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November 14, 2017

France: Tonnerre

Filed under: Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 11:59 am

Fosse Dionne

A couple of hundred kilometers to the southeast of Paris along the Canal de Bourgogne is the town of Tonnerre. The French word “tonnerre” translates as “thunder” in English, though rumblings from the sky do not appear to be the inspiration for the commune’s name. In truth the name alone might well have prompted us to visit. We have a low bar for such things. But there is more to recommend Tonnerre than its name. The commune has two star attractions, Fosse Dionne and the Hotel-Dieu de Tonnerre. Curious name or not, it is a worthy stop for those traveling in the area by boat, car, train, or bike. (more…)

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November 9, 2017

France: Guédelon Castle


The castle appears mostly complete.

Have you ever visited an old European castle and wondered how it was constructed hundreds of years ago? Without heavy equipment how could a society move the heavy stones and beams required to build such structures? Many of the answers can be found at Guédelon Castle, a historical theme park a little less than three hours south of Paris via the motorway. (more…)

April 23, 2017

Corsica: Bonifacio

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 1:29 pm

Early on a cool morning the ferry’s top deck is not very popular.

From Provence we crossed the Mediterranean to Corsica’s most northerly ferry port in Bastia. Soon after we arrived we searched Google to find a ferry that we could take to continue our trip to Sardinia Italy in about a week. Google told that if we wanted to see Corsica from tip to tail, the logical choice would be to depart from Corsica’s most major south coastal harbor, Bonifacio. From Bonifacio we could take a ferry to Santa Teresa at the northern tip of Sardinia. (more…)

April 17, 2017

Corsica: Ajaccio

Filed under: Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 8:52 pm

Costa Pacifica, sister ship of the ill-fated Costa Concordia, moored in Ajaccio’s port.

The port town of Ajaccio on the west coast of Corsica is most famous as the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. In France, Napoleon is a revered figure. He is remembered fondly for numerous reforms. Improvements in higher education, the tax code, the road and sewer systems, and the establishment of the Bank of France can all be traced to Napoleon’s rule. (more…)

France: Porto Corsica


Ota Corsica’s port is a popular beach destination, at least in the middle of summer. But as we learned when we visited in the middle of November 2016, Porto is a seasonal resort; most everything closes for the off-season. With few tourists the town has a weird “redrum” feeling. If a young Jack Nicholson suddenly appeared, we were definitely bolting out of the town. (more…)

April 10, 2017

Corsica: L’église Sainte-Julie de Nonza

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 3:48 pm

L’église Sainte-Julie de Nonza

Driving down the west coast of Corsica is slow. Twisty two-lane roads clinging on hillsides keep cars’ steering wheels spinning. Add in an occasional “goat jam” and you best not expect to make it to the next stop quickly. Not that you’d want to. Traveling in this area Corsica is more about the journey than the destination. The drive down Corsica’s rugged and wild west coast is not something that is soon forgotten. (more…)

April 9, 2017

France: Bastia Corsica

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 6:33 pm

Last fall, on the 9th of November, we left the rain and cold of Burgundy and headed south by car. Our route would ultimately take us to the island nation of Malta. Malta is further south than Gibraltar and Sicily; it was furthest south in Europe that we could practically reach. The mission was to find warmer and drier weather. (more…)

France: Annecy

Filed under: Europe, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 3:53 pm

A modest lakeside residence

We didn’t experience Annecy France in its best light. It was rainy and cold when visited at the beginning of November 2016. Annecy has been nicknamed the “Pearl of French Alps.” Sitting at the edge of Lake Annecy and the de facto gateway to the famous ski resorts of Albertville, Annecy may well live up to its “pearl” billing. We will have to return in better weather to be sure. (more…)

France: Great Saltworks of Salins-les-Bains and the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans


A tunnel beneath the saltworks at Salins-les-Bains brings brine to the drying pans.

Salins-les-Bains and Arc-et-Senans are in the Jura and Doubs departments of France, respectively. Both administrative departments are on France’s eastern border with Switzerland. As of 2015 Jura and Doubs were part of the larger administrative region of Franche-Comté, the only region of the continental portion of France that we hadn’t visited. But by the time we first arrived in Franche-Comté in 2016 it turned out that we already had visited all of the administrative regions of continental France. How did that happen? At the start of 2016 Franche-Comté was consolidated into a larger region, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. A legislative act eliminated Franche-Comté before we could visit. (more…)

March 18, 2017

France: Côte d’Or


The commune of Vosne-Romanée

Burgundy’s most famous and most expensive wines originate in the Côte d’Or appellation, a band of vineyards extending from the southern outskirts of Dijon to Santenay. On the east side of this limestone escarpment the vineyards spill down the hillside onto the valley floor. A designated 60-kilometer long road route through the vineyards, the Route des Grands Crus, takes oenophiles (more…)

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