France

 

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Sometimes called the hexagon due to its somewhat hexagonal shape, France is the largest country in Western Europe and one of the most visited.  French is the second most common language in Western Europe.  France has been inhabited by human-like species for hundreds of thousands of years.  Neanderthal habitation has been found as far back as 200,000 years ago. About 40,000 years ago, a species of human beings called Cro-Magnon started living in the area. Later in 3rd century BC, France became part of a settlement of the Celtic people. In the 1st century BC, the Romans led by Julius Caesar, conquered this area and called it Gaul.  In the 5th century AD, France was again conquered, this time by a Germanic tribe called the Franks, who eventually gave France it's present day name.

As the first country I visited as an adult, France holds a special place in my heart. It has a variety of experiences to offer; from medieval walled cities, to 5000 year old rock alignments, to 15,000 year old cave paintings, art museums, pink flamingos to hikes in the mountains, in gorges and to the sea.  It was also a perfect way to remember a language we learned in high school more than twenty years ago which I hadn't practised in twenty years. It was a road trip of 4125 miles in 3 weeks across most of the French countryside. We stayed in the Loire Valley, Brittany (Dinan and Vannes), Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nimes, Provence, the Alps, Dijon and finally Paris. In some places the lodging host spoke some English, though not many, so my minimal French language skills came in handy.  

Here are some of the things we learned while in France, and some time/money saving measures we found useful.

Here is a list of the places we explored while in France:

 

Northern France :

Louvre    

Paris (Louvre, Orsay, Obelisk, Arene de Lutece, Eiffel, Notre Dame, Latin Quarter)

Mont St Michel, Normandy

Brittany (Dinan, Vannes, Ancient Carnac rock alignments) and Mont Saint Michel

Chateau de Chenonceau, Loire Valley

Loire Valley (Chateau de Chenonceau, Ile de Nantes)

Monet's Garden

 Giverny (Monet's home and garden)

 

Eastern France :

Lac Peclet Polset

Parc de la Vanoise (French Alps) 

 Annecy

Annecy and Dijon

 

 

 

Southern France:

 Roque de St Christophe

Bordeaux and the Dordogne Caves (Ancient Cave Art, Cave Dwellings and Natural Cave Columns)

Cirque de Gavarnie

Toulouse, Pyrenees (Cirque de Gavarnie) and Camargue (Flamingos and Bullgames)

Maison Carree

 Nimes and Pont du Gard (Roman ruins in France) 

Viaduc de Millau

Gorge de Tarn and Viaduc de Millau

Calanque d'en Vau

 Les Calanques
Lavender Fields of Valensole Lavender Fields of Valensole and Gorge du Verdon

 

Warning:  All listed adventures come with inherent risks. The information provided is based on personal experience which may or may not be typical. The safety of these adventures are dependent on a variety of factors including but not limited to: terrain, weather, wildlife, hiker skill level, human error, preparation and other foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. As such, we do not assume any liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided.  We will not be held responsible for any harm, injury, and/or loss that may result. Your personal preparation and judgement on the safety of each adventure is required at all times. Please use your own discretion and always be safe. 

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