The Glorious Cathedral of St. Cecilia in Albi, France

The magnificence of the Albi Cathedral of St. Cecilia, in southwestern France, belies a history based in bloodshed. Those fierce times are long gone, and today the cathedral is a calm place of worship and a must-see impressive sight for visitors in the town of Albi. The Gothic cathedral, built in the late 13th century as a fortress (no mistake, it looks like one), is one of the largest ... Read Full Article

Albi, France: A Step Back in Time

Albi, on the River Tarn in southwestern France, is famous for its well-preserved medieval and Renaissance buildings. Half-timbered houses and former mansions line the winding, cobble-stoned streets of Old Albi, reminders of the town’s rich heyday when merchants grew wealthy selling dyes and textiles. Albi is easy to explore on foot, and the Albi tourist office, on Place Sainte-Cécile, provides ... Read Full Article

Savoring France’s Lovely Town of Cognac

  Every year, the modest town of Cognac draws thousands of visitors from all around the world. Not surprisingly! Cognac is the world’s capital of the golden-color elixir and symbol of French refinement - Cognac, the brandy. But what may stun the newcomer is that the city’s savors go beyond its famous brandy. Poitou-Charentes The eau-de-vie comes from Poitou-Charentes, a region that may ... Read Full Article

The Maritime City of La Rochelle, France

  Easily accessible by train, La Rochelle, France is a popular destination for European tourists. This coastal town has something to offer everyone, from upscale shops to gourmet restaurants to a variety of historical sites.  Boasting four large ports, the city of La Rochelle is home to a lifestyle (food, activities, sites) that is directly influenced by its maritime culture. My first ... Read Full Article

Discovering Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River, located in Southwest France. Of course, one of the first things that comes to mind when one hears Bordeaux is wine (have no fear, I will extrapolate on this major part of Bordelaise culture a bit further down). The city of Bordeaux, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also home to many historic monuments, gardens, museums and chateaux. What to see ... Read Full Article

Minerve, France: Village of Charm and History

  The village of Minerve perches on a high ridge in the wild landscape of the Causses, in the Languedoc-Rousillon region of Southwestern France.   No cars are allowed, so visitors park outside the village and walk across the bridge above the River Cesse. Water flows in the river only in winter. The rest of the year, it’s a dry, rocky ravine. Minerve, with its cobblestone lanes and ... Read Full Article

Mysterious Rennes-le-Chateau, France

  Mystery and legend swirl around Rennes-le-Chateau, a medieval village in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southwestern France. Visitors come by the thousands, curious to see the home of ancient family codes, a secret society, hidden treasure, and religious conspiracies. I go for the incredible views of the landscape and, yes, the intrigue of it all. The area is known for its beauty, ... Read Full Article

Gladiators and Madators and Bono… Oh My! The Roman Amphitheater of Nîmes, France

The city of Nîmes is located in Southwest France and is the capital of the Gard Department in the Cévennes Region. Among tourists, it is best known for its well-preserved Roman structures. The most famous of these is undoubtedly the Arènes de Nimes, an amphitheater that dates back to Roman times, first century A.D. An impressive structure, it has an area of 133m/146yd by 101m/110yd in area and, in ... Read Full Article

Lunchtime at Le Kaiku in St. Jean de Luz, France

  My husband and I wanted to take our good friend out for lunch on his last day with us in France. Knowing that he really enjoyed seafood, we asked a few locals where we could find the best fruits de mer in the picturesque seaside town of Saint Jean de Luz. Without hesitation, all of them answered Le Kaïku on Rue de la République.  I was surprised by how reasonable the lunchtime menu/prix ... Read Full Article

France’s Cathar Country

The Aude , a “department” or district in the Languedoc region is Cathar Country, whose most notable towns are Narbonne and Carcassonne. Cathar was a Christian sect that flourished in western Europe during the 12th and 13th centuries. It was considered heretical and was roundly condemned by the Roman Catholic Church. Carcassonne is one of the best preserved walled cities in Europe. Viewed at ... Read Full Article