Travelrific® Travel Journal

Picture postcards in prose.™ Check out the blogroll on the front page for official merchandise and other resources!

Archive for france

An Impressionist’s Dream in Normandy

By Linda Tancs

Étretat is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in the Normandy region of France. Long a haunt of Impressionist painters, it’s well known for striking rock formations carved out of its white cliffs, including the Porte d’Aval arch and L’Aiguille (the Needle), a pillar rising up from the Atlantic. The clifftop views are unforgettable and free to access. Once upon a time, Étretat thrived on its fishing trade and kelp was commonly harvested and burned on the beach for its iodine. At low tide, you may be treated to a kelp-covered beach at Porte d’Aval. Arrive at sunrise or sunset for spectacular photos.

Fortified in Corsica

By Linda Tancs

The fourth largest island in the Mediterranean, Corsica is a territorial collectivity of France sandwiched between France and Italy. Among its many charms is the 16-century fortified tower at Pointe de la Parata. It survives a series of defensive towers built between 1530 and 1620 by the Genoese (who once controlled the territory) to protect the island against Barbary pirates sailing from North Africa. Take advantage of direct flights from cities including Marseilles, Nice, Paris and Toulouse throughout the year.

A Beauty in Aveyron

By Linda Tancs

Belcastel is a French beauty. That’s not just mere opinion; it’s been officially annointed by the authorities as one of the most beautiful villages in France (Les Plus Beaux Villages de France). Located in the Aveyron region of southern France, the bulk of the village and its medieval castle are situated on the steep north bank of the Aveyron River. More than just a historical landmark, the castle hosts several art galleries. It even features a royal suite, where visitors can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Aveyron countryside, the village of Belcastel, the drawbridge and moat and some of the chateau’s gardens and courtyards.

Prehistoric Europe in France

By Linda Tancs

Move over, Stonehenge. Impressive (and famous) as it is, England’s prehistoric monument is dwarfed by Carnac, the largest collection of megalithic standing stones in the world. Situated around the French village of Carnac in northwestern France, the Neolithic structures are believed to be funerary monuments. Comprising more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones cut from local rock, the site features stone alignments, dolmens, tumuli and single menhirs erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany. Due to Brittany’s abundance of megalithic wonders, take advantage of the Megalithic Pass, which will give you reduced rates of entry to nearby attractions.

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

France’s Opulent Bunker

By Linda Tancs

Arguably, the most interesting aspect of Château de Brézé in France’s Loire Valley is what’s beneath your feet. That’s because the castle boasts an underground fortress opulent enough to function as the main house, which is why it’s referred to as a castle under a castle. The vast, limestone-hollowed tunnels include a kitchen, a stable, a drawbridge and wine-making rooms. Dating from the Middle Ages, the bunker was likely built to protect its owners against marauders. Less than a mile of this labyrinth is accessible to visitors. Of course, the tasteful apartments of the castle proper are not to be missed. Also be sure to check out the dry moats, the deepest in Europe at around 60 feet!

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley

By Linda Tancs

Lascaux is the setting for a complex of caves near the village of Montignac in the department of Dordogne in southwestern France. It’s part of the prehistoric sites and decorated caves of the Vézère Valley. Anthropologically significant, it’s also a draw because of cave paintings, especially those of the Lascaux Cave. Discovered in 1940, the cave is of great importance for the history of prehistoric art. You’ll find richly detailed and colorful drawings in sectors with evocative names like the Hall of the Bulls, the Chamber of the Felines, the Apse and the Shaft. Best of all, you can tour it from the safety and convenience of your armchair.

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Springing Up in Burgundy

By Linda Tancs

Tonnerre is a small town in France’s Burgundy region. Its vines date back to Roman times. So does its seemingly bottomless spring, Fosse Dionne. Used by the Romans to supply water to a nearby palace, it morphed into a public laundry in the 1700s. Encased in stone and surrounded by an amphitheater, it’s a popular tourist attraction today. Springtime snow melts produce a copious gush of water from this karst spring, the source of which remains unknown to this day.

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Ladies’ Château

By Linda Tancs

As is widely the case, if you like the interior design of a home, then you should thank the lady of the house. That’s the reasoning behind Château de Chenonceau being coined “the ladies’ château.” Arguably the most visited and photographed château in France’s Loire Valley, its female occupants throughout the centuries are credited with its design, embellishment and protection. Furnished throughout with Renaissance-style appointments, the ladies’ bedrooms are especially exquisite, as are the Christmas decorations this time of year.

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Submarine Art in France

By Linda Tancs

When thinking of a site for a digital art installation, a submarine base may not necessarily come to mind. But thanks to French museum operator Culturespaces, an immersive experience was created in four submarine bays on a former base in Bordeaux dating to World War II. Billed as the largest digital art center in the world, Les Bassins de Lumière puts the facility’s massive surface area to good use, projecting contemporary art onto the walls and into the water of the four enormous basins. Visits are conducted on gangways above the water and along the quays of the basins. The facility is easily accessible via a downtown tram and a short shuttle ride.

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Republic Within a Republic

By Linda Tancs

Sandwiched between France and Switzerland, Saugeais is a micronation in eastern France. Established in 1947, the self-declared nation in the Haut-Doubs region comprises 11 communes, from Gilley in the north to Arçon in the south and from the Swiss border in the east to Crêt Monniot in the west. Its origins lie in jest, following a French official’s anointing of the area as a republic after jokingly being told he needed a permit to enter the region. Today, visitors are granted a permit to enter, evidence that a good joke is one you can use over and over. The unofficial republic boasts a Prime Minister, a Secretary General, two customs officers, 12 ambassadors and 450 honorary citizens throughout France and Europe who promote its charms.

*************

To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

%d bloggers like this: