A Travellerspoint blog



View CJTaylors 2010 Europe trip on CJTaylor's travel map.

We took a train from Saint Malo to Bordeaux, passing through Rennes and Nantes. When arriving in Bordeaux, we took a tram to our accommodation - ResidHotel - which turned out to be a relatively cheap little apartment with a kitchenette. Bordeaux definately has more of a Mediterranean feel, and had some warm, balmy weather. Many people visit Bordeaux for the wine tasting or to visit the prehistoric caves near Dordogne, but unfortunately we weren't able to do so because of Jade being sick with her infected tooth - she was bedridden for 4 days. We contacted our travel insurance, who in turn put us in contact with an English speaking dentist. The dentist turned out to be somebody else who didn't actually speak English, but with sign language and an x-ray managed to confirm that it was indeed an infected wisdom tooth and prescribed antibiotics. Jade may need to have the lower wisdom teeth out back in Australia, but she is adamant that her jaw is still growing (it is now October and one of the teeth have come through). We decided to make tracks for Spain, first stop Madrid. A shorter than expected stay in France (hampered by the fact that France's tourist season in September is still high season and very expensive), but we look forward to returning in the future. On an intersting note, whilst waiting at the train station in Bordeaux to take the train into Spain, we noticed a film crew who were filming a Chinese movie. Later on Jade recognised Dominique Pignon (hard to miss a face like his), a French actor who we have seen in movies such as Amelie and Roman De Gare. He didn't seem to have anything to do with the Chinese film though.

Posted by CJTaylor 11:40 Archived in France

Saint Malo and Mont Saint Michel

View CJTaylors 2010 Europe trip on CJTaylor's travel map.

We took a very packed train from Paris Montparnasse station to Saint Malo. Our interest in going to Saint Malo was because of it being close to Mont Saint Michel and when Jade was a teenager she saw a film based there called Spring. Saint Malo is in northern France, in Brittany. It is a sea side town popular with English tourists due to it's proximty by ferry to Portsmouth. The city was destroyed by about 80% during WWII and was carefully restored by locals to what it looked like historically. We walked from the train station to the old city, which is right next to the sea and a marina. Our accommodation, Hotel de la Nautilis, was in the old city, with a friendly and helpful owner who ended up assisting us to book accommodation at our forthcoming destination of Bordeaux when we were having difficulty finding a place. After dropping our bags off there, we went for a walk atop the city walls and in the old city which has many restaurants, boutiques and patisseries. Seafood and crepes are popular. We walked on top of the city walls for some time, which goes around the circumference of the entire old city, with fantastic views of the beach as you can see from the photos. In summer the beaches are packed and wealthy French have holiday homes by the sea. We went for a walk along the beach and on a walking track and admired the Breton architecture. That night, we relaxed in our hotel watching the few channels that were in English - a British game show with Durham University versus Oxford (guess who won), Antiques Master and Jamie Oliver versus fat American kids (not the official title). The next day we took a bus to Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, which is famous as rocky tidal island and sixth century stronghold with an amazing monastary. We were lucky enough to witness a service conducted by monks and nuns singing medieval hymns. Unfortunately, Jade started to feel sick during the day trip with a swollen left neck gland and feeling nauseous. At first, she thought it was from all the smokers who stand very close to you in public places. But by the next day she still sick and suspected an infected wisdom tooth (the left lower wisdom tooth which hasn't yet erupted). Jade also blamed some Rockford cheese that we ate on the train, which may have somehow gotten through the gum (it is a very strong cheese).

Posted by CJTaylor 11:21 Archived in France


View CJTaylors 2010 Europe trip on CJTaylor's travel map.

We arrived in Paris by bus about two hours late at 6:30pm. Luckily we had already booked our accommodation near the city centre at Avia Saphir in Montparnasse. Jade practiced her recently learnt French asking for directions. The room was small and a little loud due to the traffic outside, but it was in a good location and relatively inexpensive for Paris. The next day we decided to have a walk around the city to see some sites. The first place we came across was the Dome Church where Napolean is buried. After getting some glimpses of the Effiel Tower we heading towards it thinking that it didn't look all that big. However, when we came up to the tower, its size was more than we had imagined. There were thousands of people queing up at the base of each pillar waiting to go to the top of the tower. Each pillar has lifts and stairs, giving the tower four access points. (A few days after we left Paris where saw on the news that thousands of people had been evacuated due to a bomb threat). Next, we headed along the River Seine toward Notre Dame. Along this river is where many monuments, palaces, museums and government buildings are located. Because the monuments are concentrated in the same area, Paris seems grander and richer than any other city we had been to so far. At Notre Dame, we joined a walking tour of the Latin Quarter, which is where the University of Sorbonne (which was the University of Paris) has been located since the middle ages, one of the earliest universities in Europe (founded in the 11th century). After 10 hours of walking around the city we decided to go back and continue to explore the city the next day. In our hotel, we watched TV which was showing Jurassic Park dubbed in German. Most English or American movies are dubbed in French, but for some reason there are channels where movies are dubbed in German (go figure). The Untouchables was also on and it was sad to think that the French are not able to hear Sean Connery's accent unless they seek out special cinemas. While in Paris we did three walking tours in different parts of the city which were great (the company Discovery Tours only accepts tips). We spent 4 hours in the Louvre, it was a maze and it took about 2 hours just to get orientated to the place. Around the Mona Lisa was swamped with people. One place we really loved in Paris was around Montmarte, where we happened upon a bakery which had the best bread we'd ever eaten, a type of roll with tasty green olives. Despite the French (only kidding), we enjoyed our 5 days in Paris and certainly could have spent more time there.

Posted by CJTaylor 11:03 Archived in France

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