• europe,  france,  travel

    Scaling the hills of Marseille – Day 4

    Photos It was our last day in France, so we tried to get going in a timely manner. We dressed and primped and packed our things up and checked out of our hotel. We had an evening flight to Rome, which meant we had the day to do a bit more exploring and some shopping around the city. We headed in the direction of the Notre Dame de la Garde, the basilica atop the large hill that overlooks the city.…

  • europe,  france,  travel

    Communing with the Count of Monte Cristo – Day 3

    Photos We were able to get out the door at a decent hour, as we had exciting sightseeing plans for the day. We planned to catch a ferry to visit Chateau d’If and the nearby island (Ile de Frouil). We packed ourselves a tote with beach goods, as the island was purported to have some beaches. We grabbed pastries from our now usual boulangerie around the corner and headed to a wine and goods shop. We took a stroll what…

  • europe,  france,  travel

    Architecture and mechanisms – Day 2

    Photos Perhaps unsurprisingly, I woke up relatively early and was able to take my time getting ready for the day. We decided to skip the first session of the conference, as we were both presenting later in the day and wanted to be rested and refreshed. We meandered out to a little boulangerie around the corner to grab some morning pastries and sat out at a table to enjoy them (and the people-watching). We decided to take a very round-about…

  • europe,  france,  travel

    Miles to Marseille – Day 1

    Photos After spending a very relaxing, pleasant week in Vancouver, visiting with family and old friends, it was with great reluctance that I awoke at the ungodly hour of 5 am to head to the airport (made all the more painful for having been at a friend’s wedding until midnight). I was in for a long haul of a journey, with 2 connections in Toronto and Frankfurt before landing in Marseille. Mercifully, the flights were relatively uneventful, and I was able to…

  • europe,  france,  gastronomy,  travel

    Gastronomical adventures in Paris – Day 21

    Photos Our room at Hotel du Nord was much the same as the room we had the last time we stayed there—that is to say, small, sparsely-furnished and functional. It did, thankfully, have a fan, which we kept blasting at us for most of the night. We awoke and got ourselves ready for our only really full day in Paris (as many things would be closed for the holiday). We headed downstairs to a nearby boulangerie to pick up our…

  • europe,  france,  travel

    Bonjour cite d’amour – Day 20

    Photos We were up at a decent hour, tidying up our room and finishing any bits of packing left. We went down and had a quick breakfast, chatting with our hosts and the other guests for a bit, before settling our affairs and loading up the car. It would be a bit of a sad journey as we would be returning our beloved Twingo. Once we were all loaded up, and amusedly after our hostess had warned us of the…

  • europe,  france,  gastronomy,  travel

    The mother of all chateaux (Chambord) – Day 19

    Photos D and I had gone to bed the previous evening specifically looking to get an early start; thus, we were up and having breakfast before 9 am. I desperately wanted to avoid major crowds at our final chateau, so I was determined to get there before 10 am. We largely kept to schedule and were soon cruising towards Chateau de Chambord. It wasn’t long before we entered the Parc du Chambord, apparently the largest enclosed game reserve in France…

  • europe,  france,  travel

    The less-than-appetizingly-named city (Blois “blwah”) – Day 18

    Photos The weather was overcast when we wandered downstairs for breakfast, joining the rest of the B&Bers. We were seated on their lovely terrace behind the house, but I was rather suspect of the ominous- looking clouds. Not long after we’d finished our croissants and yoghurt, my suspicions were confirmed as the clouds opened up, letting out some torrential rain. We helped our hostess grab her cloth placemats before running inside. After woefully looking out at the rain for a…

  • europe,  france,  gastronomy,  travel

    Garden of Eden – Day 17

    Photos It was still raining when we awoke, which dampened our enthusiasm slightly, as we had hoped to hit a few more chateaux. But we headed down to the breakfast area and munched on a few croissants to get us started. We packed up our stuff, including a bunch of our laundry that our hostess kindly did for us. D went and brought the car around front, and despite a morning of rain, it actually stopped raining while we loaded…

  • europe,  france,  gastronomy,  travel

    A seat of royalty – Day 16

    Photos We awoke and headed down for breakfast at the ornate dining table before a rather impressive fireplace. There, we chatted with a German fellow and his daughter, covering a range of topics (even a few linguistic ones). After we finished our croissants and conversation, we headed up the room and readied ourselves for the day. We hopped in our darling little Twingo and made our way across the river and up to Amboise, situated on the south bank of…