March 30th, 2006

HarvestBall

Arrangements for the trip to France all made

Everything is done. Plane reservations to Paris/CDG and return from Toulouse on AirFrance (with Delta flight number), TGV from CDG to Saint Pierre des Corps (a suburb of Tours). It is convenient that there is a train station in the airport terminal. Car rental at Saint Pierre des Corps and return at Toulouse (actually I have two of these - will cancel one after I do bit of location checking). Three nights each at Hotel Ibis Centre in Blois, Hotel Sainte Foy in Conques, and le Lion d'Or in Rocamadour.

We got a new french road atlas. It is too heavy to take, but since it is spiral bound we can remove the useful pages. My overall map of France is 35 years old and it doesn't all the highways on it so I might replace it. I also have a similar vintage map of Blois. It looks like our hotel had a different name then.

Blois has a pretty nice chateau close to the hotel and it is near many others; we haven't yet decided which ones to take in but we can be flexible. It is useful on these trips to have an approximate plan of what is to be done when.

The drive from Blois to Conques will be about 6 hours, probably not taking any side trips. This past sunday on the front page of the Boston Globe Travel section was a picture of the statue of Ste Foy and a long article about Conques. This was quite a surprise. This will be my fourth visit to Conques - it is popular among French tourists but I've never seen another American there but I've not gone in the summer.

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RocamadourRocamadour has a small medieval village on the top of a hill. It is a popular tourist site. Nearby are some other spectacular villages that we'll vist and we'll go to some caves as well. It's only a couple of hours by car to get to the Toulouse airport from Rocamadour and probably about 3 hrs from Conques to Rocamadour. Some more pictures of Rocamadour

I've ordered extra memory and battery for my camera (Panasonic DMC-FZ7) that I bought late in February. I like it. It has 12x optical telephoto, cost under $400, is pretty fast and not too big or heavy. I'll have 1.5 gig of memory which should be good for 500-1000 pictures. I'm not taking a laptop but if I take too many pictures there is always conversion to CD-ROM at a photo store (although there won't be any such in Rocamadour or Conques).

Sadly, I don't remember much high school french - not uncommon for someone who is about to attend his 50th high school reunion. Knowing most of the lyrics from Carmen and a few Fauré songs won't be much help .