France Off The Beaten Path Tips by 807Wheaton Top 5 Page for this destination
France Off The Beaten Path: 429 reviews and 497 photos
Horses in the Camargue -photo by no1birdlady
Most of my friends did not know about the Camargue when I mentioned we would be traveling through that area of Southern France. It is an area that I have wanted to see for a long time. I did a lot of reading and inquiring about it and we were not disappointed when we got there. We encountered very strong winds. We saw the salt marsh reeds dancing and bobbing in the wind, even lying flat at times. The big windbreak trees were moving in the wind too. Here and there we saw the sturdy white horses that roam through this marshy landscape. Black bulls are here too but we didn't see them on our drive.
Arles is the main town of Camargue and rice is their main crop. The strong Mistral winds are known to cause depression to some who live in this area of France. Seems strange doesn't it when so much of France is such a beauty to behold? Vincent Van Gogh the Dutch Post Impressionist painter was one of those who suffered terrible mental agony during the time living here. He only sold one painting during his lifetime, "Red Vineyard at Arles". He painted over 200 canvases in 15 months while living in Arles. His life story is so sad and I can't help but think about how different his life could have been if he had had the medical care and medicine that is available today. The website shown below has some excellent information about Van Gogh.
Driving from Biarritz to Bordeaux involves driving through miles and miles of pine forest, where there is very little habitation. This vast area of sand and marshes was artifically changed by planting pine trees and grasses to stabilize the sandy soil in the 19th Century.
The planting of pine trees ultimately wiped out the migrant shepherds and their flocks, leaving this area, even today underpopulated.
Wild Ponies in the Pyrenees
For a wonderfu view of the Biarritz and St. Jean-de-Luz area take the cog railroad up to the top of the Pyrenees. On the road from St.-Jean-de-Luz you will see pretty white houses with red doors. Hair pin turns on the road take you to the foot of the St.-Ignace Pass, and the pretty mountain village of Sare. From here you can purchase your ticket for La Petit train de la Rhune a train on the rack railway. This train was made entirely of wood. It was nippy and cold with bright blue skies early in the morning when we started our ride up to the top of the Pyrenees. On our way up the cog railroad we saw sheep and wild ponies. When we were at the top near the restaurant, some of the ponies walked right up to us. The view followed the Basque Coast and back north to Biarritz. When we got to the top we were in Spain! The entire trip took about an hour and a half.
The picture of the ponies is from the ticket stub.
While driving back to Nice from Eze we took the scenic route that included a stop at Cap Ferrat and Ville Franche, which was once a Russian naval base.
The walk up to the hotel and casino in Monte Carlo
This is the walk up to the main plaza where the Hotel de Paris and the Casino are located.
Turn around and this is where you can view the harbor with the yachts and ships, ready for a Mediterrean cruise.
Count the $$$ in this picture
We enjoyed seeing the cars outside the Casino and Hotel in Monte Carlo.
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