Category: Europe Sept-Oct 2006

May 21, 2007

The Cutty Sark

Filed under: Europe Sept-Oct 2006 - 21 May 2007

We were shocked to hear tonight that there was a fire on board the Cutty Sark and that the fire may have been lit deliberately.  If this were true, then we absolutely cannot fathom why anyone would want to destroy such a famous …

November 29, 2006

Lascaux II – Country Roads of France

The western edges of the Massif Central and the northern slopes of the Pyrenees are noted for an excellent concentration of Palaeolithic caves.  Lascaux is set a little further away from the traditional sites, but is the most famous of these early Stone Age caves.  When you get there, you’ll hear the story of how four teenage boys stumbled upon Lascaux in 1940 on a day’s outing.  They knew that their discovery was important and decided to keep it a secret … for four days, and finally told their teacher.  This then evolved into perhaps the greatest archaelogical find in the 20th century.   

November 28, 2006

Sarlat-la-Caneda – Country Roads of France

I hadn’t researched this town prior to our visit and was surprised to learn that Sarlat-la-Caneda has the highest concentration of medieval, Renaissance and 17th century facades of any town in France.  Our entry into this town was via the main street, the rue de la Republique, which itself was pretty nondescript.  However, once you get away from the main drag, you’ll be surprised at what lies beyond.

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 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. 

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