Saturday, November 10, 2007

Eighteen in France

When I was 18, in 1965, a friend and I left England in our rather beaten up car and crossed the English Channel to France. How we ever convinced our parents to let us go I don't know. We had decided to camp out in the car while taking our two weeks vacation in France. We lived mostly on tinned pilchards, crusty French bread and whatever local wine we could get. It was a happy carefree time. I remember there was a national strike of workers, I can't remember what kind, but it seemed on every crossroads we were met with placards and kind faces wishing us a good holiday and apologizing for the strike.

We drove all around the country side stopping in different wineries on the way, as some of them offered a snack and wine tasting and that was definitely on our agenda. Beaujolais was a favorite, but there again that was the only wine we knew.

We were not into museums particularly, but we did want to go to the Louvre, one of the oldest, largest, and most famous art galleries and museums in the world.

We knew we were starting to look a bit rough, camping out in the car so we found an inexpensive hotel and had a good nights sleep and got cleaned up to visit the Louvre. It was quite awe inspiring even for a couple of irreverent 18 year olds.

Before we left France we had to take in the Eiffel Tower, if nothing else than to compare it with Blackpool England's famous tower, which was inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We also spent a couple of days in Paris itself, soaking up the joie de vivre which is so palpable there, before we had to go back to parents, work and the gray skies of London.

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