France



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France is the most visited country in Europe, it is broadly diverse, with a varied climate. It can be just as wet and rainy as Scotland, especially in the north, but in general has a more agreeable climate than the UK. It's a great place to go for the summer as it's so close to Britain, and those who live in the south of England often hop over on the ferry or the Channel Tunnel just for the afternoon!

France is one of the countries I have visited most often (except for England, but that doesn't count!) For as many times as I've been, you'd think I'd have some better photos. It can be considerably more expensive than Britain, especially when the Euro is strong, but good deals can be had on crates of beer in the hypermarkets. I like how different it is, yet similar, for being so close to home.


Mum, Sarah and me on what will soon be sea floor

Mont-Saint-Michel on the border between Normandy and Brittany, was built at the command of a vision seen by a middle-aged monk. It is a strangely tall piece of land just offshore in the Golfe de St-Malo, connected by a causeway. The Atlantic Ocean disappears over the horizon at low tide, and comes racing back in, covering the causeway and creating an island. Nowadays there is a permanent connection to land, but you are warned not to leave your car parked after tea time!



The Château de Brissac, a very large mansion in the north of France, near Angers. It was rebuilt in 1611 in its current form.

A jolly big chateux in the north of France


Ancient and well guarded Fougeres

Fougeres is in Brittany, northern France. It is like many other towns in the region, very old and well fortified. In the picture you can see the ancient walls which guarded the city.



The village of Conques (pronounced Konk) in the Massif Central region of southern central France. I visited Conques with my rugby team from Aberdeen on our tour of France in 1997. We didn't win.

The picturesque village of Conques


Nice one - The Negresco

The southern city of Nice, with a view along the Promenade D'Anglais, down at the pebbly beach. This picture has an interesting diffusion effect of the streetlamps just out of shot, through the green of the palm trees. The Negresco Hotel is a Nice institution, and very fancy.



This is a shot of a campsite we stayed at in Martigne near Dieppe in the north of France, in 1995. My Mum and Dad thought it was very peaceful, which it was, but that to me translated to being a bit dull. They did however have windsurfing on the lake - clearly a winner with conditions like these!

Peace and tranquility


Val Thorens

Another side of France is the massive skiing industry, which offers some of the world's best slope-swooshing. In 2010 we spent a week in the resort of Val Thorens, the highest in France and part of Les Trois Vallées, the largest continuous ski area on earth.



The next valley along from Val Thorens is Meribel, with its own resort town. It's a bit of a commute to get over here from Val Thorens, but not so much as the slog over to Courcheval, in the third of The Three Valleys. You have to make sure you time it right to get back, or you'll miss the last chair and get stranded in the wrong village, as I painfully learned.

Meribel


Very high chairlift

Chairlift at the summit of The Three Valleys, two miles or over 3200 metres in altitude. Val Thorens itself is the highest village in Europe.



Spectacular view of the beautiful French Alps, as seen from the summit of Les Trois Vallées high above the clouds. The last time I was up this high was at the top of Mount Fuji.

Beautiful snowy French Alps


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