Bonjours, mes amies! Bienvenue on France….
Today I am ready to share some of the beauty of France with you. As I have told you we have been on a trip to France. Our destination was: sunshine. Weather has been nothing but crap in these parts (but I think we finally have made a turn for the better), so we promised ourselves blue skies and warmth, where-ever that would take us.
On our way south, we made our first stop somewhere below Paris. We ended up in the city of Jeanne D’Arc: Orleans
Here is the brave virgin herself sitting on her horse. Orleans turned out to be a lovely city, quiet, not very touristy but beautiful with architecture going back to medieval times.
I wish I could have sneaked a peek into one of those houses. Do you think any of their owners blog?
We came across quite a few merry-go-rounds this trip. But this first one, sure was the best. It was old, it was beautiful, it had vintage goodness written all over it.
Couldn’t help myself, had to play with the filters on that one.
Orleans is situated next to the Rhone, and I always love it when a city has water in it. Gives it an extra quality in my book (maybe that comes from living in a city by a river myself). Anyway, the stroll along the waterside and across some bridges was nice, very nice.
We decided to linger a bit longer in this region. And headed to Vichy. A small town that in its heyday was a big and famous Spa.
Ah those cast iron balconies in France……
And the shutters in every color……
And the colorful houses…….
It doesn’t get more French than this I think.
The luster and splendor Vichy once had was still there, even if it was turning a little rough around the edges.
What the vintagified image of the Hotel de Ville (city hall, not a hotel!), is hiding, is that it was raining in Vichy.
But luckily enough there isn’t a better town to visit in the rain. To keep the Spa visitors dry in winter and cool in summer they built this covered walkway around the whole Spa complex. It is a lovely art-deco construction that is at least a couple of miles long. We used it to discover the old Spa complex.
It was easy to imagine the rich and famous lingering here, sipping on their cups with water that promised them health and good fortune.
Especially since you could still take a sip here too.
They have various natural springs here that all promise another benefit.
We opted to go for a coffee instead and roamed around outside a bit more.
Since Vichy was giving us rain, we decided to move on in our quest for the sun. We choose another town a bit more south as our next destination. We were heading into a volcanic area. Millions of years ago, Europe was built by volcanoes and the proof of that is still visible in this part of France.
The houses are built from a black volcanic rock, that can look quite gloomy, unless you paint it of course….
Our destination for the night was Clermont-Fernand and we made a stopover in the small town of Riom.
Clermont-Fernand is a lively small town with a towering black cathedral, that is quite impressive.
But we were in search of sunshine. And it was raining heavily here. The rain seemed to fit this dark town built in black, made it look like an artsy French movie in black and white.
We explored a bit, took shelter from the rain in various quaint little coffee houses and bistros, took a look at the weather forecast and decided to move on, further south.
But I think I have taken enough of your time for today. So come back for the next post and I’ll show you the sunny side of France and our visit to the Provence and the Cote D’Azur.
Because there too, you could see me standing like this a lot……
Au Revoir mes cheries!