Looking Back On Our Travels in France

 

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I recently posted a travel series titled Tour des Crepes et des Glaces on our France travels.  After our fabulous trip to France, Michael and I sat down to recap what we agreed upon before we left and if those things were beneficial.

Things We Agreed Upon Before We Left

  • Stay at B & Bs instead of hotels
    • We thought by staying in a B & B that we would have a more authentic French experience.  In addition, getting to know the owners of the B & Bs is something we wanted to do.  This was definitely a bonus.  The owners at each place we stayed were well versed in English and made sure that our stay was to our liking.  The only “hotel type” place we stayed at was in Versailles.  After a 10 1/2 flight, getting a rental car, and driving to Versailles we thought  a nap might be in order. Hotel de France had an early check in time at 1 pm which was perfect.

Here is a list of the places we stayed.  From top left to right:  Hotel De France – Versailles, Le Chateau de Nazelles – Loire Valley, Logis du Jerzual – Dinan (Britagne), La Villa – Bayeux (Normandy), and Le Petit Giverny – Giverny

 

  • Make an effort to speak French
    • Yes!  The French really appreciated our efforts to speak their language.  This was our second trip to France and never once did we have an issue with “rude French people” like I’ve always heard about.  We would speak in French and a lot of times they would answer back in English.  All was good!

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  • Eat French cuisine
    • Definitely!  Why would you eat anything else?  We saw our fair share of Indian, Chinese, and American(ized) restaurants and avoided them.  We fell in love with galettes (savory crepes) and would seek out creperies.  Galettes and crepes were not the only thing we ate (but pretty darn close).  We ate at a couple upscale restaurants:  La Lycorne in Dinan and Au P’tit Bistrot in Bayeux. Both were delicious.

 

  • Don’t rush to fit everything in
    • Very Important!  For each area of France we visited, we decided on what were the “must sees” and what would be worthwhile seeing if we had the time.  This frame of mind really worked out to our benefit.  We never had that anxious feeling to see everything.  Below is a list of our “must sees”  I give a detailed description of our adventures in my blog links at the end of this post.
      • Versailles – Chateau & Gardens
      • Loire Valley – tour a few chateaus
      • Britagne – Explore the town of Dinan
      • St-Malo & Mont-St. Michel
      • Normandy – Visit American D-Day Beaches
      • Giverny – Monet’s Gardens
  • Let’s not go to Paris.  What???
    • Yup!  That’s right.  We have been to Paris before and did all the touristy things you should do except the Eiffel Tower.  After researching, I found out that visiting the Eiffel Tower meant standing in line for up to 4 hours even with a ticket!  Not how we wanted to spend one of our days.  I guess pictures will have to do.

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What We Learned Along the Way

  • Get a navigation system in your car
    • This was something we hadn’t planned on, since we thought we would use our Waze app for navigation.  Having a car with a built in system is the way to go.  Even though we bought a plan through our cell phone provider for data usage in Europe, I think we would have blown through our limit just on navigation alone.  We were lucky to have this since we didn’t request it.

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  • Take naps
    • We found this out quickly in Versailles.  Adjusting to a time zone with a 9 hour difference can be difficult.  Just about everyday, we took a two hour nap from about 4-6pm  It worked wonders and rejuvenated us for dinner in the evening.

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  • Aways take water and food when traveling to a new destination
    • This is very important for obvious reasons.  Each time we travelled to a new destination we would stop at a Carrefour or a Monoprix for water, a baguette and other goodies.  Can’t pass up a good baguette and bread fills you up.

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  • Use Google Translate
    • We invested in an expensive language translator before we left which proved to be a huge flop.  After researching apps, Michael downloaded Google Translate for FREE.  It worked like a charm.512x512bb

Well there you have it.  I hope these travel tips can be helpful to you in some way whether you travel to France or some other country.  I’ve listed links below to each place we visited in France.  Enjoy!

Tour des Crepes et des Glaces – Versailles, France

Tour des Crepes et des Glaces – Chateaus of the Loire Valley, France

Tour des Crepes et des Glaces – Bretagne, France (Brittany)

On Our Way to Normandy, France/St-Malo & Mont St-Michel

Tour des Crepes et des Glaces – Normandy Region – Bayeux, France & D-Day Beaches

Tour des Crepes et des Glaces – Giverny, France

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