Researching novel in France

Jun 2nd, 2011, 01:31 PM
  #1  
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Researching novel in France

I am writing a book that takes place in France about 1500 and plan to visit some of the sites my characters lived in--mostly Brittany and Lyon; plus Paris of course. I'm a mature woman, traveling alone, going by train from place to place. I'd appreciate suggestions. Going in September, for about two weeks.
pwrnyc is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 01:34 PM
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What sort of suggestions? It sounds as though your itinerary will be driven by the places you need to research, so what else do you need help with?
StCirq is online now  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 01:35 PM
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Two weeks is certainly not enough time for any research, particularly if it is your first visit to the country.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 02:20 PM
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I'm also not clear on what kind of suggestions you want since you have your itinerary and are using the train (which I would have suggested, but not if the locations are very rural).

I think the idea is just to have a vacation with a them, not to do any research? Or do you just want to see a place for a day or two to get an idea of what it looks like (although comparing that to 1500 is going to be hard).

If you want suggestions on places to research, I have an amateur interest in history and have read a lot on France and visited some places with archives, etc., but I really don't know what you want or maybe nothing.

ok, here is one tip, for Paris, go to the oldest parts of the city for the ambience of 1500, that would be Ile de la Cite and the Marais (rue des Rosiers) and the Latin Qtr (eg montagne Ste Genevieve). I hope you read French, which would be helpful if you were going to any library or looking at archives, etc. Here is the history of rue des Rosiers in French http://marais.evous.fr/Histoire-de-l...s-Rosiers.html

The Conciergerie is the oldest building in Paris, I think. It and Ste Chapelle and rue des Rosiers are actually older then ca 1500. Anyway, you might want to visit the National Archives/Museum which is in the Marais, or if you don't want to do that, the Museum Carnavalet which has artifacts through the history of Paris and some paintings that may give you some ideas.
Christina is online now  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 02:52 PM
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To clarify-I have done enormous research in the US; my trip is to see the places I write about to give it more richness.I deal with art and architecture quite a bit. I have been to France before, and am brushing up on my French so that I can get around more comfortably, but will not be even trying to do academic research in French. I have found great resources here.I appreciate your suggestions about specific places in Paris. I haven't traveled alone in France before, and have slight trepidations; I'm fine getting around by myself, but really hate eating alone in restaurants.
pwrnyc is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 04:30 PM
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"I haven't traveled alone in France before, and have slight trepidations; I'm fine getting around by myself, but really hate eating alone in restaurants."

Why don't you just find a friend, relative, someone to go with you? You may actually find it more enjoyable.
pauljagman is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 05:04 PM
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So, are you now looking for suggestions about where you can eat in Brittany and Lyon and Paris and not feel uncomfortable eating alone?

Or what?

I hope the novel isn't as mysterious as this post.
StCirq is online now  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 06:16 PM
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Maybe you will feel more comfortable eating solo at lunchtime rather than at dinner. That's usually when we have our restaurant meal, and many times we've seen someone eating alone, usually reading. In smaller places we've struck up conversations with solo diners. If you go the lunch-out/dinner-in routine, you can pick up something at a boulangerie to eat back at your B&B/hotel. That suits us, because we are early diners and many French restaurants don't open till 7 or 7:30.

If you're in France during the Journees du Patrimoine (usually 3rd weekend in Sept), you can probably find some buildings from ca 1500 to visit. There are wonderful places open to the public at that time.

Good luck with the book. I want to read it, so come back and let us know when it's done.
Coquelicot is online now  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 08:26 PM
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I hope you're going to see Mont Saint-Michel. Some of the abbey buildings have been there since long before the 15th C.
Jean is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 09:09 PM
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Keep good records for the IRS.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2011, 10:03 AM
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well, I think if you hate eating alone, you probably hate it anywhere, right? But there isn't much choice if you are traveling alone and you must eat. If you hate it because you have no one to talk to, there is nothing to do about that. If you hate it because you don't think you are as worthy as other people or don't have the same rights, just forget that idea. Your money is as good as anyones (eg, the post about how you should only eat at lunch or not normal hours, imlying there is something wrong with you). Look, I'm a single mature woman, also, and I eat alone whenever I want when I travel or aqt home, and I don't let anyone else tell me I'm not allowed to eat with regular people because there is something wrong with me (or my money). I eat when I want to eat, which is around 8-9 pm.

Just think about the fact that you are dwelling on yourself, which is really kind of self-obsession. Other people really don't care about you that much.
Christina is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2011, 10:28 AM
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pwrnyc,

Some of the nastiest and most jealousy driven people posting on Fodor's mainly post in the France threads. They live for threads like yours to be insulting about them. Try Frommer's or Tripadvisor if you would like some interesting advice from imaginative people who actually pursue their dreams for real rather than just try to pour cold water on other people's.
zeppole is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2011, 10:41 AM
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In Brittany, visit Dinan, Vitré, Fougères, St-Malo, Quimper, and the megaliths around Carnac. Dinan would be a nice place to stay. However, I really think you need to consider having a car, as train travel alone will certainly limit you.

As for eating alone, just take a book.
Underhill is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2011, 11:32 AM
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Medieval Brittany : In addition to the above Fougères, Rennes and more specifically in Finistère : Locronan, Le Faou, Saint Renan.
Lyon : There is a bilingual (English/French) "Guide to Medieval Lyon" by Marcel Pacaut on sale on the net. Don't miss St Jean district near the cathedral. Near Lyon, the medieval city of Pérouges.
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Jun 3rd, 2011, 02:09 PM
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pwrnyc, I hope you didn't think I was implying there was anything wrong with you or that you should only eat at lunchtime. I didn't mean that at all. It's just that I don't have any observations about dinner since we only eat restaurant meals at lunch, and I thought I was encouraging you by saying it's a usual thing for people to eat alone in a restaurant. You'll fit right in.

Last trip I had a great meal by myself in a good restaurant--yes, even without a book--and enjoyed the food and people-watching immensely.

You're getting some good destination suggestions from Underhill and Pvoyageuse. I can only speak about Fougeres and Dinan, which we have enjoyed. (We enjoyed Vitre but there's less to see there.) Both have a lot of medieval buildings, and Fougeres has the biggest castle in Europe (restored).

Taking the train kind of limits you to larger towns, but that's not necessarily a problem.
Coquelicot is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2011, 02:20 PM
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I've never had a problem with eating alone, but a couple of suggestions would be to eat early before most diners show up, eat at your hotel if there's a restaurant and bring a book along or even notes to review.
historytraveler is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2011, 10:54 PM
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zeppole, I'm glad I'm not alone in my thoughts about many of the posters on the france threads.
apersuader65 is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2011, 11:22 PM
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"I'm glad I'm not alone"
No, you're not !
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