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Curious what backpackers do in France? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Early start to the day, minus 3 here this morning. Our usual walk to get our breakfast. Today we are heading out of Paris with a private tour guide. He picked us at 9.30am in his van. We get excited see a bit of ice then the further we head out it is just white everywhere and a shower of snow. It is how you would imagine a white Christmas. We can't see too much of the countryside for the heavy fog. After a 2hr drive we arrive in the Loire Valley. We visit Château de Chenonceau (Ladies Castle) which Kellie & I are excited as it's all about a TV series we watch. After that we went to an old town Amboise and had lunch which was a bit challenging not much English spoken. Then we went to another castle Amboise Château Royal and had a look around. This is where Leonardo da Vinci is buried. When we arrived at Amboise the town thermometer display showed minus 6. Up on the hill at the castle it was a lot colder. When we came down it was minus 5.5, so it had warmed up a bit. We bought a few macaroons which were delicious. We got back about 7.30, it seemed a long drive as it was dark and heavy fog.
    We are now waiting to go into the city to see in the New Year. We don't want to go to early as it's so cold.
    Happy New Year everyone. xx

    Photo 1 - Our view along the way
    Photo 2 - Château de Chenonceau (Ladies Castle)
    Photo 3 - The grounds and chapel at Amboise Château Royal
    Photo 4 - A frozen poppy
    Photo 5 - Our dessert at a local bakery.
    Photo 6 - The temperature reading in Amboise
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  • None of us felt like going out after our day in the country, but we knew we would regret it if we didn't go into the city. We all layered the clothes on and didn't take any bags or my camera for security reasons. On a side street we had to go through security then on Champs-Elysèes we then had to go through security again. Opening up our jackets and vests. People started pushing and I was glad to get away from that. Once in it was a nice atmosphere with families etc. It soon filled with people. All side roads were blocked and plenty of police around. Dave went and talked to a couple of them. It was truly spectacular show to watch and felt very privileged to be there.
    Getting home was intetesting to say the least, everyone trying to get on the subway at once. We witness a lady get robbed. Two people on a motorbike knocked her over and stole her bag. Sad way for her to see 2017 in. We eventually made it home about 1.30am.

    Photo 2, 3 front & back view from where we are standing
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  • We had a very lazy start this morning. We didn't get to bed until 2.30am. The bakery was closed today so we had our aussie breakfast of bacon & eggs for Dave's birthday. We didn't set off until after midday. We went and had a look where we have to catch the train tomorrow as its always harder loaded up with luggage. Then Kellie wanted to pick up a few souvenirs. We stopped and had a bite to eat and warm up. When we came out it had dropped a few degrees. We had miniscule snowflakes las we walked to the Eiffel tower to get our last pictures but once again heavy fog. So Paris only showed us blue sky and the sun on our first day and we couldn't get over how cold it was. If only we had known that it was going to be our best and warmest day! Took a few pictures by this time it's after 5pm. As Brodie & I have head colds we headed back to our apartment. Unfortunately I can't cook steak for Dave's birthday so it's chicken again. We are all starting to grow feathers. He does have a french red wine to drink. Tomorrow we catch the train to Italy with a stopover at Turin.Read more

  • We had another late start to the day, maybe because it's minus 2 outside when we woke up. A brisk walk down to the bakery to get our breakfast. The people are getting to know us and teaching us a bit of French. We set off for the day with extra layers, feeling like a womble. We caught the metro out to the Catacoombs only to find the line goes around the block. We line up as we tried to visit the last time we were here but it was closed. At one stage we had tiny snowflakes falling on us. While waiting, we see a homeless man sleeping on the street. I can't imagine how cold he would be. A few people buy him a hot drink & food but he doesn't move. No he's not dead, little movement, may be frozen.
    I started this at 11am while waiting in the line it is now 3.30pm & we are still waiting. Amazing I thought we would have weeded out the weak but no they are just like us, cold to the core & still waiting. It took us close to 5 hours to get in. Was it worth it??? Well it was something we wanted to see I'm glad we have seen it, no not worth a 5hr wait. Then again I don't think anything is worth that long of a wait in the freezing cold. I don't think it got past 0 degrees today. By the way, we had Brodie entertaining us with his whinging for 5 hours. He would have rather been at a Christmas Market! That was our day gone, but in that time you do chat to the people around you in the line. We are going out tonight on a night bus tour. At 9pm it's meant to be -4. Great, just loving this cold weather.

    Photo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, - Catacoombs
    Photo 6 - A of the quarter of the line
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  • This wasnt the most visually exciting stop of our trip, but for me it was special. I have family history here... going back more than 350 years. The story behind it is a bit of a read, but here it is if it interests you:

    The filles du roi, or King's Daughters, were some 770 women who arrived in the colony of New France (Canada) between 1663 and 1673, under the financial sponsorship of King Louis XIV of France. Most were single French women and many were orphans. Their transportation to Canada and settlement in the colony were paid for by the King. Some were given a royal gift of a dowry of 50 livres for their marriage to one of the many unmarried male colonists in Canada. The filles du roi were part of King Louis XIV's program to promote the settlement of his colony in Canada.

    My ancestor is Anne Pineau. She was one of the filles du roi, or King's Daughters. She married Gilles Gotreau {or} Gaudreau in 1671 and had 6 children. (spelling depends which source you look at... our last name seems to have changed spelling a few times over the years)

    This place I visited today is where she was from before being chosen to be a filles du roi. Two hundred and forty of the 770 women came from the Salpatriere. I have come across a couple versions of the story... Im not certain which is accurate. Here are both:

    V1. The Salpatriere was an orphanage before it was a hospital.

    V2. The Salpatriere was a prison for prostitutes and the mentally disabled, criminally insane and housed the poor.

    Let's pretend the first story is the true one because it sounds nicer, ok? Ok!

    And as an added bonus, if you look at the sign above the map in photo 1, the courtyard there is named after St. Claire! What a lovely name, don't you think?

    As another extra tidbit of information, Anne belonged to the St Eustache Parish... which if you look back to posts from 2 days ago- we were there!

    And yet another interesting fact - Princess Diana was taken to this hospital after her tragic cat accident. So she actually died here as opposed to the tunnel.
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  • A bit of a late start today, let the kids have a sleep in. Dave and I walked down to the bakery to pick up a baguette and croissants for breakfast. We had a bit of entertainment out our window this morning, a guy hanging in the trees giving them a trim. We headed into the city by metro, had a problem with our tickets. Kellie's was the only one to work. We found out after, Dave had put them in his mobile phone and this does something to them - it was ok in The Netherlands and Germany. Luckily they replaced them for us. We decided to go on the hop on hop off bus as this gives you a good overview of the city. Well to say the least we were frozen in our seats. Don't be fooled by the pictures of blue sky & sunshine. I saw the sun at one stage I really thought it was the moon as there was no warmth coming from it. Unbelievably cold! Dave was shivering that's how cold it was. We hopped off near the Eiffel Tower for a coffee but it was so expensive around there we just had a look around. By the way the Christmas markets are still on here. We looked at the ones at the Eiffel Tower, we had our bags checked before we could go in. It is the same under the Eiffel Tower. In 2013 we just wandered around there. We hopped back on the bus & went back into the city and eventually found a place to eat. By this time it's about 3pm. From there we went on a Seine river cruise which left at 5pm so it was just getting dark. Once again we had our bags checked. A metro ride (2) back to our apartment, on the walk home we found a butcher selling rotisserie chickens and roast potatoes, so that was tea. Along with a french red wine & a warm apartment we have thawed out.
    Photo 1 - Enlarge to see the guy hanging in the tree
    Photo 2 - Notre Dame
    Photo 3 - Arc de Triomphe
    Photo 4 - Us frozen in seats but still smiling
    Photo 5 - Christmas Markets at the Eiffel Tower
    Photo 6 - Eiffel Tower at night
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  • We ventured out after tea, to catch our night bus tour. It doesn't start until 9.15pm, we are usually heading to bed at that time. Layered up and hopped on the open deck bus. We sit up the top, for the best photos. It is very beautiful at night and there was a heavy fog over the city that hadn't lifted all day. We froze our butts off, but stuck it out. The trip took about 2hrs. In bed by 12.30am.

    Photo 1 - Eiffel Tower
    Photo 2 - Louvre
    Photo 3 - ????
    Photo 4 - Light display along Champs-Elysèes
    Photo 5 - Champs-Elysèes
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  • Finally, Dave's dreams come true

    While Dani sits eating pretzel. 😁
    No surprises there's no queue for the woman's toilets...hooray

    Dave: truly awesome museum... I took plenty of photos for my website. 😊

  • Nobody told me there would be a bunch more stairs today! The catacombs are very deep down a creepy spiral staircase. It was almost nauseating going round and round the stairs. It was super cool though. Glad I went.

    The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries that hold the remains of more than six million people in a small part of the ancient Mines of Paris tunnel network. From 1786 to 1788, bones were transferred from cemeteries in the city to the mines to resolve Paris' problem with overflowing cemeteries.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of France, Frankreich, France, Frankryk, Frɛnkyeman, ፈረንሳይ, Franzia, Francland, فرنسا, ܦܪܢܣܐ, ফ্ৰান্স, Francia, Fransa, Францыя, Франция, Faransi, ফ্রান্স, ཕ་རཱན་སི།, Frañs, Francuska, França, Huák-guók, Pransiya, Francie, Francëjô, Франци, Ffrainc, Frankrig, ފަރަންސޭސިވިލާތް, ཕརཱནསི, Frans nutome, Γαλλία, Francujo, Prantsusmaa, Frantzia, فرانسه, Farayse, Ranska, Frakland, An Fhrainc, An Fhraing, ફ્રાંસ, Yn Rank, Faransa, צרפת, फ़्रांस, Francoska, Frans, Franciaország, Ֆրանսիա, Prancis, ꃔꇩ, Frakkland, フランス共和国, fasygu'e, საფრანგეთი, Ubaranja, Frankrigi, បារាំង, ಫ್ರಾನ್ಸ್, 프랑스, फ्रांस, Frankrish, فەڕەنسا, Pow Frenk, Francogallia, Fransia, Frankräich, Bufalansa, Frankriek, Francja, Falánsɛ, ຝລັ່ງ, Prancūzija, Nfalanse, Francija, Frantsa, Франција, ഫ്രാന്‍സ്, Франц, फ्रान्स, Perancis, Franza, ပြင်သစ်, Frankrike, Furansi, Frankrijk, ଫ୍ରାନ୍ସ, Fransya, Frantscha, Franchiya, Ubufaransa, Franța, Frantza, Fraunce, Frankriika, Farânzi, ප්‍රංශය, Francúzsko, Faransiis, Franca, Француска, Ufaransa, பிரான்ஸ், ఫ్రాన్స్‌, Фаронса, ประเทศฝรั่งเศส, Pransya, Falanisē, Pranis, Farāni, فرانسىيە, Франція, فرانس, Franzsa, Pháp, Vrankriek, Fransän, Orílẹ́ède Faranse, 法国, i-France