Day Hike: Trayas to Théoule-sur-Mer

The Côte d’Azur conjures images of starlets, Lost Generation writers, designer-clad convertible-owners, and tanned beach babes, all strutting and partying their pretty selves alongside the sparkly blue sea. In reality, it’s also chock full of assholes, overpriced meals, elitist shades of the ridiculous, and tourists with pretensions. But oh, the sea! It’s just as sparkly and blue as…

Day Hike: Marseille to Cassis Along the Calanques

It’s never been easy for me to say good-bye to summer. A creature of the sun who had the poor luck to grow up in the snowy northeastern United States, I spent my first twenty-three winters hiding inside and eating pastries, one step up from a hibernating bear. I get stir-crazy when the weather gets cold, because…

Day Hike: Lacs de la Pra

I’m so fresh off this hike that the soreness hasn’t fully hit me yet (“it will,” hiss my vindictive knees and hips in menacing whispers, “it will”), but I wanted to get this post up before the cold really settles into the mountains. The Lacs de la Pra are a smattering of tiny lakes in the Belledonne mountain…

The Restorative Properties of Fresh(er) Air

I loved living in New York City, but that place can fray the nerves. Overcrowding makes everything, from grocery-shopping to walking down the street, a competition with some of the most intense and aggressive people in the world. I used to go to Trader Joe’s just after it opened so that I only had to wait…

Time Travel: Plitvice Lakes, Croatia, May 2014 – Perfectly Imperfect Travel

Going to Plitvice Lakes was one of those travel decisions I made based on the advice of a stranger or, in this case, strangers: a group of tipsy Brazilian dudes I met in the common room of a hostel in Zagreb, Croatia. The Plitvice Lakes consistently make the pages of glossy 100-Places-to-Visit-in-Your-Lifetime magazine issues, with photos of bright turquoise water…

Day Hike: Rochetaillée and the Gouffre d’Enfer

Venturing out to Saint-Etienne, a small city about 45 minutes south of Lyon, you’ll notice that the beret quotient skyrockets – every third guy seems to be about 65 years old and wearing one. The city is quiet, its horizon dominated by two slag heaps in an enduring reminder of its has-been mining town status. It’s also at the…

Three Hops Above Grenoble: La Bastille, Mont Jalla, and Mont Rachais

Surely one of Earth’s beautiful cries for help, late November in the Rhône-Alpes region was practically balmy by almost-winter standards. Good snow-traumatized New Englander that I am (used to assuming, come winter, that the ground will disappear one day and the temperature will pull an “I’ve-fallen-and-I-can’t-get-up” until April), I took full advantage of the weather…

Losing the Trail in France

Walking is a national pastime in France. After a big Sunday lunch, families often go on late afternoon strolls together around their neighborhoods or along part of one of the hiking paths that vein the country. Many of the hiking paths pinball through residential areas and skirt private property, a fact that has complicated almost…

RIVER MONSTER!!!

Ever wonder what lives in the Saône? Holy f#$k, THIS does. Honestly, I was kind of rooting for the sea monster. It put up a valiant fight.