I left my heart in France. by Melissa Fitzgerald

France is my favorite place on the Earth.  The food, architecture, art, people and language are some of the most beautiful I've experienced in my humble travels thus far.  I've been fortunate enough to visit and revisit this country multiple times, and this post documents trip number three.  To me, Paris is the quite literally a magical fairy land of romance and light.  I can never get enough.  But for anyone who's visiting France, I highly recommend taking time to explore the rural parts of the country as well.  It has a charm and warmth that's distinctly different from Paris, and equally lovely.  While I have included a few highlights from our stay in the City of Light, the majority of the pictures below are of our time spent in these rural regions.

Knowing my love for all things vintage, castles and wine, my boyfriend Joseph, arranged a private day tour of the Loire Valley that included each of these things, complete with a 1953 Citroen Traction Avant as our transportation du jour.  The next several days of our trip were spent in the Normandy region of France, with the Ville de Bayeux as our home base.  We soaked up as much history as possible visiting three of the American landing locations on D-Day (Omaha, Utah and Pointe du Hoc) and ending at the Normandy American Cemetary and Memorial.  The D-Day tour was an intensive eight-hour informational download leaving us with a deep appreciation for our freedom and an overwhelming respect for the thousands of men and women who lost their lives so we may have that freedom.  Every American should visit. 

I left the trip with this stream of conciousness: Croissants are delicious - totally worth the carbs.  French wine is like nectar.  I wish escargot was on every menu everywhere.  I can't believe I actually like escargot.  There's not a much happier moment for me than watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night.  I am not above purchasing the little souvenir Eiffel Tower replicas.  I didn't think Joseph could be any more handsome, until I saw him in France.  Butter makes everything better.  I can speak more French than I realized.  I wonder if Joseph and I will ever stop competing over who can get better shots? I will never forget the sacrifice so many soliders made so that I can enjoy the life I have today.  Breakfast each morning with fellow maison visitor and WWII vet, Mick McMechen (pictured below) was truly an honor and a priviledge. Our Bayeux maison hosts, Eric and Nelly (pictured below), now feel like long lost relatives that I can't wait to visit again.  French people are really like Texans with melodic accents.   And finally, when can I go back? 

Sites pictured in order of appearance: Centre Pompidou, Tour Eiffel, Loire Valley Tour with the wonderful Simon and Susan, Loches, Chateau Chenonceau, Ville de Bayeux, Relais Saint-Loup Maison d'Hote, Sainte-Mere-Eglise, Utah beach, Omaha beach, Pointe du Hoc, Normandy American Cemetary and Memorial, WWII veteran and pilot Mick with Joseph (see his blog of our trip here), Charlemare the maison cat, our lovely maison hosts, Eric and Nelly, and lastly the Bayeux train station.