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Safe travels with France Just For You

The global pandemic has been a trying time for everyone. And those of us who love to travel have all asked ourselves when will it be safe to begin enjoying travel in France again. When this is possible, self-drive adventures planned by France Just For You offer many aspects that will keep you safe while you savor all that France has to offer. Your trip is uniquely crafted around you and your preferences We do not plan trips for groups, thus you will never find yourself moving about with a herd of other visitors. France Just For You...

The Galette des Rois to celebrate Epiphany

Galette des Rois
The Galette des Rois is made to celebrate the Epiphany, the arrival of the Magi to visit the baby Jesus, on January 6th. The Brioche des Rois is more traditional in southern France, while the Galette is the king in northern France. INGREDIENTS: [Serves 8 people] For the pastry cream: 2 eggs ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup flour 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla For the almond cream: 3 egg yolks 1-1/4 cup ground almonds 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup softened butter A splash of rum (optional) 2 store-brought crusts, or you can make your own "pâte feuilletée" 1 yolk for brushing the crust before baking...

21 Reasons to Visit France in 2021

lavender fields in provence
As 2021 begins, international travel is not yet possible. But we do know that this situation isn't forever. With the vaccine campaigns started across the globe, we're hopeful that it won't be too long before people feel confident and safe enough to travel again in the near future. And when that time comes, France is the place to be. As if you need any convincing, here are 21 reasons to visit France in 2021: 1. THE BEAUTY OF THE LANGUAGE It may have been a while since you learned French, but just hearing it is enough to get the memory flowing. The language of love, of art and literature, of...

Be bedazzled by the magic of "les Lumières"

Atelier des lumieres in Paris
Art comes alive, exploding in color and movement at the immersive Carrières de Lumières in les Baux-de-Provence and at the Atelier des Lumières in Paris. And in 2021, the experience will be very rich, as the two themes are: Gaudi, the Architect of the Imaginary Dali, the Endless Enigma Music accompanies you as you dive into the universe of these artists. Projections on the walls and floors make you feel as you are swimming in the different works by Dali and Gaudi. Atelier des Lumieres © Culturespaces / Nuit de Chine Both venues are great,...

How we celebrate Christmas in France

Christmas in France
If you would like to know more about how Christmas is normally celebrated in France, we have put together this Q&A with Emilie Thyebaut, Founder of France Just For You. If there's anything we haven't answered, please contact us with your question! Which day does France just for you normally celebrate Christmas? The Thyebaut family normally celebrates with one side of the family on the 25th, and then with the other side of the family on another day. In terms of exchanging gifts, some families in the north of France do this on 6th December (St Nicholas’ Day), many on...

Chocolate Orange Dessert - an original home recipe

Chocolate orange French dessert recipe
At home, France Just For You Founder, Emilie Thyebaut, her husband Guillaume and their girls Jeanne and Pauline love to cook and bake. Pauline invented this recipe herself! The girls love to watch a TV show called "The Best Amateur Pastry-Maker" and they get lots of ideas from there. They had their grandmother take them to a pastry-making shop called Zodio, and bought some special molds and other things they would need for this recipe. Instructions For about 10 small molds (the size of a small (French-sized) muffin mold). Make a chocolate mousse You will need: - 3...

Chanel exhibition: an icon of French Fashion

Chanel store
At the time of writing, the City of Paris Fashion Museum , also known as the Palais Galliera , has just finished extension work. It has re-opened with a new exhibition on the life and work of one of the world’s most renowned and remarkable fashion designers: Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971). Chanel Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2011-2012, Fashion Show at the Grand Palais in Paris (Photo: Haute Couture News, CC-BY SA 3.0 ) In this post, we look at her rise to fame and fortune, and suggest how you can explore and emulate Chanel by...

8 of the best French cheeses

French cheese
In this post, we explore one of France’s pride gourmet foods - cheese! We have listed some of our favorites, along with the regions they come from and some delicious pairings. But first, here is an amusing anecdote from our Senior Trip Planner Laura’s mother, Judy, about a cheesy faux-pas in a French restaurant while she was visiting France: My husband and I were on a driving tour of France on one of our first trips to Europe. One evening we had dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. The meal was wonderful and went perfectly until the end. The waiter arrived...

Cheese Soufflé recipe

Cheese souffle recipe
The idea of making soufflé can cause terror in the hearts of some cooks. But this recipe has proved fail proof the numerous times I have made it, and it always receives an impressed “Ahhhh!!” when served. Ingredients: [Serves 6 people] ¼ cup butter, plus some additional butter to grease the ramekin(s) 1 cup grated cheese – I recommend Comté but you could use any gratable cheese 1/3 cup flour 1 cup milk 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper A little bit of freshly grated nutmeg (or you could use some paprika if you prefer) 4 egg whites Instructions...

Ragout des Vendangeurs - 'Grape Picker's Stew'

Stew in pot
In October, to mark the grape harvest season, our recipe of the month is 'Grape-Picker's Stew' - wholesome enough to keep the grape-pickers' energy levels up through the harvest! Ingredients 8 slices of streaky smoked bacon 8 large sausages (we recommend Toulouse, beef or venison) 4 onions cut up into large chunks 200g of dry green lentils (Puy) 2-4 garlic cloves 300 ml of beef stock 150 ml of red wine Fresh thyme Instructions Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the bacon until it's crispy over a medium heat. Remove the bacon, then add the sausages, browning them all over. Then...

The Camargue: A world of its own in Southern France

Flamingos in the Camargue France
By Kaya Lemaire When I was 18, I didn’t know anything about France beyond the Eiffel Tower and baguette with brie. I wouldn’t have dreamed of travelling to the South, because I thought that the quintessential French experience lay in the streets of Paris. What I didn’t realize is that France is a mosaic of cultural nuances, landscapes, wildlife, and cuisine. In fact, lying nestled in between Montpellier and Marseille is one of the country's truly unique regions. A road trip to a magical place in the South of France Was I in for a surprise when we found ourselves hurtling...

Visit our favorite markets in Provence

Farmers market in Aix en Provence
At the time of writing, we’re in the midst of the grape harvest! Farmers markets all over France are bustling all year round as locals continue to prefer fresh produce over the grocery store chains. And this is even more true during the fall harvest season, with its abondance of new winter vegetables. In this post, we spend a week exploring markets in Provence in southern France. As well as farmers’ markets, we’re including antiques, handicrafts, textiles and other markets that are wonderful for buying authentic French souvenirs . So make sure you keep this list handy the...

Piperade recipe (a delicious condiment)

Piperade Basque recipe
Piperade basque is a sort of condiment made from peppers, tomatoes and, of course, pepper from Espelette. I love making Piperade because it is quick and easy, and very tasty. It is good on chicken, steak, shrimp, but for a veggie meal, I like to mix it into an omlette for a full meal. The Basque region is known for making cider, as opposed to wine. And as Mother Nature knows best, cider pairs very nicely with Piperade. Piperade (Arnaud 25 CC BY-SA 4.0 ) Ingredients 1 green and 1 red pepper, cut into strips 4 tomatoes without skins (or a can of crushed tomatoes) 1 onion 1 garlic clove 1...

Gougères Recipe (French cheese puffs)

Gougeres Recipe
This gougères recipe comes from France Just For You's Senior Trip Planner, Laura. This is one of my favorite recipes. I discovered gougères when meeting my future family-in-law for the first time. They are “Bourguignon” (from Burgundy), as are gougères . While traveling in Burgundy, you may be served gougères during a wine tasting. But don’t wait until then, these are not complicated to make and I guarantee they will be a success. I like to serve them before dinner, with a glass of Chablis, also from Burgundy. This recipe makes about 40 ...

The Best Things to Do in Biarritz, France

Best things to do in Biarritz, Basque Country, France
Biarritz is part of the Basque Country and lies on the Atlantic coast in the southwest of France, not far from the Spanish border. It was once a small whaling town on the Atlantic coast. Then Napoleon III ’s wife, the Empress Eugénie de Montijo, discovered it in the 1850s and ordered the construction of a luxurious vacation home on the sand dunes. This later became the luxury Hôtel du Palais. And thus Biarritz became one of the preferred holiday destinations for the French nobility. Nowadays it still has its glamor, but also has a hippy surfer vibe, and it'...

Tomato Tarte Tatin recipe

Tomato tarte tatin
We finally have some tomatoes ripening in our garden and this Tomato Tarte Tatin is one of my favorite things to make for a light summer meal. Unfortunately, there was not quite enough tomatoes ready in the garden, so I had to add some from the market. Emptied tomatoes (Photo© France Just For You) This recipe feeds about 8 people. I like to serve it with a simple green salad with garlic croutons and a crisp and cold white wine from the Mâcon area. Ingredients: 12 medium sized tomatoes, cut into halves and emptied 5 tablespoons of tapenade, preferably made from black olives, but green will...

Our Post-Quarantine Road Trip Through Provence

Pont du Gard on our road trip through Provence
One of the reasons we're able to offer unique experiences and visits to hidden gems as part of our self-drive tours is because we’re often on the road researching and looking for ways to continually improve our tours. After eight weeks under lockdown during the pandemic, we were of course itching to get back out on the road again. Of course, we never tire of exploring our beautiful country. But we also wanted to check how the pandemic had affected travel in France, our favorite sites to send travelers to, and our partners at the Bed & Breakfasts we work with. So we decided to take a road...

Aïoli sauce recipe

Aioli sauce
This delicious, garlicky sauce is a specialty from Provence. It goes very well with summer vegetables, salted cod fish, crispy bread and croutons, snails, mussels, potatoes, and eggs. We hope you enjoy this very quick and simple recipe! Ingredients 1 garlic clove 2 egg yolks 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1⁄2 cup olive oil 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil 2 pinches of salt Instructions Cut off the ends of the garlic clove, peel it, and put it through a garlic press. Put the garlic in a pestle and mortar, add the salt and grind it until you have a paste. In a glass/ceramic mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, the...

Exploring Le Marais district in Paris

Place Sainte Catherine in Le Marais, Paris
Many of our travelers want to spend a few days in Paris during their self-guided tour of France . In Paris, we work with a charming family-run boutique hotel in the fashionable yet quaint Marais district in the 4th arrondissement. TIP: There are a lot of different metro stations around Le Marais district. Decide which place you would like to visit first, and then see which stations are near. Also check which metro line will be most convenient from where you’re starting. Le Marais - our favorite district in Paris, full of charm and antiquity A cafe in Le Marais in Paris (Photo© Borya CC...

Is it safe to travel to France in 2020? [Covid-19 update July 2020]

lavender fields in the luberon, provence
We understand that travelers will be worried about the risks of traveling while the coronavirus pandemic continues across the globe. We will update this post with the latest information about France regarding travel, safety measures and the benefits of traveling in late 2020 and 2021. In June 2020, after lockdown had ended, we hit the road and left our home in the Loire Valley to visit some of our favorite parts of France. We felt very safe at every attraction, B&B and restaurant we visited. People are still being careful about observing the social distancing rules. And apart from seeing...

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