Saturday, July 21, 2012

Touring - France, a Slideshow

Sharing the pleasures of visiting France makes for great conversation with friends. Some never leave Paris, others tour the wine regions, and some the mysteries of the Auvergne, or the Cote d’Azur, but whatever the area there is plenty to see and enjoy.
Right now, the nightly reports on the Tour de France deliver fantastic views of the French countryside.
I have come to feel very protective about ‘Things French’ - and I very much want France to retain all the things which make it such a beautiful place to spend time. Language, art, countryside and culture are worth protecting, so whatever the French do to achieve this result, is okay by me. Even the aroma of Gauloises cigarettes, and I'm not a smoker!
I think the most attractive thing about France for me, is pure ‘Frenchness’ and I don’t like to witness anything which erodes the unique texture of French life.
I first visited France in 1976, and armed with both high school French and an 8 week crash course at the Alliance Francaise I launched myself into Paris with gusto. The more I was able to express myself in French the better times I had, the friendlier people were to me, and in spite of “Je parle un petit peu Francaise” (I only speak a little French), everyone went out of their way to help me. During dozens of visits since 1976, nothing has changed.
Vive La France!

Apartments in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower

Gliding along the Seine, by Bateau Mouche
Lunch in Paris at Les Deux Musee - just great!
Treasure from the Sea
Looking up at Sacre Couer is a better photo than the view from the steps
Jardin du Palais Royal, just near The Louvre
Almost as important as the Louvre, the Musee D'Orsay, which was once a train station!
The only way to get a piano, or a double bed into a Paris apartment, the stairs are too narrow!
The French bag Disney Paris, but they're not above a twee little tourist train, near Moulin Rouge
Absolutely beautiful classics, on a bitterley cold Sunday afternoon in June!
Jardin des Tuileries, near the Louvre with I.M. Pei's pyramid and Le Toit la Grande Arche

Giverny, just west of Paris, the estate of impressionist painter Claude Monet

Monet's garden, Japanese bridge, Giverny
South of Paris in the Valle de Loire, the chateau at Chambord. This was only a hunting lodge! Just a weekender?
This says it all for me. Happy to be in Paris, in France. Enjoy!

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