The Adventures of a Traveling Francophile

A new dawn, and with it new adventures… Girl Gone Gallic records the tales of my travels throughout France while working and travelling abroad. I love exploring the differences between cultures and everyday life. What better reward then to share these experiences with my family, friends, and fellow travelers? So join me in my travels, a little company is always welcome…

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Le Musée des Confluences - Beetle Bug or Robot?

A Futuristic Spaceship? A Robotic Beetle? A Floating Metallic Cloud???

Musée des Confluences A Museum of Knowledge and Iconic Gateway into Lyon Architecture Part of the redevelopment project of the area known as the Confluence in Lyon, and located directly on the artificial peninsula as you enter the city, the Confluence Museum startles and surprises in its architecture.  Designed by the Austrian firm Coop Himmelb(l)au famous worldwide for their deconstructed architectural…

Found: French Shopping Paradise

All Across France – C’est les SOLDES ! This year I discovered the sales at the Factory Outlet Malls (“magasins d’usine”) – and that was a revelation. Everything is already discounted at outlet pricing which is typically around 20% to 30% off the regular price. But then during the bi-yearly sales you add another 50%, 60%, 70% off the already marked down price – and paradise you have found!

Provences Cherry Festival

10 Fantastic Reasons to Attend Provence’s Cherry Festival

Addicted to Cherries? Me Too… Cherry season is always a time that I wait for with great anticipation. All those lovely little red spheres of delicious sweet tastiness have me salivating in anticipation as the season gets going. Much to my delight, we are smack in the middle of cherry season here in Provence. And in case you hadn’t noticed, any reason is a good reason for a festival as far as the French are concerned! As such, I recently attended the Cherry Festival held in “La Roque d’Anthéron”, a sleepy little village in the backcountry of Provence about 25km from Aix en Provence.

Fields of Red Poppies…

It’s red poppy season here in Provence…

I love seeing their burst of color in the fields and along the roads I routinely travel. They typically bloom the month of May and start dwindling down come June. The red poppies (coquelicot in French) grow best in recently disturbed dirt – such as fields harvested or plowed over. Being in Provence, that means pretty much everywhere!

Provence's Blue Coast - Grand Méjean La Grotte Marine

Hiking Provence’s Blue Coast – La Redonne

Hiking Provence’s Blue Coast

Here are some very thorough directions (with pictures) for those of us with directional disabilities to help you hike Provence’s Côte Bleue (Blue Coast) Trail without walking in circles trying to find that elusive trailhead. Trail markers are rare here, so keep these directions handy. Don’t miss the spectacular “Grotte Marine” water cave!

Hiking Côte Bleue

Hiking Provence’s Côte Bleue – Niolon

Hiking Provence’s Côte Bleue (Blue Coast) – Directions for the Perpetually Lost

I really should start a guide book series for those of us that were born with absolutely no sense of direction. There’s actually a real term for that – “Geographical Dyslexia,” or “Directional Disability” and it’s genetic (thanks Mom!). I personally could get lost in my backyard… Actually I did once, and NO I had not been drinking… Life before a GPS was awful, but even now with a GPS in hand I can still get lost!

Should you struggle as I do, here are some very thorough directions (with pictures) to help you hike the Côte Bleue Trail without walking in circles trying to find that elusive trailhead. Trail markers are rare here, and official maps do not always reference all trails, so keep these directions handy. GGG to the rescue!!!

Côte Bleue

Provence’s Côte Bleue – Nothing less than sublime…

The Calanques of the Côte Bleue, those fjord-like inlets carved into bright white limestone, are part of the lesser known stretch of coastline located west of Marseille in the protected “Parc Régional Marin de la Côte Bleue”. The region is called the “Côte Bleue” (Blue Coast) in reference to its tantalizing deep turquoise blue waters and is very popular with snorkelers and divers.

This is off the beaten track at its best! These hidden beaches are mostly unknown to tourists… This is where you will find the locals on any given sunny afternoon. Tiny quaint fisherman’s villages and pleasant petite ports, I love how authentic the area feels. Time really has stood still here…

La Marinière - French Sailor's Shirt - medallion

Friday Fun Facts – What’s up with those blue and white stripes???

 Friday Fun Facts – La Marinière Did you know?  Those blue and white stripes found on the iconic French Sailor’s shirts known as “la Marinière” follow very strict laws… The French Sailor’s shirt composition MUST follow these exacting rules: “The body is to contain precisely 21 white stripes (20mm), and 20 or 21 indigo blue stripes (10mm).  The three-quarter length…