The breath of freedom, when, in 1971, I entered France for the 1st time, is something unforgettable.
Maybe because my youth was all lived under de domination of the French culture, I still have a particular love for that country. One day, maybe I’ll describe that trip in a travelogue; for now, just remember Bayonne and Biarritz as strong impact to who was coming from a dictatorial country in war, but also Confolens (where I felt in love with folklore), Chartres, and, finally, Paris.
Second time in France was a bad experience: a monstrous fire in Cote d’Azur killed 49 people. We were there, and couldn’t enjoy the local beauties.
In 1990, after some visits straight to Paris, we took the children to France for the first time, by car, and made a longer trip, that visited all the known places and included Strasbourg, Lyon, Chamonix, Avignon, and Carcassonne, from where we returned to Portugal with a stop at Andorra and other in Spain. And, years passing in the emerging American culture, I found that my good French was gone.
But we had already Internet. So, when my wife said no to a new vacation in France, preferring New York, I booked it in a French site, and joined a French group in a circuit through USA and Canada, with two extra days in Paris (all much cheaper than the simple circuit direct from Portugal). Two weeks in a English speaking country, in a French group with a French guide… what an opportunity to practice the languages.
repeated the experience to India, and used the extra days to visit Normandie. Rouen was a quick visit in the way to Mont St Michel, but the children adored Longues and St. Malo. What may I invent now, to take my wife back to France? A professional visit to Nancy made me start promoting the museum of Baccarat, I do want to see. But what else, to drag her? I DID IT!
We went to Paris as a stopover in the way to Dubai and China and we visited Baccarat Museum (dealt against La Fayette, Zara and Printemps). A few weeks later I had to go back to Nancy (getting new pictures to replace the ones lost in the computer after my first visit) but… Baccarat was already seen.