5/23/2008 冒險第十三天: 巴黎–楓丹白露宮, 巴黎街頭 (Adventure 13th day: Paris–Fontainebleau, Parisian street views)

City of Fontainebleau is about 70 km south from Paris and in where Palace of Fontainebleau consists. The palace is dated as back as 12th century where it served as a residence for kings Philip Augustus and Louis IX. Later on, during 15th century, king Francois I commissioned the architect, Gilles le Breton, to create the edifice as mostly seen today. In 16th century, another extensive renovation was undertaken by king Henri II and his queen, Catherine de Medici, making it one of the largest French royal palaces. During the French Revolution, many furnishings were sold, but Napoleon Bonaparte, during his reign, began to restore Palace of Fontainebleau and tried to make it his symbol of power. However, it was also where Napoleon announced his abdication before he was exiled in 1814.
If you want to go to Palace of Fontainebleau from Paris, you can take metro to St.Lazare station then change to the train to Fontainebleau-Avon. When you arrive at Fontainebleau-Avon, you then take a bus in front of the train station to Chateau de Fontainebleau.
The front view of Palace of Fontainebleau with two sets of large stairs: 
Interior of Palace of Fontainebleau:  
This is the room in which Napoleon Bonaparte signed his abdication on that small round table:  (這裡是拿破崙最鬱卒的地方吧… )
A church in Paris–Who knows what this church is? I don’t remember…
Paris Opera House, very grand style and elaborately decorated:
歌劇院前面有一條街裡面全是日本拉麵店跟料理店, 東西大多差不多. 只是法國所謂的”日本料理店”實在蠻有趣的… 如果不是拉麵套餐就是串燒套餐. 拉麵套餐大家都知道–就拉麵加一些小菜小水餃. 串燒套餐就有意思了… 這法國道地的日本串燒套餐是這樣: 一碗飯, 一碗”味增”湯(不是非常味增的味增湯), 一盤冷冷扮酸酸醬的高麗菜絲, 一盤teriyaki醬調味的串燒. 看你當初點什麼肉的跟點的餐包括幾串串燒, 約6歐元到9歐元. (這價格在法國的餐廳吃算很棒了, 保證吃得飽加上又有熱熱的湯喝.) 也有賣一些sushi跟sashimi, 可是種類不多. 雖然歌劇院前面一些街道裡全是像這樣的”日本料理”店, 可是每一家生意都超好, 有些甚至排隊排到外面來. 只是我覺得法國人真的把這些認為是道地的日本菜吃得很快樂耶… 是不錯吃, 可是這不是日本料理吧? 這也難怪我在美國都會吃到一些不知所云的中國菜了. 看來世界各地的菜色到了別的地方都會變身一下以適應當地的生活, 包括在台灣的日本菜, 法國菜, 義大利菜…
法國還是有”真正”的日本料理的, 但是是那種超貴餐廳吃一餐要上百歐元的…
Nice residential area in Paris. I think this is a newly developed area with more modern apartment buildings. It is also near Seine river:  

5/21/2008 冒險第十一天: 巴黎–凡爾賽宮, 拉法葉百貨公司 (Adventure 11th day: Paris–Versailles, Lafayette department store)

Chateau de Versailles (Palace of Versailles) was built during Louis XIII’s reign and greatly expanded by Louis XIV. During 1575, Albert de Gondi came to France with Catherine de Medici (queen of king Henry II) from Italy and purchased the estate of Versailles. Later on, he invited Louis XIII to Versailles for hunting trips during early 17th century, thus Louis XIII ordered to build a hunting castle in Versailles in 1624. In 1632, Louis XIII obtained the estate from Albert de Gondi. When Louis XIV ruled France, he decided to move royal court to Versailles. He first settled in the hunting castle and began detailed expansion and renovation in 1669. His purpose was to create a large palace so he could “recruit” nobles, artists, and craftsmen and settle them near him–one way of assuring central control of the government since it could lower the opportunity for nobilities to develop their own regional power. In 1682, the royal court was officially established in Versailles by Louis XIV. The royal family and the descendents remained here until the French Revolution erupted in 1789, when Louis XVI and the queen, Marie Antoinette, were forced out of the castle. 
P.S. Chateau de Versailles is the background for Riyoko Ikeda’s epic comic–“Rose of Versailles.” (凡爾賽玫瑰, 我還是到美國在高中時才看到的~ 英文叫 “Lady Oscar”) The movie–“Marie Antoinette ” (凡爾賽拜金女) directed by Sofia Coppola and released in 2006 has very accurate stage sets of Palace of Versailles.
從巴黎去凡爾賽宮要先搭地鐵再換火車, 在地鐵車站就可以在賣票的機器上選去凡爾賽宮的票.
The plaza in front of the palace:
This is my 2nd time to visit Palace of Versailles–but this time many places are under re-construction.
The chapel inside the palace:
A beautiful corridor:
Renaissance style paintings on the roof:
A marble statue of Louis XIV:
A bust of Louis XIV–with very romantic gaze….(Hahahaha! I think this king, who called himself “the sun king,” was quite Narcissistic…)
The magnificent “Hall of Mirrors.”
Some interiors in the palace:
The backside of the palace:
Garden of geometrically trimmed bushes, Grand Canal, Latona Basin, and Apollo Basin:
The Grand Trianon:
The pavilion of The Petit Trianon: 在此, 最慘的事發生了~~~ 我以前第一次來時只有去城堡跟花園, 因為凡爾賽宮實在太大太多可以看了, 就偷懶沒有走到遠一點Marie Antoinette 的村莊小屋和 Grand Trianon和Petit Trianon, 後來看書上覺得Petit Trianon非常精緻美麗, 就想說這一次一定要看到. 
沒想到走得超越到Petit Trianon時(–> 笨! 誰叫你不租一台單車…), 發現!! 整個Petit Trianon在大整修!!!  連庭園都被挖得醜醜的!!! 我查凡爾賽宮的official webste(http://www.chateauversailles.fr/)時, 有看到說有一些地方在整修, 可是我沒想到是這樣大場面的整修!! 害我現在看到這照片就想哭!
在凡爾賽宮裡面雖然可以照相, 可是人很多, 停下來照相有被壓扁的危機. 這是我在凡爾賽宮裡買的書, 我蠻推薦的, 十五歐元~ 有賣很多不同的語言, 我是買英文的. 裡面有將近200頁凡爾賽宮各部份非常詳細的介紹跟照片, 全部都是彩色的~
After coming back to Paris from Versailles, I went to Lafayette department store. This department store has an old classic elegant roof. 去主要就是看這個屋頂, 我也沒東西要買, 何況我覺得百貨公司那裡都一樣…

5/20/2008 冒險第十天: 巴黎–艾菲爾鐵塔, 凱旋門, 香榭麗舍大道 (Adventure 10th day: Paris–Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees)

I stayed in Avranches, a city about 13 km away from Mountain Saint Michel, the last night. Today I’d go to Rennes to return the rented car and take TGV train to Paris.  
要在巴黎市區常常搭地鐵可以買這種票 “Carnet”, 可以一次買十張10.95歐元~ 在地鐵站就有機器可以買, 要用信用卡或投錢幣, 機器操縱有英文.
Eiffel Tower (艾菲爾鐵塔): Gustave Eiffel started to build it in 1887 and completed it in 1889. It stands 324 meters, making it the tallest building in the world until 1993.
It’s divided into several layers and different layers require tickets in different prices. (我沒上去, 因為我看到排隊排了將近一公里)
The bridge in front of Eiffel Tower crossing Seine river. (Who can tell me what the bridge’s name is? I forgot…)–>Information from my good friend, Ling: the bridge is called Pont d’Iena; the building on another side is Palace de Chaillot. If you go to another side of the bridge, you’ll be able to take a nice photo of complete Eiffel Tower. (Dumb me…. I didn’t even think of it…) 
Arc de Triomphe (凱旋門): It was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, standing on Place de I’Etoile (Star Square) where many roads meet.  
Arc de Triomphe stands on the center of many roads, including the west end of the most famous street in Paris–Champs-Elysees. This is Avenue des Champs-Elysees; it is quite crowded and full of name-branded boutiques.
A Peugeot car shop on Champs-Elysees, it was exhibiting the cars that would compete in Marathon car-racing in Le Mans.
A Guerlain boutique. It’s probably one of the most elegant boutiques I’ve ever seen. Inside, it exhibited Guerlain’s perfume and cosmetics from very early times, making it more like a museum.
“Paul” is a renowned bakery store in France. I love macarons–they are best with a cup of unsweetened tea or black coffee. 
巨大macaron~ 直徑有11cm (其實我到法國才知道臺灣平常賣的size在那邊叫 mini macaron, 法國macaron一般size約8cm)
我沒看到艾菲爾鐵塔點燈, 因為要等到10pm天完全暗以後… 累屬了, 我今天走得腿快斷了…..

5/19/2008 冒險第九天: 聖米歇爾山 (Adventure 9th day: Mountain Saint Michel)

Today I went all the way from Le Havre to Le Mont Saint Michel~
This is where Le Mont Saint Michel locates:  (English: Mountain Saint Michel) (聖米歇爾山)
Mountain Saint Michel is a small piece of land connected to mainland France with a narrow natural land bridge, which is flooded during high tide and revealed during low tide.
Mountain Saint Michel was a stronghold for Romano-Breton, a specific group of Celtics, during 6th and 7th century. Celtic legend had it as a resting land for souls wandering on the sea. In year 708, Bishop Aubert was instructed 3 times in the dream by archangel, Michel, to build a monastery on Mountain Saint Michel–a.k.a the name, Mountain Saint Michel.
In year 966, Duke of Normandy, William I, established “The Benedictines” in the abbey. After several years of fortification and expansion, together with its natural advantages, it was unable to be seized under several assaults and survived Hundred Years War in 15th century. During the French Revolution, Mountain Saint Michel was attacked by the riot and the abbey was converted to a prison; until year 1874, Mountain Saint Michel was declared historical monument by the French government. 
If you see a satellite image, you’ll know that the land on the right of the picture is Normandy province, and the land on the left is Brittany. Originally, Mountain Saint Michel was connected to the mainland by a small land bridge, and Mountain Saint Michel became an islet during high tide. However, a “road” was built and elevated the land bridge so it would not be totally independent from the mainland anymore. 
(這樣去玩的人不用怕在漲潮時要划船出來了, 不過我聽說這條人工的路以後還是要拆掉, 回歸自然)
When I drove closer to the Mountain Saint Michel, I saw it stood mystically in the green meadow; is it a mirage, or is it real?

The road in the front has been elevated and served as parking areas.

The warning sign shows the times of high tide and indicates the partial parking area that can “disappear” during the high tide. There are 2 times of high tide in 24 hours.
Going into Mountain Saint Michel:

Narrow passage with shops, restaurants, and hotels on 2 sides.  
The abbey seen from below:
The layout of Moutain Saint Michel:

4 stages of building the monastery over time: 

In the court yard of the abbey:
The swampy areas surrounding Mont Saint Michel: 
Inside the cathedrale:
說實在修道院裡面的路看起來錯綜複雜又陰森森的, 沒跟著路標走一定迷路, 不知道以前的修道士怎麼過的~

I didn’t stay until dark to see Mountain Saint Michel in the dark (at about 10pm), because it turned quite cold and windy when the sun was setting. I left after I had dinner here. 五月的諾曼第晚上有夠冷!

By the way, Mountain Saint Michel is the blueprint for “Minas Tirith” in the movie–“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ” directed by Peter Jackson.

5/18/2008 冒險第八天: 到吉維尼看莫內花園, 艾特哈塔 (Adventure 8th day: Visit Monet’s garden in Giverny, Etretat)

Giverny is a village in Normandy province that’s about 80 km northwestern from Paris. The famous impressionist painter–Claude Monet(莫內) resided in Giverny and created some of the most representative works, such as the ones depicting the water lilies and the Japanese bridge in his garden. There are only replicas in his house now; the authentic paintings are exhibited in Orsay or other museums.
On the way to Monet’s house, I saw these 2 colorful parrots. The blue one seemed quite destructive as it kept picking on the pine tree 
And the red one was busy showing off its flamboyant feathers.
The layout of Monet’s house and garden:
Monet’s home–it’s still kept in the way as when he lived in here. It is a wide 2-story building.
Monet’s garden:

The pond with water lillies that Monet drew in his paintings.
The “Japanese Bridge” that was often drawn in Monet’s paintings:  
Wisterias hanging on one of the bridges:
Who knows what kind of flower it is? It’s so cute.  (It looks like a cat’s toy; bees love it too. )
May is a good season to come here as all the flowers are blooming:
Etretat is a small town near the seashore in Normandy province, about 28 km north from Le Havre.
I came here to see “L’Aiguille creuse.” (the hollow needle). The French writer, Maurice Leblanc, wrote this pointed chalkstone in one of his “Arsene Lupin” series, describing it as that Arsene Lupin found the treasures stored by various kings. (亞森羅蘋系列的 “奇巖城” 中提到的”空洞之針”) 從這裡看起來是有夠神秘的, 我是偶然在書上看到的, 一看之下實在太驚訝了, 真的有這個小城跟針岩!
Of course the rock that stands in the sea is not hollow like it is in Maurice Leblanc’s fiction, nor can it shelter any objects inside.
The official name of this part is called “La Falaise d’Aval et L’Aiguille,” meaning “the cliff of downstream and the needle.”
There are 3 natural arches in Etretat. One is “La Falaise d’Aval,” the other is “La Falaise d’Amont,” and the last one is called “La Manneporte.” 
This is another arch–“La Falaise d’Amont,” meaning “the cliff of upstream.”
There’s a church on top of the cliff, with some sheeps on that green field.
The church looks quite pretty from here. It’s a shame that I didn’t try to climb up; it was too windy and freezing that time and I did not bring enough clothes.
The church looks quite pretty from here. It’s a shame that I didn’t try to climb up; I also heard “Chambre des Demoiselles” (奇巖城中提到的”小姐的房間”) should be around on top of a cliff. However, it was so windy, and when the sun started to go down, the temperature dropped greatly.
我為了那幾張”空洞之針”的照片, 差點被風吹到海裡 , 後來連滾帶爬的去一家就在海邊的餐廳, 就叫”L’Aiguille creus.” 路上還遇到一個老兄要去衝浪. 晚上吃了尼斯沙拉 (La Salade nicoise), 就是那種生菜上有很多鮪魚肉還有沙丁魚那樣子的, 然後又吃了幸福的可麗餅(crepe). 可是當我想到要照相時, 我已經幾乎把他們啃光了.
This is a unique building in the town:
Le Clos Arsene Lupin: (亞森羅蘋小屋) It was actually Maurice Leblanc’s residence and where he created Arsene Lupin series. It was sold in 1952 and was bought back in 1998 by Leblanc’s relative to be a museum. It’s already closed when I arrived there.
On the way to Le Havre, about 28 km away from here. I would stay in Le Havre for the night. Some cows were chewing the grass in the farm–such a peaceful scenery. There a paragraph toward the end of “L’Aiguille creus”(奇巖城): Lupin heard the monotonous bell from the shepherd far away and looked at the endless farms while the sun was setting down…
I always thought that the landscape described by Maurice Leblanc in “L’Aiguille creus” must be a hyperbole; how could there be ocean on one side and green field on the other? When I arrived at Etretat that day, the sceneries proved themselves to be real…

5/17/2008 冒險第七天: 香波, 離開羅亞河谷到夏特 (Adventure 7th day: Chambord, leaving Loire Valley for Chatres)

Chateau de Chambord’s extravagant design and majestic stature earned itself the title: the king of castles in Loire Valley. It was initiated by king Francois I in 1519 and meant to be his hunting lodge. However, Francois I reined for 32 years but only spent 72 days in the castle. Later on, his son, king Henri II, added the west wing and built the 2nd floor on the chapel. Also Louis XIV spent a huge amount of fund in renovating Chambord in 1685 during his reign. However, all these kings stayed only short period of time in this castle. Chambord, as we see today, was completed in 1864, making it the largest castle in Loire Valley and consisting of 77 staircases, 282 fireplaces, and 426 rooms.  The last family to own Chambord privately was Comte de Chambord; his heirs sold the castle to French government in 1930 for 10,000,000 francs.
This is Chambord~~~ (好囂張的城堡阿~~~)
The diagram depicting the rooms. (但我還是看不出什麼東西) 
The famous “double-spiral” staircases. It’s an interesting design always said to be Da Vinci’s idea. It comprises 2 sets of staircases spiraling on the center like a “double helix.” When 2 people are on each set of staircase, they can see each other through the hollow central column but will not be able to meet each other.  
King Francois I’s emblem, a salamander, has been monogrammed on the ceiling.
One of the big staircases:
Renaissance style tower:
The lawn and the river seen from the castle:
Elaborately decorated towers:
我在這個城堡中沒照很多照片因為King Francois I是有名的愛打獵, 很多陳列室都是一堆小動物的家族標本, 還有一個大廳有上百個鹿頭骨跟鹿角, 我覺得看起來蠻變態的… 
Leaving Loire Valley for Chatres:
Chatres is famous for having “Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Chatres”–French for “Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres.” It is a gothic architectural cathedral dated back to 12th century. It has remained an important landmark for Chatres and significant religious center for Marian pilgrims today.
The cathedral is huge: 130 meters in length, 46 meters in width, and the heighest point is 113 meters. Therefore, it was extremely difficult to take a photo unless I stood way back…whowever, there were always people going around besides it so I was never able to take a good photo.
Beautiful and complex carvings of the walls:  
Gothic style tower:
One of the very elaborated stained-glass windows:
Light & music show at night~ (晚上天黑後有教堂聲光表演.  光線照在教堂上好像教堂變彩色的, 很好看~)

5/16/2008 冒險第六天: 雪儂梭, 肖夢, 安布瓦茲, 布洛瓦 (Adventure 6th day: Chenonceau, Chaumont-sur-Loire, Amboise, Blois)

Chateau de Chenonceau was built in 1513 by king Francois I’s treasurer, Thomas Bohier, with great help from his wife, Catherine Briconnet. It has been regarded as a castle that “floats on the air and water,” and the way it spans Cher river, a branch river of Loire River, has been described as an elegant swan resting its wings on Cher. Other than its beauty, this castle is made famous perhaps by king Henri II’s two women–Catherine de Medici and Dianne de Poitiers. Catherine de Medici was Henri II’s queen, but Henri II was succombed by his mistress–Dianne de Poitiers. Although Dianne de Poitiers was 20 years older than the king, the age did not reduce Dianne’s fairness, instead, she was portrayed as the moon goddess in countless paintings and statues. In 1547, Henri II gave Chenonceau to Dianne, but after Henri II died in 1559, Catherine de Medici forced Dianne to exchange Chenonceau for her Chateau de Chaumont. After Catherine de Medici moved in, she ordered to build another 2 floors on the bridge as seen today. In 1733, madame Louise Dupin was the owner of the castle, and due to her kindness and generosity, the castle was free from destruction during the French Revolution.
The entrance to the castle: 
The castle seen from its garden:
The “bridge” part of the castle; it spans Cher river.
The interior of the castle: The portray on the left is Catherine de Medici.
The interior of the “bridge.” It was served as a hospital during World War I.
This is where Chaumont-sur-Loire locates: 

Chateau de Chaumont was first built in 10th century as a fortress to defend Blois, but it was burned down in 1465 by Louis XI as a punishment to Pierre D’Amboise for rebelling against the royal power. However, it was restored by his descendents in 1510. Later on, king Henri II’s queen, Catherine de Medici, bought the castle after the king’s death in 1560. Catherine then made Dianne de Poitiers–the late king’s mistress–exchange Dianne’s Chateau de Chanonceau for Chateau de Chaumont, basically house-arresting Dianne in the castle. Due to that Chateau de Chaumont was for defence purpose, it never had proper gardens. Until 1884, the owner of the castle, Prince Amedee de Broglie hired Henri Duchene to create an English garden. In 1750, one of the most powerful and richest nobles, Jacques D’LeRay, bought the castle and protected the castle during the French Revolution. In 1938, the castle became France’s property.

This is the front of the castle. It stands on the cliff and the river is on the back.

Interior of the castle:
Porcupine, the symbol of Louis XII.  
This is where Chateau d’Amboise locates:
Chateau d’Amboise was built during Roman time with gothic architectural style and had been a typical fortress of Loire riverbank. Charles VIII rebuilt the castle in 15th century before he moved in with his wife. King Francois I, who was a patron of Renaissance arts, moved in and invited Leonardo Da Vinci to Amboise in 1516. Thus Da Vinci brought some of his famous paintings including “Mona Lisa” to reside in “Clos Luce” near Chateau d’Amboise and received generous hospitality and salary. It is also believed that Da Vinci started to design Chateau de Chambord at this time. Francois I also renovated the castle so it is actually a combination of gothic and Renaissance styles as seen now. After Da Vinci passed away in 1519, he was interred in the church of Chateau d’Amboise as he wished. The castle was damaged during the French Revolution; what is seen today is what has been left.
The whole castle is surrounded by the walls that extend widely and faces the river with modern residential area built against it.
The interior of the castle:
Gothic style windows:
Loire river seen from top of the castle:
The church of Chateau d’Amboise:
Da Vinci rests in peace here…
The gardens:
This is Chateau de Blois, locating in the center of Blois. It was also where Joan of Arc received bless from the archbishop in 1429 before she led the army to Orleans. However, I did not go in. I came to Blois for dinner and stayed for the night only. If I had more time, I would take a look at this castle and the town. There was some festival going on in the town on the day I arrived–people were gathered in a plaza and there was music performance. 

5/15/2008 冒險第五天: 薇蘭德希, 阿澤勒依多(Adventure 5th day: Villandry, Azay-le-Rideau)

A bit history about Chateau de Villandry: (Chateau-> French for “castle”)
It was completed in 1536 by Jean le Breton, who was King Francois I’s finance minister and the same person who built Chateau de Chambord. Chateau de Villandry was owned by Jean le Breton’s family until 1754 and then was passed to the king’s ambassador, Marquis de Castellane, who renovated the interior to meet comfort purposes during that era. Later on, the traditional gardens were destroyed and an English-style park around the castle was installed. In 1906, the castle is bought by Dr. Joachim Carvallo, who basically saved the castle from being demolished and created the gardens seen today. The castle has stayed as Dr. Carvallo’s descendents’ property.
The castle with the most fascinating gardens:
This part is the “ornamental gardens.” The patterns mean “tender love,” “passionate love,” “fickled love,” and “tragic love.”
This part is the “water garden.”
Gardeners are busy working:
Gardens are grown with different flowers to suit each season:
This part is the “kitchen garden,” used to grow vegetablesDSC06269.JPG
The castle is no less gorgeous than the gardens:
The interior of the castle:
This is where Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau locates:
Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau was built by Gilles Berthelot as his residence around 1515. He later became Treasurer of France, but fled the castle due to his close relative being accused for corruption and himself under suspecion. King Francois I gave the castle to his comrades, Antoine Raffin, whose family lived there until 1791. Charles de Biencourt then bought the castle in the middle of the French Revolution, but his decendent, the last marquis, was forced to sell the castle due to financial problem. The castle has been owned by the country since 1905. 
The front view of the castle: (The staff was on strike on the day I visited, so it’s free to enter, but the castle itself is closed. )
There’s a river surrounding the castle from the back and creating a very romantic atmosphere.
This is the “gite”(民宿) I stayed for the night. It’s Chateau des Templiers owned by madame Aubry Leborgne.
If anybody is interested in staying in a castle style “gite,” you can check this website: http://www.chateaux-france.com/
我的房間其實不在上面那個”城堡”裡, 而是在它旁邊的一排房間. 不過”城堡”一樓中有美麗的閱讀室可以進去看書, 還有吃早餐的古典餐廳. Madame Leborgne 跟她家人就住樓上, 是個非常美麗的女人, 也非常友善. 還有一個可愛的四歲金髮男孩. 我沒見到她先生, 但晚上在窗邊有看到他開車回來, 一大早又開車去上班了. 城堡院子還有一隻大狗, 看起來像黑色的黃金獵犬.
This is my room, the bluish and white hues give this spacious room a tranquil touch. 
With very spacious bathroom:
I had a very nice breakfast prepared by madame Leborgne herself:

5/14/2008 冒險第四天: 從亞維儂搭TGV到圖爾 (Adventure 4th day: Taking TGV train from Avignon to Tours)

Today I’ll leave Provence for Loire Valley~ 
By the way, this is the website for those who need a reference about booking TGV. Remember, if you are going with 1 or more friends, make sure you all book together, because it’ll save you some bucks. Also, make sure to take advantage of the railpass if you need to take 3 or more rounds of trains.
Just some information: TGV is accronym for “Train a Grande Vitesse”–French for “high speed train,” and is the world’s highest average speed regular railroad passenger service. 
Railroad pass can only be purchased outside of France. Once you need to take the train, make sure to go to the window for signing your seat. Before you go on the train, there’s always some machines around the entrance gate for stamping the date on the ticket–make sure you do that.
在車站有一些可以自己買票的機器, 但是付錢方式只有信用卡, 不過有興趣可以玩玩看. 有英文介面, 我覺得做得還不錯.
還有~有些車站TGV站跟普通火車站是分開的, 像Avignon就是, 兩邊甚至離有點遠, 最好先問清楚.
This is waiting area for the train, on the 2nd floor. (雖然法國的樓層都是從0樓算起, 就是說他說一樓其實是我們說的二樓, 不過在這裡我還是習慣用我們自己的說法.) 雖然建築很有現代感, 在這裡太陽高照時實在蠻熱的, 沒什麼冷氣, 冷氣在樓下
在火車上常常可以看到這個標誌, 就是要你把行動電話轉無聲, 也不要講電話~
這個是要載我在羅亞河流域跟諾曼第的車, 是Citroen的, 法國人都開很小的車, 不過小車很省油. 上一部在普羅旺斯的車也是差不多大小, 是Opel的.
 It was a bit passed 7pm when I arrived at Tours. 先去旅館check in再找晚餐~ 旅館附近有幾家餐廳跟一個超大的商場, 商場裡有一個很大的超市, 叫Auchan, 什麼鬼都有~~~–>我現在才知道原來這個超市台灣也有~就是大潤發!
是McDonald’s喔~~ 很神奇吧!!!  

5/13/2008 冒險第三天: 亞維儂 (Adventure 3rd day: Avignon)

Avignon is about 70 km northwestern away from Aix-en-Provence and requires approximately 1 hour of driving. The sceneries were very pleasant to the eyes on the way to Avignon. Green fields and trees were everywhere around the road.
Avignon is a very unique city that became known as “Palais des Papes”–meaning “Palace of Popes”–since early 14th century. A palace was built for settling the first pope–Pope Clamente V and later on another 6 popes had made Avignon his residency. The city is still kept with its ancient look, with majestic city walls surrounding it and the gothic style palace standing in the center. 
A bit of information about the popes and the years they resided in Avignon:
Pope Clement V: 1305-1314
Pope John XXII: 1316-1334
Pope Benedict XII: 1332-1342
Pope Clement VI: 1342-1352
Pope Innocent VI: 1352-1362
Pope Urban V: 1362-1370
Pope Gregory XI: 1370-1378
The shops are everywhere in the city. Even these buildings and passages are full of ancient atmosphere.
Outdoor restaurants in the plaza, they start to get crowded at around 7pm.  
One thing to take heed in Avignon is that the hotels do not offer parking spaces because it’s too crowded in the city. 
Classically architectured theater besides the plaza:
The palace, gothic and very grand style:
A street that leads to a residential area at night:
The famous bridge, Pont D’Avignon (also known as Pont Saint-Benezet), connects to part of the city wall and spans a river. It originally reached out to the forest on the other side of the river, but has been broken in the middle now. It looks exceptionally beautiful at night. 
這晚上遇到的橘子貓很可愛~叫他就會打招呼, 還會走過來.
Avignon palace and old town seen in the next morning:
停在一戶人家的窗戶前, 在看什麼呢?
另一個窗台上的喵喵, 在看什麼呢?
Pont D’Avignon during daytime.
One of the bakery stores in Avignon–it has sandwiches, quich, breads, pizza, and some very interesting dessert:
The interesting-looking dessert is fruit slice or vegetable coated with suger. There are pineapples, kiwis, cherries, pears, lemons, oranges, papayas, celeries, etc.
A candy store called: La Cure Gourmande that got some very colorful and cute candy that imitates fruit.