Author: samgeuens (page 1 of 3)

Photographer / guitar player / dj / song-writer / singer / graphic designer / webmaster / multimedia developer

Born 1976, Turnhout (BE)

Road trip Normandie: Rouen, Gerberoy, Abbaye Jumièges

More than one year after our first trip to Normandy and Bretagne in the springtime of 2017, we decided to go back to this region for a long summer weekend road trip to its capital Rouen and some beautiful villages in the countryside.

Rouen – old town

Rouen is a historical city with medieval roots and many architectural highlights among which its gothic and enormous cathedral.

Rouen - cathédrale

Rouen – cathedral

Many other churches and ancient houses have stood the test of time very well and give space to beautiful squares and streets. Make sure you pass by Le Gros Horloge, a one-of-a-kind monument.

Rouen - Le Gros Horloge

Rouen – Le Gros Horloge

The historical zone stretches far and we recommend to go completely north until the old train station Rouen-Rive-Droite in a beautiful art nouveau style.

Rouen - gare

Rouen – train station

Don’t forget to also go and have a look at the old bridge on the river Seine, which has very nice viewpoints towards all sides of Rouen.

monument on Seine bridge

Rouen – monument on Seine bridge

Close to Rouen you will find also very old villages, like Lyons-la-Forêt and Gerberoy. These are tyical, Normandic historical small towns, full of nostalgia and charm.

Gerberoy

Gerberoy

On our way back to Belgium we made a last long stop to see the ruins of the Abbey of Jumièges. It was one of the oldest and most importants Benedictine monasteries and had a rich history before being destroyed in the nineteenth century, after the French Revolution. A sweep of medieval romance can still be felt walking through and around it.

Jumièges - ruins of the abbey

Jumièges – ruins of the abbey

Road trip Champagne: Sacy, Reims, Verzenay

Mid September 2019 and some sunny days ahead for our escapade en Champagne. We found a room in one of the most lovely boutique hotels of this very special wine region. Château de Sacy is a 5 star hotel surrounded by beautiful vineyards and the perfect starting point for explorations towards Reims and Verzenay.

Château de Sacy

Château de Sacy – © Sam Geuens

Sacy itself is a small historical village with less than 500 inhabitants just outside of Reims and is completely surrounded by fields of ‘green gold’. Multiple smaller champagne houses can be visited in walking distance from each other in the peaceful wine village of Sacy.

Sacy

Sacy – © Sam Geuens

On the next day Reims, the capital of the Champagne region was on our list. This charming city breathes history and has architecture from many different periods and styles like Art Nouveau and Art Déco. A few years after our first short visit to Reims we now planned to see more and eat and drink the local delicacies.

Reims - Le Cellier

Reims – Le Cellier – © Sam Geuens

Just outside Reims many prestigious champagne houses can be visited, like Pommery, Taittinger and Vranken. We took a guided tour in the caves of Taittinger and learnt a lot about the complicated production process of bubbles.

Villa Demoiselle

Villa Demoiselle – © Sam Geuens

Villa Demoiselle is the former house of the owner of Vranken champagne and is now turned into a unique museum. We loved spending our afternoon there and bought even some bottles to take home. And then it was time to explore the further region by driving our car through the champagne fields.

Vineyards near Verzenay

Vineyards near Verzenay – © Sam Geuens

Moulin de Verzenay

Moulin de Verzenay – © Sam Geuens

Road trips Côte d’Azur: Antibes, Grasse, Monaco

On our first visit to the Côte d’Azur in the summer of 2020 we chose to stay in the charming coastal city of Antibes. We stayed at a top floor apartment with a gorgeous view on the town, the sea and the mountains (Alpes-Maritimes). Even the flickering nocturnal lights of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice were visible from its terrace.

Antibes vieille ville

Antibes – vieille ville – © Sam Geuens

Antibes lies in between Nice and Juan-les-Pins and has a sandy beach close to its charming old town with many bars and restaurants. From Antibes many famous places can be visited by car: Besides Cannes and Saint-Tropez you are also very close to Monaco and the historical town of Grasse, the capital of perfume factories.

Grasse

Grasse – © Sam Geuens

Grasse is known for its Musée International de la Parfumerie and has preserved very well its architectural heritage like an old-style casino and lovely narrow streets with shops and places to eat. The closer you go towards Italy the more colourful the old houses become.

Grasse

Grasse – © Sam Geuens

We visited the perfume factory of Fragonard and discovered so many wonderful smells. Since then I almost daily smell like ‘verveine’ and my wife Inès like ‘bergamote’. The uphill position of the town makes you feel you are really way up in the mountains.

Grasse

Grasse – © Sam Geuens

Our longest roadtrip from Antibes was to Monaco and Menton and back in one day. Only 38 km but it takes quite long because of the many winding roads. In Monaco we chose only to visit the famous and impressive Musée d’Océanographie but our French friends drove us on the way out also by its port, glamourous shopping streets and the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo.

Musée d'Océanographie

Musée d’Océanographie – © Sam Geuens

The Musée d’Océanographie (1910) rules over the monegasque coastline already for more than 100 years. This enormeous, beautiful building houses many very deep aquariums with sharks, turtles, colourful fish and sea animals, besides a unique, authentic collection of scientific, nautical and historical artefacts.

Monaco

Monaco – © Sam Geuens

After Monaco we continued our journey and made it still to Menton for an evening swim with a stunning view on its colourful old town. That day we decided to return the next summer to the Côte d’Azur and and explore Menton a bit more. In a next post some photos of this very Italian looking French border town will be featured.

Road trip Côte Opale

At the end of August 2020, before another long covid lockdown was awaiting us, we drove up to the Côte Opale in the Pas-de-Calais region (Hauts-de-France). This is the home of a beautiful coastline with the famous locations Cap Blanc-Nez, Cap Gris-Nez and Le Touquet-Paris-Plage. But even the smaller towns and uninhabited zones near the sea are worth visiting.

Dunes near Audresselles

Dunes near Audresselles – © Sam Geuens

Cap Blanc-Nez is a marvellous place where water, rocks, sand, the clouds and the colours in the sky play every day a wonderful game.

Cap Blanc Nez

Cap Blanc-Nez – © Sam Geuens

We slept in Hotel Ibis Thalassa at Le Touquet beach and this place has a unique swimming pool with view on sea and land. Le Touquet is a historical city with beautiful architecture and nice seafood restaurants.

Le Touquet beach

Le Touquet beach – © Sam Geuens

Don’t forget to also spend a day in the impressive aquariums of Nausicaa in Boulogne-sur-Mer when visiting this region. This is a true unique experience for fishes of all colours and sizes, including manta rays.

Nausicaa

Nausicaa – © Sam Geuens

Audresselles

Audresselles – © Sam Geuens

And finally to find some peace and quietness, visit a beach town like Audresselles or drive land inwards to see the white cliffs of Dover from a higher view point.

Cliffs of Dover

Cliffs of Dover – © Sam Geuens

On the way to or when driving out of this enchanting region, we also advise to have a stop at the historical town of Montreuil-sur-Mer.

Montreuil-sur-Mer

Montreuil-sur-Mer – © Sam Geuens

Road trip Luxemburg

The end of May had some sunny days and we were happy to drive around in beautifully green Luxemburg to see some of its castles, rivers and historical towns, like Clervaux, Vianden, Beaufort, Echternach and Luxembourg city.

Clervaux

Château de Clervaux – © Sam Geuens

In Clervaux you can still see, besides the charming and historical town itself, the famous photography expo ‘Family Of Man’ by Edward Steichen (UNESCO heritage). We liked it so much we even bought the book of the expo with hundreds of interesting black and white art photos, showing all stages of a human life in diverse places around the globe.

Vianden

Château de Vianden – © Sam Geuens

We slept in Auberge Victor Hugo in Vianden, which is a perfect and historical place to stay in to visit the surroundings, like going up the hill next to the impressive castle with the ‘télésiège'(cable lift).

Beaufort

Château de Beaufort – © Sam Geuens

In the ruin of the Château de Beaufort, you can even try a locally made cassis drink, but most of all it shows you how living in the middle ages inside a castle must have been. Next to it there is also a beautiful renaissance palace that is still being inhabited by the present owners of the old medieval castle.

Tamino

Tamino Mainsquare Arras 2019 portrait

Tamino Mainsquare Arras 2019 portrait

Tamino Mainsquare Arras 2019

Tamino Mainsquare Arras 2019