"How those bloody French people..." GUYON's Profile

... spend their long vacation ?!

Fond of travels and old enough to have done some.

Who we are ?

My wife and I live in Nanterre, in the Paris suburbs. We are both insurers : she is a Human Ressources responsible and I am a specialist of automobile insurance.
We have 3 adult children who have left home: a boy (1975) who is a computer technician and sport coach, a girl (1980) who is a nurse, and an other daughter (1984) who is assistant mnger of the clothing shop in Paris.
They travel on their own for several years but they can appear on the pictures brought from some trips.
It is difficult to gather them on the same picture.

How we travel ?

We had 3 periods in our travels :
- until we were 34 : camping in France and in Italy
- from 34 to 45 : guest house (Gites ruraux) in France. The children were young and we need a bit of comfort without a long trip. During this period I made my generalogy and I traveled in the Time (the furthest travels I never make... 500 years).
- since 45 : hotels, rented appartments generally abroad. The children were more independent and it was easier to make long travels.

We have yearly 4 types of travels :
- a family travel in France (1 week) to meet family members
- a long travel abroad (3/4/ weeks) in Summer.
- one or several Week ends (3/4 days) in European capitals (especially in June for our wedding anniversary)
- a Saturday in London by Eurostar yearly.
Previously, we (or I) had, when I was lucky, a professional invitation to an incentive travel of 4 days. By this way, we went to Lapland and to Sevilla.

Our organization

After several concerns with tour operators or travel agencies, we make the conclusion : the professionals have not the best prices, they cannot guarranty the availability of the services they sell, they become mute when we put a claim after the trip.
Brief, they have no added value for a personal trip but they bring a surcharge.
We use them only for an organized tour with a guide (but we recently conclude we are not adapted to this sort of trip) or for some countries accessible only through professionals.
So, I organize now our travels (flight, accomodations, car, itinerary) directly with internet. So the accomodations are clean, at the appropriate place and cheap.
See our "North America travelogue", I explain the method I use.

To speak or not to speak

A VT member who is very kind for me, told me I have a Swedish accent.
Swedish or French, my accent is strong.
When I was at school I learned English (6 years) and Italian (4 years) as they were Martian languages. I mean I had no practical use of these languages : my universe was entirely French and my parents did not travel abroad.
So I was a dunce in English and an average pupil in Italian only because the teacher was "simpatico".
I really learn English at work (English Insurance companies & US broker) and mainly in chating on VT. This way of learning is a trap because my errors are never corrected and I finish to think I am right.
For the Italian language, I followed adult courses for 2 years and I used it during the vacation.
But it was too late to get a good accent.
The attached picture was shot at the college with our English teacher in 1964.

I propose you a game : where I am ?
I help you : at this age, I had no bear.

Just retired

At last. Retired.
Yes, I know, it is a bit early to retire. In France, we are lucky (see the film SICKO by Michael MOORE) and I may quit my job with a full pension when I am 59.
Now is it time to travel ? Yes, but not much more than before.
First of all, because I keep some jobs to top up my pension and to pay the trips : write books and articles, consulting, training courses and insurance brokerage.
But also because I live near Paris and after almost 60 years of visit I have still a lot to see.

I re-discover the public transportation because during the recent years, I was a Centaur and I used to go to Paris by car. It is a real pleasure to stroll by the streets to see the new things : buildings, shops, statues, gardens, museums.
Now, I can mix within the Paris crowd. So I know at least one person who can be there without doing anything.

With my wife and some retired friends we have formed a small group and monthly we choose a visit : museum, garden, etc. The one who has proposed the destination prepares the visit and I have the very sensitive mission to find the restaurant nearby.

  • Intro Updated Feb 18, 2011
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Paris, France
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