France the French way


New Zealand - Sharing the Love

Posted: 2011-03-02

I bet you remember where you fell in love. Maybe not just with a person, but with a place!

I remember when I first visited the fishing port of Villefranche sur Mer in the south of France. I was speechless, and promised that I would bring my future spouse for our honeymoon here – and I did.

Easy to fall in love here!

I remember when I saw Chartres Cathedral in France for the first time. In fact after seeing it, my outlook on life changed. I had never before experienced the magnificence of this story-book of stone.

I remember a family holiday in New Zealand visiting Doubtful Sounds. We travelled through the Sounds on a boat, completely isolated, completely alone, completely silent – there was a silence and a beauty that I had never experienced. A deep greeny blue mirror-like sea was only interrupted by the wake of our boat. “Look Dad at the penguins” my daughter excitedly exclaimed!

I remember where I fell in love!

I share my life with my family between New Zealand and France. I was brought up in Christchurch, and my family has been living here for over 150 years. On 21 February you will have read of the earthquake that changed our lives in Christchurch.

The effects of this disaster in Christchurch will be felt for years ahead. Homes and lives need to be rebuilt, buildings and businesses need to rise again.

Amidst this disaster we need to all reflect on the situation we find us in. Our struggle here in Christchurch and New Zealand is to ensure that internationally people do not see a beaten and damaged country.

In June 2010 there were major floods in the Var district in the south of France centred on the town of Draguignan.  They had over 25 deaths caused by these floods. This disaster was broadcast internationally through the internet and television. As a specialist in travel planning in France I was inundated by clients wanting to cancel their travel due to these floods. The reality was that the disaster in Draguignan covered an area of only about 10 square kilometres – it didn’t affect the whole of the south of France, nor the entire country of France. Only the people wanting to holiday in Draguignan were affected, and nearby was the glorious Cote d’Azur for them to enjoy, which would hardly have been too off-putting for holiday makers!!

New Zealand

The same can be said for Christchurch. The centre of Christchurch is inaccessible and for the moment a holiday in our city isn’t the greatest idea, but outside the immediate centre it’s almost business as usual!  But even in this area within an hour from Christchurch you can savour the pleasures of the French settled village of Akaroa or go trout fishing in the Rakaia River or some of the nearby fishing lakes, or go walking in the Southern Alps.

New Zealand can make you fall in love! It may be the golden sandy beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park, the pristine wilderness of the McKenzie country or the West Coast, the beauty and excitement of Queenstown and its adventure tourism, or you too could visit Doubtful Sounds or the nearby Milford Sounds.

So please don’t let an earthquake change your travel plans. We’d all like to look after you and help show you our country – the New Zealand Way!

Come and fall in love here!

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Jim McIntosh of Holes in My Soles

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France – The French Way Travel Blog

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