Farewell to Corsica; great driving fun and crazy signs...A small taste of Paris
AJACCIO, Corsica - I love a lot of things about Europe in general and France in particular. I love driving here for the most part. I didn’t find drivers all that aggressive; after a day or two in the Corsica mountains I actually found myself honking at folks going too slow for my tastes.And drivers were quite good about giving a wave when I pulled over to let them go past. Or, as you can see, when I took their picture.
I love the roundabouts that keep you from idling away forever at stoplights like we do in North America, and I wonder why we never really cottoned on to them. I also love, mostly, the directional signs at major intersections I found all over Corsica and “mainland France over the past week and a bit – arrows pointing to the next village or two and to the next biggest town. Also great are the yellow signs pointing to different hotels and signs pointing out major sites, such as squares or tourist atrractions.
Which made me wonder, how on earth do the poor folks we ask to come to Toronto ever figure it out? There’s nothing at Yonge and Bloor, for example, that suggests Yorkville is a block west and a block north (I think). Visitors would have no clue how to get from there to the Danforth, to Cabbagetown, to Queen’s Park or even to City Hall. It’s bizarre when you think about it.
On the other hand, things can be a little spotty here. When I was at a place called Chateau Bonaguil in the Lot River area of France, there was a sign just a minute or two away that pointed chateau-lovers to Chateau Biron, more than an hour away. Great, I thought, that’s where I’m headed. Of course, I didn’t see another sign for Chateau Biron until I was nearly there.
I also pulled up at one intersection outside of the city centre in Ajaccio and counted at least seven signs pointing me in various directions. It’s a recipe for disaster, as you can spend so much time looking at signs in the roundabouts that you end up slamming into some poor sod on a moped if you’re not careful.
Still, it’s a great driving country, with wonderful hilltop villages and mountain vistas and beaches and craggy coasts and all sorts of great stuff. Much more to come in the pages of Star travel and on our website, of course.
A lovely morning in Corsica when I departed; easily the finest and warmest of my visit. Oh, well. At least the plane ride was fun as I took in the area around Porto, Corsica that I missed because of the rain last week, as well as the Cote d’Azur, the French Alps, Lyon and the Rhone valley, etc….
When we landed in Paris, I swear I could tell by the way they stood waiting for their luggage which women were Parisian and which were Corsican or maybe from some other part of France. The ones who looked Parisian, and maybe it’s just my bias, looked like they were posing for a cigarette ad with that certain bored, detached kind of look. Interesting.
When one woman saw some friends at the airport, I noticed she planted FOUR kisses on them; two on each cheek. This took quite some time; almost enough for the luggage to arrive. I’ve seen two kisses, of course; one on each cheek. Some French acquaintances have told me the rule is three. But I didn’t know inflation had struck to the extent that folks had to greet friends with two pecks on each cheek.
For more information, check out the official website for information on tourism to France http://ca.franceguide.com.
Heading home today on Air France, which has been great so far. For information on their flights, go to www.airfrance.ca.
Check this space tomorrow for a couple, I think, nice shots of Paris and some weird things happening around Notre Dame on the weekend....And thanks to the folks at Hotel Secret de Paris - a wonderful place I stayed on my way home from Corsica. More on that soon in the Star. And here's one Paris shot from the weekend, taken on one of my favourite streets, Rue Mouffetard on the Left Bank; touristy, yes, but still fun, filled with lots of kids but still some French-flavour, such as this shop.