Every time I remember my first trip to France, I always smile and feel a bit proud. Sure, I did see all the landmarks and fell in love with the country, but I also had such an alluring itinerary (made one myself!), that I would probably do all over again if I were to visit for the first time. So, here is how I traveled around France.
My first trip to France
I was so excited while searching for apartments where the famous French artists lived in Paris in the 19th century, chasing spots which were painted by Vincent van Gogh in Arles, and trying to escape that unusual tropical wave (that Europe was hit by back then) along Cote d’Azur… It was 2003, which seems like ages ago now.
It’s true that so many things can happen in a couple of decades. But the thing that I love about Europe is that (unlike Dubai or Singapore for example), you can be sure that significant places remain in their spots. Surroundings may change, but the location and French landmarks stay the same.
And so, as soon as I thought nowadays about describing my first trip to France, to Giverny or Arles, as impatient I got since I knew it was going to be a special, genuinely vintage series.
I was still using a huge old camera, that was heavy and so cumbersome to carry around. It also had an external flash unit, which was also large and heavy. And I had my camera films developed.
Nevertheless, there were a lot of beautiful photos, but some were totally unusable after developing, with yellow spots or blurry ones. (And I seem to have been especially fond of the vertical ones for some reason.)
And you know what? I am just going to scan them now. This will be an original journey not just because of the stories from my first trip to France but because we will also be traveling through time.
I spent almost a month in France back then, being in Paris for a couple of weeks and then hopping all around the country with a dear friend of mine. She often got impatient and didn’t want to take the train along the Cote d’Azure, and hop on and off to see “yet another lovely French village” on the coast. She would rather wait at the beach in Saint Tropez.
On the other hand, I just couldn’t miss the opportunity. Just imagine: you are at the French Riviera and a daily train ticket was 10 Euros, you could have hopped on and off as often as you wanted.
“Who knows when I am going to come again,” I thought, and so, “why not just see it all now.” Pretty ambitious, I will admit, but so doable. Believe me, I know, I did it.
Poetic and romantic
Anyway, being a journalist, I made sure to write about my first trip to France, all the things I have seen in Paris, pointing out how thrilled I was to see the beautiful Rouen cathedral Claude Monet was crazy about and to stroll along the Roman heritage sights Van Gogh was once passing by every day.
I still cherish those articles which I am going to quote throughout this series. And believe me, I am having so much fun writing these lines and can’t wait to see how this French series will get all poetic, romantic, and – vintage.
Next: TROPICALLY HOT PARIS
The full France SERIES