www.meganjoychapman.com

Author of Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride Series

Goûts de France: Toasting on the TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse)

The TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse)

The TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse)

Fighting jet-lag , I managed to enjoy the 2.5 hour ride from Paris to Avignon on the TGV (train a grande vitesse). We’d booked a Club 4— a booth with reclining seats and fold-down tables. Pretty comfortable and roomy.

While our two friends rested, Chap, my husband and I went up to the second floor lounge to have our first toast in France. The Frenchman behind the counter was a one-man show. He spoke pretty good English and was busy serving up drinks and hot food for the duration of the trip. While Chap ordered us champagne, I grabbed a stool by the window and breathed in the stunning landscapes of the French countryside. It reminded me of Jean Marcs, paintings.

tgv (train a grande vitesse)-Provence landscape window view

Provence Hilltop Painting by Jean Marc

The only thing missing was Vivaldi. Whenever I hear Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, I always picture rolling European hills and bright sweeping landscapes. But the symphony of German and French conversations transpiring around me, along with the steady calming murmur of the train was pretty cool, too. A group of chatty twenty-something Germans were enjoying their cocktails and most likely heading to Provence on holiday. A young French woman had propped her pudgy baby up by the window to keep him entertained. I sat there smiling, teary, and overwhelmed— my lifelong dream of visiting France finally fulfilled.

Chap returned with our champagne. It was hard to believe we were traveling close to 200 mph. As we sped through the Rhone Valley, we caught glimpses of enchanting villas and grand castles. I was afraid to blink and risk missing any of it. It was like racing through an inspiring art exhibit with no time to admire the masterpieces.

tgv (train a grande vitesse)-Provence landscape window view

Provence Poppy Field Painting by Jean Marc

We were a few weeks too early to see the vibrant blooms of lavender fields, but we did spy some rows with hints of purple on the brink of maturity. Red poppies were abundant and looked like French knots embroidered over lush green meadows. Manicured vineyards created rows and shapes that added to the spectacular patchwork.

tgv (train a grande vitesse)-Provence landscape window view

French Countryside

Toasting on the TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse)

French Countryside and the American Dream
Chap and I weren’t taking our trip to France lightly. It was our Ebenezer Stone, a celebration of all that God has done for us throughout our twenty-year journey together. As we sat on the train gazing out the window, we recalled how far we’d come—from grassroots, working two or three jobs at $6/hour to living the American Dream—minus the 2.5 kids of course, but we’re still working on that one.

We struggled from being young and poor together, suffered through annoying health battles, grieved deaths of loved ones, and almost lost our home. Our ride hasn’t been easy. But only by the grace of God and a lot of hard work (in the worst economy of our lifetime) we own a home in Hawaii, have built a successful construction business, published my book, and conquered my dream of going to France.

So Chap and I received our first-time trip to France for what it was—a timely gift and fresh beginning. Clinking our glasses with a triumphant à votre santé! we raised our Ebenezer Stone and toasted to all God has done for us and has yet to do.

What are you toasting today? How about raising your own Ebenezer Stone and celebrating with my Champagne Aperitif and Cured Olive Tapenade?

Samuel took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer—”the stone of help”—for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us! —1 Samuel 7:12, NLT

Read this story from the beginning

Goût de France: Thanks, Mom!

Related Links

How I Scored a Free Dinner and a Castle in France

Champagne Aperitif and Cured Olive Tapenade

Click here to check out Megan’s educational adventure book for kids ages 8-12!

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