Is it real or is it fake?
Bouly-Grignon, a kitchen and bathroom renovation company
Tango dancing, near Rue de Bretagne
Umbrella repair – I can’t believe anyone does this anymore
On Rue Montorgueuil
Rue Montorgeuil is a fantastic market street with cheese shops, bakeries, fish stores, wine shops, produce and flower shops. It’s a very hip neighbourhood. There’s a Starbucks that I hope the smart people avoid comme la peste. The area has my favourite pavement. Small, square stones are arranged in a wavy pattern – the streets are dark, the sidewalks are light.
Antraigues-sur-Volane et le Pont de la Tourrasse
On the D578
Cycling is very popular here. Anke and Bart bike up to 70 km of these up and down roads!
These two guys were probably not aware what was up ahead…
The Tour Cycliste Féminin International Ardèche went by us at a terrific speed!
Mont Gerbier de Jonc. The mountains of this area are remnants of volcanic craters. These geological formations are called “sucs”. Anke and Bob climbed this thing a couple of days ago!
Bart is a gentle, generous 55 year old Dutchman that has been visiting La Roche for 45 years. His house is isolated from the rest of the hamlet. He bought it a few years ago and has restored it on his own. He has no electricity but has a spring that provides excellent, healthy water. Everything has to be hauled up via a rocky path on the mountain, including the cast iron stoves!
Faux-vintage interior scenes
The day after I arrived, I hurtled off by TGV to visit Anke and Bob in the Ardeche in the southwest. About 600 km in 2.5 hours – I’ll never see anything like this in Canada in my lifetime (I used to belong to a ‘high-speed rail in Canada’ forum, but realized the futility…)
They have a beautiful home in a 12-house hamlet called La Roche de Juvinas, which is a 2 hour drive from the TGV station of Valence. It’s a restored stone farmhouse, a very nice balance of the old and new. The hamlet is gorgeous as is the rest of the Ardeche. Very interesting scenery – remains of volcanic activity millions of years ago. All the mountains in the area were worked on by people a long time ago – they terraced the mountain sides by building stone walls so they could eke out a sustenance farming life – dead at 30 because of the backbreaking work. We went on a long hike that was a lot fun and visited a couple of small towns in the area. Feet are OK, though hiking boots are necessary in the area.
La Roche de Juvinas
La Roche pathway
A pathway in the forest (damaged by wild pigs that root for grubs)
Almost all the trees planted in the mountains of Ardeche are châtaignier, the chestnut trees that have edible chestnuts
Rocks – the only building material
The departure (along with Debi graciously driving me to the airport) went smoothly. Getting out of Parkdale is always difficult, even more so when the Ex is on. I had checked-in and printed my own boarding pass – I sailed through security and we didn’t have to wait too long to get on board.
I thought I had reserved a seat far away from the wing, but I guess not – my seat was right above!
At the beginning of 1991 I began a two year work term in Paris. A few days after I arrived I participated in one of several anti-war rallies against the first American war in the Arabian Gulf (euphemistically called “The Gulf War”). The march took about three hours and while taking photographs and chanting some slogan or other, we passed monuments, famous buildings and streets – I saw Paris so differently than as a tourist.
It didn’t take me long to fall in love with everything about Paris – except the attitude. Twenty years (and a few months) later Paris is still Paris and the attitude has improved tremendously.
I thought I’d blog about my twentieth anniversary visit. It will be composed mainly of photographs with some nostalgic musings about places revisited and perhaps some new surprises.