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FROM PARIS FRANCE TO MONTEPULCIANO ITALY

A journey into the land of Castles, Chianti, Vineyards, Van Gogh and more by Marilyn Cook

 
A majestic XVIth century castle. Walking into the courtyard is an ominous experience.  You can feel spirits from centuries ago and imagine knights riding in.   If you are walking alone in the dark it is an incredibly eerie experience to cross the expansive courtyard with its magnificent tall gate.  The grand castle is ominous looming down into the darkness.  To go in, you must open the old creaky round wooden door with the black rod iron key then the journey down the long winding  shadowy hall as century old eyes stare back at you from the walls.  If ever a place was haunted, it is here.
CHATEAU VERRERIE, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
#travel #chateau verrierie #loire valley #france
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                LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE 

               CORDES-SUR-CIEL, FRANCE

CHATEAU VERRERIE, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
Cordes-Sur-Ciel France
Located in France, 421 miles SW of Paris, lies a sleepy village on a hilltop.  A place you can experience le bon vie.  The fortified town was built in 1222 by the Count of Toulouse, a Cathar heretic.   Until recently the town's name was Cordes, a word thought to come from the Indo-European root "corte" meaning "rocky heights."  The village is striking as it rises into the sky above the clouds on a towering hill with a beautiful fertile valley below.   When walking through the narrow cobblestone streets, many cats are lounging around in the early morning hours; the village belongs to le chat  on a quiet French morning before the town comes to life.  The village consists of many ancient houses on narrow streets with artisans plying their skills -- blacksmiths, graphic artists, weavers, engravers, sculptors, and painters.
Cordes Sur Ciel France
Cordes-Sur-Ciel France
Cats in Cordes
#travel #cordes-sur-ciel #france
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               CARCASSONE, FRANCE

CHATEAU VERRERIE, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
Carcassone
CARCASSONE
Imagine you are sitting behind the fortified walls of a medieval castle built by the Romans in 100BC, first settled in 3500 BC. Carcassonne is the "Cité", a famous architectural monument, unique in Europe, on a hill looming over vineyards with the Black Mountain in the distance. Inside the ramparts are towers, narrow streets, secret gardens, courtyards and fountains.  Portions of Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves were shot here.  "I doubt that there exists anywhere in Europe as complete and formidable a system of defense of the 6th, 12th and 13th centuries, as interesting a subject of study, and a more picturesque situation" - Viollet le Duc.     It is something out of a fairy tale as a little girl plays by the fountain with the sun rays shining upon her.  At night, the ramparts light  up the castle in stunning glory.  Live like royalty and stay in a hotel room all your own inside these walls.
#carcassone #france #castle #medieval
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SULLY-SUR-LOIRE, FRANCE

CHATEAU VERRERIE, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
Marilyn Cook Le Chateau Et La Sully sur Loire in Sully-sur-Loire, France
LE CHATEAU ET LA LOIRE
This is as remarkable of a castle as it gets.   Fairy tales could are reality here in this place where legends are woven.
#sully-sur-loire #france #castle #countofmontecristo
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SEGURET, FRANCE

 
This is one of the most picturesque villages in France.  The hillsrise up in anticipation to greet you with lush green fields and vineyards surrounding the perched hillside village.  Rays of sunshine make the countryside colors pop with surreal beauty.    On our first day visiting the village, we were headed up the steep slopes of the hillside when the car stalled.  We thought, uh oh, we are on a hill, now what?  We tried to push the car out of the way, over to the side, against the retaining wall at the edge of a cliff.  I am not the best with a clutch and as my husband pushed, I almost had us going over the hill.  If it weren’t for the wall it could have been a disaster.  All of this is going on when I look around and see a little old French woman has her head stuck out of her window watching us.  We were definitely her entertainment that day. Fortunately, we weren’t there for very long before a nice French man came along and asked us if we needed help.  (Who says the French are rude?) here.
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ARLES, FRANCE

CHATEAU VERRERIE, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
Arles, France
Arles, France ( bouches–du–rhone), the Rome of the North,  was once the most important roman city beyond the Alps.  Arles is filled with Roman ruins and an eclectic assortment of museums.  This is an incredible place to walk through the picturesque city streets, exploring the culture and architecture, along with spending time in the fabulous outdoor markets!  Arles is a great base for sightseeing Provence.   The most well preserved Roman gladiator arena is in Arles which holds 20,000 people and now they use it for concerts.  You can see why Van Gogh used Arles as a point of inspiration.
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ST. TROPEZ, FRANCE

CHATEAU VERRERIE, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
St. Tropez, France
St. Tropez, a glorious landscape of glitz and glamour among the decadent beaches of white sand and palm trees.  People watching is a favorite sport here.  Visitors like to sit at the outdoor café’s sipping pastis while hoping either to be seen or to see someone else. Competition is rife.  Huge yachts line up in the port rivaling to see which is the biggest, the prettiest, the best kept, or has the snappiest crew.  There are miles of differently named beaches.
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CANNES, FRANCE

CHATEAU VERRERIE, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
Cannes, France
The beauty of the city of Cannes on the French Riviera is dazzling. Everywhere you look are glitzy hotels, fancy cars, beautiful beaches, and jet-setting celebrities.  You can feel the  atmosphere of vibrancy, cultural richness and proud heritage. Cannes has breathtaking panoramic scenery, as in this picture of the La Croisette, the beautiful waterfront avenue with gorgeous palm trees offering a relaxing promenade.  La Croisette is very famous for its picturesque beaches where you can find many first-class resorts, restaurants, hip cafés and an array of brand name boutiques. Stroll along the beaches and enjoy a treat of gelato on a sunny warm August afternoon.  In the evening, enjoy a romantic dinner on the beach at one of the French waterside restaurants eating French cuisine and drinking wine while surrounded by candlelight and turquoise water. Cul Sec!
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EZE, FRANCE

CHATEAU VERRERIE, LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
Chateau de la Chevre d'or hotel in Eze, France
CHATEAU DE LA CHEVRE D'OR HOTEL
St. Tropez, a glorious landscape of glitz and glamour among the decadent beaches of white sand and palm trees.  People watching is a favorite sport here.  Visitors like to sit at the outdoor café’s sipping pastis while hoping either to be seen or to see someone else. Competition is rife.  Huge yachts line up in the port rivaling to see which is the biggest, the prettiest, the best kept, or has the snappiest crew.  There are miles of differently named beaches.
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GARGONZA, ITALY

 
This is one of the most picturesque villages in France.  The hillsrise up in anticipation to greet you with lush green fields and vineyards surrounding the perched hillside village.  Rays of sunshine make the countryside colors pop with surreal beauty.    On our first day visiting the village, we were headed up the steep slopes of the hillside when the car stalled.  We thought, uh oh, we are on a hill, now what?  We tried to push the car out of the way, over to the side, against the retaining wall at the edge of a cliff.  I am not the best with a clutch and as my husband pushed, I almost had us going over the hill.  If it weren’t for the wall it could have been a disaster.  All of this is going on when I look around and see a little old French woman has her head stuck out of her window watching us.  We were definitely her entertainment that day. Fortunately, we weren’t there for very long before a nice French man came along and asked us if we needed help.  (Who says the French are rude?) here.
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CASTELLO DI GARGONZA

MONTERIGGIONI, ITALY

IT'S ITALIAN
LOOK AT THE DOGGY IN THE WINDOW
Monteriggioni, is a medieval Tuscany town surrounded by massive walls which are reinforced by fourteen towers.  It is perched on a hilltop above fields of green and amid olive groves.  The visual effect from a distance is astonishing.   It is amazing that a fortified town like this still exists.  The castle of Monteriggioni was constructed in the 13C by the Siennese.  The piazza is dominated by a Romanesque church. There isn’t any traffic along the cobblestone streets,  taking you back in time to the renaissance era.  The houses look just as they must have when they were owned by wealthy nobles.   Dante referred to Monteriggioni in the Divine Comedy: Inferno, “ come in su cerchia londa Monteriggioni di torri corona”.  This picture is on the steps of the castle, someone is looking out the window waiting for his close up.
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RADDA IN CHIANTI, ITALY