Skippin’ Over the Ocean…

Loire Valley

Amboise in the Loire Valley

Well, not like a stone, but I did skip across the Atlantic on a Delta Boeing 757.  And now I’m exploring the area around La Rochelle, on the Bay of Biscay in France.

Springtime here is hard to beat.  In fact, in my opinion, it can’t be beaten, or even tied.  Hawkesbay on the North Island of New Zealand comes in at a close second, but France pulls ahead with it’s ancient villages, castles, chateaus, incredible cuisine, and phenomenal wines.

Here’s just a small sample  of what you’re missing if you’re not here:  Brilliant yellow fields of rapeseed (canola) that form a patchwork on the expansive green countryside; lilacs everywhere  (the air is filled with their fragrance);  bright orange poppies dotting roadside greenery; white and yellow daisys punctuating the verdant fields; and stone houses adorned with brilliant flower gardens, window boxes, and trellises festooned with blooming roses, columbine, pansies, and too many colorful drops of floral sunshine to name.

The French coastal cities and towns present a series of Kodak moments that could fill NSA’s Utah server farm with terabytes of  hi res photos.    And the French passion for poisson (fish) and the fruits de mer (the fruits of the sea) make a visit here a culinary adventure as well as a visual one.  The French harvest mussells (moules) by the truckload, and have perfected many ways of preparing the succulent mollusks, including cream sauces, savory wine sauces, and tomato-based broths that are extraordinary.

There’s so much to experience here.  Taken together, the French countryside, the views that look like cinema sets and postcards, the food, the wine, the people,  and the culture put this part of the French coastline near the top of my must-visit list.  If it’s not in a similar position on yours, revise it right now, and start planning for the time of your life!

You should note that while La Rochelle doesn’t make the top spot on my Best Destinations list, the region that does is just a short drive away…

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