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En Vacances-French Vacation

“Learning to vacation a la francaise”
Photo by Reme Aldana

There’s no vacation like French vacationing. It doesn’t really matter if you cross oceans or trek out of Paris for a quick week-end in Normandy. But if you want to vacation French style, there are certain essential elements (as Nicolas Sarkozy so aptly described):

You want to be back in touch with nature, whether you’re near a lake or at the seaside, whether you’re in the mountains or at your grandparents’ farm in the valley.

Whatever natural setting you choose, the other two essential elements are: 1) Good friends/family.
2) Good food and drink.

What you don’t need is outside stimulation and entertainment. You don’t need rollercoasters and hot air balloon rides. Expensive gear . Survival treks or daily programs of events.

Although many Parisians choose to go to the south of France as well as beachside resorts along the Atlantic coast, vacation options don’t stop there. The possibilities are as endless and as varied as there are departements in France. Brittany, for example, is a great choice for the more rugged beaches. It tends not to get as hot as some of the more southerly beach towns. If you love wine, you might end up heading for Alsace (as we did last year). The white Alsatian wines make for excellent wine tasting even when the summer temperatures rise. Whether you end up on a beach on France’s Atlantic coast or picnicking near the Alsatian or Burgundian vineyards, each locale is bound to remain forever part of your memories.

My all time favorite summer ‘vacation’ film is Claire’s Knee directed by Eric Rohmer (1970). It was filmed at Lake Annecy (not far from Lake Geneva) Lots of conversation and alfresco meals.
You know when you’ve begun to grasp the concept of “les vacances’ when you start feeling like a puddle of water in the middle of the great ocean of life. I’m not quite there yet – but I’m getting there . . .