From time to time, fellow bloggers post difficult questions on my blog. I usually do my best trying to answer to all of them but, some days, when a question is very difficult to answer, or my English capabilities –English is not my mother language- don’t allow me to say what I really want to say, or simply if I didn’t sleep well the night before, I just write “thank you for visiting” or put that silly face that appears on screen when you type : and ) … 🙂
Some months ago, Sarah (fellow blogger, super chef and virtual friend) posted here a very difficult question. I hesitated: to answer or not to answer. To say 🙂 or to put my life at risk dealing with phantoms just to get the answer Sarah was waiting for …
I accepted the daunting challenge and provided her with a comprehensive response in “The Queen’s magic recipe”
This week, for second time in this blog’s history, I face a similar dilemma: to say 🙂 or to write a specific post about a beautiful area of Europe that is relatively far away from Covetotop’s headquarters …
“Where in Switzerland were you? I am planning a trip to France in June and one of my stops will be St. Julien (where I spent the first 6 yrs of my life) near the Geneva border. Where do you recommend near the border (of France and Switzerland)? Also I want to stop in a town in the south of France where there are old stone buildings and those magnificent lavender fields. Which town would be the best choice for that?”
This was my first answer:
“Thank you for your comment, Sophia. I’m afraid I don’t cross that border (of France and Switzerland) very often; consequently my advice about that specific area is not that of an “expert”, but of a casual “vagabond”. In any case, don’t worry: I’ll try to provide you with my “vagabondish” advice about your questions soon. Stay tuned … ;)”
Sophia, if you are reading these lines now, here below you’ll find my “vagabondish” answer to your questions.
1) “Where in Switzerland were you?”
Here and there. Switzerland is a very nice little country to explore, so I don’t stay two days in the very same place when I visit it …
I like its mountains, its lakes, its villages …
If I had to recommend just one single hotel in Switzerland (taking into account quality/price), it would be this one: Grandhotel Giessbach.
Its location is amazing: above lake Brienz and right next to the Giessbach waterfalls.
It is not expensive (by Swiss standards), it has a lot of charm, it has a lot of history …
By the way, some time ago, watching TV, I discovered that some scenes of Steven Spielberg’s miniseries “Band of Brothers” were filmed at this very same hotel (it was the American troops headquarters in Austria!). I’m not a devoted fan of Mr. Spielberg, but I was surprised to see how often he chooses for his films the very same locations where I use to go. This is the second post in which we share a location (the other one: “A risky Mediterranean experiment in Cabo de Gata”). Apparently we, the greatest geniuses of the entertainment industry, share the same taste for locations …
2) “Where do you recommend near the border (of France and Switzerland)?”
Not far away from said border, in France, I’d suggest …
Annecy: Very nice village, full of charm.
Evian: Nice village, full of mineral water.
Aix-les-Bains: Spa-village. There is a casino in Aix-les-Bains (I don’t like casinos). This city is on the edge of Lake du Bourget, boasting sandy beaches. Radisson Hotel is a good choice (below: shot of Aix taken from a Radisson’s room).
I like this city very much. Narrow streets, outstanding bakeries (people queue up just to buy a loaf of bread), theaters, castles, elephants … Chambery has them all.
3) “Which town would be the best choice for that (to stop in a town in the south of France where there are old stone buildings and those magnificent lavender fields)?”
You’ll find old stone buildings and magnificent lavender fields almost everywhere in the Southeastern of France.
Avignon: Known as the “City of Popes” because it was full of popes and antipopes from 1309 to 1423, during the Catholic schism. It has an outstanding theatre festival every year, an awesome castle and a bridge (and an old song: “Sur le Pont, d’Avignon, on y danse, on y danse, sur le pont d’Avignon, on y danse tous en rond”). For lavender fields, visit the area of Mont Ventoux, northeast of Avignon and Carpentras. For outstanding wines, visit Châteauneuf du Pape (Côtes du Rhône wine). The coteaux of Châteauneuf du Pape are between Orange and Avignon.
Orange: If you love old stone buildings, in Orange you’ll find a really old one: Its Roman theater.
In the same area, you have the most impressive “old stone building” of Southern France: The “Pont du Gard” (1st century AD).
Arles: Van Gogh was here. And some great Roman and Medieval architects too …
Aix-en-Provence: Charm and merchant. Cezanne was born here.
Saint Remy de Provence: Van Gogh was here too. Wandering in its countryside you’ll find many of the places painted by this artist: Wild flowers, olive trees, cypresses, the Alpilles, the Saint Paul de Mausole Asylum … There are also some Roman ruins around. Nostradamus was born in Saint Remy. It is a strange village this one, but very “Provençal”.
I am aware that the information provided above is not very practical, but it is sincere and very personal. On the Internet you’ll find tons of very practical, impersonal and insincere information.
If you or any other friendly reader needs any further (sincere) information, please do not hesitate contacting me, but, please, don’t get angry if I just say … 🙂
- Europe viewed from my folding bicycle (part II): Austria, Switzerland, Belgium … (covetotop.wordpress.com)