Share Your Story contest: Linda & Gordon Winners of Week 14!
Congratulations to Linda and Gordon from Waterman, Illinois for sharing their adventure at Fort L’Ecluse and the places they visited in Saint-Genis-Pouilly.
I have been intrigued by the French culture for 45 years. I remember taking French language lessons for 20 minutes, once a week, in 5th grade. I knew, after the first lesson, I would one day visit France. My dream came true 29 years later, in addition to numerous visits due to my work. I had no idea in 5th grade I would someday be an Engineering Physicist working on the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at CERN.
My favorite place to stay, during my visits to work on CMS, was Saint-Genis-Pouilly, France. The Patisserie Broccard bakery, Carrefour Market grocery store, and Charly’s Pub were a few of my favorite places to visit. My husband accompanied me for a week during one of my trips and our experience at Fort l’Ecluse, in Leaz, France, is the story I want to share.
We decided to take a road trip and found ourselves at Fort L’Ecluse. The structure is quite ominous which, of course, spiked our interest. We were enthralled by the enormous effort is took to build the fort in such difficult terrain. Upon entering we were greeted by the attendants who told us to enjoy our visit. So, off we went to investigate all the nooks and crannies of the fort.
The goal was to get to the highest level of the fort and see what the soldiers, whom once manned their stations, could see from such a lofty post. Little did we know there were 1165 stairs to get to our destination. Every 50 stairs or so there is landing with a window so one can see their progress, and rest. We finally made it to the top to see the Rhone River. After enjoying the view, and catching our breath, it was time to make the descent.
About half way down, we came across a couple on their way up. One could see they were thinking the same thing we were on the way up---are we there yet? As we approached them on the stairs, a friend that joined us on the expedition said loudly, ’Thank goodness we found the elevator up!’ The couple stopped dead in their tracks. Their expression was priceless. We stopped with them and busted out laughing. ’Just kidding’ we said, taking the moment to enjoy the sheer delight of their thankfulness that they hadn’t missed a free ride to the top.
I will forever remember our visit to Fort l’Ecluse, the couple, and our muscles that ached for days. The view was spectacular and I would do it again...just to say half way down, ’Glad we found the elevator!’ to the next couple on their way up.
Linda and Gordon (Waterman, IL)
Linda and Gordon at the Art Institute of Chicago receiving their prizes, two bottles Blanquette de Limoux courtesy of the Languedoc-Roussillon region / Sud de France Développement, from Consul General Vincent Floreani.
• Tourism in France: go to rendezvousenfrance.com