Dordogne: A Southwestern Wonder

Many regions in France are named for rivers or other natural features. Dordogne, a peaceful and wildly beautiful region, is named after the Dordogne River, a tributary from the Gironde River, which flows from Bordeaux and on to Auvergne. My last post covered the beautiful, volcanic region of Auvergne. Now we travel west from the Massif Central mountain range (though still in rugged hill country) and it is there we find ourselves in Dordogne, known to the French as Le…

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Bordeaux… More Than Wine

When you hear the name Bordeaux, most people think of wine or vineyards… St. Emilion, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec…enough to make you reach for a stemmed glass and a chunk of cheese. But you might be amazed to know other outstanding features of this southwestern city and region of France. Bordeaux is the fifth largest city in France, but it is often thought of as “little Paris.” Think of the typical architecture of Paris for a moment…wide avenues, regal stone…

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Atlantic Coast Islands: Ile d’Oléron

Ile d’Oléron This small island of about 108 square miles off the coast of LaRochelle has had a presence since the 12th century. But like Ile de Re,it has a different rhythm, one that’s designed to recharge your batteries. It, too, is a popular tourist destination, but don’t worry, you won’t be mobbed by happy tourist crowds. The pace is gentle, and it’s all about enjoying yourself. And eating good seafood, of course. You can get there by car, since…

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Atlantic Coast Islands: Ile de Ré

If you think French islands, you might think of Guadeloupe or Tahiti. Many French islands can be found in Caribbean or Pacific waters. But did you know there are dozens of islands around the entire coastal outline of mainland France? Two such treasures are Ile de Ré and Ile d’Oléron, both close to the port city of La Rochelle, on France’s Atlantic coast.  I’ll do a separate post on La Rochelle. For now, we’ll think…. Islands. If you’re in the…

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