Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pieces of Summer

After what seemed like a nomadic, sometimes chaotic spring/summer, our travel bags have finally been completely unpacked and placed into storage. Phew! Often, because of travel or circumstances, we were without internet access as well, and as much as we would all like to take ourselves off the grid from time to time, I found myself feeling isolated and lost without it. But we are now finally back in Vancouver, enjoying an unusually warm and sunny late summer.

The Seams French "staff" (that would be me), will be back on track shortly, with some new projects, some "in progress" work, and perhaps even unearthing some of those pieces that have been deeply buried in one closet or another.

In the meantime, I thought that I would share a little of our travels of this past July and August.

Montpellier is on the Mediterranean coast of France in the Languedoc region of France, and is surrounded by mountain ranges to three sides. Other then when driving to the beach, any other drive into the country takes us through one of these mountain ranges.The Pyranees are to the west, between Spain and France; to the east, in Provence, are the Alpilles; and to the north are the Cevennes and the larger Massif Central. The highway that took us to CERN in Switzerland (our first stop on this trip) wound it's way through the Luberon, the northern region of Provence, the area of France that Peter Mayle wrote about in his first book "A Year In Provence".

Ancient ruins of a fortress on the edge of a cliff in the Massif Central in the Luberon region.

CERN, (European Organization for Nuclear Research) on the French/Swiss border, near the city of Geneva, is a very large research facility for high energy physics and the birthplace of the "World Wide Web". A must-see for the serious "I love all things science" junkie on this road trip (that would not be me!!!)
This symbol marks the gateway to CERN.

And they mean that very seriously here!

Having escaped the "Big Bang" unscathed, we drove towards Burgundy through yet another mountain range, the Juras, on the Swiss/French border. Yodalaheehoo!

In Burgundy, we met friends in the town of Beaune, where the vineyards never tire of producing some of the worlds best wines, both white and red.
Beautifully maintained vineyards as far as the eye can see.

The last stop, before we headed back home to Montpellier, was in Lyon, where I paid homage to the gods of fibre at "Musee des Tissus".
The entrance courtyard at the museum.

Back in Montpellier there were serious gastronomic explorations that had to be undertaken. We were both up for the challenge.
"La Forge", in the town of Bédarieux, is one of our favourite restaurants.

Just outside of Montpellier is "Ma Maison", whose garden setting is as much a delight as the chef's creative menu choices.

For 3 of the last 5 years, the Tour de France bike race has come right through our neighbourhood.
This photo was taken at the end of our street.

Since our flight home to Vancouver was from Paris, we got there a few days early and enjoyed a few leisurely days of a Paris summer. We strolled up and down the tree lined streets, lingered in the heavily shaded parks and enjoyed watching the life of the city while sipping something or other in one of the many cafés.

Walking towards the Rodin gardens.

In the Rodin Gardens.

"The Burghers of Calais" by Auguste Rodin.

And then it was on to Vancouver. See you soon France!
Taken from our balcony the last night we were in Montpellier.


  1. What an experience to be able to see the Tour de France run right through your neighborhood! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your trip. I missed seeing your posts – it's good to see you back again!

    1. As great as our spring/summer was, it feels very good to be back and settled (almost settled) again. I am looking forward to a simple routine of "normal" stuff. Thanks for checking in again. I have missed all of my internet friends.

  2. Nice to see you back! I think we all need to unplug once in a while, but it can be hard to manage. I love those two garden photos from around the Rodin gardens, they feel very peaceful.

    It's interesting to see how many of the bloggers I follow have a connection to physics!

    1. Hi Monica. Thanks for the welcome back and for not giving up on me.

      The Rodin gardens happen to be our favourite park. We first checked it out together on our honeymoon in 1979 and since then have made a stop there every time we have been in Paris. Aside from the M. Rodin's sculptures, which are set in this amazing park, the gardens itself are, as you noticed, peaceful, which is one of the reasons we like to go there. It seems to have become a bit of a pilgrimage for us.

  3. Welcome back! How nice to spend a few days in Paris, I will definitely have to get there sometime. We have a copy of the Burghers here in Southern California, I think at the Norton Simon museum. Also several Rodins both there and at LA County Art Museum. That's the beauty of bronzes, Rodin was able to make several of each.

    PS. My son just received his PhD in physics.

    1. Hi Cynthia. I'm very happy to be back and am looking forward to life slowly get back to normal.

      Following Auguste Rodin has become a bit of a pilgrimage for us. We have seen casts of his work in a number of cities, (Europe and North America) that we have visited. It seems that M. Rodin gets around! Last year on our way home from Montpellier, we made the trip to Calais on the northern coast of France, specifically to see the original Burghers in their home setting. In the next few years, we hope to do a driving tour of the west coast of the US and we will pay our respects to the Burghers in your part of the world. Thanks for the info.

      Congrats to your son on his degree. That is a huge accomplishment from which the world will benefit.