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Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Architectural Travel, Cultural Exploration, Destinations, France | 7 comments

Rolling On The Rhone River With Viking Cruises

Rolling On The Rhone River With Viking Cruises

September of this year saw me fulfilling a long-standing dream of taking a European River Cruise. From Provence in the south to Lyon in the  northern Rhone region of France, I spent seven days on board the Viking longship Buri. During the week long cruise, we stopped at six ports along the Rhone River. Each port was a mini history and culture lesson. Often the food and wine of a particular area was a special treat at dinner, as when we arrived in Tournon Sur Rhone, where just across the river are the famous Hermitage AOC Vineyards. That evening, we drank a local Syrah.  Food, wine, art, and architecture – all the things I love about Europe – were part of the cruise experience, which Viking does so well. This was my first time in France, and I was not disappointed. Many of my readers know that I’m a big Italophile, but this year I went to France instead of Italy. Who knew that France has almost as many...

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Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Cultural Exploration, Destinations, France, Wine Travel | 4 comments

A Consumer’s Guide: The Wines of Alsace, France

A Consumer’s Guide: The Wines of Alsace, France

One of the things I love about wine is that every bottle is a multifaceted story. I’ve learned more geography, geology and history than I ever learned in school, since I began my course of Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) study, and  pouring wine for tastings. Imagine an area defined by the Vosges Mountains in the west, and the Rhine River in the east. Undulating terrain unlike any other place in France lies between, blanketed in vineyards. Geographically situated at the crossroads of Roman and German influences, the landscape of Alsace is a charming mix of cultures and architectural styles, rolling hills, plains, and farms. I didn’t know at the time that I was already in love with Alsace and its wines. The floral and stone- fruit aromas simply make me happy. Once I started doing some research on the area it was easy to see why —Alsace is beautiful! The Romans knew a good thing when they saw it and were growing wine grapes there in the...

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Posted by on Dec 7, 2015 in Food and Drink, France | 25 comments

Champagne: The Ultimate Party Beverage

Champagne: The Ultimate Party Beverage

It’s the holiday season – everyone’s favorite time to celebrate with friends and family. Since no celebration is complete without bubbles, I’ve updated this list for my readers with a few new suggestions. As I did last year, I’ve kept my recommendations under the $100.00 mark. Champagne is a lovely way to start a holiday party rolling, and also makes a great gift. Thanks again to Pogo’s Wine and Spirits in Dallas, Texas for hosting their annual Champagne tasting.   Ruinart – Blanc de Blancs – made from 100% chardonnay grapes harvested from premier crus in the Cotes de Blanc and Montagne de Rheims. A great deal at about $65.00 dollars a bottle. Last year I recommended the Ruinart Rose’. Read on down the page for details.   Roger Coulon Reserve de L’ Homme – the lovely bubbly is 33% chardonnay, 33% pinot noir and 33% pinot meniur. Very fine bubbles and an intense minerality both on the nose and palate, it elegantly expresses the essence of the terroir....

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Posted by on Jan 15, 2014 in Destinations, France | 6 comments

Skiing In The French Alps

Skiing In The French Alps

If a family ski holiday is on the agenda, why not consider skiing in the French Alps? The Alps, located along the French – Italian border, have a very well established and deserved reputation for some of the best snow skiing anywhere in the world. The Alps is a vast mountain range with the famous Mount Blanc – the highest peak in the Alps and reaching up to 15,700 feet (or almost 5,000 meters). France has the largest number of well-known resorts in the Alps, and all offer a wide variety of trails and activities, from beginners to experts. With a wide range of housing options for large and small groups and breathtaking scenery, quality family ski holidays in the alps are  more affordable and convenient than you might think. Savoy, in southeastern France, is the region best known for its outdoor activities and mega ski resorts. You only need to decide what you want from your ski holiday: do you like to be where all the action is,...

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Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in Architectural Travel, Churches, France | 13 comments

Going Off the Beaten Path in Normandy

Going Off the Beaten Path in Normandy

There is a reason Normandy is one of the top destinations in France, actually more than one. Some say Normandy is the birthplace of impressionism. And sadly the region also has a tumultuous past, having been invaded by the Romans, the Vikings, the English, and much later by the Germans, then the allied forces during the second World War. All this world-changing history results in some well known sights that have become very popular tourist attractions. For lovers of art and architecture, here, as with all other regions of France, it is still possible to go off the beaten track and find some real gems tucked away in small villages. One of these is the Saint Peter and Saint Paul church in the town of Aumale. Today the town might not look like much, but in its day it was thought of as the la Porte de Normandie. This Renaissance church with traces of Gothic flamboyance, is one of the signs of the town’s former glory. The church we...

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