First Time we saw Paris

How a Small French Café Changed our lives

The first in my series of French Travel Books

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Paris is the most atmospheric of cities. The sights, the people, the restaurants and cafes are evocative of memorable travel and times past. This is a small selection of my photography taken over several visits and rendered in black and white. Please enjoy these and my books on Paris and France are available on Amazon.

This book starts our journey into discovering France – a fleeting visit to Paris on to Catalonia

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French Travel Guide Book First Timer we Saw Paris

“Inspired me”  “Very Enjoyable”   “Great Books”  “Like I was there”

Across the channel – a sense of wonder at seeing Paris for the first time – south on Autoroute du Soleil – Catalonia & the Mediterranean Sea – Innocents Abroad. 

What did we find – what is France REALLY like?

We found a lifelong love of France BUT first ………

French travel has been fun, we were burgled on our very first night, we discovered the finest cafe that changed our travel lives the very next morning, we learned about French wine, we escaped the most horrendous gite, we found the best of gites, B & B’s & people, we laughed and cried with dear friends in Paris, I was hosed down by a crazy owner to ‘cool me down’ in Provence, our breakfast was served by the French army, we stepped out of our comfort zone and discovered the best of French culture.

The experiences are many and varied and this is the first of four travel memoirs that tell the full story – PROVENCE is next – Please be with me from the start. 

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I will inspire you to find the most amazing places & people yourself in this wonderful land

For me it has been the most remarkable ride for a very reluctant traveller – Come with me           

The opening of our story:

        Walking down a bakingly hot Rue Alsace Lorraine in Perpignan I was feeling very sorry for myself and rightly extremely guilty about all that my family had endured now that their first French holiday had started so dreadfully badly. All that will be revealed later. On the right hand side of this narrow street we came across Le Malassis, a small typically French, Café bar, that shone out to our bedraggled party like the oasis of calm and welcome that we so desperately needed. For us this fine little café and its owner would become the turning point towards a lifelong love of France, its food, wine, culture and people. A small red metal table and four chairs was available on the narrow pavement terrace next to two young Japanese tourists sitting engrossed in their camera at the other occupied table. We were more than delighted to be seated at this welcoming oasis. The chef patron was leaning nonchalantly on the doorframe of the café taking a mid-morning cigarette break but keeping his chef’s hat, his toque blanche, firmly on his head. My exposed and I suppose I have to admit it, a head that was rather now lacking in top cover was swiftly heading towards the colour of a London Bus or a glorious Languedoc Rosé wine. Monsieur Le Chef headed languidly over from his station at the door and looked pityingly at my once pale Lancashire complexion. He slowly took off his toque and placed it firmly on my head to protect me from the blazing sun.  

Two words were all he said, ‘Tete Rouge’.

Now France made sense, my mood transformed.

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Collioure Harbour France
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Collioure Cafe Beach Front
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The beautiful harbour looking across to the Church Collioure France

“This is the first book by this author I have read and I’ll be sure to read his other travel books. I loved his unbounded enthusiasm for travel and finding the joy in experiencing a new culture and a new language. Embarking on a coach tour to a holiday camp near Perpignan in southern France, this is the first time the Atherton family have ever been out of England and their first impressions are not all that inviting. However, the author’s love of history, new experiences, willingness to try new foods and wines and great people observation soon make this a holiday that will change the family’s lives and keep them returning to France year after year into the future. Above all, it is their encounter with a French café owner that changes their potentially calamitous holiday into one where long term friendships are made. This is a lovely memoir full of exuberance and humorous personal comment and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about travel stories that contain something of everything.”

Val on Amazon

 Unbounded enthusiasm for travel

Reviewed in the United States on 1 September 2020 Verified Purchase

Come South to Beautiful Catalonia

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