think I only had one bad meal the entire time we were there and that was at the Grotte de la Mer la Glace, which was a total tourist trap and could be expected to have mediocre, overpriced food.
I was in France once for about 2 hours. I was in Germany and decided to take a little road trip I don't even remember the name of the town but it was (for some reason) completely deserted. The only person I saw was the waitress at an outdoor cafe I went to. This was three years ago, and I can still remember exactly how everything tasted- the pizza with white sauce, the fresh tossed salad with an edible flower garnish...mmmmm. The weather was perfect and although I was only there for a short time, I would definitely say it was one of the more memorable days of my vacation.
The French Riviera's lovely, not just the glamorous coastline, but up in the hills, where there are lots of quiet untouristy villages, beautiful scenery and unpretentious, usually cheap restaurants. Gosh, anyone would think I lived there...!
School is out and it is the summer season in N. America. The time when most families vacation. Do you have a favorite place that you revisit? Or, one that you visited just once, but have fond memories...