Nothing’s More Beautiful Than The French Countryside On A Spring Day–Quickflight

by bria4123 on March 9, 2012

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I took a day trip north from Paris to Laon to see its magnificent cathedral. It lived up to its billing, but the countryside made an equally great impression on me.

The train station stands at the bottom of a steep hill that Laon stretches over in an S-curve. From the other side of the town, I descended a stairway, and found myself in a little valley that represented France’s land and culture as well as any other place I’ve seen.

The sun had come out, and everything shined. Layers of trees rose up to the town’s homes that crowned the hill.

A more gently sloping hill rose on my other side. The shades of green that spread in both directions, over the fields and up through the layers of trees, were as numerous as Southeast Asia’s. But they were clearer, and the sun wasn’t blazing. The mixtures of hues weren’t dense and seemingly animated with nature’s powers. They blended with open spaces, the country road, and homes from a place that had been settled since pre-Roman times. Nature and civilization were so well balanced that I couldn’t imagine a prettier place on Earth.

French people love their land. It’s not as chilly and misty as England and the Low Countries. It doesn’t bake as much as Italy does. It’s balanced.

The 16th century poet Pierre de Ronsard described beauty like this in his Loire Valley. The Renaissance had come to France, and she was opening her horizons beyond her Gothic past. Ronsard lovingly described a world of flowers, meadows and hills as glorious as the old stained glass windows.

But to be fair, Laon Cathedral is every bit as glorious. My trip to Laon immersed me in both worlds on the same day. France’s countryside and its cultures will take you through an endless mixture of persepctives.

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