Category: Country Roads of France

November 23, 2006

Cahors – Country Roads of France

We were told that Cahors is famous for truffles and that got our excitement up.  We were fortunate to arrive in this little town when the Saturday morning market was on.  French markets are great to walk through as you inevitably get to see and smell an amazing range of cheeses, sausages and other regional delicacies.  Although we don’t eat meat, our favourite stall was a sausage stand where the vendor had decorative miniature model pigs, goats etc amongst the sausages.  Cahors is also famous for its ‘black wine’ and this we did see a lot in the market, no truffles though.  It was a bit early for wine-tasting, but that didn’t stop some!

November 20, 2006

Albi – Country Roads of France

We arrived here in the late afternoon and didn’t have much time to explore Toulouse-Lautrec’s home town.  Still feeling under the weather, we dragged ourselves to the Cathedrale Ste-Cecile and were glad that we did as this building is awesome.  It’s …

November 19, 2006

Nimes – Country Roads of France

Nimes’ Roman amphitheatre (Les Arenes) is one of the best preserved of its kind and its arches remind you of the Colosseum in Rome.  Construction of the Colosseum was completed in 80 AD under Titus and Les Arenes was built at the end of the 1st century AD, so maybe that’s where the inspiration came from.  Nimes had a turbulent history and suffered during the 16th century Wars of Religion.  Fortunately, the town prospered during the 17th and 18th centuries from textile manufacturing and, voila, anyone who’s worn denim jeans has this town to thank for as denim originated from Nimes, “de Nimes”.

November 18, 2006

Carcassonne – Country Roads of France

This was the medieval town I was most looking forward to and it was impressive.  The perfectly restored medieval walled town lies on the right bank of the River Aude and is featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. …

November 15, 2006

Stes. Maries-de-la-Mer, Camargue – Country Roads of France

This is the seaside resort in the Camargue where a large gathering of Gypsies takes place once a year, unfortunately not when we were there (it’s held in May). A pleasant little fishing village Stes. Maries-de-la-Mer is quite compact although not particularly picturesque. There’s a convenient white sand beach

October 30, 2006

Aix-en-Provence – Country Roads of France

Aix-en-Provence is noted as a “City of Fountains” and three of the best are on Le Cours Mirabeau.  This beautiful tree-lined street, built in 1649 for horse-drawn coaches, links the Mazarin quarter to the south with the old commercial town to the north.  Elegant 17th and 18th century buildings with wrought iron balconies line the street, which was once where the city’s social life took place. 

October 29, 2006

Arles – Country Roads of France

When you arrive in this town, it’s clear to see that Van Gogh lived here for a while, although they didn’t show him much appreciation at the time. It’s different today, of course. All over town, street stalls try to capitalize on their famous past resident, selling tablecloths, aprons, etc. with sunflower prints on them, probably the subject of his paintings for which he’s best known.

October 23, 2006

Pont du Gard – Country Roads of France

This 2,000 year old World Heritage Roman aqueduct is amazing to visit. The bridge is on three levels and was built before the Christian era so the aqueduct bringing water to Nimes could cross the Gard river.  On the way to the Pont, look out for three ancient olive trees on the right side of the track, one of which is 1,000 years old.  Brilliant blue skies provided a great backdrop to this majestic monument making it a photographer’s dream. 

October 18, 2006

Monaco – Country Roads of France

Our first stop in this principality was at the 19th century neo-Romanesque Cathedral of St. Nicholas, the resting place of 17 sovereign princes of Monaco and their wives.  It is also the burial place of the Grimaldi family. As the crowds file silently past the tombs of past princes, many took most interest in the tomb of Princess Grace.  September 14th was the anniversary of her death and numerous garlands and baskets of flowers decorated her tomb.

Journey from Aix-les-Bains to Nice – Country Roads of France

Our drive from Aix to Nice took us through Chambery and then up into the hills, in the reverse direction that Napoleon took when he returned to France to reclaim his empire.  Chambery was once the capital of …

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