A Travellerspoint blog

Trip South

Barcelona - Argeles Sur Mer - Perpignan - Toulouse - Limoges

I was supposed to go to Barcelona with Corina in October but due to the riots and demonstrations taking place we decided to cancel our trip. I was lucky enough to be able to change my flight and therefore when my classes ended I went to Barcelona. From there I took 'blablacar', a ride share website. I found that to be good because I was always with a group of french people and I could get more practice conversing.

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The first stop was Barcelona. I spent two days here checking out the gaudi buildings in different areas. Barcelona with its large boulevards had a much different feel than the winding roads of Paris.

Ls Familia Sagrada

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Views from the Gaudi Park

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Gaudi buildings

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Old City

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After Barcelona I hit the road and headed to Perpignan!

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Perpignan is an interesting city in the Catalan region. I learned alot about this area. if you watched the news you may have seen the Catalan independence movement in Spain. I didnt know that there was also a French side of this culture as well. In Perpignan the children are also taught to speak catalan although it is less prominent. The French part of the Catalan empire was signed over to France in a treaty in the 17th century.

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Argeles Sur Mer

Here I did a see side hike to another town. Beautiful views
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After I came into the beautiful town of Collioure

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After this I headed to the city of rose: toulouse
Toulouse was interesting both due to its magnificent red buildings but also its history. The city of Tolosa was around during the Roman empire and allied itself with Rome. I went to one of the museums there which displayed hundreds of Roman tools and artifacts. I tried to capture the redness of the buildings but I feel it was much more red than in the photos.

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Finally I headed to Limoges to spend a night. It is a smallish city in central france of 120 000. There are many cathedrals and a long and interesting history.

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And with that i high tailed in my bla bla car back to paris!

Posted by Gotti 14:37 Archived in France Comments (0)

Visit to Versailles

With Corina!

Corina spent the week with me in Paris and we were supposed to go to Barcelona, but due to the protests and demonstrations there we unfortunately decided to cancel our flights. Obviously we got dinged for money, but it turned out to be the right decision as many tourists were blocked by protesters.

We were disappointed but instead of moping we went to the Versailles palace!

The Palace
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The Gardens

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The fountains

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Inside

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Posted by Gotti 11:24 Archived in France Comments (0)

Dieppe

A trip to the coast

Even though I am really busy at school, I managed to escape for the day to Dieppe. It is a coastal town, 2 hours away from Paris by train and it is also the infamous place where the 2nd Division of the Canadian Army conducted their failed raid raid against the Germans in 1942. I read about this raid in a book in highschool and found it very interesting. The beach is surrounded on both side by huge cliffs where the Germans had fortified bunker positions. The British, not wanting to risk their best ships and aircraft, provided only minimum fire support during the raid. The result; 1000ish Canadians dead, 2000ish wounded and 2000 taken prisoner. This city would be liberated by the same division in 1944.

Beach, cliffs and memorial
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Town and Chateau

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and of course my goat and sheep friends for cutting the grass!

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And finally the view of dieppe from far away. Although the picture isnt perfect, you can clearly see the impossible task the Canadians were up against

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Posted by Gotti 02:12 Archived in France Comments (0)

Reims

A visit en champagne

This weekend Rob came to visit me and we decided to do an outing to the champagne region of France. We booked a train to Reims for Saturday morning and to come back Saturday night. Unfortunately we got off to a rocky start because we both slept through our alarms. We quickly tried to make it to the train on time but to no avail, we missed it. We debated about calling it quits, but we decided to rebook and we got into Reims around noon. We quickly got our bike rentals and hung out by the cathedral.

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After spending 20 or so minutes there we decided to hit the road. We booked a short wine tour at one of the vineyards outside of the city. Google maps said it was 25km, so we had 2.5 hours to get there, more than enough time.............. so I thought. The beginning of our journey was quite pleasant.

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But then things got a bit sketchy. Google maps took us on pure mountain bike trails through the middle of the park. We did not have mountain bikes, but very heavy road bikes with front suspension. It ended up taking us 2.5 hours non stop to get to the vineyard, so we were quite worried about making our train on the way home. We were also quite tired and thirsty when we arrived at the vineyard.

We then did the tour.
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Pinot Noir

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After the tour we slammed our wine tasting so we could get back on the road to catch our train. We had 3 hours but we were worried. We ended up trying to stay on a major road this time, even if it added an extra 8km to our route. We stopped at a small shop to buy a bunch of sugary snacks as we had not eaten lunch and were certainly going to bonk without it.

We ended up doing the 33km in 1:45 which was good time. Overall it wasn't a crazy amount of biking for any cyclist, but A) we aren't cyclists, B) we mountain biked a significant chunk of it, C) The bikes were far from high performance road bikes D) we were wearing khakis and polos.

Here is a picture of us arriving back into the city.
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All in all it was 4:15 on a bike, which was alot, but it was an incredible way to see the region. When we got back to Paris we went to an indian restaurant and we had a feast. It was a great trip.

Posted by Gotti 02:29 Archived in France Comments (0)

Rouen

A trip to Normandy

I headed out to Rouen this weekend in order to get out of Paris and see some of the smaller cities in the surrounding area. Rouen is particularly interesting due to its long history. Located on the Seine River, it was an important trading post on the road (river) from the Atlantic Ocean to Paris. It was raided several times by the vikings, it is the place where Joan of Arc was executed, and the city also has several beautiful cathedrals. In terms of culture there were several great writers that were from the city, many impressionists and Monet spent time here during his career. Check out my photos below!

The execution site of Joan of Arc
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La Grosse Horloge (the big clock)
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This clock was pretty cool. I am probably butchering the history but I believe it was built in the 1300s when the town took the power of the bells (literally the permission to ring bells for time) from the clergy. This signified the power shift that took power away from the clergy and gave it to the wealthy merchants the in area. The clock shows the time, lunar cycle, and the day of the week.

The view from one of the windows inside
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The view of the town's cathedrals from the top of la grosse horloge

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The towns largest cathedral. Already for the history on this....
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The town's second cathedral
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Rouen
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The left side of the river was totally destroyed in the second world war and had to be rebuilt.

La Seine, the highway to Paris
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Posted by Gotti 10:31 Archived in France Comments (1)

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