France: More than Paris

Fall in Love with a Country to Love

France! We’ve been here a week and are having a blast.

On Day One, after we emerged from the Chunnel, we drove over to Giverny to see Monet’s house and gardens. We’ve been there before and it’s one of our favorite spots in France, even though now there are a million tourists that crawl over the land and stuff themselves into the house.

It’s great because the people who are there are Monet lovers or appreciators. So everyone just wants to soak up the Monetness of the whole area. People kind of walk around in awe and respect, like they can’t really believe they are standing at the source of all the fabulous paintings that Monet created.

It is pretty amazing. And to be able to see the pond that was the centerpiece of some of his famous paintings . . . it’s just very cool. Kind of surreal.

After Giverny we found a bed-and-breakfast. Since Wifey speaks French, it wasn’t too difficult.

Thank God she speaks French. It would be a lot more complicated if she didn’t. Especially because we prefer to knock around in the smaller towns and countryside, where a lot of the older people don’t speak a lot of English.

Yeah, there is usually a young person around who speaks English, but not always. The bed-and-breakfasts seem to often be run by people Wifey’s and my ages.

So the place we found was a stone cottage with a giant wild garden around the outside of it. Our room was quaint with a queen bed that was actually very comfortable. Not lumpy like you’d expect to find in a house made of rocks!

We went to a pub in town for dinner and had steak and kidney pie, washed down with a pint of Guinness.

travel

One place we’ve never been in previous trips is Mont. St. Michel. We’ve always wanted to get there and this time we did.

It was as spectacular as we imagined. The site of the island with the centuries-old church perched in the middle of it was breathtaking.

We saw a bunch of castles in France, too. There were several in the Loire valley.

Wifey was in her element. I enjoyed seeing her so happy. She had that guide book practically glued to her side and was whipping it out constantly to read some tidbit or another out loud about whatever place we were at.

She had such a contented look on her face. When we’d come up to a new site—a castle or a landmark or a town or a wall—she’d get this look of anticipation. Like a little girl about ready to unwrap a new doll. Eyes bright, a little smile playing around her lips. She was oblivious to how she looked.

Those moments when I’d sneak a look at her and see the joy in her eyes were touching and precious. Sometimes she’d catch me looking at her and she’d slap me lightly and laugh.

We had a lot of those moments and they made me so happy to be with her in those amazing locations.