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Judy's Journal (15,000 words)
France 2012 - Short Version
The Adamses and Teators enjoyed a late-September week in the Loire Valley, another week in Burgundy, and a half week in Paris amidst chateaus, vineyards, history, French cuisine, and scenic vistas.
France 2012 - Medium Version
The idea had sprouted mid-2011, and the seasoned travelers Tim and Judy and the nouveau Don and Deb fleshed out details for the Teatorsí first European trip, with reality hitting on September 13, 2012 with a departure from JFK.
Our home bases were a mix of hotel and apartment. Our first four nights of hotel stay found us in Villandry, just west of Tours in mid-Loire Valley; the next three nights in Amboise, just east of Tours; and the last three nights in Paris.
Week Two found us in an apartment in Pommard, a few kilometers south of Beaune, one of the centers of Burgundy and the Cote DíOr. Apartment life allowed a looser, more stay-at-home, eat-at-oneís-pace style. Still, we generally held to a schedule that featured a heavier lunch/lighter dinner, resulting in an economical food budget, as well as a lighter stomach before bed.
One appeal for our French regions were history and historic structures, with at least one visited each day. They included:
Chartres, Notre Dame, Abbey Fontenay, Ste Chapelle, St Sulpice, and more.
Chateaus: Villandry, Chinon, Azay LíRideau, Chenonceau, Chambord, Close Luce, La Rochepot, Savigny les Beaune, and Pommard
Other Historic areas: Hotel Dieu, Eiffel Tower, Arc díTriomphe, and more, mostly in Paris (if you donít count the hundreds of old structures in practically every town we traveled through).
Other daily mainstays:
Wines: vineyards and wine tastings in the Loire Valley and Burgundy
Culture: food, cafť atmosphere, compact towns surrounded by open land
Our schedule, before Paris, mostly followed: breakfast, ride to a historic site, go out for lunch, work in a wine tasting, and finish the evening with dinner and a dayís round-up.
Any trip to another country is a balance of oneís expectations adapting to surroundings, and that played itself out in many ways, many of them consisting of differences. These included town layouts, public bathrooms, menus, language, and more.
Travel, whether by rental car, or by plane bookending the itinerary, certainly flavors a long trip.
Want more? and pictures? The Long Version has more. And try Judy Adam's Journal for a day-by-day account.