I first visited France in June 2004, when I spoke at the International Workshop on Cometary Astronomy in Meudon, a municipality in the southwestern suburbs of Paris. I briefly toured Paris the afternoon that I arrived, basically walking from Notre Dame Cathedral, passed the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe before going to my hotel. I figured that this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and wished I could have stayed longer. I married my wife, Kathy, in July 2005. Interestingly, her oldest daughter had just finished her master's degree in French and was moving to Bordeaux, France. As a result, I have been to France several times. Kathy's daughter got married in Erquy, which was a little village on the Brittany coast of northwest France. We got to know Bordeaux fairly well and, after Kathy's daughter moved to Cognac with her husband and children, I became comfortable walking around there. On various trips we traveled to wine country, visiting Saint-Émilion, and I also got the opportunity to travel to the Dordogne region to see castles and a couple of caves.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, with the Seine river in the foreground. The Eiffel Tower is 1,063 feet tall. (2007)

Notre Dame Cathedral in June with flowers blooming. (2004)

Notre Dame Cathedral from across the Seine river. (2007)

Notre Dame Cathedral from the back. (2007)

Notre Dame Cathedral at night. (2007)

The "Monument aux Girondins" in Bordeaux is a 177-foot tall monument with bronze fountains on two sides. (2007)

St. Andre Cathedral in Bordeaux. (2007)

Inside the St. Andre Cathedral in Bordeaux. (2009)

Place de la Bourse at night. This is one of the most recognized sites in Bordeaux and sits long the Garonne river. [Click here for a larger image.](2009)

Less than 50 miles west of Bordeaux, is Le Cap Ferret, with beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. The large concrete structures are German bunkers that were built on the sand along the coast when France was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II. The bunkers are visible as far as we could see. During the last 70 years, the tides have slowly moved the bunkers into the ocean. In a century or so, most will no longer be visible. (2007)

Clos La Madeleine near Saint-Émilion is a vineyard and wine maker. (2007)

This is a monolithic church in Saint-Émilion, where the main building was carved out of a limestone cliff. (2007)

Another view of the monolithic church in Saint-Émilion. (2007)

A view of Saint-Émilion from a tower within the city walls. (2007)

Nearing low tide in Erquy on the Brittany coast in northwestern France. (2005)

Looking across the valley to Château de Commarque, a castle founded around the 12th century. It is located in the commune of Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil in the Dordogne department in southern France. (2009)

This is the Chateau de Puymartin located between Sarlat and Les Eyzies in the Perigord Noir region of the Dordogne department in southern France. Construction began in the 13th century. Reconstruction began in the 15th century, with additions in the 16th and 17th centuries. (2009)