I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Vive La France! Long Live France!

I have no idea why Delta made us ziptie our luggage zippers because anything sharp we would use to remove them is INSIDE the luggage!!!

our first meal in France....pastries and hot chocolate at the train station and they were delicious. Croissants, Pain au chocolat, a chocolate eclair, a chocolate muffin and a doughnut...yummy!!
picked up at the train station by Christophe and Cathy. The Limoges train station is one of my favorites for beauty.
settled into the hotel and then on to lunch along the square outside the hotel

Orangina!!! Although I can sometimes find this in the U.S., I drink it a lot in France

Danny's goat cheese salad, his favorite

Croque Madame for Ben and Ashley

ahhhhh, my favorite french onion soup
the square outside of the hotel anchored by a large Monoprix which is kind of like our Target

This Monoprix is like a Super Target as they have groceries. Rows and Rows of YOGURT!!!

Human Cola????? Coca-cola light is the equivalent to our diet coke
my favorite chocolate shop in Limoges and usually a stop on my first day

the window displays are always really beautiful

there is no English spoken here so we just guess and point. The selections are packaged up individually for each person.

posing with my purchase and my kids, Ben and his wife Ashley. We don't look toooo bad for not having any sleep!
Old streets of Limoges

This building with it's Trompe l'oeil is always a favorite

still seeing Christmas decorations out

Hotel de Ville which is the City Hall of Limoges

along the way to the Cathedral we passed this beautiful little gateway

I'm a sucker for ironwork
The Cathedral St. Etienne

also a sucker for gargoyles!!

beautiful stained glass throughout the Cathedral

Intricate carvings were beautiful

the back organ

stone and arches in the gothic cathedral

depiction of Golgatha

Le Chalet where we ate dinner

Amy's steak with Bearnaise
Ben's meal

Ashley's steak with a different sauce

these skillet fried potatoes were delicious!!!

Ben and Ashley shared Flan?

Danny and I shared Profiteroles
We have wanted to take our children to France for many years, but dealing with picky eaters in France was never something we wanted to subject ourselves to. Now that they are grown and have become less picky (but still somewhat selective...lol), we decided that now is the time to introduce them to their french family! Last year we decided to take Ben and Ashley and February was the best time to fit a trip into their schedule at work. They both work as chefs at The Westin Hotel in Huntsville, Alabama. This is the slow period for them and the perfect time to travel! We left yesterday morning flying on Delta Airlines. I have had issues with Delta airlines in the past and unfortunately on this trip there are problems again. Delta is never my first choice for flying, but sometimes I have to so I can get the itinerary I need. Ben and Ashley flew out of Huntsville Friday morning and we flew out of Jackson. We met up in the Atlanta airport for our layover before the "big" flight. Our flight to Paris went very smoothly despite the added problem of defective video equipment in the coach cabin. Thank goodness for ipads and downloaded movies! We were about 30 minutes ahead of schedule landing in Paris. This is the first trip I have taken overseas and not received a "customs card" to fill out and present to customs. In fact, we didn't have to fill out a card at all. Also the agents never asked us a single question, just stamped us and we went through to pick up our bags. We did use the ATM that was in the baggage claim area to get some cash. We were able to get all four of us into a taxi van for the ride to the train station, Gare d'Austerlitz. Ben and Ashley are paying careful attention to how we do all of this because they will be doing it again in May. They have received the honor of being 2 of 16 student and former student chefs selected to cook at the American Pavilion of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France! We made sure to tell them to ignore the people at the door who are begging you to take them up on a ride. Instead, we stood in the "authorized" taxi line. Less risky and less expensive. We had about three hours to wait at the train station simply because the procedure to enter the country was soooo simplifed and fast. I had allowed plenty of time that we ended up not needing. We ate our first breakfast sitting in a little pastry cafe with pastries still warm from baking that morning. Delish!!! The was an indoor waiting room which was helpful since it was in the 30's temp wise on the platform. Our train arrived right on time and boarding went without a hitch. Our suitcases were within plain sight of Ben while we rode and considering he slept all of 10 minutes during the whole trip over, we knew he was keeping an eye on them. We all catnapped just a little until we arrived at Limoges, our first destination. Limoges is the home of our Ta Ta Francoise and her husband Ton Ton Michel as well as cousins Cathy and her son Guillome and Christophe and Christophe's family. Our cousins, Christophe and Cathy met us at the train station in two cars to be able to get us all to the hotel. We arrived at the hotel a little after 1 and took the time to freshen up since our rooms were ready. I know how important it is to reset your body clock to a new time zone by staying awake until bedtime when you arrive. It is very, very difficult to do! We ate some lunch at a restaurant near the hotel and then set out to do some exploring. Cathy asked if I would be going to my favorite chocolat shop in Limoges and of course I said yes!!! I always make Buissere one of my first stops. I also introduced Ben and Ashley to Monoprix, France's version of our Target and this one is like a SuperTarget because it has food! We picked up cookies for our road trip in a couple of days and then took a walk through the city center to the Cathedral St. Etienne. It is a Roman Catholic Cathedral and a National Monument of France. The construction of the Gothic cathedral began in 1273 and finished only in 1888 when the Nave was connected to the partly octagonal belltower. Its a beautiful old cathedral but it was "freezing" in there!!! We walked a little quicker back to the hotel so we could warm up. The temps are in the upper forties today, but with the sun shining, it felt warmer in the sun and colder in the shade. We spent some time resting and fighting sleep (except for Ashley who has slept off and on during all of our travel!) until we could go to dinner at Le Chalet. We ate there the last time we were in Limoges and it truly was delicious then and tonight. We did arrive about 6:40 and was told they could take a reservation at 7:00 when they opened. That meant a little more wandering and a little longer eating dinner, which had Danny and Ben falling asleep at the table! We are back in the hotel ready for bed. Tomorrow will be a day spent with family. Until then....

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