August 9, 2009

France - Week Two

I'm finally posting photos of our second week (plus a few days) in France. Here are some photos of the house we stayed in. This is the living room. It turns out we had a lot of books and CDs in common with the people we swapped with. They said that's only happened to them twice in all their swaps (they've done 16).
The kitchen was tiny but really cute.Here's the deck off of the dining room. The yard went back pretty far. It was really nice.
This is the office. Jerry set up shop at the desk with his laptop.This was one of my favorite things about the house--peeping garden gnomes. They were hilarious. They look in through the office window, presumably providing inspiration to Alain, who is a sports journalist.
The last set of pictures (from my previous post) left off just before we went to visit Chenonceau. A really pretty, relatively small, chateau. We stopped off at Mini-Chateaux Land on our way. Here's Summer pretending to be a giant by a model of Chambord. Could she be any cuter?
And here's Warren hovering behind the castle.
From there we went to the life-sized Chenonceau. This is the tower.This is the portion of the castle that crosses the river. I think it was Maria de Medici who added the rooms on top of the bridge.
It was a really, really hot day and the chateau was packed with people so we sat down and rested every chance we got.
My favorite part of the chateau was the kitchen.
Look at that stove!
This butcher's block was warped from use and full of knife marks. Isn't it beautiful?
This is me and Jerry. We were resting our feet while Summer and Warren went to check out the maze.
Two days after visiting the chateau I got really sick. On the third day of my misery I went to visit a doctor. Thank goodness her English was better than my French. I was convinced that a lifetime of eating uncooked chocolate chip cookie dough had finally come back to bite me in the deriere (can you say salmonella?) but the doctor assured me it was a virus and sent me on my way with some medication. The visit only cost 22 Euro! Anyway, there I am in the waiting room looking exactly the way I felt.Since I was sick and couldn't travel, we had to cancel our trip to Carcassonne, which sucked for a number of reasons. 1. Warren and I had been there before and knew Jerry would love it. (He loves the game.) 2. We still had to pay for the hotel room. 3. We had planned on celebrating Bastille Day there. Instead I spent the day watching Friends with Warren, Summer & Jerry. It was pretty fun, actually. I did manage to get myself dressed around 10 p.m. to walk down to the bridge with Summer and Warren for the most amazing fireworks show I've ever seen. (Jerry stayed home.) The next day we left for Beynac. Here's Warren at a little roadside rest stop.
This is the little car we drove around in. We swapped cars, too. That saved us a lot of money and worked out really well. Of course, we got a bit lost and ended up taking about seven hours to get to a town that was supposedly four and a half hours away. We fell in love with this beautiful field of sunflowers just outside Beynac.

This is our hotel. It's the one right on the corner. Jerry and Summer are in the upper window (that's our room!) looking out at the river. If you ever go to Beynac I can't recommend this hotel highly enough. The people were so friendly and the hotel was full of charm. Hotel du Chateau is the name.Here's the same window from inside. Our room was so cool!Look at those beams! Warren nearly gave me a heart attack by swinging on one of them. Thankfully the building remained in tact.
The first night of our stay there was a massive thunderstorm. The electricity went out. The wind blew windows open and long fingers of lightening (ten or fifteen at a time!) covered the sky. It was awesome! But these poor people at the campground probably weren't too happy.
The day after the rain we took a nice long walk around Beynac--two, actually. Warren and I went together once and then I went (blissfully!) alone once. These are some of the photos from those walks.

One of the best days of our trip was spent canoeing on the Dordogne River.

We stopped at a little beach along the way to skip some stones.

This town, which we passed along the way, was really cool. It's called La Roque Gageac.
We stopped there for lunch.
This was one of my favorite chateaux. It reminded me of Zorro's house in the Mask of Zorro with Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones. And people have used this site for shelter since pre-historic times.
The three lower floors are visible from the front but the upper floors are kind of hidden because of the rock face. It was really neat.
There was a little dungeon inside. Stangely, it was not in the basement. It was right across from the bedroom.

This is above the chateau.
We passed this pretty field on the way to visit Magdalene, a troglodyte (built into the mountain) village.This is part of the village. It ran all along the cliff face and, like the area where the chateau was built, was used by pre-historic man, Romans and others all throughout history.
Warren was holding court on the spot where town meetings would have taken place.
The day we were there it was pouring.

Another highlight of the trip, for me anyway, was our visit to Font de Gaume. We saw cro-magnon cave drawings that were tri-color and 15,000 years old! And we had our own personal guide for half the day.We had to be in the parking lot by 9, which explains why Jerry and Summer look half asleep in this photo.Jerry and Summer found this tiny little frog in the parking lot.This is the entrance to the cave. They regulate the number of guests allowed to go in. Only 180 per day.We weren't allowed to take photos inside but I pulled this off the internet. After the cave we went to the pre-history museum in Les Eyzies. This is Warren with our guide, Angelika, looking up at the museum which, like many other things in this area, was built into the rock.These steps lead up to an overlook at the top of the museum, but I like how in the photo they look like they go straight to the sky.
That's it for now. Jerry and I are leaving today for a camping trip with my family up in Oregon, so I'll post the photos from our final week (in Paris!) when we return.

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