We spent a fantastic two weeks in France from August 11 - 25th, taking lots of photos of our adventures. Click on any of the images below for a larger view plus my witty comments.

We picked up Nick's new, red, (and most importantly) air-conditioned Bearmobile III, which replaced the grey Volvo that "packed it in" just a few days earlier before setting off to Hastings to visit my friend and former music colleague, Elaine, and her husband Ken. The seaside town isn't known for its American baked goods, so I introduced some Toll House chocolate chip and Magnolia Bakery peanut butter cookies to the setting, complete with Martha Stewart presentation. Their house has more character than a Dickens novel and is so close to the corner pub that you could stand with one foot in each building. We had a lovely late stir-fry meal together, chatting and laughing and drinking wine, before heading off for a good night's sleep.
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We rose early and drove to Dover, where we boarded the ferry to Calais. On our journey, we planned our route through France and put the finishing touches on each other's bingo cards.
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Our first stop after Calais was the little town of Neufchâtel-en-Bray, home of the eponymous white cheese used in Entenmann's Danish pastries. We bought some cheese and a baguette and ate on the cool steps of the cathedral before setting off to Rouen.
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We arrived in Flaubert's home town in the afternoon and strolled through the streets, admiring the Great Clock and the many shops. Later, we located the tiny, triangular strip of grass nestled among houses that was our first municipal campsite. No complaints here, as it was as cheap as two Cokes for the night. We pitched our tent and headed back to Rouen to see the magnificent Cathédrale Notre-Dame in a very different light. From ten o'clock, the façade was transformed into a huge artist's canvas, onto which the inspired colours of the famous cathedral series of Claude Monet were projected. An original sound creation accompanied this visual accomplishment, ranging from Satie's Gymnopedie mixed with whispering human voices to great tolling bells, and we watched and listened under cover from the rain. The whole effect was truly breathtaking, as the colours shifted from cobalt blues to rusted reds, even to black and white, and finally a modern pixel representation. I took loads of photos. Afterwards, we headed back to our tent for a pastis nightcap.
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We visted the Romanesque cathedral in Chartres, which features a 13th-century labyrinth, inlaid in the nave of the floor. Pilgrims used to follow the 851 ft route on their knees as a pennance, but we didn't get to because there were chairs set up for mass. The Chartres cathedral is renowned for its 150 stained glass windows, which we admired, looking for Saint Sebastien and finding good opportunities to take moody portrait photographs of each other.
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Our next stop was the town where Joan of Arc saved France from the English in 1492, Orléans. We had a nice lunch in a pizzeria there and then had a look around its cathedral.
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Our final destination for the day was the lovely riverside campsite at Argenton-sur-Creuse. What a fantastic place to picnic under the stars, listening to the flowing water and watching the guy across from us struggle into his motorcycle gear! The town was lovely, with lots of rustic houses, a water mill, wisteria, and a sunset bridge moment. We drank beers at a corner café as the boys next to us played with their loveable dog.
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