The Best Place to Kayak in the Southern French Alps

Summer is here! And if you’re traveling to the South of France, we just can’t think of a better way to experience the beauty than paddling across a breathtaking river in a Kayak or Canoe. The Southern French Alps is better known for it’s white water rapids, rafting and kayaking but it is also home to two spectacular lakes which are lake kayaking paradise. #Wanderlust  #travelblogger

For more information on this amazing adventure, read the below article from Travel Companions.


Want to stay in Paris for $40 per night? Try Hostels

That’s right.  Paris for $40 per night.  The travel economy has followed the global economy lock in step.  In some European cities, the cost to stay in a hostel is down 50% from a decade ago.  Sound incredible?  Well, yes it really is.  If you can travel on a no-frills budget and do without some of the higher end creature comforts, hostels are still the way to go.

Here’s an example of how much you can save in Paris, France:

A typical hostel stay for 6 days costs $40 US x 6 = $240
A 3 star hotel might cost $75 US per night x 6 = $450
Savings:  $210 !

Here are some additional sources for the latest on trends in hostel prices:

Lourdes France Top Pick – Appart Hotel Victoria Garden

Lourdes, France is a medium sized village in the south of France, bordering the Pyrenees Mountains that straddle the border of France and Spain.  From this town, many outdoor activities are available, including hiking, biking, fishing, water sports, etc.  But, Lourdes is primarily know as a veritable theme park of Christianity.  The sanctuary of Lourdes is among the most famous Roman Catholic holy sites in the entire world.  While truly Catholic in tradition, the Lourdes sanctuary is among the most international religious pilgrimage sites in the world, and receives about 6 million visitors every year from every continent around the world.  The global appeal reaches to all Christian sects, and even the Muslim and remaining outside world.

When visiting Lourdes for the first time, it appears that the entire town is dedicated to the history of it’s most famous citizen, Bernadette Soubirous, a Catholic Saint who lived in Lourdes as a child.  In 1858, she was privileged with 18 apparitions of the Virgin Mary, in what is largely regarded as a matter of historical fact among almost anyone visiting this area.  The circumstances of the apparitions, including the abject poverty of Bernadette’s family, the mysterious location of the apparitions in a rocky cave at the river (known as Massabielle), and the fact that the 14 year old girl foiled all attempts by experienced officials to suppress the events, all lead to an almost mystical attraction for this most holy of places.  In fact, it is commonly known today that many non-believers who come to Lourdes out of pure curiosity often leave changed in both mind and spirit.

The Lourdes Sanctuary offers Christian devotees virtually every activity that is available for devotion and prayer.  Among these activities are Catholic services, candlelight processions, participation in the sacraments, musical devotions, bathing in the holy spring waters,  healing services, walking or hiking the stations of the cross, historical and religious films, etc.  The town also features several tourist spots that are important in the life of Bernadette and history of the town, including the Boly Mill, Le Cachot, Hospice, and ancient Parish Church.

One day pilgrimage programs are available every day between May and October.  You can simply arrive and join in the program.  However, to participate and fully experience all that Lourdes has to offer, a minimum visit of 3-4 days is recommended.

Accommodation of kinds are available in Lourdes, ranging from youth camps up to fine hotels.  Our pick is Appart Hotel Victoria Garden.  Appart Hotel Victoria Garden is an excellent place to stay if you are visiting Lourdes for a few days or for longer periods. In the central part of town, the hotel is only a 10 minute walk to the sanctuary, local museums, and great tourist restaurants.  Offering hotel rooms as well as apartment-style accommodation, you can feel free to settle in and enjoy your visit according to your own travel style. 

An adventure destination in the Provence, France – Worthy of the Last Crusade of Indiana Jones

Perhaps not the Last Crusade, there are many other adventurous destinations that may be worthy of those with the bold spirit of Indiana Jones. And, wip and fedora are optional.

Consider in the South of France, Apt Cathedral (Cathedrale Sainte-Anne d’Apt), which is a former cathedral, and national monument of France, in the town of Apt in Provence. Now the church of Saint Anne, the former cathedral was the seat of the bishop of Apt until the French Revolution.

According to historic accounts Saint Anne was the mother of the Virgin Mary, who in turn was the mother of Jesus Christ. Saint Anne’s life of service to God did not end with the one great gift of her daughter. According to legends of an early account of her life, when her husband Joachim died, Anne married his brother Cleophas, with whom she had another daughter. This child was also named Mary and became the mother of James the Lesser, Joseph the Just, Simon, and Jude. Anne later married again and had another daughter who gave birth to James the Greater and John the Evangelist.

Saint Anne did not live to see the torment and execution of Christ. However, even in death she continued to play an important part in the lives of early Christians. Sometime after the resurrection of Christ, Mary Magdalene, her brother Lazarus, and other apostles were driven from Jerusalem because of their faith. They journeyed by boat carrying the remains of Saint Anne and set ashore in Marseille, France. Her remains were taken farther inland from the coast to what is now France, where they were concealed in a crypt. These events were transcribed in the Martyrology of Apt, dating from the second century.

Charlemagne consulted the text in an attempt to locate her body nearly seven hundred years later. All efforts appeared to be in vain until the reconsecration of the Cathedral of Apt. During this ceremony, a fourteen-year-old deaf mute began striking the main altar with his staff, greatly disturbing those in attendance, including the emperor. Charlemagne was so impressed with the determination of the boy to draw attention to the altar that he gave orders to open its stairs after the mass. An underground door sealed with stones was uncovered. When these were removed, the boy led the group through the underground catacombs of the church to a wall, which he also struck with his staff. The company eagerly broke through the wall to find a crypt containing a casket of cypress wood. Inscribed on it were the words “Here lies the body of Blessed Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary.” Charlemagne had the recollection of these events written up, notarized, and sent to the pope in Rome. The original papers of this corre ­spondence are still in existence today.

Because of these events, the Cathedral of Apt became an important pilgrimage site, and the cult of Saint Anne spread throughout France, becoming particularly strong in Brittany. Many Breton legends claim Saint Anne as a Breton queen who escaped a brutal husband. One legend sup ­poses that angels led her to a ship that landed in Jerusalem, where she gave birth to the Virgin Mary.