Biking in France

Bonjour! Sadly, this about sums up my entire ability to speak French! A fact that I was very savvy about, since I had the good fortune to spend two weeks in France recently. What an enchanting country. The first week I rode a bicycle through the lovely countryside, the Loire Valley. It’s an hour and a half train ride southwest of Paris. The hills are rolling, the scenery expansive and chateaus abound. We rode for four days, from Vendome to Chateaudun, to Beaugency and Blois. All of the food was included and we stayed in tourist hotels, comfortable but not extravagant. A continental breakfast was always included, usually croissant or bread with jam and butter, coffee or tea. We were fortunate to have sunny, bright weather, albeit gusting winds at times. I know many of you were concerned about how my back would endure, as I’d been diagnosed in May with a herniated disc. But I was able to ride every mile, and was most comfortable on the bicycle. Phew! The two weeks I spent in physical therapy appointments with Christian at Aurora helped tremendously. Thanks also to Alyson Adventures for creating this wonderful experience, and special thanks to our guides, Pierre and Charlie.

The second week we stayed in Neuilly, a western suburb of Paris. I found it to be quite upscale, much like Beverly Hills without the American glitz. There was a huge park close-by, the M1 Metro (subway) was most convenient to transport us everywhere we wanted to go. The neighborhood had a large grocery store called Monoprix in which we found a nice selection of Rhone and Burgundy wines, and every other household item we needed, food or otherwise. We fell into a truly French rhythm when we ventured around the city: a larger meal for lunch, and usually a lighter fare at “home” around dinner. We took in the massive Louvre, the wonderful Luxembourg Gardens and Napoleon Arch at night. By day we traipsed about the Marias, with Notre Dam as backdrop. We saw a great exhibit of impressionists and post-impressionists at the Musee d’Orsay, my new favorite museum housed in a former train station, on one of the only rainy days. We ventured into the Latin Quarter, walked the entire Champs- Elysees from the Arc de Triomphe built by Bonaparte to the Place de la Concorde with the Obelisk of Luxor. It’s mighty, clipped horse-chestnut trees are magnificent.  We had a glass of mediocre wine at Cafe Flore, our only disappointing experience. We also strolled through the Tuileries Garden, located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. If I could pick just one fashion tip: scarves go a long way! Add one to any outfit for a new look: voila!

I was also able to visit the renowned Shakespeare & Company at 37 Rue de la Bucherie. I could blather on about this, it has such a legacy in the writing world. But instead, I will just include their link and invite you to check them out:

Shakespeare and Company

Here is the latest short list of pieces of mine that were published since I last blogged:

Motherhood at Short, Fast, and DeadlyMotherhood – Short, Fast, and Deadly

A, B, C at A-MinorA, B, C « A-Minor

British Faux Pas at A Handful of Stonesa handful of stones: British Faux Pas

The Empty Nest at The Not:

not from here, are you?: Robert Vaughan Guest Writes

Also, while I was in Paris, the second installment of my WUWM Lake Effect interview about flash fiction aired. Here are the links for both Part 1 and Part 2:

WUWM: Lake Effect – Flash Fiction Fridays Begin with Robert Vaughan

WUWM: Lake Effect – Flash Fiction Friday! Returns: How to Get Published

It looks as if I might be co-ordinating the Flash Fiction Fridays program at WUWM if it does, indeed, get off the ground. I love the idea of more writers sharing their short work, and we shall see after I have a chance to meet with the producers at Lake Effect. Thanks again, Stephanie, for your interview and vision.

I will be leading a workshop produced by Redbird-Redoak called Flash in the Pan. Check it out, I’d love to have you participate.  The writing Roundtables are also listed at the same site. You can get more information about them here:

“Flash in the Pan” with Robert Vaughan | RedBird-RedOak ~ A Unique Writing Community

That about wraps this installment. A bluejay screeches. An acorn plunks onto the roof, rolling onto the patio. The leaves, ready to turn overnight, await their colorful destiny. A dog barks in the far off distance. A deer?

And you? Where will you travel to…this autumn? In your dreams?

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, writer, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely published in print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, Metazen, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Housefire. He is Senior Flash editor at JMWW and Lost in Thought magazines and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps): Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press).
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14 Responses to Biking in France

  1. Andrea says:

    Loving your update. Thanks!

  2. Theo says:

    What a lucky man to be in France for two entire weeks! Ah, you live the life, mister! It couldn’t happen to a better person. I did have the chance to hear both of your Lake Effect interviews and enjoyed them in their entirety! You have vast knowledge about the creative process and I think many writers will benefit from your words.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Your pieces are all wonderful Robert. I especially enjoyed A,B,C at A-Minor. Did you plan that, the name with that literary site? And your recent trip sounded great, so thrilled that your back held up. We aren’t getting older, we are getting better!

  4. David says:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip.

  5. Zach says:

    Lucky man, to ride a bike in France? Like Lance Armstrong! Or Contador? Anyhow, your writing is smooth and I really enjoyed your stories and blog. Thanks for posting again.

  6. Dez says:

    I was just talking about you last weekend, saying when is Robert going to do another installment. And here you are! Sounds as if your trip brought about many wonderful experiences. Did you get a chance to do any writing while you were in France?
    Nice new work, I enjoyed them all, as I always do. I wish I lived closer so I might consider taking your workshop in October. Best of luck with that.

  7. Yasmine says:

    I lived in France for a year, an exchange program when I was in school. And although it was not near the Loire Valley, I did travel there not long ago. It’s lovely and I’m thrilled that you had the experience of not only Paris, but the countryside as well. And I admire your biking for four days, glad to hear your back held up well. We’re not getting younger, just better, after all! And your writing is really taking off! I wish I had that kind of talent, and I admire yours. Congratulations!

  8. JR Price says:

    Hey Frenchie! Sounds like a trip of a lifetime. I’m glad you had such an adventure. And your writing is taking off, as it ought to be. Congratulations!

    I agree with Dez, wish I lived close enough to take your course in October. I know you will share great information with whomever is enrolled.

  9. In my next life I want to be Robert Vaughan!

  10. Wallace says:

    I agree with you, Karen, I want to be Robert in my next life too! What great adventures you have, both in travel and in your writing career. How great that WUWM and those writers in your workshop will experience the magic known simply as Robert Vaughan.

  11. Jeffrey says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time in France. Living here in South Korea for the past 20 years, I have spent most of my vacation time traveling around Asia.

    I just returned a few weeks ago from Laos where my wife (who is Laotian) and I just finished building our home there. I’ve got some photos on my blog of the house.

    Have enjoyed all your flash fiction and poetic stylings as well as your interview on Lake Effect.

  12. Jerry says:

    Keep on keepin on, my man! You are in such a Renaissance with your writing! How do you do it?

  13. carolyn says:

    thanks again for keeping in touch through all of your wonderful words. look forward to seeing something new to read as I travel around the country wishing to express out loud what you write on paper…..the gift you have is one I love. thanks.

  14. Natasha says:

    So nice to read the words you have written, from your pen to my imagination. Keep up the wonderful work, and congratulations on reaching such a milestone: 50 years young!

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