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Dec 162014

This post is from Montpellier, prior to the move to Lyon. The time-line is almost back to normal. November 19th started as one of the coldest mornings so far this autumn. It might have been nice to stay in bed, but it was time for another train trip, this time to Arles, just inside Provence.

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Dec 022014
A Special Visit - II

Our friends Rich and Patti drove to Montpellier from Barcelona, Spain to visit us. That meant they had a car. Originally, our plans were to possibly spend more time driving out into the countryside. However, given the difficulties of navigating the narrow, convoluted streets we decided to leave the car safe in its parking space.

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Nov 242014
A Special Visit - I

Long-time friends from Florida visited us in Montpellier recently. We have known Rich and Patti for far longer than I want to calculate. At our last April Fool’s party (40th wedding anniversary), they threatened to come to France and drink wine with us. To our delight, they drove in from Barcelona where they had spent

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Nov 222014
Nîmes – The French Rome

When one is able to just get in to a car and go somewhere, travel without a car can seem difficult. For some destinations it is impossible. But there are so many places to visit that only require a train ticket. Non-automobile travel has several obvious advantages, you don’t have to drive, or navigate, or

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Nov 062014
Abbeys and Castles – The Road Less Traveled

As we took the roads out and away from Carcassonne, the massive fortress dominated the view behind us for quite a while. Even from a distance the towers could be seen above the vineyards and trees until they finally disappeared from view and, for us, became only a memory. The narrow country roads we were

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Nov 042014
Abbeys and Castles – Lastours

Our morning walk through the Cité de Carcassonne was, once again, cold and windy. Though this time we were bundled, the temperature difference between being in the sunlight and being deep in the shadows of the centuries-old stone walls was tremendous. On top of that, it seemed that the wind was stronger whenever we stepped

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Nov 032014
Carcassonne - The Medieval Fortress

I was born and grew up in Florida, and just to the south of my birthplace is St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the continental United States. St. Augustine is a charming and historical city, and location of the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest fort in the United States, whose construction

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Oct 312014
Abbeys and Castles - I

Abbeys There are so many places that we would love to visit, and many we can get to via train, bus and foot. But there are many others that will require a car, and Carcassonne and its surrounding area was one of those places. Besides, it was time to take an expedition that was more

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Oct 292014
Béziers - The Canal du Midi and Massacres

Béziers is one of the oldest cities in France, dating from about 575 B.C. It was old when the Romans arrived. Its location made it a major east-west trade route through the region. Béziers suffered greatly in 1209 during the Albigensian Crusade, in which the Catholic Church exterminated the Cathar religion. The entire population of

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