France

My favourite beaches from around the world

Some of my happiest memories from early childhood is when my parents announced we’d be spending the day at the beach. Mom would prepare thickly buttered salami on rye sandwiches; dad would pack up the Oldsmobile. Off we’d drive to Long Sault, a park along the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, Ontario. The beach was no great shakes, but at the time I thought it was the best place in the world. While my taste in beaches has changed (some might call me a beach snob), I’m still delighted by a great day at the beach. Here are some of my favourite beaches.

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Categories: France, Indonesia, Maldives, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, United States | Tags: , , | 62 Comments

Paris: 7 things that “stuck” after a year

As some of you will recall, Mike and I did a cycling trip in Brittany and Normandy in September 2019. That trip was bookended by several days in Paris. I hadn’t written about the French capital figuring that the blogging universe doesn’t need another “what to do in Paris” post. But I can’t shake Paris from my daydreams. And now, more than a year after our trip, the same images keep surfacing. This gave me an idea for a post. Instead of my usual approach of combing through my travel notes and photos, this post is inspired by my daydreams. It’s a collection of moments, impressions and learnings that have stuck with me from our time in Paris.

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Categories: France | Tags: , , , | 54 Comments

Beauty amid the smoke and soot in Rouen, France

Black smoke from chemical explosion in Rouen

Some of you may remember a major European news story from September 26, 2019. An explosion at a chemical plant in Rouen, France spewed massive quantities of smoke and soot over the capital city of Normandy and beyond. We just happened to be there at the time. Our short visit to Rouen— the last stop on our Brittany and Normandy cycle trip—was made even shorter by this catastrophe. This post is a collection of photos taken over a couple of hours before we came to our senses and hightailed it to the train bound for Paris.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , , , | 44 Comments

Honfleur and Étretat: Gems between a nasty cycle

The cliffs of Étretat

The towns of Honfleur and Étretat are highlights on our cycling trip along France’s Normandy coast. Honfleur is charming old port town and Étretat is small resort town bounded by dramatic white cliffs. They’re only about 50 km (31 mi) apart, but our bike ride between the two was a stressful mess of crappy signage, big trucks, an enormous bridge and poor planning. I guess that only one “off” day in nearly three weeks of cycling is pretty good, and we can say that we conquered one of the world’s largest cable-stayed bridges on bike.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , , | 40 Comments

Travels along the beaches on this 76th anniversary of D-Day

Memorial above Gold Beach in Arromanches, Normandy

Our visit to Normandy’s D-Day Beaches was emotional, fascinating, overwhelming and a little complicated on bicycle. At times, I was stressed—by the magnitude of what happened there, by the size of the area, by how much there was to see, by how much I didn’t know. At other times, I was delighted by the peaceful coastline, pretty towns and fun festivals that we happened upon. Today, June 6, is the 76th anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy, the largest seaborne invasion in history. Let me take you to the famous beaches of then and now.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , , | 41 Comments

The grand cycling approach to Normandy’s Mont-Saint-Michel

Cycling approach to Mont-Saint-Michel

I can barely contain my excitement as Mont-Saint-Michel gets closer with every pedal rotation. Much has been written about France’s iconic abbey, but this post is as much about the approach as it is about the final destination. Those who follow my blog will know that Mont-Saint-Michel is one of the star attractions along the V4 cycling route and it marks the end of our time in Brittany and the start of our onward journey in Normandy.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , | 34 Comments

20 views from our bikes on Brittany’s V4 cycling route

The V4 near Pointe de Primel

The V4 cycling route that we rode from Morlaix to Mont-Saint-Michel, in northern France, has its share of A-list attractions, but we quickly found out that the “stuff” in-between is pretty special too: charming towns, impressive cathedrals, historical sites, locals-only beaches… This post pays homage to the journey— roadside views and unexpected treasures depicted in 20 photos taken directly on Brittany’s V4 cycle route.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , | 36 Comments

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