Posts tagged: South of France

Visiting The South Of France For The 1st Time {Part 2}

By , August 4, 2011 1:24 pm
Navacelles in the South of France

Navacelles in the South of France

Boris and I are hosting my parents for a week for their first time in France (and first trip to Europe). I have not been given many opportunities to observe my parents do things for the first time, but when it does happen occasionally, it is always entertaining.

As Americans, we usually greet one another with hugs or a handshake. But while in France, French customs call for kissing so how did my parents do? They were very stiff in their greetings, but my mother did well overall. As for my father, I couldn’t believe he opted for the handshake when it came time to greet another male!

Both Families Together For The First Time

Both Families Together For The First Time

During their first meal, my mother gets a little tipsy after having champagne. My father, on the other hand, is really enjoying all the courses of a French meal, down to the digestif. Since he is insistent on trying everything, we give him really strong smelly cheese, called Roquefort, to try. His reaction is quite memorable as he says, “There is a problem with this one.”

Roquefort Cheese

Roquefort Cheese (green stuff is mold)

There is so much to see in the south but with just a few days here, we manage to squeeze in a few lovely villages. Our first stop is St Guilhem le Desert, which I always enjoy visiting. Along our walk to see the gorges, there are lots of children jumping off the rocks into the clear blue water. Then we make our way to the medieval village where there are lots of little pathways filled with shops. Our visit to the monastery is free and I am surprised to learn that part of exterior courtyard was shipped to a museum in NYC (The Cloisters).

Gorge of St Guilhem le Désert

Gorge of St Guilhem le Désert

Gellone Monastery

Gellone Monastery

Cloister of The Gellone Monastery

Cloister of The Gellone Monastery

My parents appreciate different landscapes and we want to show them something they will never forget. While making our way through the windy roads to our next stop, we come upon a open field of Cardabelle flowers. These flowers are only seen in this region and they help predict if it is going to rain.

Cardabelle Flower Not Fully Bloomed

Cardabelle Flower Not Fully Bloomed

Dried-Up Cardabelle Flower Out in The Wild

Dried-Up Cardabelle Flower Out in The Wild

We finally arrive at a scenic viewpoint of Cirque de Navacelles where we have an impressive view of a limestone plateau that has been carved out from the Vis River that once flowed through it in an oxbow shape. Now that the river has taken a different course, it has left behind a small island in the middle, an oasis of green with a picturesque village, a waterfall, and many natural swimming pools.

Navacelles

Navacelles

Our next point of interest is the place that actually convinced me to visit the south of France with my Frenchie for the first time. As a lover of architecture and all things pretty, the Millau Viaduct is not only the tallest bridge in the world, but an impressive one by sight. The seven pillars that help support the bridge are each anchored with metals cables and make it more aesthetically pleasing. However, my favorite part is how the bridge bends over the town of Millau.

One of The Seven Pillars of The Millau Viaduct

One of The Seven Pillars of The Millau Viaduct

Town of Millau

Viaduct of Millau

As my parents are really enjoying their trip in the south, it’s time to make our way north to Paris.  While we have the option of taking a train up north, we decide to do a road trip (cheap car hire france).

To be continued…

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Boris’ Hometown Of Lodève And More Southern France

By , October 4, 2010 5:00 am
Me & Frenchie At The Pont du Gard

Me & Frenchie At The Pont du Gard

For many, Paris is all they know of France. While Paris has its beautiful parts, I find the south of France to be absolutely charming and an unforgettable visit, time and time again. With many small villages and towns all having their own identity, there is so much to discover. Beyond sight, there are many wonderful smells such as lavender, thyme, rosemary, pastries, summer bbq, and more. But what I like the best is the style and seriousness of home cooking. Each meal, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, is always complete and more mouth-watering than the last.

Mouth-Watering Couscous By Boris' Mom

Mouth-Watering Couscous By Boris' Mom

Gigot d'agneau (Lamb)

Gigot d'agneau (Lamb)

Yummy Dessert By Donatta

Yummy Dessert By Donatta

The first time I saw Boris’ birthplace of Lodeve, we argued back and forth on how I thought it was a village and he said it was a town with a growing population of 7000 people. I was amazed how such an open-minded smart guy can be from this small little place but little did I know about French small town living at the time. From Boris’ mother’s home, it was a short walk to the center of town. If we were looking to buy something, it was important to be there at the right time as shops are opened from 10am-12noon and 3-7pm. The supermarket was the place to be to bump into someone from the past, including friends he grew up with and school teachers. Everyone I met was super sweet and kisses are always mandatory.

It's All About Family Time In Lodève

It's All About Family Time In Lodève

Lake Salagou Near Lodève

Lake Salagou Near Lodève

Around Lodeve, there were so many small villages to explore. After visiting a few medieval villages, it may seem to be all the same from the surface. However, to appreciate each village, you should know what it is known for. It ranges from food, plants, to works of local artisans. Upon my first visit, I gained a semi addiction to pottery since they were all so beautiful.

While Boris shares with me random facts and latest technology, he can also make amazing mayonnaise from scratch. I thank his southern French upbringing for his loving side and if you ever hear me call him “farm boy”, I do this in appreciation.

Cirque de Navacelles

Cirque de Navacelles

Saint Guilhem le Désert

Saint Guilhem le Désert

La Couvertoirade

La Couvertoirade

Mont Aigoual

Mont Aigoual

Montpellier

Montpellier

Pézenas

Pézenas

Millau

Millau

Flickr Photoset | Slideshow

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