Travelling Through Memory Lane

Favourite Off the Beaten Path Destinations in France

By Linda and Steve Williams -
7. 2.15

Linda and Steve joined B.Spoke magazine for a caffe latte along the Champs Elysee

B.Spoke: There appears to be a magnetic force field that keeps the tourist stuck in Paris. Can you tell us about places that you have visited in France that offer an appealing alternative?

Linda: Absolutely! I have so many fond memories of travelling through France from cities to medieval villages, tasting world class wines in the wineries in which they’re produced or strolling through an apple orchard before sitting in the property’s chateau, glass of Calvado in hand. The experience is so beautiful, at times it feels surreal.

Steve: Ahem, how much time did you set aside for this interview? Linda, the Francophile here, can rhapsodise like this for ever-

Linda: Oh come on Steve, you love travelling through France, just as much as I do!

Steve: Hmmph yeah sure, but maybe cut down on the love sonnets that are an “Ode to France”

Linda: You have it your way and I’ll have it mine. You stick with your nuts and bolts and I’ll keep my poetry, love.


B.Spoke: Ok so what were some of the best locations that you have been to?

Steve: One of my favourite locations was in Upper Normandy, a seaside town called Etretat that overlooks the Channel.

Linda: Oh yes that was wonderful wasn’t it? I remember it too, we took that trip with the kids.

Steve: Yeah, that was 20 years ago now.

Linda: 22 dear.

Steve: Maybe. It was a good location for a family holiday. the Etretat is known for its cliffs, which as you drive along, you notice three different arches that have been hallowed out of the rock over millennia. It’s a geographically fascinating area. Etretat is certainly off the beaten path, the mountain cliffs make you feel like you’re on the edge of the world.

Linda: The views were amazing. We weren’t the only ones to think so either, in fact did you know the scenery was the inspiration for some of the world’s greatest artists like Claude Monet and Eugène Boudin? Oh! do you remember the very quaint old covered market in Etretat?

Steve: Oh yes, Nikki our daughter found a statue of David there, remember that? She grabbed onto the penis and yelled out to us “Mummy, Daddy, look what I found!”. The penis broke off and we had to purchase the damn thing!  

Linda: Oh I remember! Choking up the money wasn’t easy, thinking where on earth was I was going to put it once we got back home.

East Coast of Corsica

Steve: One year we took a long weekend getaway to the Island of Corsica. That was remarkable because while the west side of the coast was lined with tourist beaches and hordes of crowds, a short drive over to the east coast brought you to an untouched paradise. Just as beautiful, if not more so. The French know it as ‘L'Île de Beauté’, the Island of Beauty and you can certainly see why.

Linda: Oh I will never forget when we went to the beach in Corsica that was terrible!

Steve: Oh my God, how could I forget! that was hilarious. Can I tell them the story?

Linda: Oh, If you must.

Steve: I was taking a walk along the beach while Linda was in the ocean having a swim and she got caught in a huge wave.

Linda: It was a terrifyingly huge wave! I was completely panicked, it pushed me around and it ended up sweeping away my bikini!

Steve: Ha! When I got back I could hear her screaming for me “Steeeeeve, Steeeeeve, Where the hell are you?” I raced up to her and she yelled at me to go get her towel. I couldn’t find her towel though, because I think it must have gotten swept up in the tide. So there she was, my poor darling, normally highly dignified wife, skinny dipping in the Mediterranean Sea. We got you out in the end though didn’t we?

Linda: (Groan) I’m trying to keep that memory in the attic. (Looks at me) moving on please?


B.Spoke: Give me one more place you guys recommend?

Linda: I think one of my favourite locations was Châlons-en-Champagne, certainly off the beaten path and highly romantic. The small and quaint little town is surrounded by vineyards, and the wines produced there have won prestigious awards. Do you remember we visited a family estate that had been producing champagne for over 4 generations? When we visited, they offered guests a tasting of their selected champagnes.

Steve: How could I forget? It was almost impossible to get you to leave.

Linda: Well, I’m sorry, but I believe it’s important to capitalise when you know you’re onto a good thing. Châlons-en-Champagne is very romantic, a trail of canals weave through the town. Locals and tourists alike, take the time to enjoy the scenery of the town in a boat travelling gently on water under arched bridges and past grand chateaus, it’s all very lovely.  

Steve: I remember we drove a Jaguar F-type convertible.

Linda: You mean, you drove.

Steve: Well, you probably had too much Champagne coursing through your bloodstream.

Linda: Well if I had to choose between Champagne and convertibles, I know which way I’d go!


B.Spoke: What is it about travelling through France that keeps you both coming back?

Linda: Undoubtedly France is the most romantic country in the world. The French take the time to pause and enjoy life. Little pleasures are apart of everyday and are experienced in the most delicate and sensual way. I find travelling through France revitalises me.

Steve: I like the scenic drives in a nice car.

Linda: That’s it Steve?

Steve: I also like watching you strapless and fancy free in the middle of the Mediterranean.


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