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Hidden castle near Azay le Rideau

Chateau de l'Islette near Azay le Rideau in the Loire Valley
You have probably not heard of Chateau de l'Islette which is one of the so many chateaus of the Loire Valley...That's a pity! Like its neighbor : Azay-Le-Rideau, it really deserves a visit! Why? Bec ause you can visit a castle that is still inhabited by its owners (which becomes more and more unusual) You will relax in deck chairs all around a gorgeous park...as if you were "at home" Becau se the sculptors Camille Claudel & Rodin spent a romantic summer in 1890 in thoses walls Last but not least, you won't be bothered by the crowds and you will really be able to enjoy the place: inside...

Le Sancerrois: cheese & wines…What else?

Sancerre famous wines
We have explored last week-end, le Sancerrois at the East end of the Loire Valley. This region is mostly famous for the vineyards of Sancerre where, since the Kings of France, the make one of the best white wine in France. They also make red wines, less famous, maybe not worth the detour. They might remind you of the Burgundy white wine…Beaune is only 130 miles east. Sancerre is a little town, perched on a rolling hill…which is kind of unusual in this area which is quite flat (mostly cultivated with cereals). The vineyards are on the hillsides, perfectly exposed to the sun. We let the expert...

Colorful Provence - February 2014

Provence - February 2014 trip
I have been on the roads in Provence last week and I'd like to share some colorful pictures with you The Alpilles mountains in Souther Provence The Town of Eygalières Blossoming cherry trees...winter hasn't started yet ! Saint Remy de Provence Provence vineyards Les Baux de Provence perched village There's more to come ! Emilie

How to make delicious Paté?

Charcuterie
This is a recipe that is passed from generations to generations in Emilie's family. Pauline, our 6-month-daugther already learns how to make good pate. The pork paté is the best of all, the tastiest and the easier to prepare (compared to other types of meats that are more difficult to bone. To make about 15 preserving jars, like on the picture, you’ll need about 5 kilos of meat (11lb). - 3 kilos (7lbs) of mixed pork meat: pork belly and throat (greasy) - 2 kilos (4lbs) of pork/poultry liver - 2 onions, 1 shallot, 2 garlic cloves, a lot of parsley - 1 small glass of brandy, 1 small glass of...

Dinan, a typical Breton town near Mount Saint Michel

Downtown Dinan
For those who stay in Mount Saint Michel area for little longer than a single night, there is a lot to discover around...especially if you want to get a feel for Brittany ! To see the granit stone houses or the trails along the ocean (Sentier des Douaniers), no need to go as far as Brest at the tip of Brittany peninsula...There are several places that we have included in a day itinerary from Mount Saint Michel accommodation. Dinan is one of them. See Dinan on a general map. Dinan is without doubt one of the most attractive and best restored small cities in Brittany. With its 1.8 mile-long...

Vaux le Vicomte castle during Christmas time

Vaux-le-Vicomte castle
Vaux Le Vicomte castle is certainly not as famous as Versailles…however it deserves a visit as much as Versailles does. This is one of the most magnificent chateaus in France. Located about 40 miles away from Paris (on your way to Burgundy), the whole estate reaches nearly 500 hectares. It was built by Nicolas Fouquet, Superintendent of Finances under young King Louis 14th. A 17th century masterpiece, Vaux le Vicomte was the backdrop to many major historical events and witnessed the tragic eviction of its creator, Nicolas Fouquet, who was imprisoned following an extraordinary trial about...

Tripes à la mode de Caen in Bayeux, Normandie

Because Bayeux and Normandy are not only the place where D-Day happened on June 6th, 1944 ; we have been back to Normandy looking for new sightseeing, activities and nice restaurants for our travelers ! Norman gastronomy is varied: from the seafood platter on the seaside to the Poulet Vallée d'Auge (chicken with cider sauce) in the interland. One of the most famous dishes remains the Tripes à la mode de Caen...that you can find in all Calvados region. I love the tripes even if I know what they are made of...Do YOU know what tripes are made of? You're sure you want to know? The tripes are...

VitiLoire - Loire Wines Festival

Do you know that there are 70 different AOC (Protected Appellation of Origin) for Loire Valley wines? From the fruity reds to the sweet whites…From Anjou region to Chinon red wines or Vouvray sparkling white wines…Why don’t you come in the Loire Valley for the VitiLoire event? Each year, VitiLoire festival gathers about 30,000 wines lovers and 130 wine makers. Whether you are a wine expert or just an “amateur”, you will have a great time in a very convivial ambiance. The program is simple: meet with wine makers and taste some wine! You’ll also have the opportunity to savor the “gastronomie...

Samatan: first "foie gras" market of the season

Ducks in Dordogne
Last Sunday was the opening day for the Foie Gras market in Gers (near Toulouse), in the little town of Samatan. You wouldn't find there Foies Gras ready to eat but "Canards Gras" (fat duck) to prepare "Confits" and "Magrets" (Duck Breast) and fat livers to prepare the Foie Gras for Christmas! The average price for fresh livers was 30 euros/kg. When processed Foie Gras average price is 90 euros/kg…This is worth making your own Foie Gras ! The same way Americans start looking for the perfect Turkey for Thanksgiving in advance…the French people conduct several investigations to find out the...

Edith Piaf : part of the French heritage

Edith Piaf
Edith Piaf died 50 years ago (on October 10th, 1963) and she remains in people's heart as one of the most romantic singers in the world. Known as “The Little Sparrow,” this singer became an icon of France during World War II. Piaf was born in Paris on December 19, 1915, and rose to international stardom in the 1940s as a symbol of French passion and tenacity. Of Piaf’s many ballads, “La Vie en Rose” is remembered as her signature song. When traveling to Paris, you should definitly have her song called "Sous le Ciel de Paris" in mind. This is the music, with English subtitles to refresh your...

Were King Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany really in love?

The family in the castle of Langeais
Being in love to get married is a quite "new" consideration...in the past, in France, love was not really a matter when it came to get married... On December 6th 1491, the château of Langeais (our home-town…we actually live in the street called Anne de Bretagne) was the scene of the dawn wedding between Charles VIII and Duchess Anne of Brittany . The 14-year-old Duchess Anne, not happy with the arranged marriage, arrived for her wedding with her entourage carrying two beds! This union put an end to the war between France and Anne’s Brittany independent duchy and started to incorporate...

We have tested...the River Cruising

River Cruising in the Mayenne River
Even if the Canal du Midi (near Toulouse) is the most famous river cruise in France, there are many more options to relax on a barge (called péniche) in one of the French rivers. There are 113 nautical bases for river cruising, covering about 5,000 miles of waterway. Most of them are located in the Eastern part of France. The South West is also very nice with the Lot or the Canal du Midi. We have tested for you the navigation on the Mayenne river, located near Angers in the Loire Valley. This type of tourism is for travelers who want to go slow and enjoy life ; maybe around a glass of rosé...

Do you speak tourist?

Do you speak tourist ? Finally a great initiative to improve the quality of the welcome of more than 33 million tourists in Paris area every year. Paris Chamber of Commerce is taking the lead to carry a great campaign to the taxi drivers, hotels, restaurants and storekeepers in the capital of France for them to improve their quality of service to the foreign travelers. This is really true that French people, especially in Paris, have a lot of efforts to make in improving their English skills and understanding the needs of foreign travelers. This website: www.doyouspeaktouriste.fr (which is...

Printemps de Bourges festival

Each year, the Spring Music Festival in Bourges (Center of France) has become a major event not only in France but throughout the rest of Europe, too. The festivities explode from midday to dawn in ten concert halls. The 60 or so concerts present over 200 artists. They are all in the vicinity of the town centre, with its stalls, bars, restaurants, attractions and three free outdoor stages where groups perform all day long. During the Festival, the whole town of Bourges gets crazy days and nights. The ever-growing public is composed essentially of young people (91% are under 35), and over 200...

Easter gastronomy traditions in France

Chocolate eggs and rabbits…Easter lamb…where do all these traditions come from? Easter week-end is behind us, and like every year we have spent half of our time seated at the family table….eating! Why do the bells ring on Easter Sunday ? French children would answer you: to announce the opening of the eggs' hunting. This is true, but there is a second reason coming from Christianity: since the Holy Thursday (last meal of the Christ) the bells of the French churches remain silent as a period of mourning. In France, we tell the children...

Article in the French Tourism Magazine

Emilie and Guillaume around the world
Last week, there were 2 pages dedicated to France Just For You in the N°1 professional magazine in France. They chose our company to show a new way to discover France away from the beaten tracks, with the advantage of really meeting with French people. Just to tell you about each part of this article: Th e project: We are a family tour operating company that organized itineraries for individuals (no groups). We have adapted the selection of our B&Bs to the expectations of Anglo-Saxon travelers (bed size, etc) Our "Credo" belief: Show the real France to foreign travelers, in a warm...

Snow in the Loire Valley

Langeais castle in January
These days, it has been snowing in northern France, in Paris and in the Loire Valley! We normally only get 2 or 3 days of snow in the Loire Valley during the whole winter - not much compared to the Alps! This is a picture of our lovely town of Langeais in the snow. It's beautiful, but slightly on the cold side! When is the best time of year to visit the Loire Valley? The best time to visit the Loire Valley is in the late spring (April/May), summer and fall. In the spring, the gardens in France come out in full bloom, and it's an especially nice time to...

Delicious Mustard Soup

For 4 persons Ingredients: - a pound of fresh mushrooms - 1 leek - 1 onion - 1 liter of vegetables stock - 10 cl of dry white wine - 3 soup spoons of mustard - 1 soup spoon of flour - 1 soup spoon of butter - Tarragon (fresh or dried) Cook in high heat the leek, onion and muchrooms cut into pieces, for about 10 minutes. Keep mixing and add the flour, the wine, the stock, the mustard and the tarragon. Add salt and pepper and cook it gently for about 30 minutes. This is a perfect soup to keep warm in this season !

Mont Saint Michel Bay away from the crowd?

Mont Saint Michel Bay with a private guide
The answer is YES ! We are just coming back from an exploratory trip in this area. Always looking for new attractions and nice B&Bs. If you like being on the seaside and walking on the beach, we’ve found the perfect guide for you to discover Mont Saint Michel. Our English speaking guide, specialized in the wilderness, was born there and knows every grain of sand in the Bay. He’ll explain you everything from the site’s history, this unique natural place to the thousands of birds you can watch there. Most of the time, you’ll walk barefoot, so you’ll avoid the so mythical quicksand. As we...

Red Kuri Squash baked in the oven

Red Kuri Squash is Potimarron in French
This is a delicious and very easy recipe for two people to share. Ingredients: - a small red kuri squash - 5 to 7 table spoons of sour cream - bacon strips (200 gramms) - some grated cheese 1. Cut the bottom of the squash so it remains stable in the serving dish. Then cut the top of the squash and take out the seeds 2. Fill it with the bacon strips and the sour cream up to the top. Add some pepper and put back the top of the squash. 3. Cook it in the oven for an hour at 200°C (about 400°F) 4. Take out the top of the squash and add the grated cheese. Put under the grill until it is melted. 5...

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