All posts tagged: France

The Loire Valley

One of the many up sides of staying at the Abbey was the sleep in and the sumptuous breakfast. Most of the food prepared at the hotel is locally sourced. Very local! Having indulged in both we set off once again with a walk around the Abbey in daylight, and yes, more photos of Richard the Lion Heart, where does the infatuation end?? With Hugh back in the drivers seat, phew, we headed of to a quaint village in the Loire Valley called Saumur. It was a quick stop to take a photo of one of the many Chateau’s which of course had scaffolding around the front due to renovations. Photo duly taken we jumped back in the car and headed to our next stop, Chinon. This little village is home to the Chateau Royale Chinon which we took the time to visit, despite the temperature now reaching into the 30’s…… The chateau at Chinon is aimed a bit at kids, with lots of interactive stuff going on, plus plenty of reference to King Arthur….who …

On to the Loire, with a slight detour.

It’s time to move on from Bordeaux, which has been excellent and would have benefitted from an extra day or two….so little time, so much to see! We’re off to the Loire Valley for the next few days, with our first night in the 11th century L’Abbeye Fontevraud, but before that a slight detour, of about 120kms, to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes you see or hear of a place and just have to see it, and this place we are off to meets the criteria, and luckily we are within the vicinity.  We saw a small feature on this small village on the weekend news a few months ago, had a friend also mention it when she heard where we were going, and the intrigue got the better of us. The village of Oradour-Sur-Glade is described on the signs as the ‘martyred village’ and is the result of a morning of murderous bastardry inflicted upon this little town in June 1944.  On June 10th, 1944, those nasty bunch of fuckers …

St Emillion

Breakfast on the balcony, day two of no croissants which is slightly ridiculous as we are in croissant territory yet here we are abstaining! We pick up our new wheels this morning which normally involves spending forever searching for the car rental place….sure enough. Finally, no where near the address supplied, we stumble upon Hertz to take custody of a Renault Captur diesel. Up selling is an art form at car rentals, and our maestro behind the counter didn’t disappoint, offering a manual GPS for a mere €16 per day extra, all the while failing to explain that the car comes with a GPS built in! …..we have our own Navman, thank you very much! Finally off to the famous Bordeaux region of St Emillion, which is about 70 kms away along mainly boring freeways. Speaking of GPS, you’ve got to love it when you set it for ‘fastest time’ and you end up on tiny laneways leading presumably to nowhere, then out pops your destination. 45 minutes later we arrive at the beautiful, historic, …

…when in Bordeaux?

Welcome to the world capital of wine, red especially. It’s pretty exciting to be here and get amongst the main attraction, but first….domestic duties! When traveling it’s imperative to plan accommodation according to certain criteria….cost, location, wi-fi, and….laundry facilities! A slight miscalculation has left us perilously close to bereft in the jocks & socks department, so the sight of a washing machine has made Rachael giddy with excitement. A flurry of activity and we resemble a Chinese laundry, unmentionables airing everywhere! All that nervous energy caused Rachael to head off for a run while I tendered to the sea of fresh clothes. The worlds smallest ironing board came out, supported by the crappiest iron, bed made, pillows fluffed and ready to start the day. With only two full days in Bordeaux I had been madly trying to book a tour of the Medoc region today, as we have a car tomorrow to do our own thing, but the cost of tours is outrageous. Some operators seem to think the mere thought of a Medoc visit …

Onward to Bordeaux

   Our time in Spain has come to an end, normal eating habits about to realign. San Sebastián was fabulous, all we had heard and more.    Not sure we could keep up the pace for much longer, so probably a good thing for our waistline and liver if we head up the road to France. No chance of overindulging there? Spain and Portugal have been tremendous, beautiful countries, lovely people, and exquisite food and drink. Sangria has put pressure on Spritz as our drink of choice, with Negroni making a late charge for line honours. We had planned to spend our last meal in Spain eating pinxtos and having a glass of Cava for breakfast, but the health Gods must having been watching and our venue of choice was not open, nor were second or third position.    Oh well, patisseries and coffee it is then! We caught the local train to the border, then the fast train on to Bordeaux. Only problem was the ‘fast’ train stopped all stations so took about three …

a quick reminisce before the next trip…

Before we head off again next week to see some of Spain, Portugal & France…here are a few photos from our last trip. Hopefully with another two years practise, and some fancier gear, the shots will be better, and will tell the story of our time away.      Notre Dame will be visited again, and I’m pretty sure we’ll see another of France’s iconic vehicles!               The cafe scene in Paris, to the stunning light show in Reims. One of the highlights, ballooning over Burgundy. Pompeii was breathtaking, a must visit if you’re anywhere near.       There’s quite the art to walking on the beach in Amalfi, and a lot of walking in Rome.                     A strategically placed Vespa in Assisi, and a misplaced Boar in Chianti. In one of the most wicked “butchers/deli’s ever!!     The rugged splendour of the Cinque Terre, and the majestic beauty of Lake Como.      Venice, before the madness …

Lanson

Special occasions should always be celebrated with a bit of pizzazz, and nothing spells pizzazz like Champagne! Lanson Black label NV ~$40, exclusive to Dan Murphy’s. ‘A Champagne made predominantly with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the purest Champagne style. Vinification without malolactic fermentation: a historic decision at Lanson to guarantee a fresh and fruity wine.’ Everyone loves a ‘champers’, and nothing beats the birthplace of sparkling wine, Champagne. Aussies have forever been in love with the bubbly stuff we colloquially called ‘champers’, Australian sparkling wine made in any number of ways, but for many years labelled and marketed under the moniker “Champagne”, much to the annoyance of the French. Nothing wrong with Australian sparkles, just it ‘aint Champagne. Maybe our wine industry suffered from an inferiority complex in our early days, labelling everything after foreign wine regions such as Port, Chablis, Rhine Riesling, Burgundy etc. To make matters worse, we didn’t really even try to make wines true to those regions styles. For instance, Chablis is Chardonnay, yet our ‘chablis’ could have been almost any …

travel planning, with Vino!

One of the bests part about travel, for me anyway, is the planning. The searching out towns and villages, researching accommodation, planning routes with transport needs, finding interesting and varied things to do, places to visit, surprises found along the way…tripadvisor, booking.com, airbnb, google, etc, etc. I enjoy it so much I sometimes forget I’m not travelling alone! I probably need to keep Rachael in the loop! Hence the wine, the book, the map….time for a debrief! And what better way to do so than with a wine from the region? Except the wine we tried isn’t! It’s from Burgundy, which we visited last year. Never mind, it is French and anyway Bordeaux is expensive, and I don’t want to spoil the excitement before we get there! So…La Chablisienne 2011 Chablis 1er Cru, Cote De Lechet. $40 from 1st Choice. Quite the mouthful, lots of detail. La Chablisienne is a co-operative of growers that have bandied together since 1923 producing wines, coming from a mosaic of vineyard plots, providing a pallet of emotions marked with a …

Nice to Napoli

Naples, Italy Our last day in Nice started with a sleep in (8.30!!), brekky, and packing. As our flight isn’t till 7.10pm, we were lucky enough to be allowed to leave our luggage in the apartment until 4pm. The alternative doesn’t bare thought….dragging suitcases around Nice in 30 degree temperatures. We wandered into the old town for the last time, then headed for the beach for a swim, and a chance to stop for a couple of hours. It seems like we have been going flat out ever since we hit London, so to be sitting on a beautiful beach looking out over the Cote d’Azur was pretty special. We got to the airport in plenty of time and went thru customs to enjoy a beer or two at the bar before our flight…..except, no bar! The third largest airport in France, in a country with very liberal liquor rules, and no bar! One last ****** coffee instead… So, as we wait to depart France, a few thoughts on this most beautiful country. 1/. Paris …

The fast, and expensive, way from Lyon to Nice.

Nice, France Saturday nights are obviously huge in the old town of Lyon as we got bugger all sleep due to the never ending traffic of humans, cars, and bikes down our tiny lane way ALL night! The fact that there is a 24 hour sex shop in the lane probably didn’t help the situation, but please folks….KEEP IT DOWN, ALREADY! Not refreshed, we headed off on the 470 km trip to Nice at 7am. Unlike tight **** toll free travel from Beaune, we hit the toll roads early, and often. The alternative was an additional 120km, and 2 hours plus travel time. A no brainer, really. A few tips for the novice toll user: 1/. Know which queue is for credit card, and which for cash 2/. Make sure credit cards work 3/. Turn on English translation to see if credit cards work 4/. Pray no one is behind you when credit cards DON’T work! Guess you know what happened…..dumb-**** Aussies holding up the toll booth waiting for attendant to take our cash! A …