There is a statue of Marc Séguin next to our ship in Tournon. Along with his brother, he erected the first bridge suspended from cable. Now we see such bridges all over the world, including the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco.
Today, we traverse one of France’s most dramatic and picturesque corners during a steam train excursion into the wilds of Doux Valley conservation area. We do wear old clothes… after all the soot from the coal just might land on us.
The engine and train are listed as French Historic Monuments.
Luckily, we do not have to walk the gorge like we did in Crete ha! (Remember Roly and Linda?) Who had that bright idea anyway?
The bridges are high. It does happen that the water level almost reaches the height of the bridge..
Viviers Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval towns in southern France. Our guide is all dressed up for the occasion + she is super informative 🙂 She lives in old town and greets everyone by name. (There is a total of 300 residents in Old Town).
We learn that popes resided in Avignon in the 14th century because of political unrest in Rome. The Palace of the Popes is one of the most important buildings in Europe. Our wine tour brings us to Château-du-Pape, the popes’ former summer residence.
The Château-du-Pape wine region is renowned for its centuries-old vineyards. The inherent warmth of the region coupled with a unique landscape – the soil is covered in big rocks, larger than gravel but smaller than boulders, known locally as galet or pudding stones – helps control moisture evaporation from the soil. Additionally, the rocks absorb heat during the day and radiate that stored warmth back to the grapes after the sun sets, further ripening them and instilling them with the soft richness the finished wine is renowned for.
And we thought we were visiting Avignon for its St.Bénezet bridge… As the song goes…
Sur le pont d’Avignon, On y danse, on y danse,
Sur le pont d’Avignon, On y danse tout en rond!
Did I mention that Daniele, our onboard musician is quite talented? Actually, so talented that every night, tired or not, we visit the lounge to hear him sing and play the piano:)
In Avignon, we are also entertained by ‘The Gitans Concert’. Excellent. Even our captain Frédéric is up and dancing..
We do not get to visit Arles on foot for obvious reasons. We can always look at Van Gogh’s art. During his fifteenth month stay in Arles, he created 300 paintings that are now considered to be some of his most inspired work!
We do relax, read and knit… Great way to spend an afternoon.
Nice is situated on the Côte d’Azur, the Mediterranean coast of Southeastern France. In September, the weather is still very warm. Blue skies, miles of beaches…What a view from our hotel, Le Méridien.
Roger explores Old Town while I…ice my foot. Have to be able to go to Monaco tomorrow.
The views on the bus ride are incredible. Emilie, our driver, is great. Still a bit of a hair raising ride on the mountain side. 😊 We pass many small villages including Eze, and cap d’Ail.
Monaco is a country within France, second in size to The Vatican. 1 in 3 residents is a millionaire. Note that if you own property in Monaco or rent a property for at least 6 months and 1 day, you do not pay income taxes…
Albert II, the reigning monarch of the Principality of Monaco, is the son of Prince Rainier III and the American actress Grace Kelly. Of course, we see the palace and visit the oceanographic museum and aquarium. Wow! ‘A monumental jewel’ to say the least.
The supper, included in our tour at the Café de Paris in Monte Carlo is memorable, exquisite food, great company.
Café de Paris
We have 25 minutes to check out the Monte Carlo casino. The building is incredible, inside and out.
We pay the 19 euros each to play for about 15 minutes lol. The poker machines are no different. Thankfully, Roger wins 4 of a kind as we are about to exit. We are winners lol
Our visit to Antibes and Cannes will have to wait as the tour includes a lot of walking on cobblestones and many stairs.
The Viking Heimdal now awaits us for a river cruise on the Rhône.
In Paris, we are renting a condo close to the Champs Élysées. We arrive late at night and decide to have tapas at a small restaurant just below our condo. Because we have not done groceries, we ask the waiter if we can bring a glass bottle of water with us, promising to bring it back.
We spend the following day exploring the neighborhood, grocery shopping and doing laundry. How surreal it is to be walking the Champs Élysées to l’Arche de Triomphe.
We stop at a café to taste a favorite French pastry : a mille-feuille, (Yummy) and La Parisienne (Yummy as well)
We then buy passes for the batobus on line and plan the next day. But life is full of twists and turns…
At 8 p.m. Roger suggests we go exploring again and so I decide to bring the bottle of water (empty by now) back to the restaurant. And that is when it happens.
There is a step in the middle of the restaurant and I do not see it… The result is a twisted ankle. By 10 p.m. we decide the hospital is the only option (the foot being swollen and black and blue). Luckily, it does not take long at the American Hospital and after X-rays, I am told nothing is broken. A brace, some crutches and ibuprofen will do the trick. The only problem is that my foot has to stay up for 48 hours. Good thing I have that book you suggested Ann. (Full disclosure). Excellent read by the way 🙂
Thanks Roger for taking good care of me.
We still have 2 days to see Paris by Uber, tuk tuk, batobus, taxi, any which way we can 😊
Notre-Dame de Paris
La tour Eiffel
We also manage to go to La Bien Aimée, a special yarn store where I meet Aimée. (Mel where are you??) Aimée is world renowned for her special yarn. When I am in the boutique, there is a lady from California, three from England ++. One of her designers models her newest creation 🙂
Then, we decide to check out a pâtisserie that Jess liked near her place of employment when she worked in Paris. However, little do we know, there is a techno parade in the city and all the bridges crossing the Seine are closed… So instead of spending 15 minutes with Daniel (the uber driver) we spend 1 hour and 15 minutes. Now Daniel happens to be quite loquacious lol and by the time we get to our destination, Roger and I are very happy. And guess what? The bakery is closed!
We did, however, get to see more of Paris…
And… we get to eat at the restaurant next door, Café Jil. Délicieux! 😊
When we leave Paris, we say Aurevoir, not Goodbye… We did see Le Louvre, Le musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides etc but only from the outside.
And what about Le Petit Salé or the Croissant amandine we missed at the Gourmandises de Saint-Lazare ha!