Our post trip reflections about France

More than six months has passed since we were in Europe travelling in France. So having finally finished writing posts about all the fantastic things we did and places we visited it’s time to look back and reflect.

In France we loved –

Our Canal du Midi boat trip. Our Le Boat Mystique was really good.

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The friendly hosts at the hotels and AirBnB places we stayed.

Bayeux, Le Mont St Michel, Dinan, Carnac, The Loire valley chateaux, Île de Ré, Brouage, Sarlat, Rocamadour, St Cirq la Popie, Les Baux, Rousillon, Gordes, Pont du Gard, the Camargue and of course, Carcassonne.

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The amazing Rocamadour

Favourite meals –

Eating frogs legs (Mark) and a tasting plate of seasonal produce (Karen) at La Guinguette in Argens-Minervois.
IMG_1408Eating slow cooked ‘taureau’ at our AirBnB in Arles.

Eating lamb shank (Mark) and pork salad (Karen) at Restaurant Le Nanteuil in Montrichard.

The three course set menu at Le Bergougnous, a family run restaurant, in Cahors. Lovely fresh seasonal food – trout, veal, chicken, vegetables, fruits and cheeses,

The warm duck salad starter at La Lamparo in Cahors. Very attentive wait staff too.

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Moules frites at Crépérie De La Pompe in Carnac in Brittany and again at Brasserie du Nord au Sud in Beaucaire in Provence when we ate with our friends Nic and Elly from Safety Beach.

Favourite drinks –
Beer, Rosé wine, Champagne

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Great places to stay –
On a Le Boat boat on the Canal du Midi.

Carnac – Our AirBnB was close enough to the town but it was very quiet and close to the stone alignments.

Moulin du Mesnil in St George sur Cher.

DSCN0854Sarlat, especially if you can stay in the old town.

Great places to eat or drink –

Late afternoon drinks at Restaurant du Musée in Les Baux de Provence or Le Cercle Républicain in Gordes with its cute little balcony.

Gordes

Le Bergougnoux in Cahors.

La Petite Borie in Sarlat.

Chez La Mere Pourcel for eating and Le Nez Rouge for drinking in Dinan.

Restaurant Le Nanteuil in Montrichard.

Unexpected highlights –

Hospitality of our AirBnB hosts- drinking calvados in Bayeux; free bikes to ride around Île de Ré; tips about walks and local villages; a free bottle of wine; excellent restaurant tips; tour of the Camargue and much more.

Seeing the model of medieval Montrichard made by local Franck Blenet.

Bike riding on Île de Ré.

DSCN0995The caves at Peche Merl.

Seeing the wetlands, flamingos, wild horses and bulls of the Camargue with our AirBnB hostess.

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What you must do when you travel to France –
Stay in Paris for a week. There is so much to see and do; any less time is sacrilege. Given we have been there many times before we focused on other smaller towns and villages this time.

Visit some chateaux in the Loire valley.

Amboise

Amboise

Visit Le Mont St Michel.

Go to a village/town market.

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Visit the fortress of Carcasonne’s Cite.

DSCN2245Visit at least one hilltop village in Dordogne, Lot or Provence.

Stay with a local – couchsurf, use Airbnb or if you’re lucky enough, stay with a friend or relative to get a better perspective on daily life in France.

What you should avoid doing –
Visiting Le Mont St Michel in August.

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Driving on toll roads if you have time to take the slower backroads.

What you need to be prepared for –
Bad drivers – like the one who overtook us and cut us off damaging our hire car. As if that wasn’t bad enough we had to chase him to make him stop!

Tolls on major roads and bridges. Get your wallet out or have a credit card handy.

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Putting on weight. Unless you do a lot of walking the wonderful food could mean a weight gain.

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