Sunday, August 30, 2009

France - Part 3

It's been a while since my last post. I am slowly getting caught up. France, Part 3...

We rented a van in Paris. That was brave because driving in Paris is difficult, especially in a giant Mercedes passenger van! The roads leaving Paris heading south are wonderful. We stayed on the country roads and avoided the huge highways as much as possible only because we wanted to really see the countryside and not just whiz by it.

This is an example of many of the roads that we travelled...lined with trees! Few fences, just fields.

Look how even the town bridge is decorated with hanging baskets! The French take so much pride in their villages and towns. Every little village that we drove through was landscaped with flowers!

I didn't pass up many opportunities to eat goodies. Yum!

Chateauneuf sur Loire...

Fields of grain...

Another bridge, this one with long flower boxes lining the sides.

We stayed in the Burgundy region for a few nights at a place called Castel de Tres Girards in Morey St. Denis. It was wonderful! Click on the link and see more photos. I would definitely go back to this place.

The exterior of Castel de Tres Girard...

We travelled from there to the Annecy area and stayed at Chateau des Avenieres in the French Alpes. This is another place that I would reccommend to anyone travelling in the area. The food was fabulous and the grounds were beautiful. I went hiking one day in the woods and marvelled at how pretty the property was. The road up to the hotel was very scary, though. I do not enjoy driving on mountain roads especially where there are few guard rails.

We stayed in two different rooms here. One night was in the Sonate room which was a former music room. This photo does not do it justice. First of all, it was HUGE. The wood paneled walls were lovely and the bathroom was large and luxurious. From the balcony, we could see Mont Blanc (Switzerland).

Breakfast was served on the terrace.

We stayed a second night in the "white" room. They call it the white room because it is white. This room also had a large balcony and bathroom.

The view from the terrace.

A closeup of the rear exterior.

We went to Grignan after the leaving the Alpes and stayed here a while. Grignan is a beautiful walled town. It is surrounded by fields of lavander.

The countryside in this area is more arid and reminds me of New Mexico. The annual Festival de Correspondance was happening in Grignan while we were there. There were many stalls offering antique books. It was really neat.

A sunflower field near Grignan...
While in Grignan, we stayed at Manoir de la Roseraie. The property boasts hundreds of rose bushes. This place has a pool and a restaurant and beautiful grounds. The rooms here are huge and the bathrooms are nice.

Nice was our final destination. It wasn't really what I was expecting. I probably won't visit there again. It was big and dirty and there were many pickpockets. I was warned a few times by various people to watch my valuables at all times. One of the good things about Nice is that you can do cool things like jump off a cliff into the sea.

The beach consists of rocks of various sizes. Warning - wear shoes to the beach in Nice! The rocks get really hot and are difficult to walk on. The water was wonderful - the perfect temperature and few waves. We stayed at Beau Rivage which was a nice place - very modern. This particular hotel has a wonderful beach area with lounge chairs, a restaurant, etc. We saw the Tour de France come through Nice. It was very exciting!

Cannes is prettier than Nice, in my opinion. It is much cleaner. The shops here are wonderful and the people are super friendly. Actually, the people of France are friendly everywhere. Only once did we run in to anyone unfriendly and that was a very busy waiter in Paris who could not tolerate any questions regarding the menu. Maybe he was just having a bad day.

I love France. I cannot wait to go back and explore the western region of this beautiful country. Until then, au revoir!


Maya said...

France is wonderful. I used to travel to all parts of it while living in Switzerland. At the time, in the 80's + 90's, I loved Nice, the board walk, the pebble beach, the park, and cafes... It sounds like it has changed.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Oh....Heaven on earth! I spent a semester in Paris during college...One of my fave memories was renting a car (filled with girls) and driving down to Nice...Normandy and Brittany were so beautiful too!

Loved your pics...loved your trip!

anita said...

nice trip and excellent recommendations! i've had 3 visits to france, once purely paris and the others touring around as you have.
i would still chose to return again and again. the white room at Chateau des Avenieres~heavenly

hello from mt. dora!