It’s impossible for a writer to go to a picturesque country like France without being inspired. A story. A character or two. Scenes. Everything new sparks the imagination.
So, when I spent two weeks in France September 2017, I couldn’t help but be moved by the stunning scenery and historical architecture. I spent one night in Cannes in the legendary Carlton Hotel always at the center of the famous Cannes Film Festival. Then we spent seven nights on board Avalon Waterways’ boat Affinity cruising up the Rhone and Saone Rivers, ending the memorable trip with five nights in Paris.
I was part of a large group of friends enjoying the river, daily tours and excursions, along with evenings dining on the boat. I called us the Gang of Eighteen. Many of us are or were working in the film business, primarily in Los Angeles. And then there were friends of friends. I loved watching the group dynamics develop among the group as the trip took its course, ending with a memorable night at Moulin Rouge and a river cruise in the heart of Paris.
Of course, my long-time writer/director friend who invited me to join the Gang, Cherry Norris, and I enjoyed many of the same things, moving to a smaller hotel for the last three nights in Paris. The Hotel Le M Paris was a small boutique hotel located away from the tourist areas and gave us a much more authentic view of life in France’s capitol city. I got to see the Louvre and loved Musee D’Orsay.
Some of the towns and cities we visited when Affinity ported along the way to Paris were: Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Vienne, Lyon, and St. Jean De Losne. We had special tours for wine tastings and historic village visits.
I’m certain that some of the remarkable people I met along the way will turn up in future books or scripts.