Browsing CategoryFrance

bt

Could we expect anything else from Paris? Hashtags “Je suis en terrasse” – essentially “I’m out on a terrace” and “Tous au bistrot” – everyone at a bistrot – are filling up on Twitter with photos from Parisians. This, to me, is the heart of why I love Paris. I know there are politics and big questions we have to face but the fact is two beautiful cities (Beirut and Paris) were attacked by Daesh. This seems like the perfect response: Keep on #jesuisenterrasse pic.twitter.com/3po8N9wgws — Lola (@LolaMisfits) November 16, 2015 Parisians take 2 social media 2 continue celebrating life using…

week3-2

It’s not like Burgundy is not charming, it’s just that after biking across most of France, through some of the more popular destinations, and after spending days and by now weeks, looking at white cows, green rolling farmland and flat stretches of empty rural highways, well, we were a little done. It rained a lot in our third week, drenching us completely one day, then keeping us slightly damp for the rest of the days. I started listening to my iPhone while biking. The stretches were long, as much as 90 km between major towns, with tiny little empty shells…

loireavelofrance-5

We’re biking across Europe this summer, following the Euro Velo 6 route, which covers one of the most popular biking routes in Europe: the Loire a Velo. It follows the Loire river, it’s very well-marked, full of dedicated bike lanes, weaves through wine vineyards and farmlands, medieval castles and bustling cities. It’s perfect. At least in theory. Here’s a photo from the Chambord Chateau: If you see this photo you might think, “Ahh, France, so lovely.” What I see is the sun setting after a long day of biking and rain clouds on the horizon. We’re camping, so that means…

euroveloloirefrance-4

When we arrived at Nantes, via train, it was cloudy. We walked our bikes across the train station, found the start of the route and started pedaling down the street. “Creak…” Our bikes are terrible. It took close to a month to get outfitted, to test everything out, to cycle around Pamplona, San Sebastian and Bordeaux for a bit, before finally deciding: we’re ready. Oh god, I hope this is good. So much expectation has gone into this trip. Then we see it. The river. La Loire. Meh. The first few days of biking… essentially all the way from Nantes…

francecoastbikingcliffs-8

I’ve never heard anyone talk about the coast line along France’s southern coast on the Atlantic side — that is until I looked up biking routes and found the Euro Velo 1 runs through there and there’s a comprehensive website for the French section that sold me. I saw the pictures from the Hendaye to Bayonne route, the very most southern portion of France and I configured out entire trip so that we could bike that portion of the Atlantic for our cross-Europe tour. Above is a panorama on the bridge between Spain and France. The plan was to bike…

p2

How does one write about Paris?  Do they talk about the beauty of the city or the vibrant people or the delicious food or falling in love?  If they are a travel writer, then most likely yes.  It’s impossible to capture the essence of a place in a few sweeping observations, so we invoke images we are familiar with, even if we’ve never been. This is the exact problem I had when arriving.  I had black and white photos of Paris in my mind, romanticized close-ups from some French film in college, where a couple in trench coats embrace in…

parisa

This afternoon I took a nap on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower.  I had been walking all morning and finally sun burnt and exhausted (and unwilling to take the 40 minute train to my hotel) I collapsed beneath a tree with kissing 20-year-olds lounging on the grass around me.  There is something about this city that makes the men go wild for women.  When I awoke, a man carrying a guitar approached me speaking in French.  “I speak English, sorry.”  He didn’t relent.  “French?  Italian?  Spanish?”  At the last one I nodded, “Sí, Español”.  He had his…

I arrived in Paris Sunday afternoon and quickly headed out to take some pictures.  In the one above, I don’t know you can tell, but it was both raining and sunny at that moment.  The rain didn’t last long, and I spent the rest of the day soaking in the city. I have two observations about Paris.  First, it’s is  beautiful.  But not just a little bit, in a few places.  It’s just dumb, how gorgeous this city is, I can’t even express it.  Second, everything is really big.  The monuments are huge (see below) and the relative distances in…