France
Occitania

Here you’ll find travel reports about Occitania. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

354 travelers at this place:

  • Day39

    Wild beach, wilder ride...

    October 6 in France

    Our first car adventure in France... to Plage Espiguette - an absolutely beautiful wild beach on the Mediterranean about 45 minutes out of town. We rented using “OUIcar” - an AirBNB type car sharing platform, so we saved a very few euros and ended up with a 20th century special - dingy and small, but we figured it would get us there and home... The day was actually amazing - with soft white sand, fun waves (I thought about Crystal Beach in Thunder Bay), excellent beach combing and sand dune climbing. It is a beach devoid of development, which means a different vibe - lots of bikes and kite-pulled dune buggies (and no constant requests for ice cream at the local beach bar). At around 18h00, we had to head home - slightly burned and very sun-tired, weighed down with shells and sand - our hair, clothes, towels, and every other place you can imagine. Sadly, our perfect day was not to be... we took a wrong turn about 10 minutes into our ride home, and that’s when the car engine started cutting out. Still 40 minutes out of town, Geoff pushed so hard on that pedal and ignition key I thought they would break, the engine finally turned as the night fell, and we finally roared in the direction of home with the big red light on the console flashing “STOP” in our faces. Malcolm offered to tell jokes to lighten the mood, but soon realized the futility of this, and contented himself with occasional body noises for a laugh. Anytime we slowed down, the engine would sputter again, and threaten to cut out -so Geoff did not slow down once for 40 minutes until forced to in a left turn lane - thankfully about 15 minutes from our house, and 5 from the drop-off for the car. Stalled on the road, now completely dark out, I called the owner. We sat amidst the honking horns (drivers not so patient having to go around). After 25 minutes, the owner arrived with his solution - he put Geoff at the wheel in neutral, and pushed the car back to his place using his own car... who needs a tow-truck in Montpellier? I walked home with the kids and we had dinner at a fashionably French hour - around 21h00. Dale sees this as a “scary” experience, Geoff sees it as a sign that our next car rental should be with an established company, I see it (now) as good practice for the many similar experiences we are bound to have in the next 9 months!Read more

  • Day19

    Animals...

    September 16 in France

    Hi. It’s Dale and Mama. We are writing about some of the animals we’ve seen in France. In Paris, we saw a lot of pigeons. If a random lady puts food on your head near Notre Dame cathedral, you will have a pigeon chapeau! In Strasbourg, we went to Parc de l’Orangerie where there was a little zoo. We saw flamingos, spider monkeys, parrots, wallabies, and white Alsatian storks (les cigognes) with really big nests that are native to Strasbourg. In Cormatin, which is a little village near Cluny where we stayed for 3 days, we saw lots of cute cats and kittens, and we saw three beautiful horses playing and jumping with each other and with their owner, Celeste. It was really neat to watch and I got to ride Assia, the white one, with no saddle! Finally, I met Java the sheep dog, and his sheep friends at the Acro-Bath, where we went climbing in the trees. Java had one white and blue eye, and the other was brown and black! That’s all for now. Bye!Read more

  • Day44

    Montpellier aquarium

    October 11 in France

    Have you ever been to an aquarium? Have you ever seen who’s hiding under the water? Well I have. Because today we biked to the Montpellier aquarium and it was AWESOME! We did a project in school about the aquarium and we each chose two different animals to learn about and find in the aquarium.we found Chloe’s arawana and arapaima my cape penguin and the tail of my pyjama shark and Malcolm’s zebra shark but his other one the nautilus wasn’t there anymore. We saw lots of cool and colourful fish. we also saw jellyfish and sea horses but my favourite part was the cape penguins.If you were there you could probably tell it was my favourite part because I stood there and watched them for a loooooooong time.
    - Dale
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  • Day37

    Weather in Montpellier

    October 4 in France

    We haven’t had a drop of rain since we arrived... I fear it is coming, especially when we biked under this last night on our way through La Comedie. Montpellier is ready!
    (Actually, they are part of fundraising event for breast cancer research - I learned this when we walked by them today).

  • Day52

    Grotte des Demoiselles

    October 19 in France

    Today we went to a giant cave with stalactites and stalagmites. I learned that stalactites come down from above and stalagmites rise from below. On the tour in the cave we saw both stalactites and stalagmites, we saw columns (when they join together) and we saw many other rock formations. The cave was discovered when a shepherd fell down a hole in the top of the cave while looking for his sheep. In the cave we saw creatures including a stuffed bear which represented an ancient bear skeleton that was discovered in the cave, and a transparent dromedary shaped rock formation! Did you know that to get to some of the parts of the cave the early explorers had to climb through a hole that was 70cm by 45cm wide! We got to look at a huge part of the cave that was 100 meters long and 50 meters high. At the end, the tour guide played Au Clair de la Lune on some small stalactites and used a hollow rock for a drum. Talk to you later,
    Malcolm😎🤓😜🤩🤗
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  • Day34

    The Olympic Pool

    October 1 in France

    Today me and Geoff went to a french olympic pool and it was huge! First you have to remove your shoes and put them in a small basket, next you go into a changing stall and change into your bathing suit (speedo) then you go through the opposite side of the changing stall to get to the locker rooms. When you put your stuff in the locker you go to a shower room and shower then you put your swim cap on and go to a hallway and when you walk through the hallway showers turn on and wash you again. Finally you get to the olympic pool but, if you go up one floor you get to a place where you can go on a large waterslide or relax in a not so very hot tub. If you go up two floors you get to a workout gym with treadmills and weights. If you go down one floor you get to a basketball court. When you are done you have to go back through the whole process and then you can leave. We live only a 15 minute walk away from the pool and it is right beside a huge library!
    Talk to you all soon,
    Cheers Malcolm
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  • Day73

    Dale and Lara finally got to a gallery walk on their last rainy Friday in Montpellier. We saw Yann Dumoget and his “peinture partagée” - Dale loved how you could recognize different places in his artwork (like the sea, a volcano, the desert), and then see how members of the public graffitied them. Then we went to the Musée d’art brut et d’art singulier (raw and outsider art) - it was filled with wondrous and creative paintings and sculpture - many of the artists were institutionalized with mental health issues, and were not initially recognized as artists for this reason. Dale noticed lots of cats, Lara loved the powerful colours and (sometimes playful, sometimes disquieting) creativity. We are posting a few photos here to “educate” (sorry, copyright reference...). Thank you in advance to the artists!Read more

  • Day28

    What really happened...

    September 25 in France

    Today, we started our weekly “croissants and pastries” breakfast at our neighbourhood boulangerie. Our daily adventure - cycling the 10km bike path along the river up to the Montpellier Zoo. It was longer than we planned, but we made it, practiced our French with the bears, giraffes, and zebras, and finished off the day with gelato on our way home. This is the story that the blog format would have you believe - sounds great, eh? Here’s what it really looked like... we had planned to go out for pastries, but were so long getting out of the house (because of all the complaining about biking today), that we ended up outside the boulangerie on a busy street, standing up beside our bikes and unceremoniously shoving Nutella beignets in our mouths. The “bike” route was a perfect cycling route, if you don’t mind frequently joining long stretches of narrow, busy streets with unforgiving two-way traffic. About half-way, Geoff got a flat, and had to take a tram back home to get it fixed. Exactly 30 seconds after he left, Dale had a major wipe-out in the gravel - screaming, tears, bloody skinned knees. Lots of fruit juice, emergency baguette, candies and a game of cards later, we were back on our way! It was especially fun to watch my two oldest children jockey for the honour of going first in our long line of five, in the middle of traffic. At the very end, the zoo is, of course, at the top of a huge hill, not suited to our heavy rental bikes. Two and a half hours later, we arrived! I could go on, but you get the picture... We are having fun, AND life with family in Montpellier looks a lot like it does in Ottawa!Read more

  • Day33

    "Welcome to France..."

    September 30 in France

    I heard this (spoken sympathetically) three times last week, from locals... here’s why - Our first travel SIM card finally ran out. We had picked it up in the Reykjavík airport, so this time, Geoff figured the train station would be a place to start... this was followed by many subsequent visits to the provider “Bouygues” where we were told “this is not our product” (despite the company name on the card). After having to activate (by phone), then register our identity (by phone), then switch providers, find a new card, show our passport and register our identity, then dial more phone numbers in a confusion sequence... we finally, several days lasted, have a French phone number and data plan... in contrast, check out what we had to do with Vodaphone in Iceland!Read more

  • Day72

    Paul Crouzet Primary School

    November 8 in France

    Yesterday, Malcolm and Geoff left the apartment at 0700h (7am) for the small town of Prades Le Les which is an hour-and-a-half long bike ride away. We met with Mme Nathalie Nagot, a primary teacher from Paul Crouzet Elementary School. Mme Nagot teaches a CM2 class (4th grade) with 27 students. She teaches all the subjects to her class except for science and social studies. The children are beginning to learn English, which they enjoy. We learned that the kids are at school from 9am to 5pm with a two and a quarter hour break from 12:00 to 2:15 and two 15 minute recesses, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. On Wednesday, they don’t go to school, they do activities like sports or clubs at a community centre or they stay at home. Their school year consists of six weeks of classes followed by two weeks of holiday, with a longer holiday in July and August. We did a presentation about Canada for the kids and showed them what schools are like in Canada. The classroom looked similar to our classrooms, maybe a little smaller, and the children sit in rows. When the teacher is looking for ideas, she asks a student with their hand up to answer, then that student chooses another student in the class to answer and so on. The school has a cafeteria but no gymnasium. Gym classes are held at a nearby field. The schoolyard is quite small compared to our schoolyards in Canada, but the children seem to enjoy it. After the school visit, Malcolm and Geoff ate cake and baguette and biked home to Montpellier.
    - Malcolm and Geoff
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Occitania, Occitanie, Linguadoca-Rossiglione-Midi-Pirenei

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