Thirteen Days of Hiking on Corsica — Cascades de Purcaraccia

The deceptively easy path near the start of the trailIf you’re headed to the mountains on Corsica, chances are you’ll happen upon Bocca di Larone, a popular starting point for several of hikes. You’ll at least drive by it on your way to Col de Bavella, the starting point of our second hike to the […]

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Thirteen Days of Hiking on Corsica — The Tavignano Valley

You will no doubt remember my first tip from our first day of hiking on Corsica: Book your accommodation as close to your hiking destination as possible to avoid the notoriously slow traffic on the main roads. So for our third day of hiking we set out for Corte, 87k to the north of our […]

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Walking and Cycling Bordeaux

It’s not really fair to a city like Bordeaux–to approach it with such dogged ignorance. But this is the way I travel: without preconceptions, without study. I just go. I must be off, so they say. The short answer to why I don’t do (much) research before I travel is that I have no time […]

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Expat Author Interview with Claire King

Author Claire KingClaire King has lived in rural France for the last 11 years, where she leads a patchwork sort of life involving parenting, writing, earning money in brief stints away from home as an independent facilitator and running their two gîtes. Her first novel, The Night Rainbow, came out this spring from Bloomsbury. She […]

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Fête des Lumières — Lyon

The streets of Lyon swarm with people inching . . . elbowing forward, some working against the flow, some in groups drinking vin chaudapparently oblivious to the fact that they are causing people jams everywhere. As we near the Place des Terreaux, the streetlights become darker and darker until we are lurching with the crowd […]

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Paris on my iPhone

La Tour EiffelI have just come back from Paris. Well, I haven’t just come back, but I have just uploaded the pictures from my iPhone. My Sony digital camera would have taken up too much space in my backpack, so I left it at home. I wish I’d left my cold at home. I was […]

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My Favorite Places on Earth — Alsace

We all have our favorite places on Earth, and I suppose some of us have our favorite places on Mars–but I haven’t been there. Yet. I go to Alsace at least once a year. For wine. But also for the quaint fairy-tale atmosphere in the dozens of tiny villages still very much as they were […]

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How do you say “Gluten-free” in French?

The Eiffel Tower is Gluten-free(Important! If this post is cut off at the bottom, reload the page. This usually solves the problem.) _________________________________ I speak very little French. It’s a joke among my students that I learn one French word a day: some useless word that I’d never use, like la hérisson (hedgehog). Although I’ve […]

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The Irony of Nice

I’ve visited Nice more times than I can count. I don’t say that to brag; I’m just telling you this so that you understand my history with the city. I used to meet a friend there years ago. We had great times. Nice has great music bars and some OK restaurants. Nice has changed. You […]

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Alsace

In spring, the villages of Alsace, in the northeast corner of France, compete to see who can out-flower the other. A sign at the entrance to the village will tell you how many flowers (like stars, one to five) the village received in the contest. Competition is fierce—fiercely floral.As you drive along the Route des […]

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