In the beginning both Seb and I had different feelings about France. For Seb it was a country that was too close to Belgium to be exciting and for me it had always been a “pass-through” country to go to other places. After spending most of our 2 months in the country already, we both have a very different feeling. France has turned out to be very versatile and beautiful, offering us scenery that we can compare to parts of the US and Canada combined with the culture and history that (in it’s own way) only Europe can offer you. Ok, we do admit that the time to visit the country would have been better a few months ago, because by now it is becoming more and more crowded because summer is starting and everyone wants to go on holiday.
Despite the summer crowds, we decided to go and visit Le Mont Saint Michel. It is very hard to appreciate the beauty of the place when you are surrounded by busloads of Chinese tourists, but when you take a step back and let the place speak to you, it still is quite amazing. The steps to go up the mountain proved to be quite challenging for me and I felt like an old lady when I was trembling on my feet at the top and saw an elderly lady, almost skipping up to the top (note to self: need to work on overall condition!) 🙂
After Le Mont Saint Michel we were told to go and visit St Malo as well and this also proved to be a pretty gem at the French seaside. When we visit places like this, we always wonder if people still live there and what kind of work they do.
On our way further east, we picked up a hitchhiker and then it hit us that poverty is still very present here in Western society. He told us that he had just come from his house in the countryside on his bicycle for 7 km’s and now he was hitchhiking to the closest town which was another 10 km’s away just to be able to go to the pharmacy for medicine for his daughter. Last time he had done this, it had taken him 5 hours just to go back and forth. When we were talking about how cheap the price of land was in this part of the country, he agreed with us but when we told him that we knew somebody who had bought his piece of land for 30.000 Euros in order to build his own house, he said to us that this was way too expensive for him. All this put everything back into perspective for us and made us realize once again that we are 2 very fortunate people to be able to travel around the world and visit places as beautiful and versatile as France.