Around the world. ( Part 3)

I love going to Europe.  It feels so different than North America.  It is rich in history. Everywhere I  stop to  take photos. They help to  keep the memories alive.

The first countries I visited in Europe are France, UK and Wales. Then Denmark, Switzerland , Italy and Spain. There is not a country I like best . They are all interesting to me. I wish I could see them all.

What is your favorite country  in Europe ? Is  the language a problem when you visit a country where you cannot speak the language ? Do you try to learn a few words before you go ?

I will share a few pictures taken during my trips in Europe.

Every time I have been to Switzerland , I enjoyed the green landscapes. So many nice places to see .  Spending time in Gruyeres was fantastic. Another time we went in the Canton of Valais and we did some hiking. The Lavaux Vineyard Terraces very scenic .

In Italy, the first city I visited was Rome ( I showed some pics from my 2003 trip in the previous post). In 2012, we went to Venice. It was a dream for me. I remember being so excited. We spent 4 days in the city walking everywhere and going to the islands of  Burano and Murano.  If you knew how  many pictures I took during that trip, you would not believe me.

In Italy, on other trips, we have been visiting the  Gran Paradiso National Park and  Turin. We discovered Piedmonte area and Cinque  Terre  ( on a walking trip). We really enjoyed Cinque Terre and went on hikes between the villages. We stayed in Vernazza one of the 5 villages of CT.  We also went to Genova,  Pisa, Lucca and Florence.

In 2015, at last, I went back to Paris after 23 years and this time my husband was with me. As French is my first language, there was no worry for me to get by.  On my bucket list was to go up to the very top of the Eiffel tower. The view was great.

On that trip we also visited the Bay of Arcachon, the Dune du Pilat, the lighthouse of Cordouan.  We even flew over the whole bay in a small airplane for 4.  So many great memories.

Bordeaux and  St-Emilion  were also part of that 2015 trip.

We were also lucky to visit Toulouse and  wonderful villages of the Haute-Garonne. Albi, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Carcassonne, Foix .  Here another collage for you.

Many  green vistas to see while we traveled in France.

Spain is another great country. We know quite well Barcelona as we have been more than once. We  walked on the  Camino for 11 days with a group and guides ( On Foot in Spain). You can find some posts on our walks here on my blog.

So many good memories . I can’t wait to discover more of Europe .

Thank you for reading my post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

France (part 1)

We  flew from Amsterdam to Toulouse where our friends were waiting for us.              Over the next few days we did many outings in the area with them.

Château de Mazères. This large residence was  the country residence of the Archbishops of Auch, “resolutely limited to two floors, sitting in the center of a large winery and folded into five bodies of irregular buildings around a courtyard longer than wide, accentuated its cold and residential character, if it were not illuminated by the use of bricks and stones harmoniously mixed, playing with their differences of color and materials. It is flanked by a medieval square tower. ” The couple who bought the building is renovating. A big job  but I think they do it with passion!

Toulouse.     A city with unique architecture made of pinkish terracotta bricks, which earned it the nickname la Ville Rose (“the Pink City”).

The violet of Toulouse is the emblem of the city of Toulouse. You can get pretty much everything you want with that flavor.

It was blue that made Toulouse wealthy. Varying shades of the color are everywhere on shutters, on lamp-posts, doors, windows and ornamental ironwork. It’s a subtle blue-grey that perfectly complements the ancient red brickwork. Trade in pastel (woad, the yellow-flowered plant whose leaves yield a blue dye) allowed Toulouse merchants to amass vast fortunes.

St-Jacques  or St-James  seen in Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques.  We were going to see “him”  or at least his image  many times during this trip !

At the market, we bought some typical sausages of Toulouse. Delicious !

We also went  to Moissac. Known worldwide for its prestigious Abbey of Saint-Pierre, the capitals of the cloister of the abbey and tympanum are listed by UNESCO under the roads to  Santiago de Compostela.

Another day. Another direction. A quick visit in St-Felix Lauragais. Taking time to admire the view on the area. Isn’t it  beautiful ?

Back in Toulouse . Enjoying a walk along the Canal du Midi on a sunny afternoon. Many people were cycling. The perfect terrain as it is quite flat. I will say thank you to my friend Claude for taking this picture of me and my husband.

Good time for sure.  It was soon time to get ready other adventures that  will be the topic on my next post.

Thanks for reading. And for leaving a comment if you have time and wish to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

Toulouse

May  2015. We left Bordeaux and traveled  by train to Toulouse. My friend was waiting for us and soon after our lunch  we discovered the city. So many interesting places to see. It was great weather and good time to share with our friends. The first photo shows you  Place du Capitole  (top left)and  other places in the city.

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We visited The Basilica Saint-Sernin. Constructed in the  Romanesque style between about 1080 and 1120, with construction continuing thereafter. Saint-Sernin is the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, if not the world.

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The Cathedral St-Etienne. The irregular west front exists because the cathedral consists of two incomplete churches, the first dating from the early 13th century, which includes the  rose window  from 1230.

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Here is a view from the side of the building.

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We also  went to The Jacobin convent. The Dominicans—known as Jacobins in French because their convent in  Paris  was affiliated with the church of St-Jacques—have a long history in  Toulouse . The first monastery was founded in the 13th century.

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It is interesting how I see more Churches, Basilica, Cathedral while traveling than  when I am at home.  I will  tour the beautiful churches we have here in Vancouver area when I will decide to be a tourist in my own city.  There would be lots of places I never been although I have been living in Vancouver for 27 years !

Toulouse is a brick and stone city nicknamed “La Ville Rose”.  We had so much to learn and so much to see.

Pastel -fabulous plant -that gave blue to all Europe 400 years ago, made Toulouse flourish and enriched the region in the sixteenth century.  Isatis Tinctoria.  Long important as a source of blue dye, it has been cultivated throughout Europe, especially in Western and southern Europe, since ancient times. In medieval times there were important woad-growing regions in England, Germany and France. Towns such as Toulouse  became prosperous . Woad was eventually replaced by the stronger indigo and, in the early 20th century, both woad and indigo were replaced by synthetic indigos.

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It would be impossible to show you all we did in a busy afternoon  but of course, with a few photos you can imagine easily that this was a really nice visit. On my next post , we will be going on a field trip from Toulouse to visit a very famous castle.

Thanks for reading . MERCI beaucoup !