Friday, April 13, 2012

Exotic Destinations- France with Love

In honor of starting work on a middle grade set in France, I thought I would mention my favorite places I visited in France. My sister and I did a trip together and it was simply amazing. I love France. The whole country smells like flowers and fresh baked bread. Is there anything better?

Well, chocolate I suppose. But have you ever had their chocolate croissants? *Faint* We found a little bakery that would open its doors and sell steaming chocolate croissants. We'd grab one with a cafe ole and off we'd go sightseeing!

My Highlights:
1. Eiffel Tower- You really need to hike this. Don't wait for the elevator because the line is atrocious. And go early so you don't have to fight the line. The view is amazing and it's a great way to start your visit in Paris because you can see the whole city spanning out before you.

Loire Valley
The Loire valley was adorably quaint. We stayed in Tours at a restored bed and breakfast. The food was fabulous in Old Town.

2. The Chateaus- We went on a castle tour (highly recommend this!) and both came away with a favorite- Ch√Ęteau de Chenonceau. It's completely magical with its Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The gardens are lovely as well. I could wander through them all day. 

It was seized by Henry II and offered it to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Over the years, it's had many owners, but in 1914, the Menier family (they own the Menier Chocolate Factory) bought it and still own it today.

Make sure you come early because it's the most visited castle other than Versailles (and much better than Versailles if you ask me). As you can see from the pictures, it's definitely a place that brings inspiration.

Normandy's Coast
3. Mont Saint Michel- I could totally imagine this place back in the middle ages, monks toiling away the hours transcribing scriptures or valued passages. It has a sense of wonder and sacredness to the hallways. Legend says the archangel, Michael, appeared to the Bishop in 708 and told him to create a monument to Saint Michael and build a church on the site. Personally, I doubt angels care anything for monuments, but I do love legends.

I think that deep within the foundations of the monastery still lives an ancient dragon whose spirit draws the tides in and out each day to protect the island that the monastery rests upon.

Of course, there is so much more than this in France. I just highlighted a few destinations. Have you ever been to France? What were your favorite places? If not, where would you want to go?


Bonnee Crawford said...

Flowers and fresh baked bread. Sounds so beautiful... I WANT TO TRY THESE CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS YOU SPEAK OF!!!

Andrea Mack said...

I went to France on a high school trip many years ago (we did some camping in France) but I'd love to go back! We were in Paris on Bastille Day and there was a huge parade (mostly army vehicles) with confetti thrown from the Eiffel Tower.

Stina said...

I went to Paris for part of my honeymoon. It was hot. The place reeked of urine (because the homeless can't pay for the public toilets). And there was a woman sitting next to us at the train station with a dead animal in her bag. Oh, and our bathtub hadn't been scrubbed in what looked like months.

Sadly, with the exception of the amazing cheese, I didn't associate the city with love (even though I was on my honeymoon). Fortunately we only stayed there for a few days before going to Germany.

Sophie Moss said...

This sounds like so much fun! I took a trip to France with one of my best friends a couple years ago. Fell in love with France as soon as I got off the plane! Looking forward to your story set there. :)

Christina Farley said...

Stina- Wow, you sure had a totally different experience than I did. I thought it was shockingly clean compared to some other places I've visited.

I have also heard that people are rude there but my sister and I got on the wrong bus and the whole bus had the driver stop the bus and let us out. Then they flagged down another bus for us. It was amazing. And this was right in the middle of the city.

Maybe we were just lucky!

Bish Denham said...

Next time you go I want to stow away in your luggage. Beautiful!

Kelly Polark said...

Such beautiful photos, and what a special trip for your sister and you! I've never been to Europe..One day...

Denise Covey said...

Hi there! Just came across from Talli's blog. I'm a francophile and have visited many times. All of your picture were familiar to me. Stayed at the Loire for a month. Usse was my fave chateau, but I love the ladies' one too.

Ah, pain au chocolat. Hmmmm.


Karen Strong said...

Sigh. I want to go to Paris one day. It's on my list. :)

Christina Farley said...

Kelly- Thanks!

Denise- they are to die for

You will Karen! I just know it.

Nora MacFarlane said...

Ohhhh... on of those chocolate croissants sound really good right now. I've never been to France, but hopefully some day I will!