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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Savour the Sights of Saint Remy de Provence

Travel tree lined roads to one of the oldest towns in France, Saint Remy, located at the western edge of the Provence region.  It embraces scrumptous food, rich history, ancient buildings and an amazing market day.

Enter the town through narrow streets to find small boutiques with the finest clothes. 
Enjoy delicious French Food at Lou Grilladou. Offering Provencal pizza, grilled meats, and salads.   He can serve group meals up to 70 people.  

 The salmon is fresh with the perfect sauce.  
Stay upstairs above the restaurant to relax in fluffy sheets.  

Lou's wife decorated the room with shades of gray using textured fabric.
Every detail added to the flavor of the room.  
After being refreshed continue exploring all the charm of the Provencal way of life.  

Enjoy your surroundings with water dripping from stone fountains.
Walk the streets to smell the fragrance of lavender freshly cut from local hills of purple.
Pick a place to stay in the heart of Saint Remy so waking up for market day every Wednesday morning will be easy.
Relax in a Jacuzzi after a long day of shopping.  
 Look out the window from the  bed and breakfast to see a town filled with history.  Van Gogh produced a 150 paintings while resting in the local asylum for the year of 1889 in Monastere St. Paul de Mausole.  It is open to the public seven days a week.
Starry Night is one of his famous paintings from Saint Remy along with Wheatfield and Irises.   Follow the trail around the surrounding countryside which covers the key locations of his work.  
There are more than a hundred artists living in the area of Saint Remy wanting to capture the beauty of Provence.  

The area is famous for their colorful clay pottery which makes a great treasure to take home.  
Visit the modest home of Nostradamos, famous for his predictions. 
Market Day is every Wednesday morning open till 1:00.  View displays of French Fabric and table clothes to adorn your table.  
Sample fresh fruit picked from local orchards.  
Shimmering necklaces, bracelets and earrings can be a treasure.
Carpenters display French ladder back chairs made locally.
Scented bags of fresh lavender can be purchased for only one euro.
Saint Remy's Market is one of the largest of Provence and well worth the visit.  
Walk the streets of Saint Remy first built in the 1st century AD  
Sit outside and sip a cup of coffee in sunny cafes.  
You'll find a warm, friendly welcome in this charming little town.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Visiting Nimes France

Nimes was a Roman outpost in Provence because soldiers were promised a plot of land if they fought for Caesar. The remains of what it was like to live during Roman times makes Nimes a fascinating visit for history buffs.  Think of a retirement home for hard working soldiers who want to settle down and live peacefully.  The city's emblem is a crocodile tied to a palm tree as a reminder to Roman officers of their journeys to Egypt.


Enter the door of the only ancient temple to be completely preserved, the Maison Carree built during the period of Emperor Augustus.  He created new sites for staging of special events.
By the time Caesar had arrived the south east of Gaul had been settled by the Romans.  They came to aid the Greek colony of Marseilles because of attacks from Celto-Ligurian tribes.  Under Emperor Augustus the city developed quickly.building monuments.  Maison carree was inspired by the temples of Apollo and Mars Ultor in Rome.  It was built with harmonious proportions of 26 meters long,15 meters wide, and 15 meters high.  A 22 minute 3 D film is shown to tell the history of Nimes through a Roman family.  The dad went off to war for fifteen years and came back to see his son grown up but the town prosperous.  

The ceiling of the entrance to the temple was added in the 19th century.  

The Arena of Nimes was built 70 AD but remodeled in 1863 for bull fights. The amphitheater  has the capacity to seat 24,000 spectators.  There are sixty arches on each of the two levels for Romans to enter as they find their seat.  
In the Middle Ages people actually lived in the amphitheater for protection after the fall of Rome.
It was built to last standing sixty-five feet high and more than 300 feet across.  Compare it to a six story high building.
  Romans sat according to their social status and watch the games played there.  This box seems like a place of honor.   Lions, tigers and even elephants were part of animal hunts.   Executions would also be held and people sentenced to death were thrown to the lions.  Christians who stayed loyal to their faith and  refused to worship Roman gods were sentenced.  
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The ancient Roman aqueduct bridge called Pont du Gard is another Roman attraction to see.  It is part of the Nimes aqueduct carrying 31 miles of water to Romans from a spring at Uzes.  
It was mainly built underground because of the hilly terrain.  The water traveled a long and winding route that crossed the gorge of the Gardon river.  Pont du Gard is the highest of all of the Roman aqueduct bridges and one of the best preserved.  
Nimes has preserved many places to visit for tourists to enjoy.  
Sample delicious fresh
bread made by the locals.  Stay at a quaint bed and breakfast close by to be pampered after a day of sight seeing.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Medieval Town of Yvoire

The medieval town of Yvoire is one of the most beautiful fishing villages of France located 28 km from Geneva.  It is facing the crystal blue waters of  Lake Geneva or the French call it Lac Leman.
The streets are filled with artists and craftsmen of the Chablais region.
I discovered this adorable antique shop and found an oil painting for my collection
Hanging baskets full of fresh flowers are at every street corner
This walled fishing port dates back to the 14th century.

A french 14th century castle is fun to explore. It was built between 1306 and 1311 by Amadeus V, a famous count of Savoy.  He must have been part of the Savoy family who ruled the Chillon Castle.  It was protected by a moat and a drawbridge. The gardens surrounding the castle are beautiful.display of colorful flowers.
 My favorite place was the church of Saint Pancras.  It dates back from the eleventh century when it was much smaller.  I felt a strong peace as I entered this sacred space built for a fourteen year old martyr who died for his faith in 303,   As a Roman citizen he was asked to perform a sacrifice to the Romans gods.  Diocletian, the emperor of Rome was impressed with the boy's determination to resist so tempted him with wealth and power.  He chose courage and was beheaded for standing up for his savior on May 12th 303 A. D. Pancras is one of the patron saints of children.  He represents innocence and faith in childhood.  His name is from ancient greek and mean "the most powerful."
As I sat in the pew I reflected on my surroundings. 
At the alter was a beautiful painting of Jesus walking on the water.
The story is from Matthew 14:22-33.
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he had dismissed them he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, waking on the lake.  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.  "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. 
But Jesus immediately said to them; "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
"Come," he said
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 
"Lord save me!"
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  
"You of little faith," he said,
"Why did you doubt?"
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.  Then those sho were in the boat worshiped him, saying, Truly you are the 

Son of God."
Bridging the Gap as a sacrificial lamb for our sins.
On the ceiling is a mural depicting  14 year old St. Pancras being beheaded for his faith.
Beautiful stain glass tell a story of peace and forgiveness.
The steeple shined like a bright light.