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Brittany (Walled Cities and Ancient Rock Alignments) and Mont Saint Michel

Dinan, my favorite of the three walled cities we visited in Bretagne, is a walled city that people actually live in.  It's city walls date back to the 13th century and has survived many attacks since then. Many of its half-timbered homes also date back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Dinan also has a fortified chateau. More on all that Dinan has to offer in the website at the end of this section.

Giverny (Monet's home and garden), France

After Dijon, we drove 4 hours to Giverny, to a house where a Monsieur Claude Monet spent a few decades of his life living.  Mr. Monet lived his life in a somewhat rural town with a beautiful lily pond across the street. We had lunch on a bench where his wife and (step) daughters sat to knit, walked into the tunnel to cross under the (now busy) country road to visit the now famous lily pond, and enjoyed a quick (and crowded) tour of his house.  The garden was beautiful, with lavender and many other colorful flowers.

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.

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. 

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.