Today begins our Wine Country Tour of France. We will visit the centers of Champagne, Bordeaux, and Burgundy wine production in France. And along the way we will try to keep ourselves and our followers entertained with some hopefully unexpected observations of France and its wonderful people.
Our itinerary, roughly, will start and end in Paris (that’s one thing I haven’t figured out how to change), and from there we will travel counterclockwise along this route, starting northeast of Paris in Champagne country, spending a couple of days in Normandy for nostalgic reasons, then down to Bordeaux, over to Burgundy, and then back to the City of Lights. That will be a little over 1300 miles, but who’s counting?
On our first trip to Paris, our friend Jean-Marcel recommended to us that we take some time to visit Place des Vosges, a remarkable 500-year-old island of peace in the heart of the Marais district in Paris. We fell in love with it, and try to spend a little time there every time we come to Paris. This trip we start with a few days in the Hotel de la Place des Vosges, located, as the French say, two steps from the Place. Today we arrived late and tired in the midst of a rainy day, but the weather cleared enough for us to take a promenade around the square. It’s a feast for the eyes. Beside the high concentration of upscale art galleries, there are interesting architectural details everywhere. This style of arcade wraps the square, dotted with restaurant terraces every hundred feet or so.
Walk into this picture and you arrive at the Victor Hugo House, where he lived and worked for 16 years. Consequently, his name pops up often in the neighborhood, such as the bistro where we had dinner, Cafe Hugo, sipping our after-dinner espresso on their personalized porcelain:
This is our first autumn visit, and while the colors aren’t brilliant yet, one can always find color in Paris. This is a private courtyard just off the square that invited guests (not us) can see up close and personal:
And then there is street art. One of the porticoes that give access to the streets surrounding the square shelters this reminder that “a little child shall lead them.” The little girl is exactly life-sized, and when I first rounded the corner, I was a bit disoriented until I realized what it was.
So here we are, and we hope you’ll join us for this little tour.