Provence July 2009

Today Sarah and I drove my parents to their airport for their departure after three action-packed weeks bopping around Europe. You already saw our pictures from the Italian leg of the trip, right? (If not, see the next most recent post.) Here’s a very brief run-down of the Provence leg of the trip, which was a solid week in Remoulins with day trips out pretty much every day to explore local stuff.

  • We flew into Marseille on a Lufthansa flight from Munich.  We very nearly missed the flight thanks to the rail system (not sure if it was ALX or DB’s fault…but it sure was stressful).
  • We picked up our rental car, a Fiat Punto (pretty small for four adults and light luggage) at the airport in Marseille and drove out to Remoulins, where a rental cottage on the grounds of a Chambre d’Hôte awaited us.  We loved the location of our lodging, but it was pretty cramped for four adults and rather poorly equipped.  More on that later, perhaps.
  • Every day we planned to do something new and even when we were too tired, sweaty, or hungry to follow through on our plans, something easier and more local kept us interested.
  • We ate a ton of fresh fruit, stuff right off the vine, tree, etc.  I’ve never had white nectarines before, but I’ll be looking for them now.  Sadly, I doubt they’ll taste as good as ones from the road-side stands in Provence, but I’ll try them anyway.  Most of that fruit goes great with goat cheese and another local product, wine.  Yum!
  • We planned to visit l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Aix-en-Provence, and Avignon and were pleased with all of those.  Smaller places, like Uzès and Gordes and Castillon-du-Gard were complete (and welcome) surprises – cute places we just stumbled upon in search for WiFi (not every McDonald’s offers it) or a landromat open through lunch.

Here’s the map, to give you a rough idea:

View Provence July 2009 in a larger map

Here are my favorite pictures from the past three weeks (below). You can see all the pictures we took here.

Hotel Sully Saint-Germain

The Joint

Hotel Sully Saint-Germain
31 Rue des Ecoles
75005 Paris – France


We reserved this hotel due to the price, location and wireless connectivity. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. The price was fixed and the location (a short walk from the Maubert-Mutualité Métro station) was ideal. The design of the lobby and the rooms is quite attractive. The basic double room is fairly small by American standards, but has lots of storage space (closets and drawers, etc.).

Unfortunately, the promised internet was not accessible in the rooms. To use it, you had to bring your laptop and other materials down to the lobby, then jockey for position with the rest of the hotel guests set up for surfing. We like to bring our laptop with us to help with planning our outings, so reliable, room-accesible internet is important to us. We were a little disappointed on that score.

There were a couple of other odd occurrences. There was a brief power outage one evening – about 30 seconds with no lights. Not a big deal to us, but we did overhear another couple complaining to the concierge about another outage the previous evening that happened while the woman was in the shower. So I guess that happens with some regularity. Also, on the morning of our checkout, I couldn’t get the water temperature to cooperate. It started out normal, but then started switching between burning hot and freezing cold. It made rinsing my hair an adventure.

The breakfast included in our rate was adequate, except for the coffee (it was dreadful). The elevators are extremely small, so occasionally taking the stairs is the best option. Generally, it was a pleasant experience. It is by no means a luxury hotel, but as a place to sleep, shower and keep your stuff while you’re out experiencing Paris, the Sully Saint-Germain is a good choice.


Sarah hit all the points I’d make. Location was the most important aspect for me — it’s an easy walk to the Ile de la Cité or the Louvre or just hop onto the #10 Metro line to get out to other parts of the city or a bigger train station.

Paris Finis

Back to real life!

Here are all the pictures from the trip, organized into several sets and slideshows. Most of these are images you’ve seen in recent previous posts, but I’ve got them all together in one blog post here. Click on the individual squares below for the larger versions, or click the title of each grouping to start a slideshow for that grouping.

Paris Silliness:

Paris Day Shots:

Paris Night Shots:

Photos de la Seine par Nuit

Took these last night. The originals turned out pretty orange due to all the incandescent lighting along the river, but I managed to mess with them in the GIMP somewhat to get the white balance back into an acceptable range.

Wish I understood better how all that stuff works…perhaps a class in modern DSLR photography at my local Volkshochschule is in order (it’s been recommended to me before).

Savourez-vous les photos (et mon français terrible)!

notre_dame_seine_wb_rotated_cropped_4862 notre_dame_wb_cropped_rotated.4868 rotated_cropped_wb_notre_dame_4883 rue_des_ecoles_4886 seine_notre_dame_4860

Paris Planning November 2008

Narrowing down our list of stuff we want to do, while keeping enough buffer room in for spontaneity, is truly an art form.

Help us paint our picture.

Here’s our rough itinerary and short list:

What have you done? What would you have done (differently)?

A little chilly in Remuzat today

After a very nice (and well-deserved, I might add) sleep last night, we had a nice breakfast of bread and croissants with homemade preserves and tromped off on foot to the village of Remuzat. It was rather chilly today, and we even got caught in the rain. However, we could still see how cute the place is, nestled between mountains on all sides.

Ynitial G&G

The Joint

14 Rue du Palais Grillet
69002 2ème Arrondissement


I had almost the same thing that Sarah did, but adding rosemary-seasoned beef to the bowl of vegetables bumped the price up about 10 EUR (no joke).

It was quite good, but I felt like I overpaid. I am sure that wasn’t 10 EUR worth of beef — even at restaurant prices — differentiating her dish from mine.


Another discovery made by just tooling around. Small, vaguely Asian and fairly inexpensive. I had the red curry mixed vegetables (baby corn, chickpeas, red onion, broccoli, etc.), which were nicely spicy, very tasty and quite cheap (about €5,50). The decor inside was very modern and sleek — slate slab walls and floors, subtle pendant lamps, black chairs and tables – but we sat outside to enjoy the breeze and, hopefully, avoid choking on second-hand smoke. Service was fairly fast and discreet.

Hotel Beaux Arts

The Joint

73-75 rue President
Edouard Herriot
69002 LYON


Personally, I found nothing remarkable about this place. I was wiped out from the long drive and was just happy to have a place to lay down and sleep. I wasn’t tired enough to overlook the price though — this place ain’t cheap. But I guess that this chain is known for that.


Pricier than I would have liked (€90/night), but the facilities were pretty nice. Decor isn’t all that great, but the location is outstanding. The room was HUGE by European standards (generous by American), the bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was clean and well arranged. Breakfast buffet the next morning was nicely varied in a quiet room. Only problem – there is no designated parking for guests. That meant that we had to park in one of the downtown public lots and pay overnight rates to get our car out the next day (which actually was about half as much as we thought it would be). Not terribly inconvenient, but a little frustrating when trying to actually get out of the car and into the hotel. Overall, it was a good experience.