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Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of 
Sketchandtravel.com  and   Bookpleasures.com, is thrilled to have as a guest travel writer and editor  Andrew Sanger.



Andrew has written several hundred -travel articles on a variety of subjects for some very well known U.K publications, as well as several guide- books.

He is also the recipient of many  awards.

 


Good day Andrew and thank you for agreeing to participate in our interview.

 

 

Norm:

 

Andrew, could you tell our readers a little about yourself and why you pursued a career as a travel editor and writer?

 

Andrew:

 

In younger days, I travelled the world doing whatever casual work came to hand, including teaching, farm work and driving a truck. But I always kept a notebook by me, and in it I would write all about the places I was visiting and my experiences there. One day I realised that I could fund my travels by selling articles the very first one was about working on the grape harvest in southern France! They went down well with editors, and I was soon writing for the travel pages of several British newspapers.

 

Norm:

 

I noticed the many  guide books  you have written, among which there were three recent ones pertaining to France:  Provence & Côte d`Azur:   Burgundy & the Rhone Valley:   and  Loire Valley.

If you had to chose 5 unique romantic destinations in each of the three above regions, which ones would you chose and why?

 

Andrew:


 



LOIRE VALLEY

 

v     The Loire Valley is really deliciously romantic, especially in the château country around the city of Tours. In fact, the story of Sleeping Beauty is set here, at the fairytale château of Ussé.

v      Another beauty is Chenonceau, built elegantly right across the river Cher, with wonderful waterside gardens.

v      One of my favourites is the Royal Chateau in the attractive town of Blois, with a great view over the Loire.

v      There are charming little towns, too, like medieval Beaugency, where it`s lovely just to stroll in the narrow streets.

v      Of course, restaurants can be romantic and one wonderful example is the famous establishment of Jean Bardet, a charming and luxurious villa in its own pretty gardens in Tours.


 

BURGUNDY & RHONE VALLEY




 

v     One of the most enticing spots in Burgundy is the little green valley of the river Cousin, winding around the town of Avalon.

v      In contrast, the grand Renaissance streets of the Old Quarter in the city of Lyon are also very evocative.

v      Among the sweetest little places in Burgundy are the villages of the Brionnais district, each with its ancient Romanesque church: one of the prettiest is at Semur-en-Brionnais.

v      In the Beaujolais district, the quiet medieval village of Ternand is a gem.

v      Wherever you are in Burgundy, there`s nothing finer than to choose a traditional small restaurant and sit down to a bottle of the best wine you can afford and a classic local dish.


 

PROVENCE & COTE D`AZUR




 

v     In Provence, you`re spoilt for choice! What about sunset from the high terraces of the medieval village of Eze:

v      An after-dark stroll on the Croisette waterfront in Cannes:

v       A stroll in the lavender fields in the quiet countryside behind Gordes.

v      A uniquely romantic and beautiful place is the hotel on the unspoiled, traffic-free island of Port-Cros, off the Provence coast.

v      And I especially love, too, the dreamlike Edwardian gardens around the coastal resort of Menton, for example the gorgeous Serre del la Madone gardens.

 

 

Norm:

 

As a follow up, when is the best time to visit each of the above regions?

 

Andrew:

 

The best time in all of them is early summer, say early June in the Loire and Burgundy, late May in Provence. Temperatures are perfect and the crowds have not yet arrived.

 

 

Norm:

 

When my artist wife, Lily and I were visiting La Loire a few years ago, we noticed the amazing light, particularly during the early evening hours. Would you care to comment?

 

Andrew:

 

I have often wondered about this exquisite pearly light, bright but soft, that is so distinctive of the Loire. What can be the cause for it? It must be some magical mix of humidity, distance and sunlight. For an artist, I imagine it could present quite a challenge.

 

 

Norm:

 

How easy or difficult is it to travel around France, and how safe is it?

 

Andrew:

 

France is a very easy country to visit. It has an extensive network of wide modern autoroutes (highways), and has just about the most advanced train services in the world. In addition, France has literally thousands of small family-run hotels in both town and country, for example the members of the Logis de France hotel federation. Regarding safety, of course you must take the usual precautions in big cities  there are some rough neighbourhoods in Paris, Lyon and Marseille. But small-town France, and rural France, is very safe indeed.

 

 

Norm:

 

With the strength of the Euro compared to the US and Canadian dollar, how can Americans and Canadians afford to travel to Europe?

 

Andrew:

 

I think the answer must be, that we must all travel within our budget! If necessary, downsize expectations & look out for modest little restaurants where locals go, eat from the excellent fixed-price set menus rather than splashing out on expensive à la carte dishes. Stay in charming small hotels or friendly, family-run guesthouses. One option is self-catering  taking a city apartment for a week or two costs much less than a hotel. Several travel companies specialise in this, and there are plenty of bargains. In any case, I think tightening your belt a little  looking for the authentic, the local, the inexpensive helps you enjoy the very best of the country you are visiting.

 

 

Norm:

 

What does travel mean to you?

 

Andrew:

 

Wow  interesting question! I have made travel my life. I absolutely love the sense of being in movement, and I am intrigued by every place I go, whether some far-away part of the globe, or just across the Channel, or in my own country. It sounds crazy, but I even enjoy the journey when I have to go by bus or by car to another part of London!

 

 

Norm:

 

What travel writers or authors have influenced you?

 

Andrew:

 

I love the light-hearted adventurous spirit and wry, descriptive writing of 19th-century author Robert Louis Stevenson, who travelled in France, America and the South Seas. In more recent times, I greatly admired the guidebook writer Arthur Eperon, who blazed a trail in opening up provincial France.

 

Norm:

 

As a travel writer and author, what is your biggest challenge on the road?

 

Andrew:

 

Research trips have to be very carefully planned so that I don`t spend too much time on basics like finding a meal, locating the sights or finding somewhere to sleep. For that reason, I do a lot of research before I set off, and like to travel with a prepared itinerary.

 

Norm:

 

What is next for Andrew Sanger?

 

Andrew:

 

To date, I`ve written a lot of guidebooks. What I`d like to move into is a more evocative style of travel writing  in fact I`m just now writing about my walking trip through the Cevennes hills, in France, following in the footsteps of Stevenson`s Travels with a Donkey.

 

 

Norm:

 

Would you care to add anything that we have not covered?

 

Andrew:

 

Just to say thanks for having me, Norm.

 

 

Thanks once again Andrew and good luck with all of your future projects.

 

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