Diane Tober's Trip to France

"Since you mentioned travel, I thought I would share that I just took 3 weeks off for the 1st time in my working career and went to France with my parents and my sister. It was the 1st time that we had all been to my mother's place of birth together. We spent a few days in Paris at the apartment that Mom grew up in and then rented a car and drove throughout France for 10 days. Drove thru Burgundy, the French Alps, down to the Riviera, up to Provences, the Loire Valley and back to Paris. Some observations: 
    1. Despite the things you've probably heard about the French people being rude and indifferent, we found them truly kind and willing to help if needed, even in Paris. One waiter at the most expensive lunch we had in a small hotel, was what I think you'd expect. Otherwise we could not have had more courteous treatment. 
    2. It is outrageously expensive. A small draft beer or very tiny cup of coffee at a cafe was over $5, but they were all full. We can't figure out how the people who live there can afford it. 
    3. The food is unbelievably good! I swear I could live on the baguettes and butter and jam and pate. You walk into a charcutrie (kind of deli) and can get every kind of pate known to man and some you don't know even exist. Most restaurants have a "menu" which includes an appetizer (called an entree), a main course (called a plat), and a dessert or cheese. Some include wine. 
    4. There are no fat people even tho they eat like this every day. Must be all the walking they do~! 
    5. Traffic in the big cities is absolutely outrageous. It can take you 2 hours to go a few blocks. 
    6. Road signs are few and far between and it is very very easy to get totally lost. We drove one morning for 2 hours in the wrong direction and didn't know it. 
    7. History abounds. Unreal old cities that are still lived in after centuries. 
    8. Countryside is really beautiful. Green and mountains and again great food!"