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Just Returned from 4 weeks in France

We just spent 4 weeks on our two-year-delayed trip and I have a few thoughts and bits of info for the forum. (A good part of our trip
was visiting family, so I will only focus on tourist information.)

Paris...We just had two days commuting in from Arpajon. The highlight was the Cluny Museum. First time for me. Hubby went many years ago and it was small and unimpressive back in the day. It was fantastic! We walked right up, there were no crowds, and we could have spent more time than the 3 hours we were there. There are some places to sit and admire all the art and artifacts, more than in many museums. It is one of the best museums I have visited in a very long time, full of things of beauty! While there, we saw a couple of nuns in their long habits taking around young schoolgirls in their uniforms. It was so reminiscent of Bemelman's book "Madeline" I nearly cried. Altogether, I am glad I insisted on this stop.

Going to St. Chapell was easy entry also. We reserved our entry time online that same day. The only slowdown was going through security. Crowds there were greater, but the windows never fail to amaze, no matter how many times one sees them. At least they are up high so one's pictures don't have people in them. It remains, in my mind, a must-see for Paris.

We made a pilgrimage to Brasserie Lipp, as my late mother-in -law was a regular there in the post-war years. What a disappointment. Service was rude and the food was so-so. Never again! On the other hand, we had a light lunch with excellent service at Cafe Mucha, and another tasty lunch at Breizh Cafe. Both were in the area around St Germain des Pres. Not too pricy and delicious food at both restaurants. Breizh Cafe seemed to be full of locals on their lunch break....it must be the Breton crepes.

In Provence/Drome, we stayed at Mas de Lavendre in Le Pegue, a TINY town not far from Nyons or Grignan. We had personal reasons for being there, but our stay there was charming, bucolic, and close to towns where we attended a festival (Taulignan), and where we ate with the locals at the Cafe du Centre (Montignac). Some lavender fields were in bloom, and small local vineyards had tastings of wine, olives and honey. The Mas owners served a delicious breakfast on the lovely patio, and let us pick many roses from their yard to put on a relative's grave at the local cemetery.

Bandol, where we spent a few nights, has a Tuesday market at the harbor/beach area which epitomizes the French village market. There is also an interesting winery tour and tasting close to Bandol at Domaine de Fregate. Bandol is a really lovely town...peaceful, low-key, yet with lots of options for eating, wine-tasting, and beach-going.There is a lively night scene near the water also.

Posted by
323 posts

Thank you, your trip sounds marvelous! I am not familiar with the towns you mention- so just to clarify- the tourist info you mention is located in Paris and Provence region? Thank you!

Posted by
888 posts

Yes to your question. Bandol is about a 45 minuyte drive east of Marseille, and aloing that coastal area are other neat towns, such as Sanarey-sur-Mer. The museum and St. Capelle are in Paris, as are the restaurants I mentioned.

Posted by
888 posts

Oops, so many typos! I apologize for the spelling goofs.

Posted by
888 posts

I just remembered. On our way to Le Pegue we stopped for a brief peek at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. It wasn't a market day, so we didn't have to drive around too much before lucking out on a parking space. We had a really nice and reasonably priced lunch at Cafe Eric. Pizzas are featured, but the menu had other options, and everything we ordered was delicious. Service was terrific too. We just wandered along one of the market streets for a while but didn't spend too long there. It was a lovely little town, but I don't understand why it is so high up on the list of towns in that area. Maybe if we had spent the night there I would be more impressed.