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--------Our Trip to France (2006)

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Map of FranceWe wanted to go to Monaco when we left Ventimiglia but we ended in the middle of nowhere. We went to a village called Sospel, France in the mountains. It was a really pretty village but I was slightly frustrated because I had gotten lost. The Area is in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur. The area is a mixe of Manon des Sources landscape but also with higher mountains. In the center of town by the Bevera River there is a good mix of very busy bakeries and cafes full with tourists who must have known something that I did not know. The most interesting monument was the old bridge also call Le pont a peage de Sospel. We wandered through town, went to the bakery and went to the open market. There was all sort of sellers but I noticed a North American Indian playing a Peruvian flute.

We drove through one of the most spectacular cols that I have been in called the Col of Braus standing at 1000 meters . The col has a bunch of laces (lacets) if I can call it this way that come down the mountain. Some of those laces are in many other places in the area. The continuous breaking makes it for tiresome driving. And we drove through very spectacular villages called L'Escarene et Peillon on our way to Nice.

We went to see the big world famous resorts Nice and Cannes located in a province (prefet) called Alpes-Maritimes. Finding parking was not even that bad, I put some money in the parking meter only a couple of euros (reasonable), it was busy but I found a spot quite quickly on the la Promenades des Anglais.

I was not disappointed, what amazed me about Nice was the color of the water. It was the most amazing heavenly blue that I had ever seen. The water was warm and the waves were fun. You even forget that you are sleeping on top of rocks. Those stones are quite round; they are not sharp and are usually the size of half-size tennis balls.

In the distance you could see the port. Many boats do the liaison between the continent and the Corse, Napoleon’s birth place. From the port ,the beach continues for 7 km to the International Airport.

We went to a camping Les Peupliers by Narbonne. It took me awhile to find a camping. People there were quite friendly. They asked us if we needed bread for the next day, they went to the bakery for us and brought us fresh bread. If I remember well we payed 18 euros to stay there.

On our way we went to Biarritz( a posh city on the Atlantic Coast). Frommer’s calls it “One of the most famous seaside resorts in the world”.We parked and we walked to the southern part of the beach. We had to go down a series of twisting steps but in the process we were rewarded with a gorgeous beach, a place everybody feels that they belong.

I did not realise but one part of the beach is reserved for surfers. I was asked to leave by a lifeguard and later I noticed the sign by the big rock that prohibited people to swim in this area.

We had parked in a small parking lot a few blocks from the beach.

We left towards Bayonne. I wanted to take the National 10 that led almost all the Tours. It went from Bordeaux to Angouleme, Poitiers and Tours. In Bayonne , I got into an highway, I had been there only for a few miutes that there was a toll already asking me for 1.5 euros. I was not sure why I was paying to go in or go out of the highway. Normally you always pay on your way out. French are super gougers when it comes to travel on their highways. I was disgusted, I asked the clerk why I was paying and he said something and laughed.

We stopped in a lovely village in Baignes de Radegonde near Angouleme in the region Poitou-Charentes. We went for supper in the middle of town, we walked through the "Rue General de Gaule" and reached an area called the Place Halles, the charming town square. Everything seemed to be closed and it was only around eight at night . Fortunately we saw a modern restaurant called le Rabelais. The restaurant is owned by an Englishman. It is quite modern and it’s in the middle of town. The food was excellent and quite reasonably priced. We had different barbecue meats and some red wine, plenty of it since I was not driving.

We took the road n152, it follows the Vallee du Loire. We stopped at the spectacular town of Amboise. At first we stopped quite far from town by the river and took some pictures, later on we got closer. We went for a stroll. It was busy, it took me about ten minutes to find parking. I was getting mad at Isabelle who was constantly stopping to look at the most insignificant bugs. I was hungry and I wanted to get going.

We went to Disneyland Paris ( Discoveryland) in Canada we know it also as Euro Disney. This was our last full day of our holidays. I already had been to the one in Orlando. So, unconsciously I was often comparing. I went on a Sunday in August. I thought I had heard the French were not interested in Disney but from what we saw it was not the case. The place was full. Lately I learned that Disney is the number one tourist attraction in France with 50 million visitors.

We had a hard time to find a campground around Disney. I learned that Euro Disney provides camping and they also have a number of hotels on site. I thought it would be to expensive so I stayed in a town nearby Meaux for 49 euros.

Disney was worth it, my daughter enjoyed herself. It was weird ,I tried to speak french to the employees but they always answered in english. I had been in Orlando and I did not noticed too much of a significant difference as far as rides were concerned.

I liked that the line-ups were not so busy. I liked the fact you could book a ride and come back later so you would not have to wait in line. We were able to do most rides. I enjoyed “It’s a small world after all". We also enjoyed the lazer shooting. The haunted house was well done even though I do not like that kind of evil stuff. Isabelle insisted and I cracked under pressure. We also did all the traditional rides. At the end it started raining and we had to hurry out of town to catch our plane in Frankfurt. Isabelle had to buy herself a present, she chose to buy herself a nice shirt. I had to yell at her to make her mind.

We took the road that led to Metz. We slept in a little town for 33 euros a night. The hotel inside was all yellow. It was very clean. It was late,some other hotels were full or we could not find any employee to attend us.

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My trip to Sospel, France
Cote D'Azur
Disneyland Paris

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