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Old 03-31-2009, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Blankity-blank!
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I have been to France several times for extended trips. My travel included places south of Paris. I liked all the areas. In a few years I plan to retire to France, but haven't yet decided where, either Toulouse, Limoges, Orleans, Lyon, or somewhere in the Dordogne. I don't have any desire for the north. Paris would be a great place to live but I don't think my finances would allow it.
If anyone knows of areas that are conservative I'd like to avoid such. My interests are for the architecture, history, and culture.
I'm interested in suggestions for other parts of France that would be worth investigating.
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:04 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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My favourite parts personally ( as a French Person) are Brittany and The Dordogne ( avoid summer though,too many Brits !) , Gascony, The Pyrenees , Inland Provence ( Alpes de Haute Provence and the Drome department) . The Alps and Alsace are also beautiful as is the Auvergne region ( one of the still "undiscovered" regions of France in many respects. Burgundy is also quite lovely.

Another extremely beautiful area is around "Les Gorges du Tarn" and "les Gorges de L'Ardeche".

To be honest the areas I like the least is the bit just outside Paris both the urban and non urban areas , very flat and rather boring and some horrible "cites-dortoirs" too.

I am biased against Bordeaux as I hated living there with a Passion but it is a beautiful stately city and the Bordelais region with its vineyards has many charms . I loathed it purely for personal reasons but I know many people love that area.


If I could only visit one area though I would base myself around Sarlat in the Dordogne and Toulouse and would try to take in all that huge South-West area as there is so much to see and do. The Dordogne ( especially the Perigord Noir) is covered in beautiful honey coloured villages, medieval fortresses and lovely chateaux, and to me the biggest draw as an Archaeologist is the superb wealth of Prehistoric sites. Painted caves and engraved caves abound , troglodyte sites , the food is wonderful , the weather lovely, going through all the seasons ( autumn is the best season in my experience). You can take in chasms and medieval perched villages, little country lanes, canoe on the river Dordogne etc... It's a wonderful, wonderful place.


Then you can head South towards Cahors and Albi through fabulous countryside and then loop back towards Toulouse , see this fantastic , friendly fascinating city , start heading South again and you are in the Pyrenees with its Cathar fortresses , great mountain villages and even head into Spain.

I love Brittany too, especially the area around St Malo ( cote d'Emeraude) and the Finistere and then South of that the Morbihan. But then again I am a Breton !

I would say one of the dullest region to me would be from the extreme Southern bit of Brittany ( Nantes - St Nazaire) just before Biarritz. I love La Rochelle for example as a city but the area around it is dull as ditch water in my opinion , though I know many people love the flat boring landscape. The Dunes ( Les Landes) south of Bordeaux is also popular but I find it really boring too, with rather sterile resorts. Les Landes is lovely during winter storms but the urban out of season resorts are to be avoided at all costs as it feels like a deserted sinking ship.


It gets nicer again the closer you get to Biarritz.

Corsica is really worth a trip if you are in Marseille or Nice area ( where the ferres leave from). It is a stunning island with two very distinct sides to it. The beautiful , lovely coast and the inland villages and mountains. Avoid july and summer, as the whole of Europe and his wife seem to holiday there and it becomes rather horrid.

It is a jewel in the Mediterranean . Napoleon used to claim he could smell the wild herbs and wild flowers long before the Island was spotted ! Spring and Autumn are once again the best time. And it you visit Corsica you must of course visit its Italian sister "Sardinia" which is only a ferry hop away.
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:23 AM
 
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The extreme south of France (S of 44°N)and Corsica.
The rest is an icebox.
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:32 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Pennsylvania / Dull Germany
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Paris and Corsica.

Corsica is just amazing, I have been there for 3 weeks every year over the last 20 years. Wonderful island, and not so much tourists and big hotels as they are in Mallorca or Turkey.
Paris is a lovely city with so much culture and history...
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:35 AM
 
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Brittany is great. It reminds me of my region, Galicia, a lot (only much better preserved): it's green, rainy, quiet, nice coastal scenery, beautiful small towns and people are reserved but very kind. And their language is beautiful!
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noela View Post
Brittany is great. It reminds me of my region, Galicia, a lot (only much better preserved): it's green, rainy, quiet, nice coastal scenery, beautiful small towns and people are reserved but very kind. And their language is beautiful!
As a Breton I salute you my Celtic cousin. I love Galicia because it reminds me of Brittany and your music is beautiful too. Perhaps because our roots are shared as Celts we have some form of an invisible thread of understanding running through our veins ?

Very haunting. I am a great fan of Carlos Nunez. Every time he comes to Britain I go and see him.
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:30 AM
 
1,809 posts, read 3,109,689 times
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Originally Posted by Mooseketeer View Post
As a Breton I salute you my Celtic cousin. I love Galicia because it reminds me of Brittany and your music is beautiful too. Perhaps because our roots are shared as Celts we have some form of an invisible thread of understanding running through our veins ?

Very haunting. I am a great fan of Carlos Nunez. Every time he comes to Britain I go and see him.
I should hope so. I'm always at ease and feel very much like home when in a Celtic region. Some would say it's merely a North Atlantic thing (similar climate and so forth) but my heart and traditions say otherwise However, as I said, we have a lot to learn from you in terms of taking proper care of our heritage and nature. Brittany is wonderfully unspoilt for the most part: please don't let it change too much. Our Celtic language, alas, was lost long ago which is a shame: Celtic languages sound haunting. Good to know you like Carlos Núñez (may I recommend Milladoiro? Another Galician folk band): I love Alan Stivell myself
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
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Originally Posted by noela View Post
I should hope so. I'm always at ease and feel very much like home when in a Celtic region. Some would say it's merely a North Atlantic thing (similar climate and so forth) but my heart and traditions say otherwise However, as I said, we have a lot to learn from you in terms of taking proper care of our heritage and nature. Brittany is wonderfully unspoilt for the most part: please don't let it change too much. Our Celtic language, alas, was lost long ago which is a shame: Celtic languages sound haunting. Good to know you like Carlos Núñez (may I recommend Milladoiro? Another Galician folk band): I love Alan Stivell myself

I am a great Alan Stivell fan too. You should visit Brittany in summer during all the Celtic Festivals ( the one in Lorient is the biggest still I think) .


Have you ever been to a Fest-Noz ( it means "night party" loosely translated from Breton) ? Basically it is like an Irish Ceilidh , most towns and villages have them on a regular basis. Lot of traditional music, food and beers , and lots of dancing . The last one we went to had about 1000 people ( bear in mind it was a tiny village) and all ages from babies to elderly couples were there dancing together to the Binious ( Breton Pipes) , including even teenagers ( that would never happen in Britain) .

Lots of Crepes and Kouign Aman ( a Breton Butter cake) were consumed and a lot of fun was had by all .

I will have to try Milladoiro .
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:49 AM
 
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Never been to a Fest-Noz but I'm guessing they're a bit like our "romarías tradicionais" where Galician bagpipes, traditional dances and dishes and local wine are extensively enjoyed. Sadly, there's been some "contamination" in recent years and modern music (I love pop and rock music, but that's not the place IMO) and ways have shown up, but some of them retain their ancient charm. Anyway, yes, attending a Fest-Noz (and an Irish ceilidh!) is a to-do thing I have, so thanks for the suggestion! (and I'm dying for some crêpes right now lol)
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:12 AM
 
Location: Oxford, England
13,036 posts, read 22,012,684 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noela View Post
Never been to a Fest-Noz but I'm guessing they're a bit like our "romarías tradicionais" where Galician bagpipes, traditional dances and dishes and local wine are extensively enjoyed. Sadly, there's been some "contamination" in recent years and modern music (I love pop and rock music, but that's not the place IMO) and ways have shown up, but some of them retain their ancient charm. Anyway, yes, attending a Fest-Noz (and an Irish ceilidh!) is a to-do thing I have, so thanks for the suggestion! (and I'm dying for some crêpes right now lol)
And I'll have to try a "romarias tradicionais" next time I'm in Galicia ( with the savage exchange rate at the moment, it may be a while though ! )
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