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Newly restored Gardens at Chambord Castle

The new Gardens in Chambord Castle, Loire Valley
Chambord Castle is located in the Loire Valley and has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1981, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. On March 20th 2017, the newly restored French gardens will open to the public for the first time. This exciting new addition to the castle grounds was based on original drawings and years of architectural and archeological research. The gardens occupy six and a half hectares on the north side of the castle, and there are more than 600 trees, 800 shrubs, 200 rosebushes and 15,250 plants along the border. This is the largest garden project...

Paris to Giverny: Monet’s Art to his Garden

Flowers reflecting in the waters in Monet s garden in Giverny
Cl aude Monet and Impressionism Claude Monet was one of the most famous and accomplished French artists of all time. In this article, we focus on two beautiful locations in France, Paris and Giverny in Normandy, where Monet spent most of his life. Many visitors to Paris will seek out Monet’s masterpieces as they tour some of the city’s beautiful art museums, without realizing that Monet’s gardens, arguably his greatest source of inspiration, are located just an hour outside of Paris in Giverny, Normandy. For this reason, we recommend a...

Nougat Glacé Dessert Recipe

Nougat Glacé
ingredients for 8 to 10 servings - 100 grams for nougatine (we don't make it, we buy it at the bakery - boulangerie - then crash it in small pieces) - 150 grams for candied fruits - 4 egg whites - 50 grams sugar - 75 grams of honey - 50 centiliter of liquid cream (crème fraiche) to make a home made whipped cream Prepare the whipped cream and put it on the fridge. Heat at medium level, the honey + sugar for about 5 minutes. Whip the egg-whites to a light mousse, then add slowly the mix of honey and sugar - then whip rapidely. In a bowl, mix the egg whites and the nougatine, candied fruits +...

Holiday Rentals in Ile de Ré

Ile de Ré rental with Swimming Pool
As we do not have the Ile de Ré in our scope, we rely on our friend Laurent – who is specialized in this beautiful region - to advise our travelers. It you plan to spend your next summer holiday on the island of Re, we strongly advise you to book your holiday rental as soon as possible, especially if you look for a villa with swimming pool in Ile de re . On the site My Home In, sixty villas with swimming pool are available for rent throughout the year. Considering the demand during the summer months, this is in fact very little considering the number of tourists looking for a quality holiday...

How to make the Best French Macaroons ?

French Macaroons
Contrary to the American Macaroons made of coconut…the French Macaroons are made of almonds. This pastry which is worldwide famous originates from North African and Middle Eastern countries – where traditionally pastries are made with almonds. In France, several cities claim to be the “city of Macaron”. One of the most famous is Montmorillon on the way between the Loire Valley and Bordeaux . What makes French macaroons so special is the crunchy of the meringue opposed to the creamy of the ganache filling…But it is quite difficult to get this perfect balance. These are some advice from...

The rejuvenated Eiffel Tower

The First Floor of the Eiffel Tower
A new thrilling glass floor at the first level of the Iron Lady Since yesterday (Monday October 6th), the Eiffel Tower – Paris’ most visited tourist site – unveiled its renovated First Floor allowing visitors to look down through a solid glass floor. To increase the frisson of walking on air still further, the glass safety barriers have been inclined outwards. Previously the first floor was the least visited part of the tower and this new floor should attract more people. The €30-million ($37.5-million) refit - which took two years - includes shops, restaurants and a museum...

Feuilletés au Fromage et aux Echalottes

Provence Almonds
I’d like to share with you a very easy recipe I prepared all summer to accompany the « apéritif ». You might already know that for French people l’apéritif – also called l’apéro – is a very important time of the day…moreover during vacation time. It takes place between 6pm and 8 to 9pm and we usually drink either some wine, beers, local alcohol like Pastis in Southern France or homemade mixtures (such as the Walnut Wine or the Orange Wine). But what we eat while having the “apéro” is also very important to us. On special occasion (if you have guests) some biscuits and few...

Romantic Getaways in Normandy

Romantic stroll along the Aure river in Bayeux, Normandy
Northern Normandy is not really well known by foreign travelers who come for a tour of France. When travelers mention Normandy , they usually have in mind the WWII D Day landing sites in Calvados or Mont Saint Michel . But there is so much more to see in this region! Upper and Lower Normandy The map below shows the border between Upper and Lower Normandy, which is near Honfleur . The WWII beaches are mostly in Lower Normandy, as well as the lovely port town of Honfleur and the famous islet of Mont Saint Michel. You may...

Why Cheap Vacation Packages and Discount Hotels in France are a False Economy

When we are buying something important to us – such as a nice vacation package to France – we want to make sure that we pay the right price. Often looking for a vacation package on the best travel destinations, we end up caught in the “cheap vacations” websites, “cheap hotel deals”, “last minute offers” and so on and so forth. All these websites have great pictures to reassure the traveler that he will have a wonderful hotel (he is the only one to get such a good rate on) and the best seat on the flight to Paris. Honeymoon packages, romantic getaways, family vacation packages, everybody can...

Summer Festivals in France

Farmer market
In summertime, each and every city in France hosts a Festival: historical, shipping festival, with animals...there are a lot to choose from . Last Sunday we were in Richelieu city - the city built from scratch by the famous Cardinal of Richelieu. This famous personnage of the French history used to be the "Prime Minister" under Louis the 13th reign (17th century)....just before another famous Cardinal: Mazarin. We can't say that he reminds in the French's heart because he was uncompromising and fought for the absolut power...not really in line with the French democracy principles set up 150...

The new seal of approval in French Restaurants

The French government has decided to create a new seal of approval for the French restaurants…one more: you can tell we are in France: everything is complicated and any branch decision has to come from the government. The main objective is commendable: find out if you go to a restaurant where they actually cook the food or if they buy “already made” dishes, sauces, deserts, etc. This is a good thing, especially for travelers to France, who are going only once to each of the restaurant so you want it to be perfect! This is why, we always test the restaurants we recommend to our travelers…But...

Shipping festival along the Loire River

Toues river boats in the Loire Valley
The season of the outside festivals starts in May in France! Last Sunday, was the Fête de la Batellerie in our home town of Langeais: nothing fancy but a very good time with our neighbors, friends, tourists & travelers. The local traditional water shipping association – that rebuilds the 16th century Loire river wood boats called “Toues” or “Toues cabanées” (when they have a roof) – was offering some free tours around Langeais bridge. Many people were dressed like in the 16th, 17th century. There can’t be a festival in the Loire Valley without eating the famous “Fouées” the bread we cook...

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. Arrival to Sancerre - ©FJFY 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...

Colorful Provence

Provence
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 Mont St 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...

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