I just finished planning our summer vacation and whoo! The task was daunting but also exciting. I've never travelled to Europe. Last year, we planned a trip to England and then backed out after all the terrorist attacks. Wimps, I know.
We won't be doing that again!
The only international traveling I have done is to Cancun, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It seems like those places barely count since they’re just south of the border. However, the memory of going through Customs to enter another country and then doing it again to get back into the US assures me those trips were international. Ugh.
Though beautiful, neither of those locations inspired a Mexican setting novel. Not sure why.
This summer we're going to France.
I can't imagine not being inspired by the location because it's France! The history, the castles, the gardens, the wine country, Paris, the sites, the language (C'est beau), the countryside, chateaus, the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur), Provence, the lavender fields, Marseille. Okay, I may have just listed the places I will be visiting this July.
Imagine this, a day in Paris visiting the typical sites (The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, Jardin du Luxembourg, ect, all while gawking at the beauty and splendor of the romantic city).
The next day you'll do the same with a half-day private tour of Versailles. Oui, s'il vous plait! Then travel to Loire valley, wine country, for a day visiting Chateau de Chenonceau (the ladies castle), Château de Chambord (Castle inspiration for Beauty and the Beast), and Château d'Amboise, in Amboise (featuring Leonardo da Vinci's tomb).
The following day, envision traveling by rail (window seat, think French Kiss with Meg Ryan) through the charming French countryside to Marseille, a city nestled on the Mediterranean Sea. Enjoy a day of sites like Vieux-Port (Old Port), Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde (Romanesque-Byzantine church), and Château d'If (the island known from the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo).
After devouring all that Marseille has to offer, picture a day visiting the Roman influenced town Aix-en-Provence with views of the Alpes, and continue to the breathtaking lavender fields in Luberon, Sault, and Valréas. Once you've bought enough lavender oil, soap, and lotion, end the day back in Marseille for another night's stay. After a quiet morning strolling along the French Riviera, a train will whisk you through the French countryside once again until you're back in Paris. You'll get your last fill of the city and say goodnight to a twinkling Eiffel Tower from the balcony of your room.
Does it sound magical, romantic, inspirational?
The time of year is perfect for the castle gardens and lavender fields to be in bloom. The weather should stay around the low to mid 70's with lots of sun. To a Floridian, that is cool and dreamy.
I hope the summer trip inspires lots of stories and decorating ideas. I'm sure the hubs won't be fond of the latter. The last thing he wants is a French inspired house renovation. A girl can dream. lol.
I planned this vacation all by my little self too and think I found a hidden talent. Travel agent. No thanks. My eyes were crossed for days and my brain ached from checking so many reviews, making sure we have the shortest flights, the seats with the beds so we can (try) to sleep on the plane, the best hotels, best tours, best seats on the train, best hotel locations. Gah! It took me a week. I'm exhausted.
If this trip isn't epic, I can't promise a slew of frustrated posts, where I complain for paragraphs, won't follow the trip. Let's hope for my sake (and yours) the vacation is great!
For those of you who have been to France and have suggestions of where to eat (café's, Bistro's, restaurants), do share!!!!!