Posted by: chlost | February 24, 2018

The French Escape

The current events of the country are  particularly overwhelming to me. I am still angry and flabbergasted at the results of a Presidential election of over a year ago. The buffoon who claims to lead the country is beyond stupid, the damage being done to the country is astounding. I fear for my grandchildren and their teacher parents as they go off to school, and work at school, each day.

But my thoughts have no power to change anything, and others have expressed them much more eloquently. So I am going to stick to some pleasant things tonight as I am propped up against pillows in my bed while I tap away on my laptop. This I have control over, and good or bad, it is mine.

So I am going to escape by reminiscing about something wonderful:  My trip to France last April.  This is going to be my personal little travelogue here, so prepare yourself-tons of photos ahead.

The trip was glorious. My sister, her daughter, and my daughter-in-law spent the first ten days of April in Paris and Provence. Other than rain on our first night in Paris, the weather was spectacular.  The crowds were manageable, there were few American tourists overall, and we were met with graciousness and friendliness wherever we were.

I had spent just a day in Paris when I traveled to France on my one other visit. This time, we were in Paris for five days. We stayed in an Airbnb in a rather commercial area in the Second Arondissement. As we exited our door, we were greeted by a cheerful sight.


I loved that. I can’t imagine a public stairway anywhere here in the US where it would be turned into a piece of art.

We arrived in Paris in the afternoon, and after settling into our place, we headed out to the Eiffel Tower. My daughter-in-law had never traveled outside the US, and was very excited to see this Paris landmark. We had evening tickets to go to the top right at sunset. I had only been at the base when I was there several years ago, so this was a new experience. It was wonderful to see the sun set over the city, even with the crowds at the top. It made me a bit nervous to share the small area with so many people. I have become less tolerant of large crowds and high places as I’ve aged. But it was still enjoyable. I especially loved seeing it lit at night.

As we walked to our restaurant for dinner, we could see the tower again. We walked for miles to get to a restaurant which was actually quite near the Tower, as my niece became turned around and we circled it all the way around. It was a very long walk in the rain, at night, after a very long flight. I was not doing well at that point. But when we reached the  small restaurant, four drenched American women, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and friendly service.

My niece was very determined to never eat a “sub-par” meal in France. She became our meal planner, picking the restaurants, setting up reservations, and giving us an overview of why she chose each one. She became a bit frustrated with me at times, as I was not as adventurous in food as she’d hoped I would be. I did not wish to become sick and ruin even one day.

The desserts and the bakeries, though……I was certainly able to enjoy those!


The French know how to do sweets!

I loved the sights of Paris. I have a very limited tolerance for museums and the “cultural” side of things. I can’t stand that slow shuffle through exhibits, trying to read little tags around the shoulders of other people, and waiting in long lines in order to enter or see the more popular exhibits. I enjoy watching people, enjoying the surroundings, the shops, the food. The drinks! I spent one afternoon at a very small table on a sidewalk outside a Paris café. I watched families, the pets, the young couples, the business people, all walking along the streets, or meeting at the café.  I had lunch with one of my blogging friends, and she showed me some of her favorite Paris places. We had a snack at Angelique’s, walked along the Seine, and chatted. Along one of the streets, there was a man and a young boy entertaining the passersby with singing and piano/drum playing. This day is one of my favorite memories.

After our time in Paris, we took the bullet train to Avignon. We spent the rest of our trip traveling through Provence with a rental car. We stayed in Avignon’s old city, St.Remy, and later went to Nice. Provence was a totally different atmosphere. Again, we had beautiful weather, with clear blue skies. and warm sun. We traveled into the hill cities, shopped till I nearly dropped in all of the little shops in each little town. I don’t normally enjoy shopping.  All of the others in the group love to shop. I would make a quick tour of the shops, find one or two things to purchase as gifts for someone at home, then usually find a bench nearby to wait for them to finish. These little towns also are set on very steep hills. My bad knee and being out of shape made climbing up and down the streets a bit difficult. But I was very contented to just take it easy and enjoy my surroundings. I loved the windows and the doors in these towns. People take their entries very seriously.


In Avignon, there is a wonderful indoor farm market. Each morning we were there, we went to the market for our food. The variety and the quality of the food was remarkable. I have never seen strawberries like the ones we had there. The cheeses… The olives! And the ham. There were other items that were not up my alley, but they looked fresh!


Because we were driving, we were able to choose where to go each day. We had a GPS system to help us find our way. We did get lost a few times, and things were a bit tense once in a while.

It was due to one of our “detours” after becoming lost that we came upon this:


And as part of another missed turn, we stumbled on this place:

I imagine in just a few weeks from this the place would have been a vivid purple. As it was, the muted lavender was spectacular. The smell was heavenly. We never would have found them if we hadn’t been lost!

The last part of our trip was to Nice. We drove along the coast, seeing some of the old towns above the sea, and some unbelievable homes stacked one above the other, on a maze of narrow streets and nearly perpendicular hills. The views to the sea were so beautiful, it hurt your eyes.

Overall, my memory of this trip is centered on colors. The colors of this trip were vivid. Everywhere we turned, more colors.

Our final night was spent in Nice. We watched the sun set over the sea. It was a wonderful trip. A perfect ending.




  1. All I can say is wow! I would lo e to eat my way through France and see the sights. I was i Paris, Kentucky once and found so e really good Mexican food, but I doubt it’s the same thing. Getting in shape for a trip to Norway and England in a few months. I’ll see just how good these new knees are.

    • Norway is someplace that I want to visit, and much more of England. My one knee is bad, but it limits me as much as if both were out of commission. I hope those new knees of yours get some miles on them! I’m sure you will be doing well with them ready to go. Oh, and my family has a place in Paris, IL that is also not quite the same!

  2. What a splendid trip. I see you appreciate many of the same things I do–the everyday like people just going about life, doors, the beauty of a field…

    Thanks for sharing these images and your travel story with us.

    • Yes, I love the landscapes and some of the smaller details of places that I visit. Unfortunately, I try to be as good of a photographer as you, but I find the finish product never looks as good as I imagine it when I take the photo. I love yours. You take the photos I wish I could.

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