Slow Travel in France

Chatillôn-sur-Seine, France (©Karin-Marijke Vis)

Hard to believe that this tranquil stream in fact is the Seine. With 14th-century Pont (bridge) du Perthuis-au-Loup that has a historic monument since 1928.

“Next time we come here we should stop and walk around for a bit,” I remarked as we traversed Chatillôn sur Seine.

“Why don’t we do it now? Mélanie suggested.

Indeed, why not?

Fachwerkhouse in the old quarter of St Vorles.

Fachwerkhouse in the old quarter of St Vorles.

My friend Mélanie and I were on our way back to the Netherlands from a weekend in the countryside of France (read about it here). We had meandered through the countryside and were nearing the highway – Autoroute du Soleil – which would mean some eight hours of driving on end without much distraction. Why not take a bit of time for a cup of coffee and stroll the streets of a town we had passed several times in the past but where we had never stopped?

Slow travel at its best.

We had no plan, no guidebook, no map. And so we just walked into the medieval center of this beautiful town, strolling the streets, looking up the old, stonewalled buildings and, on top of the hill next to the church, taking in the views.

slow travel in France

An alley like this simply demands further exploration, doesn’t it?

I loved this building with a tower, which apparently now is a hotel – Hôtel Philandrier

One particular thing I marveled at, after eight years of travel in South America, is how tangible the country’s old history is. Of course, South America has ancient history but it was never written down until the colonial era and there are tangible remains (ruins, pottery and such) of only (relatively) few civilizations. Here, in France, you can’t but stumble over (pre) medieval buildings.

Chatillôn-sur-Seine (©Karin-Marijke Vis)

When strolling through old towns, always look up for small treasures.

I just loved this little statue looking out over La Seine.

I just loved this little statue looking out over La Seine.

What a perfect way to start a long journey home!

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