Jeanne with Paris Guide BookIt’s been a very long time since I have blogged. Where oh where has the summer gone. The older I get, the faster time flies. I had heard that happens. Guess I just had to age to find out it's true.
I think I wrote just before I left for France. What a fabulous trip that was! We landed in Nice and I loved that city. So gorgeous with the Mediterranean on one side and the Maritime Alps on the other. I could have stayed there for a while. But on to Arles to embark on our lovely small ship, the Grand Circle Tours “Chardonnay.” It only holds 40 passengers……..a lovely way to cruise thru Provence and Burgundy on the Rhone and Soane Rivers and then on up to Paris by coach.
Highlights included Arles, a Roman Empire town complete with the still-used Amphitheatre, and Viviers, a truly gorgeous little town nestled into the hill. We walked all the way up to the top to find the smallest cathedral in France. The view was so pretty from the top. Then on to Avignon. I have a large print of the Avignon Carousel in my guest bathroom and I always thought I would like to see it. Well, I not only saw it but I rode on it. So much fun.
Avignon was in the middle of their theatre festival. I can only compare it to our Mardi Gras without the beads. Mimes, musicians, street theatre….it was great! Then on up to Tournon where we had an in-home visit with a French retired couple. That was one of the highlights of our trip. The husband spoke fluent English, but we were all armed with our French that we had learned on the ship in our French lesson. The wife did not, but she was an artist and I figured she probably knew music, especially Carmen. She was awfully quiet and I wanted to draw her into our conversation which was in English. So I asked her if she knew Carmen and she said yes, she loved Carmen. So I started singing the Habanera aria and she loved it! Big smiles. It was a grand in-home visit complete with lots of excellent French wine and food and a new found liqueur for us……chestnut liqueur (Chataine). A nice find. Just add white wine to a little chestnut liqueur for a variation on kir. So good.
We continued up to Lyon which is the fourth largest city in France. Beautiful city. My memory will be cruising out of Lyon at night with all the lights and the beautiful architecture. The Rhone River forks into the Soane which we took to continue our journey up to Macon where we disembarked for a coach to Paris.
We spent two days in Paris, where we loved the museums, food, wine………ahhh And while in Paris, I was able to board the Grand Circle ship “Bizet” which we will be cruising on next May. It is really lovely. It holds 120 passengers and Encore will have 92. I pity the other group! If they don’t like choral music, they will when they get off that ship!
I must say I was very impressed with Grand Circle and those that are cruising next May are in for a real treat. Grand Circle provides education on board, in-home dinners, excellent tour guides and attentive staff.
Chautauqua is one week away. I have been working as hard as I can to make this a great experience. This will be the first year that the choral, theatre and dance folks will be combining for a piece. We have chosen West Side Story. Sharks, Jets, et al. Should be fun.
I return from Chautauqua for Labor Day Weekend and hopefully the weather will cooperate for a much needed three day sail to who-knows-where……wherever the wind is blowing.
Then…….all 14 Encore Chorales begin! Incredible. I still can’t believe we have grown that much.
But before all that, we are babysitting our grandson Lucas this weekend. We are so excited. I received a three page word document of instructions from his mother! Makes me wonder how I managed to raise her and her sister!