Joined April 2022 Message
  • Day21

    Paris

    October 21 in France ⋅ ☁️ 63 °F

    Our last day in Paris went by so quickly. We filled it to the brim! Our last breakfast was at an outside boulangerie/patisserie sitting under the awning watching the people and the rain. The grandiose Galleries Lafayette Department Store was a must as Elizabeth has never been there. The Art Nouveau stained glass dome and the interior is stunning. We went up to the terrace at the top of the store to enjoy a panoramic view of Paris.

    Getting closer to the Eiffel Tower was next on the agenda and then we caught Bus 69 which is a great way to sit back and enjoy all the sights as it circles past the favorite ones of Paris. We stayed on and rode to the very end of the line. I really wanted to walk around Rue Cler but didn’t have any stamina left to trudge through the metro with all the darn steps, so I hailed a taxi to get there! What a beautiful afternoon to sit at a café and enjoy a glass of wine before going to dinner at a favorite restaurant of mine, Au Bourguignon Marais, where I had beef bourguignon. Elizabeth loved her escargot, and I refused to try it!

    It’s the end of our trip and I’m struggling to get everything packed. It truly felt like I was in different periods of history as we traveled through the various cities, villages, and regions of France. Each area has its own customs, foods, and way of life that seems to have changed very little. Great trip…beautiful country. I love France! I love the quote from Emile Zola, “I’m living out loud!” That’s what I feel like I have been doing every time I come here. I always say that “France is calling me!” Well, now I’m hearing Wadsworth calling me home, and I am ready!
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    Thanks for sharing! Loved it! [Jayne]

    10/21/22Reply

    Safe travels Rena [Rena]

    10/21/22Reply
    Traveler

    Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. Safe travels back to Wadsworth!

    10/21/22Reply
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  • Day20

    Paris

    October 20 in France ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

    We had a nice day just wandering through the Marais and the Ile de la Cité (island where Notre-Dame is located). I had to take Elizabeth to Aux Merveilleux au Fred for a special meringue type dessert to sample before breakfast! It’s always a necessary stop for me in Paris. Breakfast at the Café St Regis was my first French breakfast this trip! I loved visiting the Shakespeare and Company bookstore that sells English language books (and a few French). I found a book with a collection Paris stories from famous French writers. What a nice souvenir for me! I read that the store houses aspiring writers and artists in exchange for helping out around the bookstore and over 30,000 have stayed there over the years. What fun would that be to do! We actually stopped at Aux Merveilleux au Fred again on the way back to the apartment for a treat after dinner.

    Elizabeth wanted to stay in tonight, so I went searching for a restaurant, but it started raining as soon as I stepped out. I went to the nearest pizza place and ordered a take out. Eating has been quite different this trip. Aside from the Bed and Breakfast in La Charité where she prepared French foods, it’s been catch as catch can. Outside of Paris there was a very limited time that restaurants were open, and we never seemed to time it right. Having covid has probably affected our taste. I actually threw away a Berthillon ice cream cone today which is totally unheard of for me!
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    Traveler

    Cute picture of you!

    10/20/22Reply

    Looks like a beautiful day in Paris. What a trip. Thank you for sharing despite COVID. [Wendy]

    10/21/22Reply
     
  • Day19

    Paris

    October 19 in France ⋅ ☁️ 63 °F

    I do have to share our travel adventures on Tuesday. We decided to stop at our boulangerie/patisserie for a croissant and hot drink…closed on Tuesday. No worries, there would be another one. We finally found one, and the croissant was so bad I tossed it in the back seat! No worries, right? After a 4 hour drive to Bourges to drop off the car, we had extra time to eat lunch. Only problem was all the restaurants/cafés close from 2:30–7:00 and it was 2:30. This has happened repeatedly to us! We walked to the train station and discovered that the trains in Bourges decided to go on strike today! The only way to get to Paris and not sleep in the station was to take an $80 taxi ride to another town where they weren’t striking and catching the train. OK…it worked and we arrived at our Paris apartment, which is lovely. Only problem…no electricity, and it was dark. We had to use our phone flashlight to call the number given. Elizabeth was trying to follow directions from a sweet girl who spoke little English. She kept saying “Upstairs” and “Downstairs” when giving directions about the electrical box. She meant the top and the bottom of the box! Well, we asked for someone to come and had to wait for the owner to be contacted. By 8:00 we had lights. We dragged ourselves out to find food and settled for a quick sandwich at a bar nearby. It was just one of those days!

    We woke up in Paris ready to go today, and first on the agenda was Père Lachaise cemetery with a tour guide who was exceptional. There are incredible stories of the deceased. We passed by the graves of some famous names…Jim Morrison, Molière who was France’s “Shakespeare”. There’s Edith Piaf who was France’s beloved national singer and whose husband drove her dead body sitting upright all the way from Provence because she said that she wanted to die in Paris! Oscar Wilde, whose gravestone is stained with permanent lipstick kisses. It’s funny because he hated women and wrote of his hatred!

    A journalist, Victor Noir, is the strangest and one of the most popular. He was shot by an angry prince and died in the street. He became a symbol of revolution. His gravesite has a life size bronze statue of him (with unbuttoned trousers and a protrusion) and it’s as he looked when he died on the street. Well, it has become a symbol of sexual satisfaction and fertility! There are a whole bunch of superstitious rewards if you do various things to it! You can see the worn areas on his body! The government put a fence around it, but the women of Paris protested and they had to take it down!

    The “Jardin du Souvenir” (Garden of Remembrance) was quite different. It is the place where relatives can disperse the ashes of the deceased who have been cremated. See the photos to see the lines of ashes.

    The most powerful were the many monuments to the Holocaust’s victims in one section. It was extremely moving.

    What a beautiful day it was for a walk through the Luxembourg Gardens which is one my favorites to visit in Paris. We ended the day with a Seine River night cruise on the Bateau Mouche.
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    Sounds like you had a wonderful time! Interesting! [Jayne]

    10/19/22Reply

    What great beautiful and funny experiences Yvonne. Miss you. See you in the spring and safe travels home.❤️ [Marcia]

    10/19/22Reply
    Traveler

    You had quite a day but made the best of it!

    10/20/22Reply
     
  • Day16

    Rocamadour

    October 16 in France ⋅ ⛅ 79 °F

    Elizabeth is feeling under the weather, so she took the day to rest. We’ve been going nonstop and a little time to relax sounded great to her. I don’t know how to slow down!

    I noticed a brocante in the square and decided to browse for a while. Lots of antiques, vintage, and flea market items. I guess it’s done only one day a year in Sarlat. Lucky me, I bought a set of silver spoons designed by a well known silversmith, Henri Soufflot. They are from 1900 and a Fench nouveau design. They use smaller spoons for tea and coffee, and these will be perfect.

    This afternoon Elizabeth sent me on my way while she continued to take it easy. I drove to Rocamadour in the Lot Region. The drive took a little over an hour on some very winding, switchback country roads through no man’s land! It followed the Dordogne River for a while and was quite beautiful. In over an hour I never passed a gas station…few and far between. Very few cars or towns, too. It’s funny but as I drive through the villages I wonder where all the people are! The trip home, alone at night was a little challenging for me, and I was glad to have no problems.

    Rocamadour (pop 600) is on a a very high rocky plateau in the Alzou Gorge. The village is a single street that rises abruptly at the base of the rocky cliff. Then, the chapel, churches and towers rise above the village, and finally at the very top of the cliff is the chateau. Rocamadour was very famous in the 12th century as a pilgrimage site where miracles were reported to have happened. A statue of the Black Madonna is believed to have healing powers. The Stations of Christ is a very steep medieval path that leads from the sanctuary to the Jerusalem Cross at the top of the hill and shows an event in the final days of Christ. People have traveled it since the 12th century. I would have done it if I had had the time. Thank heavens there is now a lift that travels from the top to the bottom. I did a quick walk through all three levels today, and then I decided to stay until dusk to see Rocamadour all lit up from across the gorge. What an incredible floodlit spectacle!
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  • Day15

    Sarlat, La Roque Gageac, and Domme

    October 15 in France ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Sarlat really comes alive on Saturdays with its market up and down all the streets in the old town. We spent most of the morning browsing, and Elizabeth found some real treasures.

    This afternoon we drove to another nearby tiny village called La Roque (The Rock) Gageac which has also won the “Most Beautiful Village” award. The village is literally sculpted out of the rock between the river and the cliffs. There’s one small street that runs parallel to the river and then a few levels of homes stacked above. People live here (pop 450), and no cars are allowed on the few cliff roads, not even to deliver large items or furniture. It’s believed to inhabited since prehistoric times! You can see where the troglodyte fort was located. There is evidence of cave dwellings dating to 12 century. The fancy castle was built by a rich Englishman in the 18th century.

    We took an hour cruise on a gabarre, a flat-bottomed boat like they used long ago on the Dordogne River to carry barrels of wine. These actual boats were used by Johnny Depp in the movie “Chocolat”! It was relaxing on such a beautiful sunny day and gave us great photos of the village.

    We decided to visit one more “Most Beautiful Village” today and what a treat it was for us! Domme with a population of 925 dates to the 12 century and is a bastide village way up on a hilltop cliff. A bastide, I learned, was a walled city with the square in the middle and a grid of streets built during the Hundred Years Wars to protect its inhabitants. Parts of the original walls and gates are still there. Walking the promenade along the ramparts for an incredible panorama of the Dordogne Valley below was spectacular. There is actually a cave system under the town square, and it’s believed that the templars were imprisoned and killed here. We also enjoyed our usual village tour on the “petit train” and the best ice cream cone! There were lots of cute shops, and I bought a pair of earrings at an art gallery. I could have stayed here a lot longer. May once again be my favorite place!
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    Traveler

    Fabulous!

    10/16/22Reply
    Traveler

    Lovely!

    10/17/22Reply
     
  • Day14

    Sarlat, Beynac, Castelnaud La Chapelle

    October 14 in France ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

    Today was a very busy day. I am feeling pretty good, but still not a lot of energy. First order of business was to stop at a patisserie/boulangerie for a French breakfast and a baguette to go for later! Last night we had driven to the “old town” in Sarlat and wandered a little, so we were definitely ready to see more of the old area. Sarlat seems to be so much bigger and busier with more people than all the other places we have visited. Funny, but the population is only about 10,000! It is definitely more alive than the other villages we’ve visited. Suffice it to say, it’s an enchanting and quaint medieval town that’s actually divided into two with one side more aristocratic and the other more “common”. It’s fun to discover little arched passages and lanes that lead to new treasures to see. I must say that “duck” is what it’s all about here…everywhere! Foie gras and duck dishes are on every menu and many stores are devoted to duck products. There are many duck farms in the area, too.

    After stopping at La Belle Époque for French onion soup, we decided to drive to nearby villages voted as “Most Beautiful Villages” that border the Dordogne River. In the villages of both Beynac (pop 552). and Castelnaud La Chapelle (pop 471) there is an imposing chateau perched at the top of steep cliffs and rocks that seem to reach to the sky with a tiny village built directly below it. Let me tell you, we were many narrow switchback roads, but I don’t think that I scared Elizabeth too many times…she did jump in her seat a few times! I don’t know why? Do you? Just enjoy the photos even though they can never truly capture the scene. As we drove through the countryside we spotted many smaller chateau high above the Dordogne River.

    We returned to Sarlat for a drink before dinner and to work a little on our journals. I was sitting in a café with a glass of wine listening to the young staff laughing and singing to French songs being played loudly on the speaker. And I was in heaven! I was moving ever so slightly with the music and living in a moment of true joy and thinking… I AM IN FRANCE! The young waiter came over and asked if I wanted another wine. I told him in French what I wrote about them singing and laughing and how I was enjoying it so much. He very gently kissed my hand and treated me to a glass of wine! He came over again and asked me to dance…I passed! Hadn’t had enough to drink! It was all truly innocent, and they were at the end of the shift just enjoying their free time. I’ve never had such sweet attention! We closed the place down!
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    So glad you are feeling better! What a great experience for you! [Jayne]

    10/15/22Reply
    Traveler

    What wonderful beautiful memories you will forever have. I'm so happy for you that you are so happy!☺️💗 Miss you tho.

    10/15/22Reply
     
  • Day13

    Brantôme and Sarlat

    October 13 in France ⋅ ☁️ 66 °F

    Oct 12 and 13…
    Yesterday (Wednesday) was a travel day to Brantôme. We left our beautiful “home” in La Charité and traveled back to Bourges to pick up our car. We were told at Hertz that gas was a serious issue, and all stations were closed in Bourges. But, with a full tank, we felt confident that we would be fine. Whenever we saw a gas station (not often) we filled up. It cost us $20 for 1/4 tank! Too exhausted to eat dinner, we stopped at Aldi’s in Brantôme and bought a baguette and puréed vegetable soup! Doesn’t sound like me, huh? I just needed to get to bed and feel better.

    We’re so happy to have taken a detour to Brantôme which is a little piece of heaven. Brantôme is in the Dordogne region of France and the area that I wanted to visit. We were only there for 1 night. Brantôme is called the “Venice of the Périgord” and is fittingly classified as one the the most beautiful villages of France. It sits on an island surrounded by the Dronne River. There’s an 11th century bell tower with caves beneath it. The bell tower, built in the 11th century, is believed to be the oldest in France. Circling the banks of the river are pretty gardens, ancient stone bridges and centuries’ old houses. The Brantôme Abbey was built by Charlemagne in 769 where the Benedictine monks lived in troglodyte caves…so cool! Imagine…the 8th century! The cobbled streets are filled with cute restaurants and shops. We left in the afternoon for Sarlat-en-Canéda, which is deeper in the Dordogne area.

    We passed through Eyzies-de-Tayac where in 1869 prehistoric humans called Cro-Magnons were discovered in ancient cave dwellings, and and we passed by many rock formations and more troglodyte caves at La Grotte du Grand Roc.

    Our very modern apartment in Sarlat is in contrast with the centuries old medieval buildings. It’s fantastic though! We each have a master bedroom en suite. We wandered for something to eat but were too exhausted to take the time. We are feasting on cheese, crackers, apples, and cookies and crashing early.

    I’m doing a little better today. We’re going to try to give ourselves more time in the evening to relax and heal. We’ll be here until next Tuesday while we explore the many little villages.
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    Glad you are feeling better take care Rena [Rena]

    10/14/22Reply

    Glad to hear you are better. Enjoy the rest of your trip. [Jayne]

    10/14/22Reply

    Loved seeing these pictures of Brantome. Found myself saying, oh I’ve been there, I’ve seen those caves. Hope you are continuing to feel better! Enjoy! [Nan]

    10/14/22Reply
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  • Day11

    La Charité sur Loire

    October 11 in France ⋅ ☁️ 63 °F

    I’ll keep this short. I have tested positive for Covid…no surprise, I guess. I’m pretty sure that I contracted it before coming to France, as I have had a sore throat the entire time, and now it’s progressed. Elizabeth has tested negative. Barbara Jo has no problem with me staying here.

    Before testing, Elizabeth and I spent 3 hours trying to recreate our trip because of the gas situation. In the end we decided to keep our original schedule. We have a full travel day tomorrow to pick up a car back in Bourges, and drive to Brantôme.

    I did mask up and take a short walk through the medieval church …no one was there and it was only a block away. My greatest disappointment today is missing out on cooking a complete French rustic meal at Christian’s house. It is a 3 hour preparation. He was the French teacher who took us to Apremont on Sunday. So, I’m here in my room, packing and then crawling under the covers, hoping to feel better tomorrow.
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    Sure hope,you feel better soon! Take care! [Jayne]

    10/11/22Reply

    Feel better so you can keep enjoying your trip! [Darlene]

    10/11/22Reply
    Traveler

    Oh boy! Hope you feel better soon!!

    10/11/22Reply
    Traveler

    Feel better soon, Yvonne.

    10/11/22Reply
     
  • Day10

    Sancerre

    October 10 in France ⋅ ☁️ 64 °F

    Laure, a guide that Elizabeth met last year, took us on an excursion to Sancerre, a small charming medieval hilltop town above the Loire River surrounded by miles and miles of vineyards. It’s known for its white wines and also for its goat cheese. Its most popular one is comically named Crottin which translates to something that you wouldn’t want to step in! We took a short walk while there, and Elizabeth showed me the language school that she attended last year.

    Laure drove us all through the country-side in the Centre Loire Valley, and we learned all about wine growing. We visited the Bernard Fleuriet et Fils winery and the Rabichatte winery where we sampled many different sauvignon blanc and sancerre wines.

    Lunch was at a restaurant on the Loire River where I tried the Coq au Vin (chicken with wine mushroom sauce) and finished with a popular dessert called Tarte Tatin, which is a type of upside down pastry tarte with caramelized apples. Both were delicious.

    We finished the evening with apéro dînatoire and fun conversation with Barbara Jo and Paula which included a game called truth or lie. It’s the Canadian Thanksgiving, so she had made a cottage pie to celebrate. It is one of my favorite dishes that she’s prepared and almost tasted like stuffing. It had pork, root vegetables such as parsnips, leeks, carrots, and a pumpkin purée on top! I continue to be shocked at my culinary adventures!

    Goodness, it was after midnight when I finally went up to bed and crashed. I am still fighting a sore throat that has now developed into a full fledged cold. I have not slowed down, but it is taking a toll on me. I’m feeling quite exhausted. Tomorrow will be spent taking it easy at the B&B.

    There are issues with petrol here today, and it is either not available or there is a very low supply with long lines and quite it’s quite expensive. I guess it’s not Putin, but a French issue with workers. Why is this concerning? We are renting a car Wednesday back in Bourges and may have to cancel future plans and rethink places available by train.
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    Your trip is amazing so far. Hope the gas issue is resolved. The food sounds so great, I am jealous not to be able to sample!😋 Hope you feel better. [Marcia]

    10/11/22Reply
     
  • Day9

    Apremont-sur-Alliers

    October 9 in France ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

    Today was a full day touring the tiny medieval village of Apremont-sur-Allier which borders on the Alliers River. There are just 70 residents! The village has won the coveted “Most Beautiful Village” award. Our tour guide was Christian, who is an acquaintance of Barbara Jo’s. He is a retired teacher who spent much of his career teaching French in Africa. He has a home here and also one in Paris. Christian was so charming and had a great sense of humor. Being a teacher, he was helping us with pronunciation. He told me twice that I have an ear for it! Now, if I could just speak it!

    Dating back to 1467, the chateau in this village has been in the same family since 1722! The Le Parc Floral is an incredibly enchanting botanical garden that opened in 1967 and is meant to blend the chateau with the village. Along with the beautiful plant life, there are waterfalls, a Chinese Pagoda Bridge, a Turkish pavilion named Belvédère which was a Russian structure. Nestled in the middle of this park is Medieval style home.

    It was a beautiful day to sit on the Brasserie du Lavois patio where we lingered for a few hours with lunch, wine, and conversation. The main meal is at noon, so I selected the salad with goat cheese, beef filet with mushroom gravy and crème brûlé. Delicious! On the way home we stopped at the canal and watched how the lock works.

    We returned at 4:30 and my bottom is dragging! I’m doing a quick journal before we have our apéro dînatoire (like an elaborate charcuterie board), and I am sure that I’ll be in bed by 8:30!
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    Traveler

    Another incredible day in a gorgeous place!

    10/9/22Reply
    Traveler

    Beautiful garden and great pictures!

    10/10/22Reply
     

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