Ah, pretty France, my neighbour for countless years. It’s my constant point of return, it’s probably my favourite stopover, and it’s my very own capital of Europe. The more I see, the more I like it. And I also like the French, I like their character. You always have a good laugh with these French people. We like to tease each other!
My travels have taken me many times to Paris, but also to the Swiss border, the Jura, the Alps and Lake Geneva… and lately, for my greatest pleasure, to Provence, Cerdanya, Brittany, Corsica, Auvergne, Pyrenees, Côte d’Azur and so on. I never get tired of France, my faith, the proof (so) alive that there is no need to go so far to get a change of scenery.
I fell in love with this island and its strong, unique and proud identity. Corsica is a promise of beauty at every bend, at every turn. Here, you are in constant suspension between sea and mountains, between wilderness and timelessly charming towns. These lands with a fascinating history (of struggles!) have much to teach us about resilience.
Nantes and its surroundings
Nantes dazzles and fascinates me. I go there regularly to visit my friends and cherish it as a second home. Nantes is alive, in the vanguard of good living. It is original and refined. I wanted to introduce you to its most beautiful places and attractions, but also to its precious little addresses.
Imagining Brittany was simple. Isn’t it the land of sailors par excellence? I feel it so strongly that I have the impression that I have crossed an invisible border where the codes are no longer the same as elsewhere in France. Here we live with the sea as if it were a friend: the one with whom we happily put aside our worries. This is the one whose shoulder lends it best to tears. The one who will know how to hide us, the day we want to disappear.
Walking on the ridges of 65 million-year-old volcanoes, touch ancient lava flows. Get inside the skin of a… dinosaur. Imagine what would happen if all those old memories were awakened. The last eruption in the Auvergne was only 7,000 years ago. God knows that all this is placidly asleep, covered with vegetation that looks sometimes sparkling, sometimes inflamed (ah, the reds of autumn in the Auvergne). God also knows that it might wake up one day. In the meantime, what else can you do but enjoy the almost supernatural spectacle that has been forged here, by lava flows and explosions thousands of years old; art brut in its natural state.
Cannes. We think so much about red carpet, golden palm and paparazzi that we forget that life goes on here, at a completely normal pace. In fact, it goes on at a rather relaxing pace. And the people in it are just like you and me. There are wallets with a few Euros in them, just as there are credit cards with unattainable limits. In short, forget everything you’ve been put in your head about Cannes. Here, you will be able to move around incognito and have fun whatever your budget.
Marseille and Provence
Old buildings with solid charm, worn pebbles that blend with the dazzling new facades all made of glass. Hard contrasts that the sun fills with shadows between two façades, games of clouds that complicate the work of the painter or photographer: Marseille and the others are difficult to grasp, extremely changeable, as if they had their own mood, reminding the human being that they are grandiose, and that he is very small.
Toulouse and the Aveyron
Toulouse is a placid, inspiring city. I found a lot of happiness there during my stay at the Grand Balcony Hotel, where Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was staying. I basked in the banks of the Garonne. There I met the fabulous artisans of its delicious markets. As for the Aveyron, it abounds in other rare pearls, such as the village of Conques, the works of Soulages, the cuisine of Bras. This corner of France knows how to elevate its land to the rank of a work of art.
Each time I pass by, I let myself be surprised by its cold side from the outside, and by its warm side from the inside. As a foreigner, I feel anonymous, not in my place, hair on the soup. But with my friends, I feel at ease as in a hot spring.