It Begins

I arrived in London at 4pm, got to my hotel at 6:30pm (I had wonderful directions to the wrong place). I dumped all my stuff and headed off to have dinner with my sister and her friend which was quite enjoyable catching up with her. I made it back to the hotel at 12:30am and discovered a note under the door telling me my tour guide had missed me and had taken the liberty of placing a 4:30am wake up call.

By now it was about 1am. I didn't get much sleep that night.

I did manage to get up and had breakfast, meeting Catherine and Amy who were also on my tour - quite a relief to discover my tour wasn't full of the grey haired set that filled the breakfast room. Then I stumbled down to the bus, met some of the other people, then headed off into London to pick up everyone else.

I suppose the tour proper didn't start until we left London and headed for Dover.

One short boat trip later and we were on the way to Paris. I was surprised, I quite liked Paris, I didn't expect to, but I quite enjoyed myself. Definately somewhere to go back to, spend longer, have a good look around.

We did the Effel Tower, a river cruise, the standard tourist run at the Lourve, Montmartre and a show at the Moulin Rouge, not to mention the other sightseeing.

Then we started to drive down through southern France, visiting a bundle of chateaus, small villages and cathedrals. I loved some of the small villages, out of the tourist clutches, I could just wander around and soak it up.

Oradour-sur-Glane is a sobering place. During World War II, the SS troops rounded everyone up, seperating the men from the women and children The men were placed in three barns, the women and children were herded into the church. The troops then opened fire with machine guns on the men and detonated a bomb in the church around the women and children. They then set fire to the village. 642 people died, 7 survived.

After the war, it was decided to keep the town in ruins as a memory of the events. Its very effective. Wikipedia has a good entry on it if you want more details.

As we were nearing Spain, we went to Carcassonne which I loved. We were up in the original city, which is essentially a walled castle that they have turned into a massive tourist precinct. Sure a lot of the stuff was touristy, but it also had some of the best shops I've ever seen, cool little placed filled with cool little stuff. Defiantely somewhere to revisit.

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Paris and Southern France
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Barcelona

Ok, not France, but the white cliffs of Dover


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Florest in Paris


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Arc de Triomphe


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Paris Building


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Effel Tower structure


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View from Effel Tower


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Winch on the Tower


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The Seine from the Effel Tower


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Effel Tower


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Me!


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Paris


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Paris


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Little busses


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Paris


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This was the old lift operator (now removed)


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Looking down a lift shaft


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Me again


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Lots of little people under the tower


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More superstructure


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This is most of my tour group


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Effel Tower


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Effel Tower with some lights


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Boat trip


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Effel Tower at night


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The Paris Opera House


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Hotel De Ville


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The classic tourist snapshot


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Sacred Heart Basillica, Montmartre


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Sacred Heart Basillica, Montmartre


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Montmartre


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Montmartre


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Sacred Heart Basillica, Montmartre


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Montmartre


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Door handle


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Sacred Heart Basillica, Montmartre


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Metro station sign


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Detail on Paris Opera House


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Louvre


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Winged...?


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Louvre


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Venus di Milo


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Louvre


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Lightpole at the Opera house


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Opera house


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Bike riding cow


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Opera house


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Inside the opera house


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Opera house lights


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Opera house


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Opera house


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Paris


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Building


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Opera house


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Opera house


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Paris building


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Metro entry


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Moulin Rouge


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Metro entry


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Moulin Rouge


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Chartres


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Chartres Cathedral


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Chartres Cathedral


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Stained glass inside Chartres Cathedral


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Stained glass inside Chartres Cathedral


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Stained glass inside Chartres Cathedral


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Chartres Cathedral


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Chartres Cathedral


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Stained glass inside Chartres Cathedral


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Dog drinking fountain, Chartres


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Chartres


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Chartres


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Chambord Chateau


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Chambord Chateau


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Chambord Chateau


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Châau de Chenonceau


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Chapel Châau de Chenonceau


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Chateau de Chenonceau


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Chateaude Chenonceau


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Great Hall Chateaude Chenonceau


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Chateaude Chenonceau


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Chateaude Chenonceau


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Chateaude Chenonceau kitchens


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Chateaude Chenonceau kitchens


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Chateaude Chenonceau kitchens


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Chateaude Chenonceau gardens


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Chateaude Chenonceau gardens


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Chateaude Chenonceau


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Avenue to Chateaude Chenonceau


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Chateau d'Amboise


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Smallest room on the tour


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Village in the Loire Valley


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Roses


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Private garden


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Me in a village in the Loire Valley


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Oradour-sur-Glane


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Oradour-sur-Glane


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Oradour-sur-Glane


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Oradour-sur-Glane


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Oradour-sur-Glane


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Oradour-sur-Glane


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Valentre Bridge, Cahors


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Marker on the ground at Cahors


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Valentre Bridge, Cahors


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River at Cahors


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Carcassonne former moat


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Carcassonne


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Carcassonne


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Carcassonne Cathedral


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Carcassonne Cathedral


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Carcassonne Cathedral


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Carcassonne


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Horses at Carcassonne


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Carcassonne


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Last modified: May 27 2012 11:07:37.
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