Free travel home page with storage for your pictures and travel reports! login GLOBOsapiens - Travel Community GLOBOsapiens - Travel Community GLOBOsapiens - Travel Community
 You are here: Member pages
 Forgot password?
sign up

Top 3 members
wojtekd 40
basia 40
pictor 20
Member snaps
eirissa Albi - A travel report by Irene
about me      | my friends      | pictures      | albums      | reports      | travel log      | travel tips      | guestbook      | activities      | contact      |

Albi,  France - flag France -  Midi-Pyrenees
3400 readers

eirissa's travel reports

France - where your neighbours haven't been yet

  12 votes
I love creating my own travelling schedules but I sometimes have to rely on travel agencies and go on organized tours. I hope it doesn’t make me a worse traveller – not everybody has the company/own means of transport/courage to realize one's dreams.

Holidays with a goddess in Eze
Holidays with a goddess in Eze
Anyway, this year I went on such a tour under a catchy name “Where your neighbours haven’t been yet”. Let me translate it into “Places not visited by tourists so frequently in summer”. So here is my report on only some of the places (there were almost 30 different places visited during 12 days) – people from Poland can actually go on this trip if they like the programme and everybody else – feel free to use the advice to make your own schedule. The places I visited aren’t full of museums or churches – you go there to feel the atmosphere, wander in stony alleys and store beautiful photos in your memory. We started in the south of France, not far from the Italian border, in the beautiful village of Eze which is perched on a rocky hill. It reminded me of Cinque Terre villages a lot – tiny houses, narrow streets and constant going up and down. Most visitors go to the top of the hill first where they can see the exotic garden with thousands of cactuses and admire the panorama of Cote d’Azur (you can see Nice when the weather is fine). Apart from cactuses there are lovely statues of goddesses gazing into the distance. One path leads you to a completely secluded spot with wooden chairs where you can rest and cherish the blue sky and sea in front of you. When you get tired of the sun you can wander around – there are a lot of narrow alleys in which you can almost get lost. There is also a path going down to the coast – it’s called Nietzsche’s path and the walk takes approximately 45 minutes one way. Remaining in the Cote d’Azur area, visit Saint Paul de Vence. This hilltop medieval village is surrounded by fortifications from 11th century. There is a famous hotel called La Colombe d’Or. Some artists like Modigliani or Chagalle left their work as payment for food and drink and these can still be seen on the walls of the hotel. The village has a tiny cemetary where you can see Chagalle’s tomb. However, its main attraction are the streets and the houses decorated with flowers.

Favourite spots:
Verdon gorge
Verdon gorge
It must be the most flowery village in France because even the tiny stones in the pavement create flowery designs. There are a lot of art galleries in the village but the prices might be high. Another village called Mougins was practically empty when I was there. The village’s plan looks like a circular labirynth. There is actually one tiny museum where you can see some good photographs of working Picasso and some French actresses. Picasso actually spent the last 15 years of his life in Mougins. When you are in Provence, you should drive along the longest gorge in Europe – the Verdon canyon. There is a narrow road with many panorama spots and breathtaking views down the canyon. The Verdon river flows into Sainte Croix lake where you can swim or go on a boat ride. The colours of the white canyon walls and blue water were astonishing.

What's really great:
Cloisters in St-Paul-de-Mousole monastery
Cloisters in St-Paul-de-Mousole monastery
Hidden in the mountains and lavender fields there is a small village called Moustiers Sainte Marie. It has a tiny creek in the middle and basically two ‘main’ streets on its both sides. A rocky and steep path leads you up to the Notre-Dame de Beauvoir chapel built in the rock. If you look at the rocks carefully from below you can see a star hanging on a chain. According to the legend the star was put there by a knight who thanked St Mary for his safe coming back home from the crusade. There is also a leaning church tower reminding you of the one from Pisa. Have you noticed how long the French names of villages are? Another long name goes for St-Remy-de-Provence which is famous for the house where Nostradamus lived. However, the most attractive place for me was the monastery of St-Paul-de-Mousole where Van Gogh was treated after cutting his ear. Next to the monastery there is a psychiatric hospital today. The atmosphere is truly calming. There is a shadowy alley leading to the church.

Remains of a temple in Glanum
Remains of a temple in Glanum
You pass by the statue of Van Gogh holding the sunflowers and enter the monastery with one of the most beautiful cloisters I have seen. Behind the church there is a lavender field which makes the whole place a real beautie. Apart from my group there were only a few local artists painting the garden in their notebooks. In the monastery you can see where the artist lived (a spooky room with a bed and a chair) and see how he was treated (shocking baths where he was put in cold water and kept until the fit was over). There is also an interesting wall display of psychiatric treatment methods from the past. If you are interested in Roman ruins and archeology, walk to Glanum which is 5 minutes from the monastery. You can see some interesting ruins of a roman town lying among olive trees.

Inside the magnificent cathedral in Albi
Inside the magnificent cathedral in Albi
Following the footsteps of famous people you should go to Albi, a medieval town in Languedoc. A famous painter Toulouse-Loutrec was born here and you can admire his works in a museum housed in the former archbishop’s palace. Apart from his paintings, drawings and posters you can see his cane where he hid a tiny glass and a vial of absinth. When you satisfy your hunger for art go outside into the gardens (beautiful view of the river and its bridges from one of the spots there). The fortified, red brick cathedral that broods over the medieval center is a reminder of the bloody struggle between the Roman Catholic Church and the Cathars, a religious group the Church considered heretical. They were also called Albigenses after the town, which was an important center of their movement. The church itself, named after St Cecile, is magnificent with its frescoed ceiling, figures of saints and the huge mural of Last Judgement.

Courdes - the medieval village
Courdes - the medieval village
Nearby there is a tiny village again called Cordes, a Cathars’ village in the past. It was again empty apart from us and the cats waiting for a photo in almost every corner. There were amazing medieval windows and a lot of flowers adorning almost every house. It is a truly medieval village where you can feel the spirit of old days, of knights and princesses.

Saint-Cirq Lapopie
Saint-Cirq Lapopie
The last place I want to mention is Saint-Cirq Lapopie, a medieval village perched on a cliff 100 m above the Lot river, very close to a famous Pech-Merle caves (also worth visiting if you like watching drawings of cavemen as well as stalactites and stalagmites). The village itself will be soon overgrown by the plants growing everywhere. The houses are half-hidden behind the holyhocks and other wild flowers. There are ruins of a fortress and a tiny church but the charm of the village is in its unbelievable atmosphere. It is hard to describe in words and the photos won’t show it to you either – you simply have to go there:)

Sorry for ignoring the headlines - I hope you didn't get lost in the reading:)

Other recommendations:
Enjoy, explore, taste wine in the French cellaries, taste the real camembert cheese and avoid the crowds of tourists:) Good luck:)

Published on Wednesday August 29th, 2007

send travelogue via e-mail    Publish on Facebook  

Sun, Oct 07 2007 - 01:21 AM rating by zrusseff

This is the second time I have read this report and I have enjoyed it thoroughly. Definitely on my list of "to visit" places.

Thu, Sep 06 2007 - 03:02 AM rating by downundergal

Really interesting - you describe the villages beautifully and all the artists that spent time in the area. A nice read.

Fri, Aug 31 2007 - 06:11 AM rating by marianne

well written with loads of off the beaten track information.

Thu, Aug 30 2007 - 07:37 AM rating by rangutan

I'd need a map to get orientated but a wonderfully described trip.

Wed, Aug 29 2007 - 08:40 PM rating by eirekay

Irene, this is a great report, especially considering how many places you are fitting in! I like the idea of focusing on spots most people don't go to!

Login if you are a member, or sign up for a free membership to rate this report and to earn globo points!

   Albi average user rating for this report
   Omalos average user rating for this report
   Rome average user rating for this report
   Zakopane average user rating for this report

Publish your own story!
 More on France

   Paris - anna_moon average user rating for this report
   Paris - kirikou average user rating for this report
   Houlgate - polytrad average user rating for this report
   Paris - emsr2d2 average user rating for this report
   Arles - carole average user rating for this report

  Terms and Conditions    Privacy Policy    Press    Contact    Impressum
  © 2002 - 2024 Findix Technologies GmbH Germany    Travel Portal Version: 4.2.8