From France

Weekend In The French Alps

This past weekend we stayed at a beautiful mountain chalet, Les Campanules, in Les Houches near Chamonix in the French Alps. We were close enough to Chamonix for all of the activities, but had a quiet place to relax. On the outside Les Campanules looks quaint and traditional, but the inside was a surprise of…

Beaune in the Heart of Burgundy

I forgot to mention that before Annecy, on Friday morning we took the TGV to Dijon and picked up a car for the rest of our trip. Since I’ve been driving cars with a shift since I was 16, I decided it would be fun using one again. I wasn’t disappointed when we picked up a 6-speed Renault. It has been a few years and I forgot how much fun it is driving a stick. It’s been a great day driving in France and stopping for the night in Annecy . But before telling you about today, here are a…

Annecy at Dusk.

We arrived in Annecy early in the evening. It’s a town in the French Alps on a peaceful sparkling lake with the mountains as a backdrop. Little canals and the river Thiou wind through the old town. The Isle Palace in Annecy is located in the center of the river and has a long history. First a residence for the Lord of Annecy from the 12th century on, it then served as administrative centre for the Counts of Geneva and finally a prison until 1865. It is one of the most photographed buildings in town, but in France. The warm glow of Annecy is particularly beautiful at dusk. Here are…

Paris In A Day

Yesterday was our one full day in Paris, and we were determined to see as much as we could. After a breakfast of fresh strawberries from a market on Rue Cler and pastries from the bakery next door to out hotel, we walked 3 blocks to Champ du Mar, the large park in front of the Eiffel Tower. We had decided this was not a day to wait in lines and passed on going to the top. I did take photos from every possible angle, as well as things that caught my eye in the park. From there we crossed…

First Impressions of Paris

Arriving at Gard du Nord We arrived in Paris yesterday evening by Chunnel. The ride was incredibly smooth and I slept for most of the trip, missing everything between London and Paris, including the tunnel and the French countryside. Hopefully I’ll stay awake on the return, although Matt said I didn’t miss much going through…

When Making Hotel Reservations For Paris….Be Patient

As I mentioned yesterday, making hotel reservations in Paris can be particularly challenging and patience comes in handy. We’ve decided to stay near the Eiffel Tower in the 7th, and I’ve seen several reasonably priced hotels listed in Rick Steves’ book on France. One is quaint, close to Rue Cler and the price is reasonable – in fact for Paris it’s great. They don’t use a booking service like Booking.com (which I used for several hotels) so I sent them an email requesting availability. After a day or so and plenty of leeway for the difference in time, I sent…