French Flag France, June/July 2002 French Flag

In late June and early July of 2002, we took a family trip to France. This was actually a double-extended family trip. I finally promised my French (maternal) grandmother that I'd bring the family to visit her, and coincidentally, Chantal and her sisters were treating their father to a trip to France for his 80th birthday year. (Chantal was born in France, when her parents were living and working there, and they are marked francophiles.) Map of France

So we ended up doing something rather complicated. First we all travelled together to the Mediterranean coast near Narbonne (north of Perpignan on the map to the right), to where my grandmother spends her summers. This involved flying from Boston to Paris and then to Toulouse, and then driving a couple of hours. After a few days, I drove Chantal to Narbonne and she got on the train to Sarlat, in Perigord, the Dordogne area, to meet up with her family. (Between Toulouse and Limoges on the map to the right.) A few days later, I drove up with the kids to meet them, and after a few days there, we all returned home.

The trip was a nice mix of beach-and-pool relaxation, and more cultural tourism in wonderful old villages and castles. The weather was excellent: a little hot at first, but otherwise comfortable and dry. We got out just as the peak season was starting, so didn't get too many crowds. (Unfortunately, airline peak pricing had already started, so it would have been worthwhile to travel before June 15. Since we were staying with family and in cheap lodgings, airfare was by far the biggest expense.)

I've organized the pictures into the following sections, starting in the Languedoc region:

Now switching gears to the Dordogne region:

We managed to put over 1300 km on our rental car, mostly driving to and from the airport in Toulouse. The little 2.0 liter turbo-diesel Opel Astra wagon did very well, and I observed again that the French pay little attention to speed limits. Driving in France is fun, but challenging and demanding, whether at high speed on the Autoroutes, or winding around the small country roads. Even Boston driving seems pretty staid afterwards!

These pictures were taken with a Canon G2 digital camera. I took 695 pictures over 10 days, totalling over 1.3 GB, using a Sima Image Bank to download images more-or-less daily from a 340 MB Microdrive. From these, I selected and combined down to the 210 images shown in these pages. Color balancing, cropping, etc. were done with Adobe Photoshop Elements. Panoramas were built with PanaVue Image Assembler. My apologies to various tourist sites from which I abstracted map graphics.