My Travel Blog

A Day In Our French Slice of Heaven

The other day Lisa and I went for our 10,000-step walk along the canal. We didn’t start until almost 10:00 AM. The temperature was rising fast, and the humidity had already reached stratospheric levels. Remember we’re from Southern California. We don’t know about humidity. By the time we got back it was almost noon, and we were soaked in sweat. We were also hungry. I have to say Lisa is an amazing chef. She consistently makes phenomenal meals. My beautiful wife threw together another incredible gastronomic extravaganza while I set up the umbrella, cleaned the table, and set it. Lunch consisted of a delicious cold cucumber soup, a little leftover duck with aged balsamic vinegar, BBQ chicken thighs, broiled slices of yams, and crispy Dijon smashed potatoes covered in garlic, mustard, olive oil and herbs. Lisa had a tall ice tea while I had my Arnold Palmer. It’s a tough life. We call it suffering.

Our friend Marty is Rabelo’s official electric fence checker. He was not with us on this walk. And no I did not touch the electrical fence. I saved it for Marty.

The hotel barge L’Impressionniste entering a lock. Note the lock house is being turned into a restaurant.

Lisa found a new friend at a lock.

After suffering through another one of my wife’s meals we sat back to admire our surroundings. We are awed by the forests and fields that make up the French countryside. The vegetation in France must be greener than any other place we’ve been. They do get more rain than Southern California, but then every place gets more rain than Southern California. Maybe I need to check the tint on my sunglasses. I commented on the many birds, and how loud they were. France has a plethora of happy birds! The butterflies are also unusually happy, as they flit from tabletop to handrail to flower. And then there were the clouds. Lisa is the artist in the family, and has a much keener eye for spotting the faces, animals, and other odd shapes that inhabit the fluffy skies above. Rabelo along with the canals of France have become our little slice of heaven. So long as our health holds out, we will continue to revel in our unique lifestyle!

The green countryside of France.

The clouds of France.

They weren’t thinking of me when they built this door.

Unfortunately not everything is as perfect as I would like to paint it. The Canal du Midi in Southern France was famous for its plane trees. They were so large the canopy from the trees on one side of the canal touch the canopy from the trees on the other side, and thus formed a green tunnel. Over the last few years they have had to remove over 40,000 infected trees. On a recent walk along the Burgundy Canal we noted where a number of trees had been cut down. There were also some red “X’s” on other trees, which meant they were scheduled to be cut. I know the French Government is trying to stay ahead of the infection that is killing their trees. Hopefully they will be successful.

A tree that will be be cut down.

This is what happens when your are caught driving drunk in France. They force you to drive a micro car. It has about 10HP, and can only go 35 mph.

While only one horse power, I’ll take this carriage over a micro car any day.

Flowers along our walk.

– Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave”  and “When Stones Speak”– 
Chuck Palmer Adventure novels


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.