France is Calling

June 11th, 2013

I have to say that, at the moment, I am a little overwhelmed.  We are leaving for a trip to France this coming Thursday and I am involved in the minutiae of planning.  Leaving home for three weeks is not an easy transition.  For one thing our cottage will be occupied by family and friends for the duration.  That means that all beds need fresh linens, the pantry and refrigerator need to be cleaned, and detailed instructions need to be left so that the rental cottage will be taken care of, and our dog Daisy will be cared for.  It isn’t easy to remember to tell everyone every quirk in the house; like the fact that the doorbell won’t ring and raccoons like to scatter the garbage.  Or the fact that walking outside after midnight might put you in the path of a 250 pound bear.  I hope I remember to pass that fact on.  So right now my mind is swimming in details.

This trip will be a little different.  Pictured above are our French friends Carole and Laurent.  The picture was taken at our place two years ago as they were leaving on the continuation of their year long motorcycle trip from Canada to the tip of South America.  Laurent is starting a Tour de France motorcycle program for anyone interested in touring the backroads and sights in his home country by bike.  We and our intrepid Alaska touring buddies are his first customers.  Here is the general itinerary.

We arrive in Paris at 7:00 A.M. Friday morning.  Unfortunately we will not have time to stop at our favorite bistro, Les Deux Magots, for an omelet.  We will board a TVG train to Tours where Carole and Laurent live.

Tours is Southwest of Paris and is home to grand chateaux and vineyards.  It is on the Loire River, with the River Cher nearby.  The Kings of France built their beautiful castles in this bucolic countryside where they hunted game and engaged in leisure activities.  We spent hours here on our last visit immersed in French history.  After a rest at Carole and Laurent’s home we will start our motorcycle tour.

We will head north and our first destination will be Honfleur on the Normandy coast.  This historic harbor is picturesque and was a favorite of Impressionist painters.

From here we will explore the D Day sites of Omaha Beach, Utah Beach and Sainte Mere Eglise.

From there we will ride through the countryside of Normandy and visit Mont St. Michel before stopping for the night in Saint-Malo in Brittany.  This ancient walled city is known for its crepes and mussels.  After a nights rest we will begin to head South again.

Our destination this day will be Chinon in the Loire Valley.  The village is overlooked by the Medieval Castle built by King Henry II in 1154.

Leaving the Loire Valley we will head South into the Limousin region.  The landscape will become more hilly and we will pass some of the most beautiful villages in France.  We will travel through Loches, Treignac and eventually arrive in Sarlat.

Sarlat is the capital of the Perigord.  It is a beautiful village with cobblestone streets, an active market and well known for walnuts, truffles and foie gras.  We will spend a few days in this area as there is much to see and do.

Our trip will continue across the Millau Viaduct, the world’s largest cable stayed road bridge.  According to Laurent we will now be deep in the heart of France with peaceful villages settled in valleys.  It is the French wild frontier.  We will pass the Tarn’s Gorges and its medieval villages.  The twisty and curvy roads will eventually lead to the ancient city Nimes.

Nimes is known for its Roman ruins and artifacts.  Above is the well preserved Roman Amphitheatre Les Arenes.  It once seated 20,000 people.  Today it is used for concerts and bullfights.

The final two days of our motorcycle tour will be in Avignon and visits to the Provencal villages surrounding it.  We will have a farewell dinner in Old Town Avignon and then board the TVG train for Paris.

We will spend four days in Paris and return home the first part of July.  I hope to be able to blog while on the trip but am not sure of the internet connections we may have.  So Au revoir until later.

19 responses to “France is Calling”

  1. Penny says:

    I wish I was coming! It sounds like a fabulous trip Penny. Have fun, be safe, eat lots of great French food. I will see you when you get home.

  2. Cuisinedeprovence says:

    That is one great trip you are doing there – and you will be in Provence when the lavender will just start to bloom – beautiful!

  3. Ti Reed says:

    Wow! Just gorgeous pics!I am not sure what is going on with the blog but I can’t see the comment box at all when I am typing. There are pictures on top of it. I hope you can read what I said! I am using Chrome and even with reloading the page it’s not visible.

  4. Mary Anne says:

    Looks like a fabulous trip! I spent a week in St. Malo years ago. Don’t miss the local mussels. They aren’t just good; they’re the best thing I ever ate! Bon voyage. –Mary Anne

  5. OnePerfectBite says:

    Godspeed Penny. You can’t help but have a marvelous time. Enjoy every moment of your trip. Blessings…Mary

  6. Susan says:

    Penny, you will be seeing all our favorite places. Good luck and I pray the trains and planes will be running for you.

  7. bellini says:

    What an amazing trip you will have Penny. All the amazing food, wine and scenery not to mention the wonderful people. Enjoy!!!

  8. katiezel says:

    I left a comment – or tried…. the Disqus or whatever was being relentless LOL If you find it, good – but I forgot to say….
    Have a wonderful time!

  9. Larry says:

    Śounds like you have a magnificent trip planned and I hope it goes as planned. I do have one suggestion though that will reduce your stress – leave the family and friends a detailed list as to how it put on fresh linens, clean out the pantry and fridge plus manage the rental :-). Just a thought.

  10. joannova says:

    That first photo is breath-taking and your itinerary is great. Have a wonderful time!

  11. Cathy at Wives with Knives says:

    What a trip! I will be eagerly watching for photos along the way. Have a most wonderful time, Penny. Safe travels to you all.

  12. Mary Sullivan says:

    I left a comment but don’t see it so will try again.
    Bon voyage Penny – have an awesome trip.
    Just back from my Japan/Russia expedition – isn’t the world an amazing place!
    Hope to catch up with you on home turf later in the year!
    Vive la France!

    Hugs – Mary

  13. bluestarrgallery says:

    that bridge is amazing, we just went over a two span to St. Simons Island in Georgia and thought that spectacular, so coincidental to me that I stop by your blog and see this one.

  14. Lea Ann says:

    Sounds like an incredible trip. Getting ready for vacation is exhausting.

  15. Marcia Smith says:

    Sounds fabulous!!! We are just starting up the season of guests in Maine!! Have a great time – will be watching to catch all your posts!!!

  16. lindaraxa says:

    OMG I am exhausted just reading about it. I have done the same thing except in stages, and in a car! I envy you the mussels, or moules frites in Normandy and Brittany. I rented a house once in Barfleur, try to stop there. very quaint! von voyage!!!

  17. Chris says:

    I hope you guys have a fabulous trip and look forward to the pictures. We thought of you yesterday on our way to Tryon.

  18. Robin says:

    A trip of a lifetime! Good for you! I’ll have to catch up on all your adventures in France.

  19. K. Wright says:

    Well clearly you are back now and oh my! I am so happy to have seen this. I love the way you set it up and the itinerary is fabulous. All the more reason for us to return the next time we go to Europe. Unfortunately, we can only be gone for two weeks at a time — very jealous of your extra time. I’ll look forward to photos from your trip if you’re planning on sharing.

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