Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Paris in July - Tuesday Travels

Walking through two french towns - some photo's from my trip in 2011 (the year I went to France to see Cadel win the Tour de France!). Photo's are an important part of my life - my dad was a massive  photo taker, and my life is well documented. My partners dad was also a big photographer. When we got to know each other we learnt that his dad took photos of scenery and my dad took photo's of people. I clearly prefer my dad's style, learning towards taking photo's of people. But here, I'm posting some of the photo's I've learnt to take of 'things'. I hope the ones I've chosen tell a story.


Another travel writer (not myself) said this about Troyes
Troyes takes almost all visitors—French as well as foreign—by surprise. This lively town of narrow cobbled streets and half-timbered houses in ochre, pink and yellow was once the brilliant capital of the counts of Champagne. Today it’s an unspoiled treasure trove of art and architecture, a thriving modern city that wears its past with elegance and charm......Located in the Aube, the southern tip of the Champagne region, Troyes (pronounced Trwa, as in un, deux, Troyes) lies just 100 miles southeast of Paris.
Icecream, and afternoon tea time
 Troyes made it into our itinerary when we decided, at one point in our journey, to stop catching trains and hire a car. It was a random decision, but not one we regretted. We hired the car for four days while my partner was recovering from a head cold and didn't feel like doing the public transport thing. Troyes was our drop off point, so we didn't have to take the car back to Paris.  While my man was recovering from his head cold, he decided to investigate the surrounds on his bike - while I walked - and loved every nook & cranny I found.

Some other links to Troyes
Rainbows in Champagne
Virtual Tourist
Channel Hoppers - notes for a self guided tour
Tourisme Troyes


 We stayed in Montpellier for two weeks while we studied french.... as so many other tourists do.

 Another travel writer said this about Montpellier
In spite of such ambitious money-flinging, Montpellier’s real charm and character is to be found in and around the old city. Much is hidden to the untrained eye, but a bit of background works wonders.
Take the walls near the war memorial and Esplanade. Today they are surrounded with parkland and greenery, but have a look at which way the arrow slits are pointing. They’re not defending the city, but poised to attack it.
This dates back to the religious wars of the 17th century, when Louis XIII laid siege to Protestant Montpellier, and then built a citadel to secure it. Much of the newer parts of the city, therefore, are built on former military ground – it took an awful long time for the powers that be to trust the locals not to cause any trouble.
The old town is a delightful place to have a stroll, and takes the form of a shield-shaped mess of narrow streets and alleys. Little staircases run up past preserved buildings with medieval stone vaults, then miraculously break into square surrounded by bars and caf├ęs.

After class, my man and I would find somewhere to eat lunch in the old town, then we'd find a sunny spot to do some study. Then we'd wonder around a new area. There's so many little alleys in the old city, we spend the whole two weeks exploring. There are art galleries, open music concerts, plenty of sales and shopping to be done in both modern and old city shop fronts.... it was definitely a walking tour I loved.

Other sites with info include:
Montpellier Now
Montpellier Gourmet Tours
The Grumpy Traveller

We studied with Accent Francais, a company that provides lessons for foreigners on an ongoing basis. If you are thinking about doing something like this, my only advise would be to ensure that you get placed in a class at the best level for your motivation and skills. I was placed in a class below my capacity which was frustrating, while my man was in a class too difficult. we learnt heaps, but it wasn't a good fit.

Walking in Paris and French towns is one of the best ways to dream. What are your favourite towns or places to walk in Paris and France?


Brona said...

I've just added Troyes to my TBV list - thanks :-)

Adria said...

Beautiful photos! Now I want to go to Montpellier... So many French cities and towns are great for walking. I always enjoy walking around Honfleur in Normandy. I also love Brittany and enjoyed walking around Quimper when we visited. There is so much to explore in France!

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

Wonderfully inviting post..
thankyou for sharing your enthusiasm - it's infectious!

Vagabonde said...

There are so many towns in France that are good for walking. I like to walk around the port of Marseille and also the markets and the old town of Nice, but there are so many great little villages in the provinces.
By the way I wrote a long post on the historical parade of the 14th of July in Paris this year, but I don’t know if that’s the type of things your readers like to read about Paris, but here it is: http://avagabonde.blogspot.com/2014/07/a-historical-parade-in-paris-in-july.html .

Lisbeth said...

Beautiful historical cities! Lovely photos. Have to add for a visit in the future.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Arles! That would be my first favorite for walking. Gordes is a close second and we only spent a day there without an overnight stay... must go back!


Arti said...

I must spend more time visiting the small towns. Your post is so inviting, love the photos, esp. the ones with the houses along the street.

littleRamstudio said...

Bordeaux is beautiful and huge.
La Rochelle is a wonderful old seaport with great cafes.
If you are in a car and can get down into the South West of France all the many tiny Bastide towns and villages are well worth a visit, one to recommend is Montreal.

Ally said...

Besancon is very, very nice :) Also, the area round Mont St. Michel :) Next time I go to France I will definitely visit its south...

Anonymous said...

yes, they did an awesome job at renovating downtown Troyes. Troyes used to be one of the most active cities in the Middle Ages, that's where commercial fairs started in fact, with people coming to exchange goods from all over the world. It was also a very intellectual city with a famous Rabbinic school. Then it was for decades the big city for kids clothes, and then with factories shipped in cheaper countries, it became quite a dead city. I spent my childhood just 10 miles away. Now it's a nice place for tourists, with also an awesome museum of old artisan jobs

Jeanie said...

Wow -- that's what I want to do. I LOVE Paris, of course, and have been to a few small towns but not long enough to really explore them. These both look enchanting and such fun!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I'd love to say that I'd walked many French towns, but, so far, only Paris and a few towns in Provence. Sigh. These are beautiful.