Discovering the People, Culture and Landscapes of France
Touring the Provence region of France holds many similarities to the Tuscan region of Italy, but with a different flavor, of course. The Loire Valley with its endless chateaus was simply stunning. But it wasn’t until I found Cassis that I really gained an appreciation for the people and places of France. Cassis is a small harbor town with dozens of beautiful boats, colorful row cafes along the water, a charming beach, lighthouse and castle on the hill. People come for day visits to explore the nearby coves with glistening turquoise waters. There are so many photo ops and gelato shops waiting to be enjoyed, that is was hard to leave after four wonderful days. This is one of the few places I chose to extend our stay so I could keep capturing the harbor reflections and sunsets from the highest point in Europe that overlooks the sea. There is so much to explore with the people, culture and landscapes of Europe.
Visiting St. Remy, where Van Gough painted Starry Night was one of my favorite learning experiences. He checked himself in to a mental hospital so he could focus on painting and be inspired by the people there. I stood in his bedroom and walked through the gardens where he created hundreds of paintings and drawings. It was an incredible experience! Next, we stayed in the delightful Moret-Sur-Loing, near Paris, with a nice river and side ponds where everyone seems to congregate in the hot afternoon and evening to have a picnic and enjoy a swim with the resident swans. We rode the train from there to Paris and were charmed by the many sights and sounds of the capital city. I loved the Catacombs Tour underneath the city and learned a great deal of history during the two-hour tour. I was amazed out how spectacular the Eiffel Tower still looks, especially at dusk when the brief twinkling light show lights up the night sky!