March                   2018
VOL. 22                NO.  1

  

FRANCE On Your Own banner
                                                                                                                           
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter




IN THIS ISSUE: 







A Visit to  Occitanie & the Pyrénées - Part II
  ~ the Pyrénées-Orientales

  

          Twisted Tongues
                ~  Challenging French phrases 
 

 
Ici et Là



The Wines of the Pyrénées-Orientales



THE BOOKSHELF:
   
~  Moments Parfaits in Paris
        
a book by Sylvaine Lang



A Hidden Gem in the French Countryside
            
~  First in a series



 
Pyrénées-Orientales  Copyright Pyrénées-Orientales Office of Tourism.  All rights reserved.

Cross Country Skiing in the Pyrénées-Orientales

                       

Message to Our Subscribers:

This newsletter has been a quarterly publication since
 1997, but it has been decided to try something new.
We will publish triannually going forward, so the 3
 issues, beginning with this edition, will be published in
 March, July,
and November.
  We hope you will continue to be a subscriber,
 enjoy the newsletter, and find the content
useful for your next visit to
FRANCE On Your Own.

The next issue will be July 2018.

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  " Every time I have some moment on a seashore, or in the mountains,  or sometimes in a quiet forest,
 I think this is why the environment has to be preserved."

                                                                  -   Bill Bradley,  American Athlete and Politician


A Visit to Occitanie & the Pyrénées . . .Part II



Cantons of the Pyrénées-Orientales.  Wikipedia

Are you looking for unique places on your next visit to France?  Do you want to have the best of nature at your fingertips ~ the  Mediterranean, the mountains and the opportunity to take in some wine country visits as well?  Then the Pyrénées-Orientales, bordering the Pyrénées mountain range and Spain, is for you.

Its capital, Perpignan ~ which in the 13th century was the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca ~ displays a strong Catalan influence found in the city's Medieval center.  The département oozes history, offers the cuisine and culture of the Catalans, and is where you will find the Via Domitia ~ the oldest Roman road in Gaul and one of the oldest Roman roads anywhere.  Over 1500 miles in length, it links Rome to Cadiz, Spain, with its final French leg in the Pyrénées-Orientales.  Built in 188 BC by Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus [210 BC -162 BC], it was constructed about the same time as Narbonne in the Aude.

Before the Treaty of the Pyrénées in 1659, this département was part of the old Principality of Catalonia under the Crown of Aragon where the people spoke Catalan.  The current département was formed during the French Revolution in February of 1790 and named Roussillon consistent with the pre-Revolutionary province of Roussillon; this naming conflict required the need for a name change which took place about two weeks later, and it become the Pyrénées-Orientales.  Today it is an area of 4115 square kilometers with a population of 422,000.


Let's begin in the Cerdagne . . .

The Cerdagne / Cerdanya.  Wikipedia
The region of Cerdagne (France) or Cerdanya (Spain) is equally divided between the two countries.  The red portion on this map is in France, and the small orange area within it is Llívia as is the white patch on the map above ~ more about Llívia follows. 

Cerdagne is the westernmost area of the Pyrénées-Orientales, an it is believed that early inhabitants spoke a form of old Basque.  Later in its tumultuous history, it was invaded by the Vandals and other Germanic tribes, it was part of the Visigoth kingdom, and it was conquered by Muslims in the early 700s.  It was in 785 that it came under Frankish rule when it was conquered by Charlemagne after the surrender of Girona.

Today its only main towns are Puigcerdà on the Spanish side and Bourg-Madame on the French side.  We crossed into Spain at Bourg-Madame many years ago when passports still had to be shown to the border agents.




When in the Cerdagne, you might want to take a ride on Le Petit Train Jaune ~ the Little Yellow Train,
also known as the Ligne de Cerdagne, whose construction began in 1903.   Its route is 69 kilometers (43 miles) long,
and the train climbs to 5,226 feet to the highest railway station in France.  It crosses two bridges and goes through nineteen tunnels
 in a single track, so there are a few 'passing loops'.  Power generators on the River Tet  keep this electric train in motion. 
You will notice it is not just yellow but has some red coloring as well ~ homage to the Catalan flag.
 Some of the cars are open in the typical good weather, and because local roads were improved over the years,
it has become more of a tourist attraction than necessary transportation for locals.
  You may want to begin your yellow train journey at Villefranche-le-Conflent, the starting point in eastern Pyrénées-Orientales,
 50 kilometers inland from Perpignan and designated one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France.

The Little Yellow Train.  Photo courtesy of Loco2.com
Le Petit Train Jaune

                                                                       Bill Bradley -  American athlete and politician


        

A Visit to Occitanie & the Pyrénées ~  Part II the Pyrénées-Orientales

Are you looking for unique places on your next visit to France?  Do you want to have the best of nature at your fingertips ~ the Mediterranean, the mountains and the opportunity to take in some wine country visits as well?  Then the fourth département of Occitanie in our series,  the Pyrénées-Orientales ~ bordering the Pyrénées mountain range and Spain ~ is for you. 


Its capital, Perpignan, the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca in the 13th century, displays a strong Catalan influence found in the city's Medieval center.  This
département oozes history, offers the cuisine and culture of the Catalans, and is where you will find the Via Domitia ~ the oldest Roman road in Gaul and one of the oldest Roman roads anywhere. Over 70,000 miles in length, it links Rome to Cadiz, Spain, with its final French leg in the Pyrénées-Orientales.  Built in 118 BC by Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, it was constructed about the same time as today's Narbonne in the Aude département, known then as Colonia Narbo Martius.

Before the Treaty of the Pyrénées in 1659 this département was part of the old Principality of Catalonia under the Crown of Aragon where the people spoke Catalan.  The current département was formed during the French Revolution in February of 1790 and named Roussillon, consistent with the pre-Revolutionary province of Roussillon; this naming conflict required the need for a name change about two weeks later to Pyrénées-Orientales. Today it is an area of 4115 square kilometers with a population of 422,000.


Let's begin in the Cerdagne . . .


Cerdagne.  Wikipedia

The
region of Cerdagne (France) or Cerdanya (Spanish), is equally divided between France and Spain [see map left]. 
The red portion is in France, and the small orange area within it is Llívia as is the white patch in the map above ~ more about that follows.  Cerdagne is the westernmost area of the Pyrénées-Orientales, and it is believed that early inhabitants spoke a form of old Basque.  Later in its tumultuous history, it was invaded by the Vandals and other Germanic peoples, it was part of the Visigoth kingdom, and eventually was conquered by the Muslims in the early 700s.  It was in 785 that it came under Frankish rule when it was conquered by Charlemagne after the surrender of Girona.  Today its only main towns are Puigcerdà on the Spanish side and Bourg-Madame on the French side.  We crossed into Spain at Bourg-Madame many years ago when passports still had to be shown to the border agents.
 



Little Yellow Train.  Courtesy Loco2.com

When in the Cerdagne you might want to take a ride on Le Petit Train Jaune, the Little Yellow Train,
also known as the Ligne de Cerdagne, whose construction began in 1903.  Its route is 69 kilometers
(43 miles) long and the train climbs to 5,226 feet ~ to the highest railway station in France.
 It crosses two bridges and goes through nineteen tunnels on a single track, so there are a few 'passing loops'.
  Power generators on the River Tet keep this electric train in motion.   You will notice it is not just yellow but
  has some red coloring as well ~ homage to the Catalan flag.  Some of the cars are open in good weather, and
   because local roads were improved over the years,  it has become more of a tourist attraction than necessary
 transportation for locals.  You may want to begin your yellow train journey at Villefranche-le-Conflent the starting
 point in the eastern Pyrénées 50 kms inland from Perpignan and designated one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France.

                                                                                                                                                                           continued on page three                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

   


LOOK INSIDE
. . .
  with a click  


>  and perhaps find an event or activity that interests you in the US or France in our Ici et Là column ~ and be sure to see our newest Ici et Là feature:  Did You Know? 

~

to read about Llívia, the tiny hamlet of Llo, and the enchanting guest house, L'Atalaya, a bit of its history and our personal experience in this unique place in France.

~

>  to complete our visit to Occitanie along the rugged Pyrénées mountain range, join us for a tour of the département of the Pyrénées-Orientales, bordering both the Pyrénées and the Mediterranean.

~

>  for a peek into Moments Parfaits in Paris, an insightful, easy read about Sylvaine Lang's special moments and memories of her times in Paris ~ a series of short vignettes accompanied by her own creative photography.



FRANCE On Your Own invites articles
  from our readers about their time in France.
We can't guarantee when we will publish all
 those we receive, but we will do our best to
 
include them for our other readers to enjoy.
[No payments are made for submissions used,  but
 we will promote your France-related book or project.]






TWISTED TONGUES . . .
                                                                                                                                                             contributed by Arthur Gillette

Welcome to Twisted Tongues, a French word game everyone can play.  Can you come up with the correct translation of the phrase in question?  You'll be surprised by how it differs from what you first thought it meant.

Answer from our Autumn issue:   "A la vache!"  does not mean "Oh, the cow!".  The slang meaning is "I'll be darned! " or "Shucks!" 

Phrase:     "Chanter en yaourt"  Does it mean "Singing in yogurt?" No.  What do you think the slang meaning is?



Look for the correct translation in our July 2018 newsletter.  Have fun!

 We will continue to include Arthur Gillette's "Twisted Tongues" in our newsletter
until we exhaust the selection he kindly provided.  We hope you enjoy them as much as he
enjoyed the French language.  We are sure he would want us to continue the game . . .




                                                                                                               SPONSORING THIS ISSUE                                                                                                                      


Domained des Faures

Domaine des Faures

  Domaine des Faures, located in the Périgord (Dordogne) is both a weekly rental property year 'round and a
bed and breakfast (except in July and August) with a beautiful swimming pool and easy access to many of
the region's most interesting attractions.  This immaculate property offers hypoallergenic bedding, geothermal
heating and the peace and tranquility of its 100-acre estate.  Consider scheduling your stay to take advantage
 of one of the garden tours described on their web pages.   It's a few minutes away from the bastide market
town of Monpazier, very near the enormous Château de Biron open to the public for visits, and a short drive
from Sarlat-le-Caneda the capital of the Périgord-Noir.  Those who love the outdoors will enjoy canoeing on the
Dordogne River or following the path of the meandering River Lot.  This is an exceptional property in the perfect
location, so click on the link or photo above to read all about it and to see the beautiful rooms and gardens.

Click here or  on the photo for more information and reservations.

                                                                                                                                                                                         next page page 2
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Recommendations are not guarantees of satisfaction and are made only
to assist travelers with suggestions and web sites that we have found very useful.