Good morning, North America. Just a quick update from beautiful sunny Normandy. We’re on day 4 of 14, and we’re having a blast. We’ve seen cathedrals in Chartres and Mont-St-Michel, Chateaux at Chambord and Villandry, towns of Candes St-Martin and Saumur and Bayeux, as well as Juno Beach and a thousand points in between. We’ve drunk wine and beer and apple juice and nary a Diet Pepsi. We’ve stayed at some wonderful B&Bs, a parade of one beautiful site and charming host(ess) after another. Both the rental car and my French are holding up fairly well so far; we’ll see what the next ten days bring.

Pictures to come, though I don’t know when. I’m not really inclined to sit at the computer right now. Come to think of it, I think I’ll join Nellie in the sunny courtyard and play with the dogs before dinner. A tout à l’heure!

à tout à l’heure

It was (about to be) the best of times, it was (about to be) the worst of times, and then it was about to be the full-on bitchinest of times

Pretty exciting few weeks coming up for Nellie and I. Tomorrow night we see our first film festival movie of 2009, which we wrap up just 72 hours later. Then I have five days in which to complete the twelve labours of Hercules at the office, and then…France.


Then, once I get back — and I realize this is much more exciting for me than for Nellie — the hockey season starts. Technically I’ll have missed the Canadiens’ season opener against the Leafs, but a classic Saturday night game should make me feel right back at home in Canada.

Finally, in what could be either extreme serendipity or a classic over-reach, the day we get back is Nuit Blanche. Since we’ll still be on France time we’ll likely fall asleep early and wake up around 3 or 4 in the morning…the perfect time to head out to see some art. It’s a nice bonus that the TTC will be running all night too. We’ll see how that holds up.

I swear, every single town in France has a Notre Dame Cathedral

Back in January I mentioned that our big trip this year would consist of two weeks in France. We’ve now hammered out our plan some more:


The plan is as follows. Follow along on the map for extra fun!

  1. Land in Paris (trust me, the ‘A’ is hidden behind the ‘K’) and jump in a car
  2. Visit Chartres
  3. Visit the Chateau de Chambord and start driving along the Loire valley
  4. Visit Tours, and other small towns along the way like Amboise and Candes-St-Martin
  5. Visit Angers, and from there turn north
  6. See Mont-Saint-Michel, though after the experience we had at Rocamadour I think we’ll just take pictures from the outside
  7. Visit Juno Beach
  8. Visit the Vimy Memorial
  9. Visit Reims
  10. Spend a few days in and around Epernay and Troyes, sampling Champagne and meeting up with my brother
  11. Drive back to Paris, drop the car and spend about five days there…probably visiting the Louvre a couple of times, the Musee D’Orsay, Versailles, maybe the catacombs, maybe just hanging out in St-Germain or Montparnasse.

So that’s the plan.We’ll cover A through I in first six days, then as our energy wears off we’ll start to wind down in Champagne and take the better part of the final week in Paris.

Anybody have any tips for those areas? Any can’t-misses?