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Trip Report My recent Trip to France

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Recently I went on a 15 day trip to France, most of which was spent traveling from vineyard to vineyard visiting the producers we import to the US. Along the way, I saw magnificent scenery, and had some opportunities to go and take day trips to places I'd never been.
Part 1:
Some great tips from Fodorites enhanced this trip for me greatly. For instance, a thread opened up the world of the Cathar Castles for me. I'd never thought about these people or the castles they left behind when I thought about France. I saw a thread on here, that recommended day trips from Toulouse and saw quite a few people recommend Carcassonne. Carcassonne is a medieval castle town that still has an entire working and living little town inside it's walls. It's only an hour by train from Toulouse (where I had air bnb'd a great little apartment for the few nights before my company arrived in France), then a quick bus ride from nearby the train station up the road to the Castle. I spent a whole day here.

I thoroughly enjoyed ambling around the ramparts and touring the castle, with views of the nearby towns below.

Albi was the other great day trip suggestion I got, and it was absolutely worth the less than an hour train ride from Toulouse, even on rainy day, to go and see the breathtaking St Cecil Cathedral (more intricate carvings then I saw in any other cathedral in France), and the gorgeous views of the Pont Vieux from the gardens next door. It was also a quaint town full of lovely little lunch spots and tiny little winding streets that felt like going back in time. I had the best cassoulet here as well at Le Petit Voisin (a funky little place with a tiny upstairs and big bigger downstairs where a wild Frenchman and his parrot host and serve)

Montpelier: Took a day trip here but unfortunately it was a Sunday and absolutely nothing interesting was open. I knew Sundays were bad but I thought we'd at least be able to enter some of the cathedrals, but yikes the ones we found were not accessible. Despite this, we ambled around the historic little center of the town down the trafficless stone streets, took a nice walk in the park and went to the Arc de Triumph. The highlight of this trip was actually the gorgeous Plazas (I can never think anything but Piazza or Palazzo damn my Italian roots) at Sunset as the light was so pretty and so different than Toulouse and Paris, and they were all lit up with some of the pretties Winter lights I've seen in France. Then the train ride home where we drank bottles of wine and ate Chinese-Vietnamese food (only thing open other than horrible touristy Plaza places with bad food).

This was up to day 4. The next part of the trip is the wine-vineyards portion. I am still recovering 2 weeks after my return, and am unable to eat much cheese, foie gras, or prosciutto after the absolute gluttony that was Beaune, Mersault, Macon, Condrieu, Cote Rotie, Avignon, Lyon, Costieres du Nimes and Sancerre.


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