Best of Village France • July/August 2001 • Julie Dinkins

My sister, Shari, and I hatched a plan to take a trip to Europe. Originally our third sister, Dawn, was going to join us, but family obligations prevented her from leaving for a three week stint. Our Mom, Garree, had died June 19, 2000 and we knew she'd approve of us spending part of her pension traveling. Mom loved to travel and she and I traveled to Great Britain together twice. She was such a lot of fun!

So, why the heck did we pick Rick Steves' Tours? I'd first read "Europe Through the Back Door" way back in 1980, when I went on my first European vacation. I really liked Rick Steves' travel philosophy and I'd checked out the website a few years ago. I knew that Rick now offered tours, so I told Shari to check out the site and that I'd go on any of the Rick Steves' tours. Her first choice was Village France. And what a great choice it was! I highly recommend this tour. Our tour guide knew just everything about France. His love for the country was infectious and his enthusiasm contagious. Oops, didn't mean to make him sound like a disease! He's a great guy and I'd love to travel with him again! We also had a fabulous assistant guide and bus driver, who were loads of fun. And the type of people attracted to Rick's tours are an energetic and fun-loving bunch. They were great traveling companions. I hope I'll get to travel with some of them again.

A couple of technical tidbits:

  • Click on each thumbnail image for a larger image.
  • The right and left arrows take you through the larger images. The up arrow takes you back to an index page.
  • If you want to jump to a particular page, just alter the page number in the url (ex: go from index_2.htm to index_8.htm)
  • You're welcome to download these photos for your own personal use. If you'd like to use them in some commercial or business capacity, please contact me. My email address is on my homepage. If I make any money off them, guess what I'm gonna do... Italy here I come!
  • I use a Canon PowerShot S110 Digital Elph, with the resolution set at 1024 x 768 and the compression set at "fine". All of my photos were taken on one 128meg compactflash memory card, which should hold 412 photos at those settings. If I'd set the resolution to 640 x 480 and the compression to "normal", I could get 1,417 photos on one 128meg compactflash! Amazing. Here's another review of the elph.
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06/30/01 Shari, Jim and Joe at San Francisco International Airport
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Shari, Joe and Julie at SFO, which is never boring no matter how many hours you spend there.
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The intrepid travelers, Shari and Julie. Bring it on, man! We're ready!
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07/02/01 Versailles, France. Yes, just the exterior of Versailles, as it's closed on monday! That's what you get when you read the guide book enroute to your destination instead of beforehand.
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Versailles, France. Bet it's nice inside. But, I wouldn't know.
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Fountain at Versailles. We purposefully planned not to be there when the fountains were running. Thanks for asking.
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Shari and the gardens at Versailles. So what if we didn't get so see the interior. The gardens rock! And it was nice and peaceful.
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Our fabulous room at the Hotel Chatelet in Chartres. Next to the big bed is the tiny monk bed, crucifix not included.
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Chartres Cathedral
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Beautiful stained glass inside. No, it's not impressionistic. This is what's known as a "jiggly" shot. (Excuse the technical jargon.)
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Buttresses at Chartres.
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07/03/01 Chateau de Chenonceau, also called "Chateau de Dames", home of both Catherine de Medici (wife of Henry II) and Diane de Poitier (his favorite mistress). No, they didn't live there simultaneously!

jd 08/15/01 feeder goldfish