We met Sylvain in China and traveled together almost three weeks, his innocence and his easiness conquered us and when he invited us to visit him in countryside France, we actually took his word and made France our first destination in Europe (after a quicky in London). Meet Sylvain
We arrived in Grenoble in the Rhone-Alps province of southern France, where Sylvain recruited his whole family and friends to indulge us with the best hospitality we could ever get.
During three days we've discovered this little-known city, which happens to be the hydroelectric center of France, the world capital of walnuts, home of the legendary Chartreuse liquor, and greenest city in France. But on top of all that is Veronique's Kitchen (Sylvain's mom), where we were delighted with tons of food including Gratin Dauphinoise, tarts, cheeses, dijon deer meat and even a homemade liquor called Genepi prepared in 1979 (Great things were done that year).
We only managed to drop the bags and were taken by Nicolas, Sylvain's ultra-marathon-runner-twin, and Chloè to a wine and cheese event, where farmers from all over the area come to sell their produce, and we, to taste as much as possible.
The next day we were taken by daredevil driver Chloè to explore the Vercors, the mountains around Grenoble, to a fair where Michelin Star chefs cooked Coquilles Saint-Jaques, an ancient cave, amazing gorges and even a Water Museum, where we had different kinds of water degustation.
It was too hard to leave this pampering to get on travel, but Sylvain is always pushing, so there's no choice, because "sleeping is useless".
Money, Success, Fame, Glamour
We took the family car and hit the road heading south, first to see the imposing hill-top Chateau Grignan, where the history of five centuries of ups and downs of French royalty and aristocracy unfold in front of our eyes.
Further south we kept going until, after 14 months, we met the Mediterranean sea again, in Saint-Tropez, Canes, Nice, and Monaco, where all the rich and famous come to park their biggest yachts, show their luxurious cars off, and launder they millions.
For the next days, we drove along windcrossing roads on the Côte de Azure, the French Riviera to Saint-Tropez, Nice, Canes, and Monaco window-shopping, eating delicacies and admiring mansionsamong the 1%. Apparently, life can be good if you have the means.
It didn't take us long to understand that we don't exactly fit among the locals with our big backpacks and worn clothes, so we kept going to the real adventure.