inspiration found in a Provence château
a windy loot shoot
I agree with you entirely. The reason I travel to another country is to learn about the culture and history and that is what I want to experience. I also like to get behind the tourist areas and see real life.
I am a combination of your traveling philosophy and the Shopper. But I will not line up to to buy a Louis Vuitton or any other brand name because as you wrote, they are available worldwide. Just like you, I would prefer to purchase something unique from that country. Something that is not available here at home. But then Paris is a shopping Mecca. There are products there not available worldwide.
I do like to shop in France, but either at Monoprix for skin care items or for little unique treasures that aren’t available at every mall. My husband is one of those “foodie” travelers; he likes to research restaurants and have destinations mostly picked out before we land. I’m always up for art museums, parks and gardens too.
When planning a trip to Europe, our favourite destination, we have the luxury of time, usually at least two months, as we’re flying such a long way (from Australia – for us it’s not worth going such a long distance for just two weeks) and also we’re older. So we plan the trip to include visits to: beautiful countryside areas (usually include visits to mountains, lakes and coastal areas); lovely small towns/villages, particularly in Provence; and interesting cities. We always spend time in France and Italy and always visit one country we’ve never been to before. We’re fascinated by natural scenery, historical (my husband started out as a historian) and cultural sites, art galleries and museums, including smaller out of the way places and house museums, interesting architecture, visits to concerts or the opera or ballet, places where they serve good good and wines and great food markets. I also love the wonderful brocantes and vides greniers in France and the flea markets in Italy (eg Arezzo). Husband not interested but he is a hobby painter, so before I wander off to the brocante, we find him a lovely cafe/bar with a good view of something paintworthy and he’s totally happy. I also love the fashion and home style shops. He does not. So again we find him a nice cafe where he can paint or read his i-pad or a book. He’s happy. When possible we both always read literature or at least novels or non-fiction about the countries we’re visiting. Sometimes we take it with us but always we buy books while travelling. My husband is the intellectual, he reads Sartre or something else very worthy. On our most recent trip (returned only a few weeks ago) I read Francoise Gilot’s autobiography of her life with Picasso, a book about her experiences at the end of WWII by Marguerite Durras and Jean Giono’s The Horseman on the Roof set in the Luberon. Somehow doing this helps integrate us more into the culture of the regions we’re travelling in. Also speaking and understanding a little of the language of the countries we keep going back to really makes a difference and helps our enjoyment: I speak and read a reasonable amount of French, a little Italian (we spent part of one holiday at an Italian language school in Florence) and even less German. But it helps. I think a well rounded approach to travel is the most satisfying, trying to really absorb a diverse range of the culture and life of a country, eg in France and Italy as fashion and style are such an important part of French (and Italian, at least in the north) life, culture and commerce, I wouldn’t rule them out, and for me it’s worth taking a real interest. But we don’t rush around trying to see 10-20 things a day. We choose our priorities for the day but are flexible and allow ourselves to be distracted if we come across something that might delight us. We also spend time over lunch enjoying a nice meal, whether sitting out in a piazza in a small Italian town or at a pleasant restaurant in Paris or St Remy. We often hire guide/drivers who take us out for the day and who are really interesting because in addition to being experts on all the historical and cultural things we’re keen to hear about they can also tell us about real life – and sometimes about great shopping. I guess you can tell we’re travel-aholics. Happy holidays and best wishes, Pamela
I never buy something while traveling that I can buy at home, and I don’t go out of my way to shop. When I do purchase it is usually something unique to the region to remind me of my adventure – but it must also work with my own home
We always plan our trips and the things we want to see and leave space in between to enjoy our favourite spots a little longer or explore suggestions from our hosts. For us traveling means exploring, discovering, relaxing and learning about the regions we are in.
I would never EVER spend one moment shopping in those shoppes while in Paris! As much as I would love the brocante shopping I wouldn’t do that either……I have only been to France once for 3 weeks and we did all the history stuff – museums, beaches, castles – and didn’t get nearly enough.
If and when my DH and I ever go together we shall do the same thing, too, it’s what we love.
Wonderful and interesting post, thank you.
I so agree…the beauty and magic of travel is discovering what is exclusive, special and unique to that country. I never had “gotten’ people who need to visit all the retail shops that their respective cities or countries already has. What a waste in my opinion. There is so much to see and uncover….shopping unless its in a special market or antiques store otherwise would feel like a waste of time to me. That said a vacation is all about doing what you love or whatever strikes your fancy and I guess its to each his own!
I couldn’t agree more, that is what travel is all about to me, discovering people, places and things I can’t find in my own country! We go out of our way to stay or visit places that only the locals would know about, though we also hit the tourist areas on our first visit to a new country. Besides the shopping becoming homogenized throughout the world, what bothers me even more is seeing all of the American fast food restaurants when I go abroad…UGH! We don’t eat at them in our own country, why on earth would we eat at them when we are in a country like France, know of its amazing cuisine! Great post!
ABSOLUTELY!I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU!I want to be surprized I donot want to see where Iam staying etc…………it ruins it somehow.
*known for*…I should really learn to proofread!