At the beginning of the year I listed some of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2016 and while it covered the gamut of some foods, sites, and experiences, I didn’t fully delve into the places that I have yet to visit in France. Places that YOU might not have considered either. Although you might have already visited France once or twice, it is a BIG country and there is so much to see. So what other places in France should you see?
I’ll never forget Louie, the head caretaker at the school where I was Principal. He used to always say, as we were heading to a classroom, “You move so quickly. I can never keep up with you!” If Louie saw me today, he still wouldn’t be able to keep up with me. But instead of zipping around a school, I’m running, biking, paddling, hiking or walking long distances in France. I’m an active boomer on a mission. One of the wonderful things about France is that there are so many things to do for the active boomer….or traveller of any age.
Do you have a bucket list? A list of travel experiences that you want to do before you die? I started a list back in 2009 and to my surprise, I have crossed many off the list:
- riding a camel into the desert (my camel did not smell, nor did he spit)
- attend a taping of the Oprah Winfrey show in Chicago (yes! 5th row!)
- run (and drink my way through) the Marathon du Medoc (wine at each water station)
- get up at sunrise to see Monument Valley in northern Arizona
- hike in Cinque Terre, Italy
Alternatives To Walking In Paris. Whaaat? Don’t walk in Paris?
Let me explain.
In October 2014 I was in France for two weeks: one week in Montpellier and one week in Paris, where I ran the “20 km de Paris” race. During my time away, I walked much more than usual….2-8 hours a day. My feet were not used to this and as a result, upon my return home I got a stress fracture in my foot and for the past 5 months I have not run at all until recently.
So, how will I deal with France (and Spain and Italy) in a few weeks when I go back? How can one NOT walk, and walk, and walk in Paris or in any city on your holidays yet still see all the amazing sites?
I have been fortunate to have taken two bicycle trips in France. One took place in August 2002 in the Dordogne and Bordeaux and then in July 2006 in Burgundy with my friend Judy. Both trips were with the British company, “The Chain Gang Cycle Tours” and included breakfast, hotel room, dinner, bikes, and visits to wineries. Each day we did approximately 50 km on relatively flat terrain…. but not always. The most I rode on one day was 69 km.
Provence is a region in the southern part of France covering the area just west of the Rhone River to the Italian border on the east. It is a favourite retreat for those looking for a relaxing vacation and who want some sunshine and warmth. The months May to September have the nicest weather, with July being the driest. You might want to avoid August as it is very crowded, particularly on the auto routes. There can be back to back traffic jams as this is the month the French take their vacations and head south….to Provence and the Mediterranean. But what a great region to explore!