France Things to Do Tips by 807Wheaton Top 5 Page for this destination
France Things to Do: 1,491 reviews and 1,942 photos
Flowers in the hallway
There are always fresh flowers in Chenonceau. These are done by people that only arrange flowers for the rooms in Chenonceau. It is their life work. The flower arrangements were everywhere in the Chateau and were beautiful, displayed on wonderful old dark tables.
This rocky granite islet rises to 80 meters and is linked to the Bay by an unfloodable causeway built in 1879. Bishop of Avranches in the year 708, St. Aubert had three dreams in which the archangel, Michael prodded his head with his 4th finger, and St. Aubert felt the pain in his head. He decided to build a chapel and dedicated it to St. Michel. Thus began a series of construction on this site. Sacked during the French Revolution the abbey was turned over to the Historic Monuments department in 1874, and is now open to the public all year round.
Mont Saint-Michel is famous for its hotels and restaurants, with the traditional omelettes, crepes and butter cookies. Many years ago we saw a Rick Steves program of Brittany where chefs were beating eggs in copper pots to make omelettes. We ate omelettes and crepes at one of the restaurants located high up the climb into the street. Both were very good. The secret to a great omelette is beating the eggs in the copper pot. We have been fixing eggs like that ever since we saw it on Rick Steves. Yum.
Stained glass in Cathedrale Notre-Dame Bayeux
We were quite taken with the beauty of the interior and the stained glass in the Cathedral in Bayeux. The window looks really great if you click on it to enlarge it!
Great website below.
The Roman Maison Carre
When we arrived in Nimes there was a Fall Festival going on. Most of the streets had food vendors in front of the restaurants and shops. There were bands playing here and there and a style show was being presented on the steps of this lovely square house that you can see in this picture. Nimes had been flooded the week before we were there and we saw a little water here and there but no major damage.
The Roman arena in Nimes is very well preserved as you can see from the pictures.
We were told that the city of Nimes developed a blue serge material that was exported through Genoa, Italy. The word "denimes" was stamped on the boxes that held the serge material and it went to Genoa. Eventually all of these words were changed to mean "denim jeans". That's what we were told and just for fun I included a web page below about the history of denim.
Nimes also has a beautiful Garden area with fountains. The water came into Nimes via an aquaduct into holding tanks and was then dispersed during Roman times. The Romans were always very proud of their good tasting water. As in many cities in Europe the sidewalks in the shopping district of Nimes were beautiful. Inside the Maison Carre there is a history museum that shows pictures of what the Maison looked like 2000 years ago. Unfortunately it was written in French so we had to enjoy the pictures which really helped.
View of Carcassone from the highway
Driving west from Nimes we drove through the Languedoc - Roussillon area of southern France to Carcassonne. Here we find the stories about Louis IX and The Cathars a 13th Century sect critical of corruption in the established church. Their story includes over a century of ruthless killing and torture.
Languedoc is the language of Oc. "Oui" is for yes in the North part of France and "Oc" is for yes in the South of France. This Languedoc is now a dialect. The area west of Nimes has low scrubby vegetation but quite a few vineyards start appearing and eventually turn into vistas of grapes. Far in the distance the town of Narbonne can be identified from the enormous palace and cathedral complex that dominates the center of Narbonne. It is near this area that we crossed the Canal du Midi, a remarkable feat of engineering that provided the link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterrean Sea. This area also has many chateaux and because we were there in September we saw a lot of grape pickers working in the vineyards. They had large tractors with trailors nearby to hold the grapes. Closer to Carcassone there are sheep grazing on the hillsides. This is also where olive trees grow.
Each country has a different way of classifying olive production, like wines.
Louis IX was an exceptional King, being crowned King of France when he was 11 years old in 1226. He was known for his piety and kindness toward the poor. He fought in two crusades, both of which ended in failure. During his return to France he died of dysentry.
He was canonized as a Saint in 1297. Many places today are named after him, e.g. St. Louis, Missouri and Louisville, Kentucky to name two.
Kate Mosse has written a novel, "Labyrinth" about two women in different lifetimes in this Cathar -Languedoc area of France - in the genre of time-travel.
Top of the Pyrenees
When we left Lourdes we drove to Pau and followed the Gave de Pau. This is a beautiful blue river which also had rapids here and there. The scenery here is really beautiful. Vineyards appear again along this route and now there are lots of cream colored cattle on the hillsides. In this region of Basque country the red, green and white Basque flag is sold.
This area has their own language which is Latin based. The Basque country has been untouched by invaders and an interesting fact is that there is a high incidence of Blood Group B in the general population.
American Cemetery at Omaha Beach, France
Visiting the American Cemetery was, for me, a cemetery tramp, a "dream come true". This was one of those things I wanted to "do before I die". I'm sure I can't say much that hasn't been said on VT about this stirring place to visit.
While we were there the bells chimed and we heard the music to "America the Beautiful"
It was stirring, emotional experience.
Wild ponies near the cog railroad
We left the Biarritz area early in the morning and drove up hairpin roads to Sare where we were able to purchase a ticket for a ride up the Pyrenees on a cog railroad train. It was a bright sunny morning and very cold in the mountains. The Petit train is all wood and has open windows. Along the way up the mountain we saw wild sheep and wild ponies.
When we got to the top we were in Spain. There is a restaurant at the top where you can purchase some hot chocolate while enjoying the view of the Bay of Biscay. While we were walking around some of the ponies came right up to us.
The trip took about an hour and a half. This trip to the Pyrenees was on my list of "things to do when I retire" The picture of the ponies is from our ticket stub.
Address: Sare, France
Old world aura of Beaune
This is a lovely little picture of an area we saw when we were in Beaune.
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