Funky France

France has never been high on my list of places to go simply because I think of it as a destination for the snooty and the senile. My choices veer towards Peru or Ladakh ... France could wait until we turn senile.

Still, circumstances turned out such that a family vacation in France was the most convenient thing we could do this year, so it was to France that we went. Can a visit to France be funky, when one doesn't care too much for people-watching in Parisian cafes or go weak-kneed at the thought of 200 varieties of cheese?

Our favorite part of the trip to France was the day we rented a car and drove out into the country side, specifically a visit to Cordes sur Ciel, a medieval village built on a hill. The setting was beautiful, the drive was nice and the hike up the hill through the village was charming. Too bad no one lives in the place but people who ply the tourist trade.
 The ride back, through the vineyards of Galliac was also quite nice. We didn't stop though, because we were traveling with kids ...

In the Versailles palace, our attentions were drawn to the playful over the regal.  Thus, I loved the lion in lace:
while the wife & daughter were drawn to the shoes in a hall full of chandeliers:
The shoes, in case the picture isn't clear, were made of pots, pans and lids.  I'm sure there's some feminist message in this choice and its placement in the fanciest hall in the palace, but that message escaped most visitors to the palace.

We gave the kids the choice of one place to go to.  The 7-year old wanted Disneyworld (of course), but I vetoed that, so she used her choice to decide that we'd climb the Eiffel tower. The views as one climbs the tower were wonderful -- the hard steel against the shimmering water of the Seine provided some breathtaking views:
From the top of the Eiffel, though, it was just a standard panaroma.  Even the Arc De Triomphe has been copied so much (there's one in Pyongyang of all places) that this panorama could very well be any city in the world:

For his choice, the ten-year old chose the sewers of Paris.  The city-beneath-the-city, the location of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables ... this was a choice I wasn't going to veto, even if the son's only reason for choosing the sewers was to gross out his sister.  So, off we went.  This was a bit of a let down since the tour through the sewers seemed a little haphazard, but it was still quite fun:

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