On September 4, 2013 I flew to Paris, boarded a train for Bordeaux and began the month of September in some new areas of France. It is the beginning of my new life…..retired from education and finally doing what I love and where I love it: travelling and living in France.
During the month, I travelled to the southwest region of France and then drove east to the Dordogne, Lyon and then back to Paris. Here are some highlights that one should definitely do:
- Marathon du Medoc– there are 22 refreshment stations; however, these stations have Bordeaux wines and unique foods such as (oysters, ham, steak, cheese, and ice cream. And 90% of the runners are in costumes. This year’s theme was: Science Fiction. I ran the entire marathon and stopped at 18 of the 22 wine stations. It took a bit longer than I would have liked, however, how could one not partake in a little wine? This is a marathon everyone should try once in their lifetime.
Biarritz is located south of Bordeaux and it is a seaside town known as the vacation spot for the rich and famous (and royalty, such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Ernest Hemingway. I had an apartment overlooking the Atlantic and could watch the surfers ride the waves.
Did some day trips to St. Jean de Luz and Saint Sebastian (in Spain)
- Enroute to Lyon, I visited Pau and Tarbes in the Pyrenees before heading to the Dordogne.
- I stayed in Les Eyzies de Tayac and visited the Prehistoric Museum, Dommes (lovely medieval village against rocks), and Chateau Beynac.
- Next stop was Clermont-Ferrand which I used as my base so I could see all the volcanoes in the area and visit Puy de Dome. Unfortunately, it was very, very cold at the top and not an enjoyable hiking excursion, so I just took the train up and down.
I had a great dinner at a classic Lyonnaise restaurant, La Meunière, and during my stay, visited the Museum of Resistance (about the French Resistance during WWII) and Les Halles de Paul Bocuse——a food hall that one MUST visit when one is in Lyon. The FOOD!.
- Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon town) is also a MUST. One can walk everywhere in Lyon and there is much to see.
- If you have time, take a boat ride. I did the “new” section of Lyon but would have preferred to see the “old” but it was sold out.
- I rented an apartment in Paris in the 7th arrondissement, just north of the Champs Elysee and near Rue Montaigne. The locations was fabulous, but a little noisy late at night. The French like to party!
- “Kaas Chante Piaf”: This concert by Patricia Kaas celebrates the work of Edith Piaf and took place in one of Paris’ most famous concert halls, the Olympia.
More shopping at my favourite kitchen store in Paris: E. Dehillerin (18, rue Coquilliere)
Took the train to Versailles where I rented a bike and visited the Grande Trainon, Petite Trainon, and Marie Antoinette’s hamlet that King Louis XVI had made for her. It was her own little village.
Spent time having a drink on “The Mojito” in Paris—a barge on the Seine that was playing jazz music. It’s one of my favourite unique experiences in Paris.
Final lunch at a classic French bistro in Paris. It is called “Le Navigator” and it is on the left bank near the Seine. 29 Euros for a 3 course meal which included 1/2 bottle of wine! Dessert (picture on the right—figs with creme anglaise and a mint leaf) was simple, yet delicious. Sadly the restaurant is now closed.