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Part 1: Our Man from the Roannais in London! by Brian Franklin

April has been a remarkable month for us.

Sunshine, travels and wonderful discoveries, good food and drink, and all part of an exceptional visit to England, accompanied by a very good French friend from the Roannais –  Jean-Marc Dublé.

Jean-Marc is a most congenial fellow – bon vivant, creative intellectual, and painter, and with an open-mindedness to all things international, including British!

This is primarily a pictorial log of our journey through some of the most beautiful and interesting parts of England. A special voyage of discovery for both Jean-Marc and ourselves through  parts of England which can certainly be regarded as being quintessentially English – a real treat!

We started our sojourn in London with a 2 night stay in the heart of the City.

After a long, warm, sunny walk through the iconic streets of the city, and catching numerous taxis to various points of interest.

From the historic Saint Catherine’s Dock over the famous Tower Bridge for some great views of the River Thames.

The marvellous Saint Paul’s Cathedral, designed by genius architect,  Christopher Wren, was still an amazng sight, and its interior always a stunning experience.

We then headed to the southside of the Thames via the famous Millenium Bridge and to the new Globe Theatre for a bit of Shakespearian history.

After an informative lecture tour by one of the Globes resident actors we needed some good London sustenance  – a superb traditional English lunch at the Swan Inn, part of the Globe theatre complex, and with beautiful views over the Thames – an excellent restaurant location, and particularly high quality cuisine.

We then visited the Tate Modern which is very conveniently placed next door. An ideal opportunity to satisfy our artistic taste buds, especially Jean-Marc’s.

Tate Modern is just a stunning edifice of a building, and an absolutely ideal, colossal space for showing off amazing, large-scale contemporary art with startling panache and impact.

A perfect use of an old power station!

Mesmerised by all the art we left Tate Modern and its thought-provoking images to more tranquil and less intellectual territory. and gradually meandered our way back to our city hotel ready for our special early Sunday morning excursion to the Royal Academy of Arts  where there was a special Van Gogh exhibition covering his art and letters.

Simply mind-blowing, and quite emotional. Definitely one of the best experiences of the week-end.

We spent almost 3 hours at the exhibition, and then went off to Covent Garden for a spot of lunch at ‘Tuttons’.

After the ‘buzz’ of Covent Garden another type of ‘buzz’ was experienced as we all had a flight on the huge London Eye with spectacular views of the city. Jean-Marc’s vertigo was under control, so he enjoyed the ride tremendously. Great Fun!!

Our magical London visit, however, did not end there, and like all good tourists we also ‘did’ Buckingham Palace and visited the Queen!! A sunny stroll through the Palace gardens past Horse Guards Parade to the symbolic Trafalgar Square, just to remind Jean-Marc of the battle won over the French by our great Admiral of the Seas – Lord Nelson!!

Back to our City-based hotel to rest our somewhat weary legs for a short relax and some cool refreshment. In the evening we jumped into a taxi to Jamie Oliver’s ‘Fifteen’ restaurant where we had an absolutely delightful evening of exceptional food, and very attentive and charming service.

Definitely to be recommended.

Take a look at their website: Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Restaurant, London

To be fair we had done so much in such a short 2-day period it felt like a week! Jean- Marc was very happy!

Tate Modern, London

The Royal Academy of Arts, London

Covent Garden, London

The London Eye

Part 2 of  “Our Man from the Roannais” series will follow shortly, amongst the famous towers and spires of Oxford, including a visit to the Wye Valley, and the Cotswolds.