Saturday, August 26, 2017

Beach Weekend with the Rubinos

Two weekends ago David’s parents invited us to join them on their beach vacation. David had a long weekend, so we were happy to spend Saturday-Monday with them in Narbonne.

The Rubinos rented an Airbnb right on the beach. Where we live in Cannes, we have a whole 10 minute walk to the beach. So long, right? It felt luxurious to basically open the door and be right there!

Narbonne is a 4 hour drive west of the Riviera (longer if there’s traffic- it took us 7 hours on the way there). It’s not too far from the Spanish border or from Carcassonne, where we visited a few months ago.

There was finer, whiter sand and much wider beaches than we have in Cannes, but unfortunately the water temperature was nowhere near as nice. We now understand why tourists flock to the crowded Riviera beaches.

On Sunday morning, we barely made it all the way in the water. It was painfully cold. When it didn’t warm up in the afternoon, we opted for a little sightseeing instead of another swim.

Narbonne’s Gothic cathedral is famous because it was never finished. France’s Wars of Religion interrupted the construction, so it's not as big as originally planned. I still thought it was decently impressive.

I've heard people complain before that France's medieval cathedrals can seem a bit plain and depressing with their dark gray stone walls. Well, guess what... they didn't start out that way. Most cathedrals from this era were painted with bright and colorful patterns- they just didn't last through the centuries. I found some paint hanging on and zoomed in for a picture. It's hard to imagine the whole cathedral painted like this. Even the exteriors of these churches used to be covered in colors.

Some churches are better preserved and still look somewhat like they used to. I loved this small church in Strasbourg.

There's your history lesson of the day! Personally, I don't mind the gray. I like being able to get a feel for how old these places are. 

Before leaving Narbonne, we stopped by the cathedral’s cloisters and the Archbishop’s Palace.

I was very surprised to step out of the palace courtyard and suddenly be transported into Germany! A polka band was playing “Roll out the Barrel” and men in lederhosen were dancing. In the tents surrounding the square, they were selling pretzels, beer, and apple strudel.

Somehow it all reminded me of Wisconsin and made me happy. I love stumbling across random events like this.

The area where we stayed, Narbonne-Plage, was really a vacation town. It was filled with restaurants and fun things for kids. We had a nice walk along the beach after dinner.

On Monday either the water warmed up or we got braver. All 4 of us made it in the sea for a nice swim before we had to drive back home.

The next day, my good friend Elvera was showing up at the Nice airport and we had to be ready! We’ve been traveling ever since. I'm currently flying somewhere over Germany on my way back to France after a great week in Italy and Denmark. Many more adventures and pictures to come on the blog :)

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