france (not paris)

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hoping to visit the french countryside a bit this month (by which i mean, april). small towns, roman ruins maybe, cathedrals maybe. but i believe it will be too expensive to rent a car. so i will have to rely on the train (to get to the region where i'm going) and the bus (to get into the countryside).

any recommendations? hot tips? i mean, obviously there's an embarrassment of riches here. i could go to brittany, to alsace, to provence, to the cote d'azur (on second thought, maybe not the cote d'azur).

i was thinking maybe departing for tours and then wandering around the loire. or heading to aix-en-provence and trying to get to a few nearby towns. but a-e-p itself seems like it'd be kind of touristy.

it's not the summer, which probably means fewer tourists but also not as many flowers in bloom and no festivals.

amateur!st (amateurist), Monday, 29 March 2004 14:28 (eighteen years ago) link

I love the Alps, personally, but I guess they're not as definitively French. Carry on.

Markelby (Mark C), Monday, 29 March 2004 14:31 (eighteen years ago) link

Am, please, you must go look at all the wankers when it's time for Cannes.

I suggest Marseilles too, for un certain vibe de Genet.

suzy (suzy), Monday, 29 March 2004 14:34 (eighteen years ago) link

Are you likely to be away April 9, Amtst?

I recommend Brittany - it's lovely. Specifically, a beautiful little place called Huelgoat.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Monday, 29 March 2004 14:34 (eighteen years ago) link

Aix is great and probably not that touristy at this time of the year. It's mostly a student town. Then you can go to Avignon and Arles from there, they're all well connected by train.

Baaderoni (Fabfunk), Monday, 29 March 2004 14:35 (eighteen years ago) link

Go to the Loire if you like gigantic fairytale chateaux and vineyards and the like - also you can use Tours as a base for exploring the rest of the area and have the bonus of a bit of city life as well.

The Dordogne is lovely too - big rolling hills and valleys and old crumbling towns and a nice ride up the river if you can get one. Might be a little remote to explore without a car though (and frankly terrifying with one for that matter).

Matt DC (Matt DC), Monday, 29 March 2004 14:37 (eighteen years ago) link

Go to the bullfights in the Roman colisseum in Nimes.

jules ou jim, Monday, 29 March 2004 14:38 (eighteen years ago) link

Also go to Chenonceau, purely to see this building.

Matt DC (Matt DC), Monday, 29 March 2004 14:41 (eighteen years ago) link

Alternatively, Ed and I spend a lot of time in the Perpignan area but that's really hard without a car. The village where we stay, not far from the border with Spain, hasn't had a train since the late '70s but if you can get to Perpignan or Carcassone or similar you'll get well into French Catalonia, which is its own treat.

(also we might be in Paris next weekend)

suzy (suzy), Monday, 29 March 2004 14:43 (eighteen years ago) link

ooh email me if you dare :)

thanks for all the tips

when is cannes, the festival i mean? that would be a riot...

amateur!st (amateurist), Monday, 29 March 2004 22:12 (eighteen years ago) link

Aix is wonderful. If you take the TGV down, you can get a taxi to town & do without a car while you're there, it's fairly compact. I was only there for 2 days for a friend's wedding, but I took rolls & rolls of pictures of the Old Town & the Cours Mirabeau...amazingly beautiful. If you want to see a few shots of mostly the Old Town, I have some up here:

lyra (lyra), Monday, 29 March 2004 23:58 (eighteen years ago) link

I spent every Easter for about the first 14 years of my life in the Haute Pyrenees so I'm a touch biased, but really, it's absolutely gorgeous up there. The area around Campan is my neck of the woods. If you can arrange a spit roast pyrenean lamb for Easter Sunday it will be the best thing you've ever tasted (unless you are vegetarian or hate lamb). The Cirque de Gavarnie is jawdropping - a kind of massive rock horseshoe covered in waterfalls and really good hikes. It won't be full of tourists in April either. If you're a fan of the Tour de France you could take the hair-raising drive up to the Col d'Aspin and wonder how on earth they do it on a bicycle. Actually, I think you have to do that anyway to get to Gavarnie. If you want a hilarious tackfest, go to Lourdes, but more than about an hour there is a bit much. Then I'd recommend going down to Saint Bertrand des Comminges - it's a huge basilica in the middle of an almost completely intact medieval village.

Madchen (Madchen), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 08:08 (eighteen years ago) link

Cannes is not a riot. It's hugely crowded and expensive, as everyone's on expenses except you. Seriously, go somewhere beautiful and relax.

Markelby (Mark C), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 08:12 (eighteen years ago) link

Saint Bertrand:

My village:

Madchen (Madchen), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 08:14 (eighteen years ago) link

Vicky and I always stay around St Quentin, in Picardy, it's nice but there's not a lot to do (we mainly drive around vineyards or fish in the lake on the site), but places like Laon are nearby, as well as Reims and Epernay for all the champagne.

chris (chris), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 08:31 (eighteen years ago) link

Sisteron is worth a vist and is on the Marseille-Aix en Provence -Gap/Grenbole rail line and is beautiful. A fortres town wedged in a valley. Perfect time of year to visit as well.

Carcassone and Villefranche le conflet are good if you like pyreneen fortress towns and should be fairly quite at this time of year, although there is the danger of screaming hordes of brits and their brats abroad.

Ed (dali), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 08:42 (eighteen years ago) link

Another vote for Piucardie as well here.

Ed (dali), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 08:42 (eighteen years ago) link

i think i'll be taking a trip to chartres today, just staying one night so i don't have to rush. but i still hope to travel elsewhere, i'm leaning on french catalonia if the cost of a ticket isn't too high.

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 31 March 2004 07:37 (eighteen years ago) link

The coats is lovely from Coulioure to the border, and all on the train. The sleeper is the best, and probably cheapest way of getting down there.

Ed (dali), Wednesday, 31 March 2004 08:42 (eighteen years ago) link

i would say marseille. i have never been, but i would like to.

royan is nice

gareth (gareth), Wednesday, 31 March 2004 09:08 (eighteen years ago) link

Chartres is very nice indeed.

Matt DC (Matt DC), Wednesday, 31 March 2004 10:29 (eighteen years ago) link

Le Palais du Facteur Cheval. This postman built a utopian palace with his bare hands in his spare time.

Japanese Giraffe (Japanese Giraffe), Wednesday, 31 March 2004 10:53 (eighteen years ago) link

argh i couldn't reach anyone at the hostel or the cheaper hotels in chartres before 11 am so i gave up.

i think, since i don't have a car, that provence is the best bet--i can stay a few nights each in avignon and/or arles and/or aix. and from any of these towns i can take buses out to see some of the countryside, etc.

any comments on the youth hostels in these places? or maybe someone knows of especially cheap but reliable hotels near the centers? i read some dauntingly negative things about the hostels in aix and avignon. i guess i could pay up to 30 euro, maybe a bit more, for a hotel room but if the hostels are standable i'd prefer them.

thanks again for all the advice. one day i'll see the rest of the country, just don't have the time or money right now...

amateur!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 31 March 2004 10:56 (eighteen years ago) link


amateur!st (amateurist), Thursday, 1 April 2004 06:50 (eighteen years ago) link

I think you're more likely to find cheaper accomodation in Arles than in Aix or Avignon, although I can't really recommend ny hostel. Be careful to check in advance whether the mistral is not in full swing though, or you might be spending your whole time in your hotel room..

Baaderoni (Fabfunk), Thursday, 1 April 2004 08:21 (eighteen years ago) link

I always had you down as a Bognor Regis girl, Madchen.

I like the Basque bit, but I am also biased. It looks like Madchen's village, only with more colours and bigger noses.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Thursday, 1 April 2004 11:54 (eighteen years ago) link

not to mention the better ham

chris (chris), Thursday, 1 April 2004 12:15 (eighteen years ago) link

Not better lamb though. PJ, my English seaside places were Ferring, Goring, Littlehampton or Worthing.

Madchen (Madchen), Thursday, 1 April 2004 12:20 (eighteen years ago) link

That's more like it. I was almost as disconcerted as when we found out Tim isn't really from Sidmouth.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Thursday, 1 April 2004 12:37 (eighteen years ago) link

ts: ham vs lamb

amateur!st (amateurist), Thursday, 1 April 2004 14:14 (eighteen years ago) link

% of world population that abstain from pork? I think I win. Thank you.

Madchen (Madchen), Thursday, 1 April 2004 14:25 (eighteen years ago) link


PJ Miller (PJ Miller), Thursday, 1 April 2004 14:44 (eighteen years ago) link

seven years pass...

friend and myself heading to south of france for easter i think, wondered if people had any tips for towns to check out. we're flying to bergerac or biarritz and going to go to san sebastian at some point, and probably other places too.

anyone been to sarlat-la-canéda? looks pretty. are there other areas or places we should check out?

Will.Have.Known (Local Garda), Tuesday, 12 April 2011 08:24 (eleven years ago) link

i dont have any tips, but oh man so jealous of you going to san sebastian, the foods meant to be amazing

just sayin, Tuesday, 12 April 2011 08:42 (eleven years ago) link

yeah am reading about it now, it's a bit of a rushed organisation to the extent that it's only dawning on me how fun it'll be. i am so psyched for endless fish and anchovies and stuff...

Will.Have.Known (Local Garda), Tuesday, 12 April 2011 09:00 (eleven years ago) link

yeah my friends went last year + said that it was crazy the quality of the tapas at pretty much every bar you go into.

just sayin, Tuesday, 12 April 2011 09:07 (eleven years ago) link

outside of paris i've only been around carcassonne/pyrenees region, heading there in october again all going well.

the salmon of procrastination (darraghmac), Tuesday, 12 April 2011 10:14 (eleven years ago) link

Food in Lyon also amazing, cheap. And a nice little town, kinda like a miniature Paris.

and the hint of parp (ledge), Tuesday, 12 April 2011 11:25 (eleven years ago) link

that username, i want it

the salmon of procrastination (darraghmac), Tuesday, 12 April 2011 12:08 (eleven years ago) link

I spent a week a few kilometers from Sarlat-la-Canéda five years ago (in a village called Castelnaud). It was wonderful---castles over the Dordogne, absolutely fabulous food, caves. We visited the caves with prehistoric painting in Lascaux which is pretty close to Sarlat, 20 minutes or so by car. A little further away, maybe 40 minutes by car, is Rocamadour, which is a town built into a side of a mountain, and a medieval pilgrimage site, really gorgeous. I love this region & will happily return many times.

Euler, Tuesday, 12 April 2011 14:14 (eleven years ago) link

four years pass...

i think my favourite region has to be Gazcony

where are the rock bands? (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 22 December 2015 21:32 (six years ago) link

i was reading about gazcony in the hundred years war this week!

top region

Coombesbat 18 (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 22 December 2015 21:34 (six years ago) link

wish i had some dope poitou wine to drink to the health of paul gazcoigne this week

of course if you go a little further along the coast you enter Gazque territory

Coombesbat 18 (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 22 December 2015 21:41 (six years ago) link

two years pass...

Any specific restaurant/bar recommendations for Lyon, Toulouse or Marseille? Somewhere that you personally vouch for? I know Lyon the best but still haven't managed to do a traditional bouchon (always not feeling like a heavy dinner).

Yerac, Thursday, 4 January 2018 19:23 (four years ago) link

In Marseille (where I lived for a year): at the higher end, Une Table au Sud (i went shortly after he got his Michelin Star). At the lower end, Chez Etienne, where the supions are astonishing. The pizza and steak are great too.

droit au butt (Euler), Thursday, 4 January 2018 21:26 (four years ago) link

Mmmmm Chez Etienne seems great. It's up that hill/lots of stairs??? (whatever that neighborhood is)

Yerac, Thursday, 4 January 2018 21:36 (four years ago) link

In the Panier, but easy to get to from the tram

droit au butt (Euler), Thursday, 4 January 2018 21:39 (four years ago) link

I was only there for a day last year, the stairs were fine. It was an interesting walk. We ate at some place by the port (recommended), on top of a hotel that had outdoor seating. My spouse who only eats fish, accidentally ordered a huge squid ??? He was disappointed and I had to eat the mystery seafood.

Yerac, Thursday, 4 January 2018 21:44 (four years ago) link

Well supions are squid like fish (really, little cuttlefish) but the preparation at Chez Étienne is divine.

The old port has a lot of touristy fish places but once I ate there on a boat and it was worth it.

droit au butt (Euler), Thursday, 4 January 2018 22:18 (four years ago) link

This was, I think, a large squid cut into long strips and grilled. We described it to our friends in Gigondas and they guessed it was a large squid. I can't wait to go back. I thought Marseille was amazing and was sad we were only there for the day. Granted, we will be there at the end of the month so hopefully the weather won't be too drab.

Yerac, Thursday, 4 January 2018 22:23 (four years ago) link

It’ll be nicer weather than Paris! It’s sunny there like 300+ days a year.

droit au butt (Euler), Thursday, 4 January 2018 22:29 (four years ago) link

We are trying to figure out if it's worthwhile to go to Nice for 2-3 days (have never been). We have some days to kill between Lyon and Toulouse so figured we could stay only in Marseille.

Yerac, Friday, 5 January 2018 14:21 (four years ago) link

seven months pass...

keep thinking about this door we stumbled across two years ago in languedoc

ogmor, Friday, 17 August 2018 09:58 (three years ago) link


illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 17 August 2018 12:07 (three years ago) link

Je suis Jean Lafitte. Ceci est ma porte.

the body of a spider... (scampering alpaca), Friday, 17 August 2018 14:46 (three years ago) link

had the best oysters of my life at toinou in marseille

J0rdan S., Friday, 17 August 2018 16:12 (three years ago) link

This is the stupidest comment I realize, but Marseille has one of the nicest starbucks I have ever been in. Maybe because no one was in it. I have been to Marseille twice since this last post and still didn't make it to Chez Etienne. Either closed or we couldn't locate it.

Yerac, Friday, 17 August 2018 22:43 (three years ago) link

did you go to Nice?

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 17 August 2018 22:46 (three years ago) link

No, still have not been. We do this route of Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse a lot and try to fit in something new but then we get lazy, sleepy and just want to be easy. Although we did do San Sebastian in July as the new Spain thing.

Yerac, Friday, 17 August 2018 22:52 (three years ago) link

I did get tear gassed during the world cup when we were trying to get sushi in Paris so I guess that counts as a new thing.

Yerac, Friday, 17 August 2018 22:53 (three years ago) link

seven months pass...

im going to nice in may, its gonna overlap-ish w the monaco grand prix & the cannes film festival btw o_o

johnny crunch, Tuesday, 2 April 2019 00:41 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

Man who slapped Emmanuel Macron gets four-month jail sentence

A French court has sentenced a 28-year-old man to four months in prison for slapping France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, in the face.

Damien Tarel was quickly arrested after the swipe that caught Macron’s left cheek with an audible thwack on Tuesday, as the French leader was greeting a crowd.

Okay, I don't know much about the French legal system, and I'm all for a speedy trial, but is this normal? Sentencing the same week as the offense?

Andy the Grasshopper, Thursday, 10 June 2021 21:47 (eleven months ago) link

shame he’s probably a fascist because it would have been really cool

Left, Thursday, 10 June 2021 22:00 (eleven months ago) link

The dude is indeed a fascist but I nonetheless recommend the video.

Van Horn Street, Thursday, 10 June 2021 22:58 (eleven months ago) link

xxp yeah it's called "comparution immédiate", it can be used in certain cases (and the accused has to agree)

Dinsdale, Saturday, 12 June 2021 16:25 (eleven months ago) link

nine months pass...

really disgusting piece from National Pinhead Radio, about Le Pen's campaign of "unity and inclusion"

not that abysmal foreign policy takes are a rarity at NPR, but i do find it particularly offensive that these gullible, mediocre non-journalists feel the need to provide cover for fascists by implying that the FN can be "de-toxified," to use EB's phrase herein

budo jeru, Friday, 8 April 2022 22:01 (one month ago) link

Did they go to any diners in the French equivalent of Ohio?

Otto Insurance (Boring, Maryland), Saturday, 9 April 2022 01:00 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

Seeing a disconcerting number of Zemmour posters around Normandy but not Le Pen? Were there Zemmour Bros who wouldn’t vote for the lady(?)?

DAMAGED by Black Flat (Boring, Maryland), Friday, 13 May 2022 19:55 (two weeks ago) link

No? She got 4 times as many votes he did in the first round.

gyac, Friday, 13 May 2022 20:21 (two weeks ago) link

Almost 5, I should have said.

gyac, Friday, 13 May 2022 20:22 (two weeks ago) link

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