A Conversation for France

Also worth visiting...

Post 1


... is the Institut du Monde Arabe (1 Rue des Fossees St. Bernard - in the 5th, near the Jardin des Plantes). Especially if you have already done the typical sights, or are there in high season and can't face queuing for over an hour to get into the (I thought, rather disappointing) Musee d'Orsay.

It has light sensitive windows which mimic the traditional design of Arab houses and a great permanent exhibition on arab culture and history, plus changing exhibits.

Also worth visiting in Paris...

Post 2


I should, of course, have said "Also worth visiting in Paris..."

Also worth visiting in Avignon

Post 3


In Avignon, when you are in the square facing the pope's palace, there is a renaissance art museum to the left, very good museum if you have an interest in art. Also in the palace garden there is a rock formation with a little pool that ducks and geese swim in, it forms a kind of grotto. There are steps to climb on top, there's a better view from up here of the surrounding city. As a side note, I don't think the pope was chased out of Rome. The pope was from Avignon and didn't want to relocate to Rome (can't blame him, Avignon is beautiful).

Also, if you're in southern France for a decent period of time, check out Les Baux, a really cool town with the ruins and a lot of history. If you're going to Les Baux be sure and stop at both the Mas Sainte Berthe and Caves de Rousset wineries. Mas Sainte Berthe has some great wine (just remember, wine from southern France is very dry), and Caves de Rousset has very good wine and a fantastic winery (in a drive-in cave).

If you're looking for a nice street market, try Arles. I bought quite a few Christmas presents there. While in Arles check out the colliseum (featured in the movie Ronin).

The Notre Dame de Marseilles is pretty cool, but it's a tough drive (it's in the center of town up on THE hill. Really windy, but a great view. There's also a pretty good mall on the west side of Marseilles.

If you like ruins there's also the Pont du Gard, a part of the aquaduct that bridges a river. Side note - we were down at the water's edge admiring the scenery and skipping stones on the water. Then we noticed the stones smelled pretty raunchy. The water might be polluted or something, we don't recommend skipping stones, but the hiking is great.

Last but not least, if you're in southern France you might as well make the drive to Monte Carlo. Pretty scenic, nice to see how the other half lives smiley - winkeye. There are two main casinos, the lesser of the two has a restaurant attached. We were at one table and some others from our group were at another. They got excellent service, we got the worst service of any place we visited. Then the waiter added our tip into the bill - I stated we should have had it taken off.

The people are very friendly and are usually willing to help if you're patient. As far as the language is concerned I posted an article in my journal (check my page if you're really interested) a while back about trying to learn French on the fly.

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