The Fayette Citizen-Weekend Page
Wednesday, August 19, 1998
Sightseeing in the south of France

By Sallie Satterthwaite
Lifestyle Columnist

After a week canoeing on the Dorogne, Mary and Rainer went sightseeing in the south of France....

After we got off the river, we visited some places between there and the next river, Vetere, an important area for pre-history: Cro-Magnon cave dwellings, the famous cave drawing in Lascaux, now as a reproduction because the presence of visitors was starting to damage the original.

Rainer enjoyed eating duck in every form. I stuck mostly to fish. Neither of us had any truffles, the other specialty of the region.

Towards the coast over Perigeux and Saint-Emilion, a famous Bordeaux town it's an area you would love, but definitely easier with a car. We drove to the coast, south of Bordeaux, where we climbed, on steps, Europe's highest dune (117 meters), for a great view of the sandy "Silver Coast."

Since it was July 14 and I expected a flood of tourists to the coast on the 15th, we drove on towards Paris. Spent two days checking out churches and chateaus in Loire, beautiful stained glass and doorways in Poitiers,Tours, and especially Chartres, where we stayed overnight so Rainer could see the windows again in the morning light. It's a nice town.

Versailles: Debra , an American friend married to a Frenchman, was getting ready for vacation, so it wasn't the best time for a visit, but we wanted to be there on Sunday because that's the only day they turn on thefountains to Handel's Water Music, what else?

Saw billions of rooms with paintings of the painters, paintings of moments in French history ever since Jesus, paintings or sculptures of leaders, scientists, poets, generals, etc., then the usual painted ceilings and baroque furniture.

The hall of mirrors was nice but not as big as I expected, and of course the mirrors are old. Huge painting of Napoleon crowning himself. Original all-silver furniture in the hall of mirrors was melted down shortly after it was made, for a war.

When we got out, I found there was another tour that we should have taken, but then it was too late just the King's bedroom and opera house (both of which we didn't see) and the hall of mirrors.

In Paris, went to the Louvre, to see what they've done under their pyramid entrance, and to the top of a department store for the terrace

since Rainer had never been there, saw a couple thousand meters of halls of17th and 18th century French stuff which I don't find so interesting,some nice Botticellis, Carvaggio, Della Robbia, etc.

Wanted to see the Flemish and French 19th c. stuff, but it took so long to get there that they were starting to close as we finally got near.

Otherwise lots more space for the paintings, big bright halls.

Underneath the pyramids on the other side is a tony shopping center with a mall-like food center. The French make such a fuss about Americanismsand then build something like that! It was completely packed. We had Tex-Mex

Went to St. Chapelle for Rainer, who liked Chartres more. In the evening Deb and Jacques drove in and we had Lebanese food in their old neighborhood, Montparnasse. Spent a fortune. I'll make copies of pictures to send you.

One more stop for another beautiful Gothic cathedral in Reims and then through the Belgium Ardennes and home.

That's the summary for now.... I think Rainer even enjoyed the canoe after he got used to it.

How was the 4th of July? We got to see France win the World Cup nice for them, and then two days later their national holiday.

Back to the real world.

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