Unless you’re one of the handful of people I haven’t mentioned this to, I’m off to France in just over two weeks…and I can’t wait.
This will be the first holiday since I can’t remember how many years when I haven’t taken my laptop to keep up with blogs or to finish freelance jobs. I’ll post to Instagram when we find free wi-fi. In the meantime, I have a heap of posts that I’ve scheduled through April for my A-Z of Books and Writing…more on that over the weekend.
I have some ideas for potential stories, so will be recording pretty much everything in my journal. Naturally I’ll blog heaps once I’m home in May.
Anyways, we’re doing a road trip that is about as close to Le Tour as I’ll ever get – given that I’m not into cycling. In the spirit of Le Tour (note how I’m throwing some French terms in?) I’ve divided our trip into stages. And the pics? They’ve all come from Instagram – other people’s pages.
Stage 1: Lille and Western Flanders
We’re starting our tour in Lille, in northwestern France – about as close to the Belgium border as you can be without being in Belgium. It also happens to be where the friend we’ll be road-tripping lives.
Here we’ll be checking out all things Flemish. There’s an old town to explore – Vieux Lille – and it’s a quick drive across the border to Bruges and the Somme and Ypres.
What am I most looking forward to on this leg aside from catching up with my friend? Bruges and moules et frites – ie mussels and chips…oh, and Belgian beer.
Stage 2 – Champagne
This is where our road trip really begins. We’ll be exploring Reims and Epernay. I’d also like to get down to Troyes and maybe even Renoir’s Essoyes.
We’ll be checking out vineyards and caves – the type they keep champagne in, not the underground ones that make me claustrophobic – and possibly even sampling a drop or three.
The Air B&Bs that we’re staying at are both run by chefs so we’re taking the opportunity of doing a chef’s table dinner at each.
We’ve also booked a Moet et Chandon tour. I can’t promise not to do the Eddy and Patsy thing though. Luckily hubby will be there to pick up the pieces.
Stage 3 – Burgundy
Yes, there is a wine and food theme running through this trip.
We’ll be doing an all-day cooking class in Dijon – that’s where the mustard comes from – exploring Beaune and Dijon and checking out some of the countryside and medieval villages. We could possibly also sip some more wine – the vineyards of the Cote d’Or are apparently spectacular.
I’m especially looking forward to the cooking class we have booked in Dijon. The emphasis is on market shopping and French home cooking and I have very high hopes.
Stage 4 – Lyon
Of course, I’m telling anyone who’ll listen that Lyon is a city named after me – my maiden name is Lyons. Ok, so it’s not true. Lyon, though, is a foodie paradise. We’re staying in the old part of town and have a foodie walking tour booked.
We’ll also be checking out the markets or Les Halles de Lyon. Also on the list is a genuine bouchon or two. A bouchon is similar to a bistro, but one that serves traditional Lyonnaise cuisine – which is quite piggy in emphasis and nose to tail in technique. I can’t wait.
Stage 5 – The Loire Valley
We have four nights here to check out the chateaux, the countryside, maybe even taste a drop, and explore Orleans and Tours and some of the gorgeous villages in this part of France.
As yet we haven’t narrowed the list of chateaux down to the ones we really want to see, but Chemonceau and Villiers are on my list.
Our accommodation does a Chef’s Table on Saturday night, so we’re looking forward to that too.
Stage 6 – Paris
Hubby and I are staying on to finish our trip in Paris while F goes home to Lille. We’re staying in Le Marais – the Jewish Quarter – and have great plans to walk and walk and walk.
What else do we have planned for Paris? Nothing. We’re going to see how the mood and the spirit takes us.
We did the whole Tour de Eiffel thing when we were here twenty years ago and I don’t believe (the Tower) has changed that much. I also spent an afternoon in the Louvre that trip and would like to instead have a look at the Musee d’Orsay this time.
On the list for exploration is Montmartre, Pere Lachaise Cemetary, Montparnasse and some of the back streets. I also need to find a bowl of the spaghetti bolognaise that my geographically challenged daughter is convinced comes from Paris. When I think of the money we spent on school fees…
t’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…
It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, Debbish, Seize the Day Project, Write of the Middle, 50 Shades of Age, and, of course, me.