So, Eurotrip part 2.... more tourist photos are about to be thrown at ya. From Turin, we caught a train to Nice, France, where we picked up the rental car and a whole new experience happened... driving in a foreign country. Despite navigational errors, I'd say I did a pretty good job driving. We drove north through the Gorges du Verdon (or the Verdon Gorge, whatever.... it's a huge national park in France) to scope out the area.
Scoping out the guidebook at Belvedere for the climb we are about to do. Also, the approach routes are marked with paint, might be the most well-marked approach in the HISTORY of mankind. (just follow the red dots, yo).
After looking at the Gorge for a looong time (and having some bread and salami for lunch) we headed into the little town right outside the Gorge, La Palud sur Verdon.
we stayed in a very small town called Riez, that's about 45 minutes from the Gorge. Apparently it was the weekend of the biggest fair and market of the year, great coincidence! These women had an old Volkswagen van with a FULL BRICK OVEN built into it. so amazing.
spent a long time wandering around town that evening and thoroughly enjoyed the quietness of Riez.
Then it was time to climb in the morning. the rock was so different!
after finishing in about 2 and a half hours (uh, about 3 hours shorter than anticipated), we looked over the edge and couldn't understand why it was so darn easy (no, we're not THAT good
headed back in La Palud sur Verdon for some lunch and more exploring.
this is the gorge from the west:
i really wanted a good photo of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie but I didn't really get one, this is as good as it got:
drove a few hours south to Aix-en-Provence for a few days. We only went into the city twice, but there you go.
When in Aix, we stayed in the country outside the city, and it was the most perfect little home on a farm property and we literally didn't leave for anything other than groceries once. lots of good cooking and lots of wine was had. it rained every afternoon, but it was one of those amazing warm country rains (imagine some reference to growing up in Indiana here).
Before leaving Aix to go north, we explored the surrounding countryside and found Le Tholonet, another CUTE little town:
have I mentioned yet home much i ADORED all the sycamore trees that were everywhere, especially when they were planted in rows along little country roads. we can thank my college professor Jules Erwin for teaching me so much about trees that I decided (for so many reasons) sycamores are my favorites.
we went out to see St. Victoire, which has some really awesome climbing on it... next time! :)
Florian, our host in Aix, had this amazing dog named Paco. and in the morning before we left, I found him on our porch, just waiting for us to give him some love and table scraps:
after a (mostly) uneventful drive to Paris, we returned the car and got to our little apartment just south of Montmartre. There wasn't a skyline view but I was mostly obsessed with the light and shadows that we had in our little view. seriously. obsessed. explored some touristy places, Jardin des Tuileries and the area around the Louvre.
we stopped at Le Procope. it's technically the oldest cafe in the world, and the likes of Voltaire, Ben Franklin, and Jefferson all frequented it (among many others). now it's a pretty nice restaurant, and we had a little lunch there.
follow le procope with more street exploring, complete with a shadow selfie:
i was obsessed with the stairs to our apartment. and the people at the Pompidou Centre.
right outside the Pompidou is this amazing church called Saint Merri. It even had parts of the church that were dedicated to installations by local artists, so amazing:
we did the thing to do and had a dinner picnic by the Seine at sunset (SO DARN GOOD) and then popped off to the Eiffel Tower at night. I took only one photo worth sharing, and that is a shot from underneath... it reminds me very much of a science fiction movie.
we went to the Louvre in the morning to complete the tourist trip to Paris, and found ourselves mostly alone in the museum for the first 2 hours it was open which was AMAZING. We had Napoleon III's apartment pretty much to ourselves, and I found my favorite stairwell of all time. obviously, only I would have a favorite stairwell, sheesh. i had to take a second trip back to it.
went up to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur in the afternoon:
yeah. notre dame. i tried to get a nice picture of myself in front of it for my mother, but it was blurry and awful.
we were early for dinner so we explored Luxembourg Gardens:
leaving Paris during a gorgeous sunrise to take a flight to Zurich:
Honestly, I'm glad I went to Paris, but I'd trade my 3 days there for 3 days in Zurich... I can't wait to go back and spend more time in Switzerland. it was AMAZING. It was so clean, so welcoming, and so varied. I recently found out I've got a fair amount of Swiss in my ancestry, so maybe it's just me wanting to explore my heritage.... but it was pretty awesome.
So there's LOADS more photos if you're into my personal life (haha) on instagram, I'm @caitlincoar if you want to see more! Here's to more travels.