All posts tagged: France

Day Three – Les Chapieux to Courmayeur

(19kms…6 hours) Another great start to the day, with a breakfast of muesli, the freshest croissants ever, home made yoghurt, and a multitude of different breads and fruits. We had time for a quick wander around town and a team photo by a wonderful two story stone barn before being bused up the narrow winding lane to our start. We had a slow steady climb in the morning which was meant to provide stunning views of Mont Blanc for the first time but with the weather slowly deteriorating we lost our views and discovered the variables of weather in the alps as the rain slowly built. After three false starts on whether to put on the wet weather gear or not, we were finally kitted out but not before a few of us got wet with our indecision, lesson learnt. With weather gear on, we continued up the hill till we reached a saddle in the mountain which was the border between France and Italy. Luckily the rain dissipated and we were able to see …

Day Two – Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

(8.5 hours…21km’s) After a restful nights sleep, weary aching joints staggered down to a great breakfast, before heading off at 8am. Ismael claims today to be the most difficult day of the walk with over 1200 metres of ascent, and 900 metres of descent, food for thought as the body warms up. The Mont Blanc circuit is essentially 10 days of climbing from the valley up over mountain passes, and back towards the valley each day. Total ascent is about 10,000 metres, and the same descent. Basically we are going up and down big hills as we sort of circle the Mont Blanc Massif, the group of glacier fields surrounding Mont Blanc itself. From Les Contamines at 1170m we climbed slowly and steadily up to Croix du Bonhomme at 2443m, through beautiful pine forest, into low covered flooring all with breathtaking scenery to elevate the aches and groans of protesting muscles and joints. The path we are taking this morning is an old Roman road and the highlight of the morning was crossing an ancient …

Honfleur

  Honfleur, summer escape for overheated Parisians, playground for wealthy Russians and Belgians, ferry adventure for the Brits and perfect pit stop in Normandy for the weary traveller. A maritime delight, perfectly positioned at the mouth of the mighty Seine, Honfleur has enchanted generations with her beautiful harbour, playful shifting light, and seafaring history. An easy two hour drive west of Paris, or maybe a ferry trip across the ditch from Portsmouth to Le Havre, then over the spectacular Pont de Normandie (the sixth largest cable-stayed bridge in the world), Honfleur is comfortably within reach. We travelled up from Bayeux and the D-Day beaches, entered from the south, meandering down the hill into the village, stopping only to park our car at our B&B, before walking down to the old town. Centred on the 17th century Le Vieux Bassin, the charming old dock at the heart of the town, four and five storey wood or slate fronted buildings, then smaller stone buildings encroach on the cobblestone lanes that surrounds the harbour, restaurants around the edges …

A Pictorial Tour, part one!

On our recent trip to Spain, Portugal and France we took an obscene number of photo’s which took forever to edit once we got home. After natural selection got rid of about 700 of them, we were left with about 1400 images of varying degrees of quality and/or interest. Here, in no particular order are a few of our favourites. La Boqueria market, Barcelona. The best thing about La Ramblas, a wonderful, diverse marketplace. Chateau Chenonceau, Loire Valley. The valley is full of Chateau’s and this is as stunning as they come. Amboise Chateau. Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial. A moving tribute to the brutality of war. Paris. Still the best city we have visited, could spend months here and not get bored. Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao. Truly the best museum experience ever! L’Abbey Fontevraud, Loire Valley. Atmospheric, moody, haunting…and the best meal of our trip. Livrarian Lello & Irmao, Porto. How good is this bookshop? More tourist attraction than viable business…they should charge admission, just don’t tell them! Juno Beach, Normandy. B&W suits the somber …

Two Days in Paris

We are staying in the Marais, the 3rd arrondissement, and our plans for the next two days are minimal…just wander around, soak it in, maybe a wine or two? What the hell is this stuff? The metro system is wonderful in Paris so we plan to avail ourselves of its charms, and save our legs another pounding. You can crisscross all over town on the various lines, all colour coded, and a breeze to use. Last time we were here we did the highlights tour, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, D’Orsay, Napoleon’s tomb, etc etc, so this time just leisurely enjoyment of the sights and sounds of this great city. The streets are packed with interest, shopfronts interspersed with wooden doors hiding the entrance to apartments above, small gardens dotted around, restaurants, bars, more shops. People of all shapes, colours and fashion sense, whatever goes, goes….want to wear green paisley socks with orange shoes and rolled up cuffs of a bright blue skinny pant, go for it! Confidence is all you need and you can wear …

Finally on to our final destination, Paris

Up early for a run around Parc Saint Jean, the nicest part of Amiens, before finally visiting the cathedral, the 19th largest in the world, that sits on the doorstep of our accommodation. A few photos later we packed the car for our last drive to the drop off before catching the train to Paris. It must be said, that whilst Hugh has certainly mastered the art of driving in Europe and done an exceptional job at that, there is no way any sane person outside of Paris would ever drive in Paris. Hence, au voir to our Renault which served us well for the past 12 days. We were advised that there was no need to book our train tickets to Paris, but being the ultra organised people that we are, Hugh duly went on line and purchased 2 first class tickets, the only class available to book online, to ensure we had no mishaps. Well, no need to have been concerned, the train we near empty and bar one person we had the …