September 9, 2013


     During the first two weeks of our Grand Tour, the sunshine has been endless. It has bleached my hair almost white-blonde, which pleases me because, the blonder my hair, the less obvious my gray roots will be as they grow out. This report, however, is not about that kind of roots. It is about my family roots, in Annonay, France, where my grandfather was born in 1849. Yes, my grandfather, and yes, 1849! My grandfather and later my father both married later than most men, so we three generations have already covered 164 years.

False Windows in Lyon
     We took the train from Paris to Lyon, such a comfortable experience. Except for the long walk to the railcar, dragging suitcases, the trip is so pleasant. Plenty of room for luggage at the end of the car and for legs when sitting. Comfortable seats. Refreshments served.

     Lyon itself is an interesting city, but seems less impressive after Paris. It is, however, considered the culinary center of France. Since all French food is wonderful, this is an extraordinary boast. We did appreciate the exquisite combinations of food, the flavors that threaten to make a person drool in public, the creamy patès, the pastries that are works of art. The richness of the food, however, made us long for simpler fare.


While in Lyon we took a car and drove through the Rhône valley to the
Balloon Mania in Annonay
town of Annonay where my grandfather, Jean Pierre Genthon, was born. Annonay is the home of Renè Montgolfier, the inventor of the hot air balloon and Marc Seguin, the inventor of the cable- wire-cable suspension bridge. I suspect that explains why my grandfather became an engineer as did my father, whose name was Renè and who was always fascinated with suspension bridges, although it was pontoon bridges he built as an American Army officer in France during World War I.

Bend in the Rhône River
The Rhône valley is fertile, with orchards, gardens, and vineyards everywhere a person could find dirt in this hilly land. The vineyards climb up 70-degree slopes and breezes and sunshine embrace the rosy apples, corn tassels, and flowering trees. France, we loved you and are sorry to leave you so soon!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely that you can see where your family came from. I'm really enjoying these posts!