First up, the south of France. Get ready for a LONG post.
We split our trip up into a Paris sandwich - we started in Paris for a couple of days, then took a high speed train south near Avignon, and then back to Paris before heading home. As the train chugged away from the city, we left the tall buildings behind and started whizzing past flat farmland, that really looked a lot like Illinois, except the little farms were about 115% more charming. I started wondering if I was going to be disappointed in the south. As we went along, though, more rolling hills appeared and the further we got the more picturesque it was, with pretty little villages tucked into valleys or perched on the sides of hills, and white cows dotting the landscape everywhere. I was not disappointed. :-)
We arrived, picked up our little Fiat, and cruised off to our B&B... which was a piece of heaven on earth. It was off season, and we were the only guests, so Antoinette, our hostess, upgraded us to the best room with a private terrace... no big deal. ;-) The whole house was completely charming and the grounds were beautiful. We didn't want to leave. Especially after breakfast (more on that in a moment...).
It was the cute car club. :-)
Wouldn't mind having that view out my window every day!
I was obsessed with the door handles. No surprise there, I've always had a thing for doors...
That window was seriously one of my favorite parts of the whole room. Rounded top, with a shutter, and you could turn the little latch and open it.
It's the simple things.
Yes, that is a chicken in the middle of the frame. I am not a farm animal fan, but those chickens were hilarious! We would walk around the lawn and they would all come running after us in hopes of a handout. Running.
A running chicken is a comical thing.
We decided we need a wisteria tree.
Like, NEED a wisteria tree!
Pictures don't do this bloomy tunnel justice!
Ok. Breakfast. This deserves its own paragraph. We were given the option of having breakfast there or we didn't have to if we didn't want to. We figured, well, we should at least try the breakfast instead of having breakfast in town, since we had already done some cafes in Paris. I considered leaving my camera in the room - it was "only breakfast," after all. Um, NO. It was not "only breakfast." We came down and were greeted by this spread... for TWO PEOPLE! There was nobody else staying there! Also, the light in the breakfast room was soooo lovely...
I'm going to start collecting blue & white china, and silver.
I'm taking donations, just fyi.
On Saturday, we drove out to Uzes for the street market. It was a glorious day and the drive was beautiful, through roads lined with chestnut trees, and winding around mountains and through little villages, with beautiful views everywhere. The market was such fun - it was a very quintessentially French experience. We walked the first main street which had mainly clothing stalls, purses and bags, shoes, jewelry, etc. (I'm still kicking myself for not buying shoes for 5 euros and earrings for 2! Why didn't I?!). We were surprised at how little food there was, till we noticed a lot of people coming out of a side street with produce in their bags, so we headed that way and found a whole open area packed with food stalls. This might have been my favorite day in the south... it was a highlight of the trip, for sure!
We were told that the chestnut trees were planted along the roads by the Romans so the soldiers would have something to eat as they walked.
Just a ruin by the side of the road.
One night Mom obliged me with a photoshoot around the grounds of the B&B at sunset. I was dying to take pictures in all the pretty spots, but unfortunately Mom hates having her picture taken, and I did want pictures of myself in France, so I bossed her around for half an hour... she's very patient. :-)
We visited Pont du Gard as our next outing. Talk about impressive! It was pretty hot that day and my feet were absolutely killing me... so wading in the Rhone felt wonderful. (And I realized in all the pictures except the portraits, I'm wearing the same dress. I packed light... but I DID wear other clothes. ;-)
After Pont du Gard, we headed back to Avignon. I have to say, I heard great things about Avignon, and while it was lovely and I particularly loved the open square by the Palais des Papes with the gentleman playing the accordion, and it was charming, Mom & I both decided we liked Uzes better. The Palais, however, was a lot of fun to see - an amazing piece of architecture!!
I loved that house on the right - all the shutters closed but one, and that one had cheery red flowers. Perfection.
The south of France was beautiful, what I saw of it. I was a little sad that April is too early for the lavender (a shoot in a lavender field is totally on my bucket list!), but that just means I have to go back. :-)
I hope you enjoyed the first installment of my French travel adventures! (Credit to my mom for all the pictures of me!). I'll be back with more photos from Paris!!