Monday 11 March 2013

Le Road Trip

I came across Le Road Trip in so many places. It seems every blogger with an interest in France has already read it. Carol at Paris Breakfasts. Beth Fish Reads. Paulita at An Accidental Blog. Emma at Words and Peace. Friends were reading it on Goodreads. I'd hunted it down at my library and found a perfectly timed day of enforced rest to read it.

As many others have noted Le Road Trip is such a beautiful book. Vivian Swift has created a gorgeous illustrated diary of her 2005 honeymoon trip to France with her new husband. They travelled to basically the same places that I visited on my first trip to France in 1998. Paris. The Loire Valley. Bordeaux. Brittany. Normandy.

It is more than a mere personal recollection though, there are speculations on the nature of travel, and the philosophy and practicalities of travel. Some of which I agree with- travel is a heightened experience- and some I don't- that you should pack for whoever you are on a Saturday morning- I'm not sure that level of slobby comfort is what I should wear in France.

Although I might take some of these suggestions
on board

Vivian Swift casts her artists eye over France, and seeks out the beauty, the details to share with us.

She created her own handwritten font!

What else do you need?

Vivian Swift, a lifelong Francophile, has lived in Paris, and visited France many times, not just on this honeymoon trip and has some insights about France and French culture to share with us. 

Some are not so surprising:

Lunch is a spiritual activity in France. 

Some are:

To eat salad in France, fold, do not cut, the leaves. 

Normandy is the largest area in France which does not produce wine (which is obvious when you think about it).

So happy to know that these are called
Morris Columns

Le Road Trip made me realise that I'm certainly not alone in my passion for France. France is the number one tourist destination in the world. 75 million international visitors make their way there every year (1 in 12 international tourists are France bound), and 2/3 of those travelling to France are repeat visitors- we just can't get enough it seems. 85% of the French holiday at home also. To give an indication of how popular France is, the USA and Spain tie for the second most popular travel destination with 35 million visitors apiece.

Certainly the most surprising snippet I learnt from Le Road Trip is that penguins are known for "horizontal projectile defecation". It seems it's true!

Dreaming of France, a great Monday meme from Paulita at An Accidental Blog

Books on France, a great 2013 challenge from Emma at Words and Peace


Anonymous said...

thanks for the 2 links to my blog. I'm glad you finally got to read this fabulous book

Anonymous said...

thanks for the 2 links to my blog. I'm glad you finally got to read this fabulous book

Brona said...

Oh Louise! Ohhhhhh!
This books looks and sounds scrumptious. Curse you for making me desire yet another book :-)

Have you ever read Lucinda Holdsworthty's True Pleasures? I had the pleasure of hearing her speak a few years - her book started me on yet another Francophile phase in my life - esp seeking out female French writers.

Ohhhhh!! Now I wish I could draw so that my travel journals looked like Swift's!

Louise said...

Emma- I'm glad I got to finally reading it too.

Brona- Wouldn't it be marvellous to be able to draw like that? I'm hopeless and have been known to trace my own hand. I've seen a little bit about True Pleasures about, but haven't got to reading it yet. There's so many books that I'd like to read before we go again this year- of course I won't get nearly half of them read.... And see, I read one book, you want to read it, and know I want to read True Pleasures too. No wonder the TBR never dwindles.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Love this beautiful book. Here's a request for Swift: Could you please, please make a similar book all about Paris? Please?

Esme said...

What a great book-interesting stats.

Jackie McGuinness said...

What a lovely book, I might have to buy it for a good friend!!

Paulita said...

Louise, I enjoyed this book too. It was a fun little trip to France, don't you think. Thanks for playing along. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

Swan Pond said...

Pray tell which ladies items you plan to cram into your luggage,

Louise said...

Megan I'd certainly have to go with the smelling salts, brandy and some literature, not sure if my selecting travel reading is light literature for ladies or not though. I would like a satin cushion for my feet after they swell on the plane.

Swan Pond said...


The long flight is punishing. You'll need all those ladies items at least.