Rocamadour, France: Quaint Charm and Medieval Miracles

For eight centuries, devout pilgrims have crawled up the Grand Stairway of Rocamadour on their knees, doing penance. I didn’t climb the 200-plus steep, worn stairs on my knees, but I was mightily impressed by them. They carry the weight of history. This medieval town in southwestern France is carved right into the rock of a cliff, high above the Alzou River in the Dordogne/Lot region. The Grand ... Read Full Article

France’s Padirac Chasm – Gouffres de Padirac

  The Padirac Chasm – Gouffres de Padirac – is an amazing, eerie, natural phenomenon not to be missed when you’re in the Dordogne region of France. It’s basically a huge sinkhole with a series of underground galleries hollowed out of the limestone of the Massif Central, the rugged, mountainous plateau that covers almost one-sixth of France.  The vast chambers are filled with stalactites, ... Read Full Article

Toulouse’s Saint Sernin, Largest Romanesque Church in Europe

Saint Sernin Basilica in Toulouse

Toulouse boasts many wondrous sights, but the biggest and most famous is the enormous Romanesque Basilica of Saint-Sernin. The huge brick and stone structure was begun in the 11th century to serve the crowds of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain.  It’s 115 meters (377 feet) long, 64 meters (210 feet) wide, and 21 meters (68.8 feet) high, the largest in Europe, if not the ... Read Full Article

Toulouse: Violets, Airplanes and Pilgrims

Pont Neuf Toulouse

The thriving city of Toulouse, spreading from the banks of the Garonne River only 60 miles from Spain, is a great place to explore. With a 2400-year history, it is rich with ancient artifacts and buildings, centuries of art, and attractions that extend into the space age. It is known as the Ville Rose, named so because of the pink brick used in many of its buildings. Explore ... Read Full Article

A Stop in Lourdes, France

On a recent trip to France, I made it a point to stop in Lourdes. To be quite honest, Lourdes had never really been on my radar during previous trips and while I was living in the south. Each time I returned to the States, members of my Catholic family would inevitably ask if I had been to see it- to which I would sheepishly respond “no, maybe next time.” So, this time around, I felt I should take ... Read Full Article

Take an Active Vacation in France

France is a country of contrasts, offering cosmopolitan shopping delights as well as rustic outdoor adventures. Here are a few great ideas for those looking for an active vacation. Ferme de Soulan, Pyrénées Rustic lodging, home-made meals, snow slopes…you can have it all at la Ferme de Soulan, an old farmhouse located in Saint-Lary, an ancient mountain village. Pascal and Laurence have ... Read Full Article

Enjoying the Southwest Region of France

  From rolling forests to surfers dream beaches, from spectacular caves to towering gorges; the Southwest's countryside appeal makes it a terrific spot for active, adventurous travelers. Offering ample opportunities for biking, hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding, this region has it all. With so many off-road retreats, Southwest France comes with a caveat: take it slow! There is ... Read Full Article