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France: Vineyards and Cobblestones

FRANCE | Thursday, 6 October 2011 | Views [733]

Seeing fragments of Saints’ bones cherished in beautiful churches is, well…interesting. But seeing John the Baptiste’s head in the magnificent Gothic cathedral of Amiens is truly surreal.

Negotiating a five-lane traffic circle at rush hour in Paris is, however, very real! But our trusty GPS navigator ‘Nelly” gets us to our hotel without a hitch. Paris is bathed in soft rain this October, unlike all the previous sunny days we’ve enjoyed. But with most of our time spent in treasure-filled museums, that’s just fine. The Louvre and d’Orsay offer feasts for the senses which will contribute to a lifetime of memories. And the Eiffel in the evening is dazzling! We survive mostly on excellent Turkish food in our Montreuil neighbourhood.

With Champagne country calling us, we start in Reims, with a glance at her cathedral and a stroll along old laneways and canals. The hills between Reims and Epernay are filled with picturesque vineyards, and lovely serpentine roads course through them towards Troyes, our next stop. Medieval streets lined with buildings still held together by ancient beams of wood makes for an intriguing walk.

Onwards to the Alsace region. We wind our way through the Burgundian hills and end up in Strasbourg. Wonderful cobblestone streets filled with classic Alsatian architecture and graced with calming canals. We spend the afternoon driving the “Route de Vin”, south through stunning vineyard country and charming little villages to our Medieval destination - Riquewhir. So beautiful, these hills…so easy to imagine living here. Next through Kaysersburg and then Colmar, which rivals Strasbourg. Here, Bruce samples his first Nutella crepe…num num num num num…Energy for the drive to Bern in Switzerland.

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