Showing posts with label Paris France. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paris France. Show all posts

Sunday, June 4, 2017

France: Bon Jour from Village Marriott ~

We write from the northeastern French countryside where we are making our home for the week in our two-story traditional townhome, surrounded by lush green meadows and golf courses.

Nearby meadowland - France
We could almost believe we  were experiencing true rural life if it weren’t for the fact we are at ‘Village Marriott’. A few miles away – but thankfully not within sight of our ‘village’ -- is Disney’s “Ranch Davy Crockett” (595 cabins in a large wooded area) and “Parc Disneyland”, the theme park better known as Disneyland Paris.

Street signs showing the way to our Marriott Villag

Much more appealing to us is the fact we are smack-dab between two very real French villages – Bailly-Romainvilliers and Magny Le Hongre. Each hamlet is walking distance from our doorstep and offers traditional boulangeries, cafes, grocery stores, fruit and meat markets. 

Our home for the week

Our townhome for the week is on the left side of the building in the photo above. Our neighbors are from Dublin. Ours is one of dozens of two- and three-bedroom townhomes in the Marriott Vacation Club d’lle-de-France. It is, in other words, one of their timeshare or interval ownership properties.
Now before those skeptics among you quit reading because I’ve said those dastardly words: timeshare, let me tell you that timeshares aren’t what they used to be.

This stay, our first here, in fact is proving they really can be quite luxurious.

PicMonkey Collage
Kitchen, living and dining room. French doors open to the patio and lawn.

Our main floor consists of a dining and living room, a fully quipped kitchen, a laundry room off of it, and a half bath off the entryway foyer.The stairway from the foyer leads to two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom.

PicMonkey Collage

What brought us here was one of our favorite features of timeshare life: ability to trade what you own for some new place in the world.  We own at Marriott’s timeshare property at KoOlina on the west side of O’ahu, one of the islands in Hawaii.  Our units there called ‘lock off’ units meaning you can use the large size unit (think 1-bedroom condo) and lock-off the second bedroom (think oversized hotel room with wet bar, microwave and small refrigerator) and basically get a two-week stay for the price of a one-week, two-bedroom purchase.

It was one of our ‘hotel-sized room weeks we traded for this spacious townhome.

Along our route to the lobby

Our timeshare ownership in Hawaii has allowed us to trade time for stays at Marriott Vacation Clubs in Bangkok, Thailand, Spain's Costa del Sol and Phoenix, Arizona as well as here. A highpoint of each property is the amazing landscaping  - but I think this place has raised the bar on landscaping.

Our townhome is in a section of the development called Giverny, and fans of Monet know that many of his paintings were of his Giverny home and gardens. In tribute to him they have created here a replica of them on this part of the development.

PicMonkey Collage
Almost Monet's gardens

So I did the math on this stay and checking rates here for a week-long stay in June as we are doing, we’d be paying about 300-euros a night; 2,100, for the week which equates to about one year’s maintenance fees at our home resort.  The cost of the trade fee was less than $200 and we’ve still got a week left to use in ‘the big side’ of our Hawaiian timeshare. All in all a good travel deal.

Pool area, lobby, bistro restaurant

For those considering a stay here: The resort offers a shuttle service to Disneyland and to the RER train station, about four miles away.   It is about 10 minutes to Disneyland and from the train station Paris is 50-minutes away.  A week-long train pass – Pass Navigo Semaine – allows travel on trains, metro and buses in Paris as well as this rural area for about 27 euros a person. 

That’s it from this side ‘of the pond’ this week.  I know I promised a report on our Greek road to residency but it turns out we haven’t moved any further along it than we were last week.  Perhaps extending our time in Greece until the end of June will result in a conclusion of the journey before we return to the States. .. then again, maybe not. . .

Safe travels to you all and thanks so much for the time you spent with us at 'Village Marriott'. Hope to see you back again next week!

Linking up with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Wedding Night ~ and other Travel Tales. . .

IMG_20130620_162149_853We’d ditched the wedding duds hours earlier --  opting, as they say,  ‘for something ‘more comfortable’. 

The lights were dimmed and we were snuggled up together on that,
. . .our first night as husband and wife. . .

wedding 001. . .well, as snuggled as one can be sitting side-by-side in the ‘no smoking’ section of a Delta Airlines flight that was whisking us across the continental United States to our Caribbean honeymoon hideaway. 

(Can you believe they had smoking/no smoking sections?!)

As a newspaper reporter, I didn’t have a lot of vacation days; so no time to waste when it came to travel.
This Friday is the 33rd anniversary of that first trip.  Although we no longer have those jobs with limited vacation time, we still believe there is no time to waste when it comes to travel! But sometimes it is good to pause in the planning and enjoy a trip down Memory Lane as well. . .

1980’s: Those wild and crazy early years. . .

PicMonkey Collage

Even with only two weeks annually, we managed to cram a lot of travel into those newlywed years.  Hong Kong,Thailand, followed by Singapore and Malaysia and then Japan. We couldn’t get enough of Asian cultures, the food, and history. The now-fading photos (above) were taken in Thailand (circa early 1980’s)– notice those look-alike white pants. And, btw, that elephant had just ‘goosed’ Joel!

The Call of Aloha . . .

VegasHawaii2012 060

VegasHawaii2012 067When we couldn’t make it to Asia, we’d head to Hawaii; a relatively ‘close’ getaway requiring only a 5+ hour flight from Seattle.

We were captured then by its ‘aloha’ magic  and our recent entry into the timeshare world has made O’ahu  our tropical ‘home away from home’ – for a few weeks each winter.

The 1990’s South of the Border ~ Down Mexico Way
DSCF2815A serendipitous set of events that prevented us from returning to Thailand, took us to Puerto Vallarta in 1993; a trip that was to turn our 8 – 5 work world upside down and change the course of our lives. 

(In this photo we were posing next to our first banana crop.)

Six months after that visit we had purchased Casa de la Playa, pictured below.  A decade later, we had quit those 8 – 5 desk-bound jobs and set out on the course of adventure we continue today.

Casa de la Playa 001

33 Years ~ What a trip!

We now spend nearly five months, sometimes more, living out of our suitcases. So many places we’ve seen; such wonderful people we’ve met. Land and sea; land or sea – doesn’t matter to us. Traveling independently, we’ve  follow our hearts; returning to favorite places and discovering new destinations.  Going ‘where the winds blow us’ has resulted in some amazing places, for instance:

PicMonkey Collage
From top left, clockwise:  Off-the-tourist track towns of Mexico; Bologna, Italy; Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Scottsdale, Arizona.

PicMonkey Collage
From top left: Venice, Italy; Loutro, Crete; Kotor, Montenegro,  Lake Chelan, Washington State.

PicMonkey Collage
Clockwise from top left: Walla Walla, Washington; Athens, Greece; Paris, France; Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take;
but by the number of moments that take your breath away.

Thanks for joining us today while we paused to admire the views on Memory Lane. We hope when you take a backward glance at your travels,  you’ll have as many of those breath-taking memories as we do. 
But enough looking back! Time to get started on the next trip. . .

That’s it for Travel Photo Thursday, be sure to stop by Budget Travelers Sandbox for more armchair travels. And for those wanting to know about my rendezvous with Nancie McKinnon, check back this weekend!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

TPThursday: ‘Un Petit Cadeau’ in Provence

Un Petit Cadeau; a small gift.  That’s how we recall that night in Haute Provence. . .

Nice, France was the place we would end our road trip through Provence and from where we would set sail on a Mediterranean cruise on the Windstar’s Windsurf for Rome.


Because our trips begin from the U.S.West Coast it take a full day, or night, of travel to reach European destinations. So, we pack as much into a trip as we can – that means a land excursion either before, after or at both ends of a cruise.

On this trip, we tacked 'land time' onto the front of the cruise, beginning in Paris.

Eiffel Tower

We headed to Nice with six nights to spend on the road, taking a meandering route through Provence without set direction or plan. That’s how we happened upon a magical place set high up in the mountains of Haute Provence, (High Provence):  Moustiers-Sainte-Marie.


This tiny commune, that blends into the limestone cliff on which it was built, had a population of 1,955 back in 1765. In 2008 the population was 710.


Below the town stretches a valley so intensely picturesque it was almost difficult to absorb it.

The valley floor was a checkerboard of homes, fields and pastures. We drove slowly through it hoping to find ‘just the right’ place to spend a night. And we did. . .


But it was more than a place, it was our petit cadeau, “Le Clos des Iris”.  Its name, The Closed Iris, seemed particularly fitting as the flowers in its many beds had closed long before our October visit. It was late afternoon and we hoped there would still be a room available in this nine-room hotel. Despite the owner’s inability to speak English and our inability to speak French, we used broken bits of both and lots of sign language and smiles, and secured a room for 65-euros a night.


Our room was small and charming.  As we snuggled in between the lavender scented line-dried sheets I recall pulling them over my head, inhaling deeply and suggesting that we skip the cruise and never leave this place. 


The cheery breakfast room  felt more like someone’s private kitchen than a hotel restaurant.   We were sorry our scheduled arrival in Nice allowed us only one night here. We left vowing to return one day.

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is considered a gateway to the Gorges du Verdon. And leaving our charming hotel we traveled the two-lane paved highway with sharp twists and turns – not for the faint of heart  - along the rim of the Gorge. There are great views along  the 25-kilometer-long (15 mile) stretch into a canyon that in places reaches to a depth of 700 meters (2,296-feet). The Gorge is popular with outdoor enthusiasts – especially kayakers, hikers and rock climbers.

Have you found un petit gadeau on your travels? If so, where did you discover it?

If You Go:

Le Clos des Iris, Chemin de Quinson, 04360 Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, 04-92-74-63-46 phone; o4-92-74-63-59 fax. Nine rooms with en suite baths, located 400 meters, or a quarter mile outside town.
Click this link for information about villages and activities near The Gorges de Verdon.

It’s Travel Photo Thursday, so stop by Budget Travelers Sandbox. And if this is your first visit to TravelnWrite please come back again soon.


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