As I passed through the iron gates of the Château de Vault de Lugny, I felt as if I had entered a completely different dimension and gone back in time. While admiring the beautiful garden and observing peacocks, roosters, chickens, ducks and dogs running around freely, I thought how I never couldn’t have imagined where the paths of travel blogging would take me.
The Wavy Hills and Golden Sunset of Burgundy Region
Once I laid my eyes on the huge château, I could feel an authentic vibe of this medieval monument. I was staying in a room with modern comforts, but decorated in a vintage style in the true spirit of the castle. As I learnt, there were many different activities that I could try, including rafting, kayaking, visiting medieval towns in the vicinity, and horseback riding. However, there was a particular one that got my attention – balloon riding. A balloon was supposed to take off from a small town, Vezelay. After strolling down the narrow streets and stopping to see the church, I headed to the balloon. The balloon ride was simply amazing – I could admire the scenic views of wavy hills and observe the changing fiery colours of one of the most beautiful sunsets in my life.
Home to Claude Monet and the inspiration to many impressionists, Normandy and its half-timbered buildings are no less charming than they are on the impressionist paintings. What I particularly enjoyed is a visit to Giverny, Claude Monet’s garden where he spent more than 40 years working on his art. Surrounded with such beauty and peace, Monet couldn’t have had a better place to do his magic. Even I felt little inspired and enchanted by such dreamy surroundings. Afterwards, I joined a cultural walking tour of the area that was about four-kilometre long and enjoyed the authentic mood that could be felt in the air. I also had an opportunity to try some of the finest French cheeses, including Livarot, Camembert and Brie – no cheese will ever taste the same after the creamy Brie. While in the region, I went to Dieppe where I was lucky enough to end up in Rouen, a famous cobbled street where Joan of Arc had been burnt at the stake. The street radiated with its casual plaza culture – you cannot but wish to just get lost and wander around.
The Meandering Canal du Midi
Another unforgettable highlight of my visit to France is a cruise on the Canal du Midi, the 300-year-old meandering canal that passes through French villages and vineyards. We started the voyage in a small village of Marseillan and were supposed to get to Le Somail. I joined the rest of the group and then we headed to luxurious Anjodi with a spa pool – I was sad to leave it when the cruise ended. The next morning, I woke up happier than ever to have chosen such a rewarding career that had taken me under the arched bridges (one of them was built from the volcanic stone) of the Canal du Midi. I admired the sun-drenched shores and plane trees in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. On our way, we visited Pezenas, a 16th century city and the 14th century Château de Perdiguier, where we enjoyed wine tasting – superb Pinot Noir was the best I have ever tried. The following days we visited Narbonne, a Roman Mediterranean city, passed through the world’s oldest canal tunnel at Malpas and went to the ancient capital Minerve. Finally, we got to Le Somail and visited Carcassonne, a medieval fortified city from the Gallo-Roman era. Every second of this cruise was enchanting – the scenery, the wine, the charms of all the cities and villages, more than I’ve ever dreamt it would be.
The authentic French vibe of medieval cities, small villages and the Canal du Midi will always remain in my memory. As a travel blogger, I’ve had an opportunity to visit many countries, but there’s something about France that mesmerises you.