Rationalizing Another Visit to France.
Next April, I have a meeting of the Rail Passengers Association (formerly NARP) in Washington, DC. It’s a three-day event and, as an elected member of the RPA Board of Directors, I am obligated to attend. And since I’m already going to be on the East Coast, more than halfway to Europe, it just makes sense that I keep going and spend a couple of weeks in France. (What do you think? Will my wife buy that?)
Assuming she does, I do have a specific objective in mind. It’s Le Petit Train Jaune (The Little Yellow Train) that runs through a rugged stretch of the Pyrenees very close to the French-Spanish border. The train chugs along at a slow pace along a route that’s only about 40 miles long from Villefranche-Vernet les Bains to Latour de Carol. Originally constructed around 1900, it remains an engineering marvel and I’m told is a spectacular ride.
Next comes the fun of deciding where to stop off on my way to and coming back from that special train ride. I’m sorely tempted to revisit the medieval town of Domme in the Dordogne Valley. There, at Hotel L’Esplanade, I was served the world’s most perfect omelette—perfect in shape, in taste and, of course, in presentation. As ridiculous as this sounds, I may decide to revisit that hotel if only to have another of those perfect omelettes on their outdoor patio overlooking that glorious valley.
But I will have time for one or two more stops and I’ve recently come across a very helpful article offering 100 things to see in France and I shall pore over the list looking for some thing or some place to visit when traveling to and from Le Petit Train Jaune. Making those decisions is the hardest part of any European visit. And, next to being there, the most fun.