France, Beautiful France

June and July 2008
3 Beautiful Weeks in France, with a "Very Hungry Caterpiller"

1-2 July- We arrive at our meeting place in Arles, France, via a flight to Marseille. Here we were to meet our friends, Sam and Molly- stay over one night, and then drive into the Alpes to our first home exchange. But, sometimes the best laid plans... Molly and Sam's flight was delayed, so they missed their connections and were a day later getting into Arles. We arranged to stay an extra day in Arles to wait for Molly and Sam.

Hotel Le Cloitre, Arles France

Hotel Le Cloitre, Arles France
Waiting for Sam and Molly... Granddaughter, Autumn, gave us the Very Hungry Caterpiller." to take with us on our travels. He loves to travel! This is a picture of the sweet little worm, and Janice, front of thr hotel, Le Cloitre. It is an ancient cloister, converted to a very charming hotel. It was very warm in Arles...very warm.

Terry and The Worm see Arles

Terry and The Worm see Arles
While waiting for our friends, we visited the ancient colliseum in Arles

The French Alpes

The French Alpes
We went over a gorgeous pass before arriving to our first home exchange in the village of Villa-Rodin. It is near the Italian border, by Modane.

A day in Italy

A day in Italy
Since we were so close to Italy at our chalet in the Alpes, we decided to drive on over! Here Terry is high above everything at Sacre di San Michele. We could see down the valley, to Torino in the distance.

Rocamadour in the Dordogne Valley

Rocamadour in the Dordogne Valley
Next stop- The Dordogne- Our visit to Rocamadour was lots of fun.

Rocamadour in the Dordogne Valley

Rocamadour in the Dordogne Valley

Beynac Castle, Dordogne Valley

Beynac Castle, Dordogne Valley
Terry and the caterpillar at Beynac

Market Day in Sarlat

Market Day in Sarlat
Sarlat was just 15 minutes from our "Barnhouse" in L'Homond. It was such a charming town. Looks alot like Disneyland!

The road less traveled...

The road less traveled...
Sometimes it does make all the difference. Dordogne Valley.

The Bay of Cancale/Mont St. Michele, from our house!

The Bay of Cancale/Mont St. Michele, from our house!
The caterpillar was in shock, it was sooo beautiful!

The best dining view was right from our own dining room!

The best dining view was right from our own dining room!

Steamed mussels and frites, Cancale France

Steamed mussels and frites, Cancale France
The village had a celebration for the monthly mussels harvest in the town square. Molly and Sam que up for the best steamed mussels ever!

Picturesque St. Lunaire

Picturesque St. Lunaire
and the water was warm!

Molly and Sam at St. Lunaire

Molly and Sam at St. Lunaire
St. Lunaire was a beautiful seaside village, just a few miles from Cancale.

Omaha Beach, Normandy

Omaha Beach, Normandy
We drove to the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach. Here is where my Uncle Samuel had his first taste of France in June 1944. He made it across France with the 29th Army div., to the German border, where he was killed in November 1944. It was very difficult to sit and think about what he must have experienced here. I feel a deep sense of gratitude to Sam and to all of those who fought and died for our freedom.

Sgt Samuel Claypool 1919-1944

Sgt Samuel Claypool 1919-1944

St Mere Eglise

St Mere Eglise
We continued our drive along the WWll beaches to St. Mere Eglise. We found this a bit strange, as they have a "paratrooper" dangling from the steeple to depict the tragedy that happened there. I guess the villagers got tired of telling all the tourist where it happened. If you have seen "The longest Day" you know the story....It was a quiet night in St. Mère Église - the first town liberated by the allied soldiers on June 6, 1944. Before the 6:30 AM battle of D-Day began, Airborne Rangers parachuted into the town of St. Mère Église around midnight. Their assignment was to secure the town and key intersections and bridges in the French countryside. Small battles ensued, in and around the center of town. One paratrooper, John Steele, had his parachute catch on the spire of the church. He hung helplessly in his harness and was wounded by German soldiers as he dangled from the steeple. As he hung there, he witnessed many of his comrads shot, as they drifted down from the sky.

I Love Paris!

I Love Paris!

Opera Garnier, Paris

Opera Garnier, Paris

Paris and Beautiful Pont Alexandre lll

Paris and Beautiful Pont Alexandre lll
The caterpillar was getting a bit weary, but still enjoy the day in Paris.

Home Exchange- Oct. 2007Laure and Pascal's Home

Home Exchange- Oct. 2007Laure and Pascal's Home
This is the home where we stayed near Lyon, France. David and Gayle choose the upstairs rooms and we stayed in the bedroom on the main floor.

Beautiful Lyon, France

Beautiful Lyon, France
Our visits to the historic center of Lyon were enchanting. Such a lovely city!

Annecy, France

Annecy, France

Annecy and Cows

Annecy and Cows

Le Retour des Alpages Oct.13

Le Retour des Alpages Oct.13
A true celebration of all things Alpine, the Retour des Alpages is the time of year when dairy herds descend from their summer grazing on high pastures. Every autumn crowds turn out in their droves from all over beautiful Annecy to wait until the cows come home. The town was full of vendors selling local food, drink, art, etc. Terry and I enjoyed the celebration by sharing a bottle of freshly squeezed apple juice. Then we watched the parade of musicians, geese, sheep, dancers, horses, goats, and cows. The most beautiful cows I'd ever seen.

Arles, France

Arles, France
Arles is a lovely old town in the South of France. It sits on a low hill where the Rhône river branches in two parts to the sea. The town dates back to the 7th century BC, and was a major Gallo-Roman city. The major Roman sites, such as the Arena and the Theater, are unique in that they are integrated into the houses and buildings of the town, rather than sitting apart The streets of this city are truly medieval in character: narrow and winding between ancient buildings. Van Gogh came here from Paris on 20 Feb 1888. He stayed 14 months, until 8 May 1889, having one of his most prolific times, producing 200 paintings. From 23 Oct to 26 Dec he was with Paul Gaugin.

Arles' Ancient Colliseum, just outside our hotel window.

Arles' Ancient Colliseum, just outside our hotel window.

Arles, at Van Gogh cafe Nuit

Arles, at Van Gogh cafe Nuit
We had lunch in the square, Place du Forum, with a view of the famous cafe.

Lunch on the Place du Forum, Arles

Lunch on the Place du Forum, Arles
Gayle, Janice, Terry and David enjoying lunch in Arles

Lunch on the Place du Forum, Arles

Lunch on the Place du Forum, Arles
Terry enjoyed the Plat de Jour of "Toro". Arles had just had bullfights at the ancient Colliseum...

Cafe Nuit, Arles France

Cafe Nuit, Arles France

Dinner in Arles

Dinner in Arles
We had a nice dinner at the same restaurant I visited 2 years earlier on a girls trip to France.

The Mediterranean Coast

The Mediterranean Coast
We drove just 30 minutes south of Arles so we could put our feet into the Mediterranean Sea.

Ste-Maries-de-la-Mer, just south of Arles

Ste-Maries-de-la-Mer, just south of Arles
Terry dipping his feet into the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean

The Mediterranean

Toes in the Mediterranean

Toes in the Mediterranean
We drove to Ste-Maries-de-la-Mer to dip our toes in the sea.

Avignon

Avignon
Pope's Palace and Janice

Avignon's Papal Palace

Avignon's Papal Palace

Avignon

Avignon
Terry taking a break at a cafe in front of the Pope's Palace

Avignon

Avignon
Janice heading for Le danse de la pont du Avignon.

Avignon

Avignon
At the Papal Palace, just before descending for a dance on the bridge at Avignon.

Avignon

Avignon
Janice at the Papal Palace.

A day touring through the Beaujolais Villages near Lyon, France

A day touring through the Beaujolais Villages near Lyon, France

Julienas, Beajolais Village

Julienas, Beajolais Village
Famous for it's Coq en Vin, although we didn't try any this visit. I believe we dined at McDonald's that day!

Vaux-en-Beaujolais/ Clochemerle

Vaux-en-Beaujolais/ Clochemerle
This charming village is not only famous for it wine, but it is also the fictitious "Clochemerle" village in the 1930"s scandalous book, and it's outdoor "facility"

Terry and Dave leaving their mark at Ste-Maries-de-la-Mer

Terry and Dave leaving their mark at Ste-Maries-de-la-Mer
These public facilities are new to us...

Vineyards of the Beaujolais

Vineyards of the Beaujolais
Gayle and Terry sample the fresh fruit of the vine.

Bridge with Ducks

Bridge with Ducks
Terry crossing a medievil bridge in a village west of Lyon.

Best Tip when traveling with your spouse:

Rent a car with a GPS System!!
We are grateful to Sixt car rental company for the complimentary upgrade from our small Ford wagon to a BMW wagon with a wonderful GPS system. this alleviated the headaches of driving in an unfamiliar location. We would just put in the town or address where we wanted to go and voila! We had a nice lady in the dash, telling us when to turn, until we arrived at our destination.
This, of course saved us from domestic violence:-)
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Gayle having a religious experience

Gayle having a religious experience
"La religieuse", a pastry filled with cream. We enjoyed many of these religious experiences...

Gayle and Pastry

Gayle and Pastry
Again, a fine religious experience..

A Snack for Terry

A Snack for Terry
Terry has always had difficulty choosing just one...

Patisserie Extraodinaire!

Patisserie Extraodinaire!
Terry in his warm and fuzzy place. He could write a book entitled, "French Patisseries and Me, A Love Story"