Appreciating Centuries of Silk Weaving At Maison des Canuts

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Bonjour mes amis!  

I’m back to share more highlights from my summer trip to lovely Lyon. In case you missed my first Lyon post, be sure to read about my stay in the hip and cool La Croix Rousse neighborhood. I was visiting the city with my BFF L for our mutual 60th birthdays.

While Lyon is the culinary capital of France, it is also well-known for it’s silk industry, where for five centuries Lyon’s talented canuts (silkworkers) have been perfecting their technical, social and creative prestige. In fact, the heart of the canuts district is located in Croix Rousse and the historic Maison des Canuts (now a silk museum) was just a few blocks from our AirBnb apartment.*

Maison des Canuts; Lyon silks

Maison des Canuts silk museum is located in Lyon’s La Croix Rousse neighborhood.

We booked a tour in advance of our arrival. At $7.5 euro per person, if you are a fashionista or enjoy fine silks, Maison des Canuts is well worth a visit. Just make sure you book an English speaking tour. Ooh, ooh, ooh, there is a silk shop on the premise where you can purchase beautiful scarves, shawls, blouses, etc.

Maison des Canuts; Lyon silks

Beautiful silk scarves can be purchased at the silk shop.

Following In The Footsteps of Lyon’s Weavers
According to Maison des Canuts’ website, “this establishment was created by the COOPTISS (a weaving cooperative founded by Lucie Berger in 1960) and opened in 1970. At the end of the 19th century, Maison was the head office of the Syndicat des Ouvriers Tisseurs et Similaires (weavers and other similar professions trade union).”
Continue reading

Bonjour! My Birthday Visit To The Lovely City of Lyon

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Bonjour mes amis! It’s time to share highlights from my summer trip to lovely Lyon, the culinary capital of France.

Oui mon amis, I bet after I tell you about my first visit to this amazing city, you’ll want to book your next vacation there, especially if you’re a foodie.

 

Lyon culinary capital; Lyon patisserie

Lyon is the culinary capital of France.

Oui mon amis, I went to Lyon with my BFF L for our mutual 60th birthdays. What could be more fun than celebrating 30+ years of friendship and a 60th year with a long weekend in Lyon followed by a few days in Paris?

Lyon 60th birthday celebration

Celebrating a 30+year friendship and our 60th birthdays with a trip to Lyon and Paris.

We flew from Newark, NJ on Delta to Paris and then took a train from the Paris Gare Lyon Station to Lyon Part Dieu Station. It’s about a 90 minute train ride. Continue reading

My Travels On “Rhineland Discovery” – A Beautiful Day in the Black Forest

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50It had been a glorious week on the Viking EIR, (courtesy of Viking River Cruises).* Our voyage on the “Rhineland Discovery” river cruise would soon be coming to an end. There was one last day to savor — with a morning excursion to the medieval village of Colmar, France and an afternoon exploring the beauty of Germany’s fabled Black Forest.

A Walking Tour Of Colmar, France
“Welcome aboard,” said our tour guide Rhona as we readied for the bus trip to Colmar. It was a brief ride and Rhona provided a history lesson on the way. She told us that this area of France was occupied by Germany during WWI and WWII.

Colmar, France; VIking River Cruises; river cruises

Colmar, France is a quaint village.

As we neared the roundabout there was a replica of the Statue of Liberty. “We have a tiny bit of New York City here,” said Rhona. “In 2004 an honorary statue was placed at the entrance of Colmar to honor it’s hometown creator Bartholdi, who designed the original monument as a thank you to Americans for their help in WWII.” Continue reading

The Grand Finale In France – Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Bonjour! Bonjour!

Are you ready for the grand finale including some of the best parts of my trip to France with my daughter A and son D. Just thinking about the bright blue waters in Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo, make me want to pack my bag and head back to the Cote d’Azur.

A Nice Day In Nice. We spent Friday walking around the town and along the boardwalk. We went to see the famous Negresco Hotel – which looks to be a truly luxurious place from the outside. Only hotel guests are allowed inside but we managed to take a peek. We sat a bit and watched the sassy sunbathers lying on the rocky beaches – some topless bodies that I would say should not have been topless! No, no, no – not topless during life after 50 – no, no, no.

boomer travel, France trip, Nice, life after 50, over 50

The luxurious Hotel Negresco in Nice.

A visit to Louis V. Later in the day it was time for a special shopping trip. With only two days left in France, my daughter A tracked down the Louis Vuitton boutique in Nice. Will she or won’t she buy a bag? Oui ou non?

“Would you like to see a handbag mademoiselle?” said the friendly LV salesman. “Oui, merci,” said A.

It took about 30 minutes…or was it 40…or was it 60? One by one, the friendly LV salesman took each LV handbag off the glass shelf. One was too big. One was too small. One was too light. One was too bright. One was too dark. One did not have two handles to hold. One looked too matronly. One was too ordinary. (Who wants an expensive handbag that everyone else owns?)

“How are you going to use the handbag?” asked the friendly LV salesman. “For work and for casual,” said A.

Louis Vuitton Metis handbag, life after 50, over 50, Nice, France

Oui. Oui. My daughter A bought the LV Metis handbag.

“I have something from the new collection I think you will like,” he said as he went behind a magic door in the store. It was as if he was showing off a diamond when he returned with a  large brown pouch which he proceeded to open to unveil a magnificent LV handbag – the Metis. I could tell that A was going to melt for the Metis the minute she tried it on. “It is contemporary and so versatile with two removable straps,” said the LV salesman. (Absolutely, the Metis is a bargain – it is definitely worth the cost because it is really like three bags for the price of one – you can carry it on your arm, over the shoulder or in the hand.)

“And it is less expensive to buy a LV handbag in France since you get the VAT tax back,” added the LV salesman. DEAL SEALED. DEAL SEALED. DEAL SEALED. A walked out of the nice Nice LV store with the Metis in a big LV shopping bag.

Monaco, boomer travel, life after 50, over 50,

My visit to Monaco with my son D and daughter A will be forever memorable.

Roll the dice and on Saturday we were on our way to Monaco and Monte Carlo – only a 20 minute train ride to the land of one of my favorite storybook romances – Princess Grace and Prince Ranier. Ooh, ooh, ooh – I was huffing and puffing but we did it – we climbed the steep steps all the way to the tippy top of the hill to view the Royal Palace. We bought chocolates in the Royal Palace chocolate shop. Then we huffed and puffed our way back down the hill through the beautiful gardens, passed all the huge yachts, and up a second hill to Monte Carlo.

We waited until 2:00 p.m. for the Casino Royale to open (everything is closed for two hours during lunchtime) so D could gamble away $25 euro and take home a clay poker chip. A long wait but an experience he will always remember.

Pizza in Nice, life after 50, over 50, boomer travel, France

We dined on brick oven pizza for our final dinner in Nice.

Our final French feast. D selected the restaurant near the Nice marketplace to cap off our stay in the south of France. He ordered gnocchi with shrimp and asparagus, A had a big antipasti salad and I dined on brick oven pizza topped with ricotta, eggplant and mozzarella. The crust was so light and crispy. Together we finished it all.

On Sunday, we consumed our three croissants and three cups of cafe au lait, said goodbye to the beach and boarded the plane for Paris. We were sad to leave, but ready for our trip home the next day after a night at a compact hotel at the Paris airport.

Paris, Provence and the French Riviera – I loved it all. Can I retire again? How many more careers will I have during my life after 50? I want to go back to France…or maybe Spain next time…or Greece?

Bonsoir. Bonsoir. 

Judi

P.S. – Congratulations to Allison, who won this month’s raffle prize of Herbes de Provence from Uzes.  Thanks for your blog comment. 

 

More Travels In France – Off To Uzes and Nice

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Bonjour, bonjour!  

Are you tired of reading about France? I hope not. I have a few more tales to tell and then it’s back to the U.S.A. for good. I promise.

Now where was I? Off to Uzes. Ah yes, I drove through several roundabouts and itty bitty, teeny tiny streets to  get to Uzes, a charming medieval city. According to Wikipedia, “The town lies at the source of the Eure, from where a Roman aqueduct was built in the first century BC, to supply water to the local city of Nimes, 25KM away. The most famous stretch of the aqueduct is the Pont du Gard, which carried fresh water over splendid arches across the river Gardon.”

life after 50, over 50, Paris, France trip, Uzes, Pont du Gard

We dined on steak and pomme frites, went to the Uzes market and Pont du Gard.

On Wednesday, we visited the market where stall keepers were killing live fish with their bare hands. The vegetables and fruits were so fresh and luscious. (Supposedly there is an even bigger market in Uzes on Saturdays.) Uzes is also known for its cloths and fabrics – which were quite beautiful.  My son D bought two linen pillow covers and I purchased a pretty apron.

We dined at MilleZime for lunch. (Do try it if you ever visit Uzes.) The appetizer was an eggplant caviar with the best roasted tomatoes I have ever tasted. Our entree: steak and pomme frites included a cheese sauce for dipping. OMG! OMG! Are my arteries still working? “Dessert madame?” asked the waiter. “Oui, oui, framboise sorbet, merci,” I said.

During our drive back home, we stopped at the famous Pont du Gard, which as guidebook author Rick Steves says “Though most of the aqueduct is on or below the ground, at Pont du Gard it spans a canyon on a massive bridge – one of the most remarkable surviving Roman ruins anywhere.”  D and I walked around the park and dipped our feet in the rocky waters. You can swim in the river and rent canoes for longer stays.

We capped off our last evening in Provence with more cheese, bread, olives and wine. I was sad to leave Domazan, but promised the owners Pasquale and Robert that I will return one day.

Nice, trip to France, life after 50, over 50

Blue skies and blue water in Nice.

A Nice Trip To Nice. We packed our bags the next morning and Gigi GPS helped us find our way to the French Riviera. D hooked up his iPhone and put on some relaxing music. Listen to our playlist…close your eyes…can you see the Mediterranean blue waters that peeked through the mountains as we rode down the highway to Nice…listen…close your eyes and listen:

Sugarman by Rodriguez

At Home by Crystal Fighters

Tonight’s the Kind of Night by Noah and the Whale

Welcome back. We’re here. We’re in Nice. I did it! I drove the WHOLE way – 3.5 hours – a big accomplishment during my life after 50. Oui, oui, oui. Now where do I drop off the car? Where is the nice Hertz counter? Gigi GPS was not being too cooperative. No she was not!

“At the roundabout make a left turn,” Gigi GPS said as we arrived in the city. We must have made that left turn about 10 times but could not find Hertz. Finally, my daughter A called the Hertz office and luckily they answered in English. “The address is on the sixth floor of the parking lot in the train station,” said the Hertz lady. Now why wouldn’t we have figured that out?

Omm, omm, namaste! Omm, omm, namaste!

I practiced my breathing after riding on the wrong side of the road in the city of Nice and was very, very glad to still be alive (and have my two children survive my driving on the wrong side of the road) and to give Gigi GPS and the savvy Citron back to its owners. No more driving in France for moi.

Nice food, life after 50, over 50

Une fete: Seafood with pasta and a whole lasagna on the menu in Nice.

A Nice apartment with two balconies. Ooh, ahh. Ooh, ahh. Our airbnb.com find was parfait. Our two bedroom apartment in Nice had two balconies and was very close to the “heart” of town. The city reminded me of an Italian village with cobblestones and many Italian restaurants. We dined at Villa D’Este during our first evening out. Seafood with pasta for A and me and a huge lasagna for D. Oui, oui, oui – an entire pan of lasagna for D! How could we possibly have dessert after a dinner like that? Oui, oui, oui – Tiramisu with Speculos biscuits and Speculos spread layered between the custard.

I’m was so full, so tired and so ready for a good night’s sleep. Oui, oui, oui, there are automatic blinds in the Nice apartment to block out the bright street lights.

Next stop is Monaco and Monte Carlo. And of course, you’ll want to know if A buys the Louis V at the Louis V store in Nice. There’s one more blog post for sure.  Just one. Only one…until then.

Bonsoir!

Judi

Want to be entered into a raffle to win Herbes de Provence from Uzes in France? Veuillez laisser un commentaire on this blog post or  “like” Judi Boomer Girl on Facebook or “follow” judiboomergirl on Twitter and leave your comment there. One lucky winner will be drawn at random. Deadline for entry is Monday, July 15, 2013. Merci mes amis.

A Wonderful Trip To France – The Many Pleasures of Provence

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50Bonjour, bonjour!  

Are you rested from my world wind tour of Paris in my previous posts (First Stop Paris and A Weekend In Paris)? This week, I’ll share the pleasures of Provence – and there were many during the second half of my wonderful trip to France with my daughter A and son D.

Destination Domazan. We left Paris early Monday morning and headed to the Le Gare Lyon train station where we took the train to Avignon in Provence. The train station is very large and it’s best to know in advance where your train departs. My friend C shared a helpful blog post from a true Francophile to guide us around the train station.)

Provence, France, boomer travel, life after 50, over 50, retirement

“Gigi GPS” was my guide around Provence.

When we arrived in Avignon, we picked up a rental car. I had ordered a car with automatic transmission and a GPS. “Who is driving the car?” asked the nice Hertz representative. “Uh, uh, uh, I am,” I said with hesitation. I had never driven in Europe before and was very, very anxious. D wanted to drive but since he was under 25 it was too costly to add him to the contract.

After all the paperwork was completed it was time to sit in the driver’s seat. The nice Hertz man settled us into a rather large car to fit our luggage, programmed the GPS for the town where we were staying, and switched the language from French to English. Oui, oui, oui.

It was comforting to have my son D by my side as a navigator, along with the soothing female voice of our GPS – who I grew to know after traveling through Provence and decided to name her after one of my favorite movies, Gigi, that is based on a French novella. I drove up and down mountains, through narrow one way streets and round and round the roundabouts. Some days we got lost, but Gigi GPS was always there to lead us back home or to our day’s destination. I was very proud of my French driving skills during my life after 50. Go Judi! Go Judi! Go Judi!

Provence, boomer travel, life after 50, over 50

Our airbnb.com apartment in Provence had a patio.

Our apartment was in the teeny, tiny town of Domazan – about 20 minutes outside of Avignon. It was a two bedroom apartment attached to the side of the owner’s home. Another fabulous airbnb.com location. The owners R & P had equipped the apartment for handicapped visitors, so it was all on one level with easy access in and out of the rooms, handle bars in the bathroom and a pretty  patio. (Being a blogger for the AARP Kitchen Cabinet on Family Caregiving, I thought this was especially nice for those traveling with seniors who might need special accommodations. The owner R mentioned that another guest who would be staying later in June was in a wheelchair.)

Adventures In Avignon: We spent our second day in Provence in the city of Avignon. We parked outside the city and walked into the center of town. (D had to help me get the car into the parking spot as there was no way I was going to fit a Citron into a spot sized for a Fiat – no, no, no – but D did it. Yes he did!  Amazing D! Please don’t tell the nice Hertz man that D drove. Okay? )

Provence, Avignon, boomer travel, life after 50, over 50

J’amie Avignon – salts from Les Halles market, bistro salads, and quaint side street shops.

We went to Les Halles Marketplace which was open until 1:00 p.m. Ooh, ooh, ooh, look at all the different salts with herbs and rose petals. Ooh, ooh, ooh, smell the lavender and lemon soaps. Ooh, ooh, ooh, so many luscious fresh fruits and vegetables – the lettuce so green, the tomatoes so red and the apples so shiny.

The clock strikes noon. The sun was  bright, the umbrellas were up and we sat down for lunch at a corner bistro. We each ordered a salad with duck, prosciutto and slices of baguette topped with olive tapenade. “Voulez-vous du vin avec miss déjeuner?,” said the waitress. “Pourquoi des cours,” I replied. There was plenty of time for a glass of wine, as the shops shut down between 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. in France. (Sometimes they don’t even open back up again until 3:00 p.m.)

We returned to Domazan during the afternoon and D and I took a walk around the winding roads. The flowers were fragrant and it was peaceful to chill with my children in such a picturesque place. I felt lucky, so lucky to be in such splendor.

Provence, France, boomer travel, life after 50, over 50

I felt so lucky to walk around the serene French countryside with my son D and sent daily email notes to family and friends..

In the evening, we drove to the Carrefour market to buy bread, cheese, olives and more prosciutto and wine for our dinner. You must bring a bag to the supermarket or you will have to carry out your food in your arms. You also have to pay to use a shopping cart. It was a learning experience.

There’s so much more to share about Uzes, Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo, but I don’t want to overload your senses. Instead to close, I’ll be a good caregiver and provide a few traveling tips for those who may be going abroad this summer and want to stay in touch with your loved ones:

Phone home: If you want to call home or within the country where you are staying contact your mobile phone provider and tell them you want an international plan for a short time period. I purchased 30 minutes for $30. Be sure to keep your phone on “airport mode with roaming off” the rest of the time so you don’t end up with large data charges. And don’t respond to any text messages unless you want to pay a hefty fee.

Send email postcards: Since we had free wifi in all our apartments, several evenings I used my iPhone or iPad to email picture postcards with the day’s commentary to my friends and family. Quicker and better than a printed postcard — the news arrived in everyone’s inboxes early the next morning instead of weeks later.

– Pack light: I packed way too many clothes and I know you likely pack way too many clothes when you travel too. My suitcase almost broke my back and D’s back too. Next time I am getting a lighter weight suitcase and definitely packing less clothes.

– Don’t over program your days: There was so much I wanted to do in each city we visited. I will definitely have to go back again and again to see everything in Paris, Provence and Nice. Oui, oui, oui.

Want to be entered into a raffle to win Herbes de Provence from Uzes in France? Veuillez laisser un commentaire with your own summer travel tips on this blog post or  “like” Judi Boomer Girl on Facebook or “follow” judiboomergirl on Twitter and leave your comment there. One lucky winner will be drawn at random. Deadline for entry is Monday, July 15, 2013. Merci mes amis.

Judi

Note: I am a member of AARP’s blogger kitchen cabinet on caregiving issues. All opinions are my own.