A Travellerspoint blog

Dinard, Brittany, France

Enjoying the sites of Dinard

sunny 26 °C

Dinard was not far from our house swap. We headed there for the day to explore and check out the ferry to Saint Malo. We managed to find a park close to the beach. Dinard has a reputation as the Cannes of the North. A lot of stars have visited, Joan Collins is a frequent visitor, Winston Churchill enjoyed holidaying on the river Rance. Hitchcock visited. There is a large statue of him by the seaside. Lawrence of Arabia lived in Dinard as a small child. Picasso painted here in the 1920s. Oscar Wilde also visited Dinard and mentions it in De Profundis. Dinard has an abundance of beaches with lots of sunny weather. I loved the blue and white beach shelters that you could hire that were all along the beaches. We puchased baguettes for lunch, we were guarding them from the seagulls who swoop overhead trying to pinch your food. One seagull managed to get the last inch of my baguette. They have the stealing of food down to a fine art. We walked all along the waterfront which is a very attractive walk. We made our way over to the river Rance side and found where the ferry left for Saint Malo. You can look across to Saint Malo. We thought for our future trip to Saint Malo we would catch the ferry accross rather than drive so we didn't have to worry about parking on the other side. Dinard has lots of attractive villas and houses many are protected buildings. There are many shops here if you want to spend your time shopping.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:33 Archived in France Tagged siteseeing Comments (0)

Brittany

Exploring

sunny 24 °C

Our Love Home Swap was in the village of Le Minihic Sur Rance, Brittany. This was 15 minutes from the train station. We explored our local village which had a school, church, two restaurants a general store and a bakery. It also had a large park. On the first day ventured forth for our baguette for lunch, then managed to purchase some slices of ham and cheese. With our lack of French no problem making ourselves understood. The bread here so nice that you could just eat bread with no filling. I must admit we did purchase a special cake as well as it was staring at us!!!! After lunch we went for a drive to the St Jacut de la mer peninsular. Lots of narrow lanes around where we were some just one car width wide. Luckily we had just been driving on the right hand side in Switzerland so Geoff still in the right hand mode of driving. We had a quietish afternoon enjoying looking at the stone charactor houses, we found a large park to wander around in and enjoy the fresh air. Coffee was also on the agenda and we went past a large Convent. We then found an interesting Cathedral to wander around in. We had coffee at an interesting cafe, the owner was trying to eat his lunch but too many people wanting coffee. This was a bit of a relaxing touristy day. In the morning had caught up on washing etc. Every now and again you need a bit of time off while on a big trip like ours. You also soon realised that you will never see everything. We decided this trip we would concentrate on the main things we wanted to see that were close. We were so lucky that Raphael and Melanie s home was so close to some of Brittany and France's main tourist sites. When you first get to a new place the first couple of days you are quite overwelmed by the new sites and the experiences especially places like Switzerland and France where the buildings are so different. We soon made ourselves at home where ever we were.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 14:57 Archived in France Tagged siteseeing Comments (0)

Paris to Saint Malo by train

Fast Train to Saint Malo

sunny 21 °C

It was up early, just as well we had made our way down to the hotel foyer as the taxi was 20 minutes early. We got delivered to a different station from what we had arrived. We found some coffee and something to eat as hadn't had breakfast. The place to catch the train wasn't posted till 20 minutes before it left. Those in the know queued early. By the time we got on had quite a bit of juggling to fit the cases on board. This time most of the passengers had their backs towards the destination. A bit of a strange feeling at first. We were struggling to stay awake, Geoff slept awhile. We went through lots of flat farming landscape. We finally arrived at our destination and found that we had a 1/2 hour wait for the car. At least we got it an hour earlier than booked. We are not quite sure why we had booked it at this time. Anyway we needed some lunch, so no hold up really. The car a little cream and black number. Couldn't get Garmin to accept Raphael and Melanies address. I used maps on the phone to guide us right to the house only 15 minutes from the train station. Melanie and Raphael and children were waiting. Once we arrived they were heading off to drive to the other side of France near the a Italian border to go camping. It would have been at least 12.00 at night before they got there. By now knew the French greeting a kiss on both cheeks. We couldn't change our train rides for them as on the tickets it said non refundable. They were able to show us how the house operates a good idea to take notice especially washing machines etc with instructions in French. The house is only 3 years old. There are very strict rules applied in France to the style of house you are able to build. This house has nice features like the whitewashed wooden ceilings. Also the built in book shelves going up the stairs were framed by large picture frames, they look very effective. One of their friends is an artist and he painted them a large interesting painting that hangs in the lounge area. We soon made ourselves at home before heading off to find groceries. Managed to find a large shop. Over here you pack your own groceries in your shopping bags. We went home and cooked dinner. We are in a quaint village surrounded be farms. Lots of cropping happening. A lot of narrow country lanes around here some really fit for just one vehicle. It is so flat around this area.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 07:27 Archived in France Tagged home live swap Comments (0)

Paris on a Sunday

Tour de France amongst other entertainment

all seasons in one day 20 °C

We headed for the metro in the late morning. This was entertaining in itself. There were 3 musicians that ride the trains for tips sitting in a row. Across the other side a young man came forward and threw a coin to each of the musicians. He then instructed them to play together and was conducting them then he started dancing up and down the station. I should have recorded it, everyone was smiling finally his train pulls in he gets in and is then profusely thanking his new orchestra and waving. Off we headed to Centro. There was an announcement in French, which we couldn't understand a word of, we hop off the train try one exit that was blocked then try another exit that was blocked. Finally found out that tour de france was finishing in Paris that day. The only way out was to take the train to the next stop. We decided to go to Notredame Cathedral as we enjoyed it the last time in Paris. We got some instructions to hop on one train then another to get to our destination. Finally walked in the right direction it still looked as impressive as ever. Last time we visited in winter and queued for 3/4 of an hour in freezing cold to go up in the bell tower and to the top of the torrents because of the movie the hunchback of Notredame. This time queued like a snake to get into the Cathedral, we got in surprisingly quickly. We enjoyed our time in this magnificent Cathedral. It has very low lighting in here so it is a moody sort of place. Notredame is a Catholic Cathedral considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. It is one of the largest and best known church buildings in the world. Construction began in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII. We took photos and finally emerged to find it had been raining. We were going to walk to the Eiffle Tower. It was pouring by now changed our minds as had seen the tower the day before. We noticed people lined up waiting on the street, obviously waiting for the tour de france to come past. We waited too trying to take shelter. Eventually we asked the couple behind us when they were coming past, it was ages away so off we walked back to near the Louve it was bucketing down so we took shelter under a tree, where was the umbrella man when you need one, ha haaa next he appears. 5 Euros for a cheapy umbrella. We did have rain proof jackets on. We then headed to an arch where lots of people were sheltering near the Louve. Soon there was a racket and we realised that there was a parade of decorated sponsorship vehicles on the tour de france fenced off area. We watched this noisy explosion of vehicles go by. The rain stopped. After this we realised we had to escape back to the other side, not an easy task as had to go through an arch. First try gave up as the crowd was surging our way. Second attempt succeeded, scary stuff just one big surge the security officers quickly removed more barriers on the other side so we had somewhere to go. We found a spot to stand and chatted to a family from Wales who had driven 4 hours to see the race. He is a competitive cyclist. We also chatted to a farmer from Minnesota his family had big ranches. We were entertained by watching 15 large tour buses squeeze through a small arch. There were some close calls but all managed to avoid getting scratched. We then headed to a nice restaurant to warm up and rest weary legs. A lovely french waitress, lovely food and nice decor. We then emerged and found a spot to watch the last rounds of the race near the finish line. We were there to see the jet formation fly over. Exciting. Geoff got a good photo. Wow what a day. When you are traveling you tend to loose track of what is happening in the world, so to see the end of tour de france a big surprise. We headed back to our different metro get on. A beautiful french lady of African descent was there in a beautiful traditional dress. She brightened up the whole dreary underground. Her cute son sat contentedly on the train chewing a sweet corn cob. Wow what a day.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 12:32 Archived in France Tagged siteseeing Comments (0)

Versailles, France

The beautiful Palace of Versailles

sunny 28 °C

After visiting Monet's Garden and having a delicious lunch in an amazing spot we headed to Versailles. This Palace is striking from the first minute you see it. The beautiful gates and security fences are a feature themselves. It is a huge place with a huge amount of rooms only so many open to the public. When the chateau was built, Versailles was a country village, today it is a wealthy suburb of Paris 20 Ks from the capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Originally the chateau was a hunting lodge, it was later expanded into a royal palace. Following and the fall of the monachy, Versailles fell into disrepair and most of the furniture was sold off. Napoleon started the restoration in 1810, but most restoration initiated by Louis Phillippe in 1833 when he changed the palace to a museum dedicated to French history. It is now one of Frances most popular tourist attractions. The interior was opulent even without a lot of furniture. It was a squeeze getting through some of the entries to the rooms with so many tourists. Once you are flowing just have to keep going. All of a sudden you would find places that weren't so crowded. Marie-Antonettes bedroom popular they had the door open where she escaped during the revolution. The hall of mirrors was impressive a huge area with beautiful chandeliers and lots of mirrors that people were using for selfie. The chapel has beautiful paintings on the roof. We had time to wander around the gardens if I ever have the chance would happily come back just to walk around the immense gardens. This Palace and grounda are full of interesting history look forward to reading more about it when our trip ends. We got back and wandered around looking at the side show attractions in the Park near the Louve. We promenaded through the park until we found a restaurant right in the park. We had hamburgers quite tasty they were. We then caught the number 12 metro back to our hotel. The end to another great day in France.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 10:45 Archived in France Tagged siteseeing Comments (0)

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