July 4, 2004 -- Bonjour from the land of love! And what is not to love about France? I arrived in Paris two days ago, and I have been enjoying the French culture and people ever since.
As you may recall, I had the pleasure of sending you Postcards from Ireland in February. Cross Country International (CCI) planned a fabulous riding vacation called "Singles in the Saddle" at the luxurious Kinnitty Castle and capped off the experience with a show-stopping Bachelor's Ball on Valentine's Day. Needless to say, I met lots of wonderful people who enjoy adventure and riding. One of the women I met in Ireland, Kirstin, hopped at the opportunity to ride with me here in France.
We spent two of the most fabulous days and nights (Oh-la-la!) exploring the many tourist attractions the City of Lights has to offer. We shopped on the Champs d'Elysses, viewed all of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, ate lunch on a boat on the Seine River, marveled at the artwork in several museums and drank in the relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
By far the biggest surprise came last night when we went to the famous cabaret at the Lido. We expected to see exceptional singing and dancing, but imagine our delight when a gorgeous man astride an equally gorgeous horse piaffed his way across the stage to the synchronized steps of the dancers. CCI is so fabulous at organizing these tours that for a minute I looked around to see if Karen or Stacey of CCI were smiling in the wings.
We arrived today about 5 p.m. and as always our trusty guides were waiting for us to take our bags and give us a warm welcome. The travel was easy. We took the train from the Gare de Lyon which was very pleasant. It allowed us time to relax and enjoy the ever-changing landscapes. We passed large fields of newly-mowed hay, green fields of corn and quaint little cottages.
Our guide, Patrick, met with us briefly to outline the itinerary, then we walked to the darling village of Sancerre to explore. We found delightful little shops and outdoor restaurants filled with local people and tourists enjoying a relaxing Sunday afternoon in the sun.
The view from my hotel room is one of a "big country sky." As far as the horizon, you see tiny villages, green fields, and of course I can't forget the crystal pool, cut into the side of the cliff. I plan to "unwind" in it tonight after I meet the other guests and enjoy the evening meal and perhaps just a small sampling of the locally grown Sancerre beverage.