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Paris, France

Paris began as a fortified Celtic (also known as Gallic) settlement on the Ile de la Cite in the 3rd century BC.  It was called Parisii, after the name of the Celtic tribe known as the Parisii. In 52 BC, the Romans conquered it to build a city called Lutetia, which had a population of less than 10,000 people.  The Lutecians left an arena and Roman baths for us to visit today.  Paris' name today was adopted in the 5th century AD, after the first Celtic peoples who lived there, the Parisii.

Lavender Fields of Valensole and Gorge du Verdon

Lavender Fields of Valensole

We stayed in an Airbnb in a small cobblestone village on a hill called Beaumont-de-Pertuis as a base to explore the lavender fields and Gorge du Verdon. Beaumont-de-Pertuis is a quiet town of young families and beautiful views of surrounding vineyards where the grocery store and boulangerie took a 4-hour siesta break and were closed by 7pm. We had hoped to encounter some lavender fields around this little town, but when that didn't pan out, we ventured towards Valensole.

Nimes and Pont du Gard

Nimes, France

Nimes is an ancient town in the south of France. It was known as the Rome of France in Roman times. Much is left of the Roman era here: a Roman arena, parts of a Roman wall, tower, city gates on a Roman road and a temple or two. 

Calanques, Cassis, France

Calanque d’en Vau hike, Cassis, France

The Calanques are steep white cliffs jutting out of the Mediterranean Sea in finger like inlets. We started our hike near the seaside town of Cassis, at the Presqu’il where a large parking lot charged 8 EU for day parking. There was some street parking along the way but none that was available when we were there.

Pyrenees (Gavarnie), Camargue and Toulouse

Cirque de Gavarnie, Gavarnie (French Pyrenees)

My pictures don't do justice to the scale of the Cirque de Gavarnie in the French Pyrenees. At 8 miles rt with 1400 ft elev gain, it was a nice day hike, after a 3 hour drive from Toulouse. The Cirque de Gavarnie consists of about 12-15 tall waterfalls cascading 1000 feet from the top of the wall to the snowy bottom of the wall. The water from all the falls seem to converge at the bottom, near the Hotel de Cirque, in a blue gushing stream. The cirque also contains Europe's largest waterfalls at 1385ft, called Grand Cascades, on the left side of the cirque when walking towards it.  We met a flock (or two) of sheep along the way.