Imagine your own room in the round tower of a chateau in the Loire River Valley in France. Your hosts, the Count and Viscountess, will welcome you with warmth to their remarkable antique filled home, the 900 year old Chateau de la Flocelliere. For a peak into the world of what it is like to live in a chateau, you could not pick a better place. From gourmet meals using organic produce from their vegetable garden, to the exquisite decor, to the sumptuous four poster bed you will be sleeping in, to day trips you can take to visit surrounding chateaux and vineyards, a stay here will fulfill a fairy tale wish.
What trip to France would be complete without a romantic trip to Paris? One of the most enchanting stops in the city is a walk across a little bridge behind Notre Dame. There you will find hundreds of ‘love locks’ hanging onto parts of the bridge: promises put there by lovers to symbolize their feelings are eternal. And what about a meal in the restaurant made famous in the movie Something’s Gotta Give, where the lovers finally come together? The restaurant, Le Grand Colbert, will know. Just tell them you want to book that table from the movie! After dinner, take a Seine River Cruise to enjoy an open air tour of Paris illuminated at night.
Patricia Wells, author of over 13 best selling cookbooks, offers one week cooking classes at her exquisite 18th century Provencal home in the south of France. This is the ultimate cooking vacation. Stay in the village, take cooking classes, and join Patricia on visits to open air markets, vineyards, restaurants, and shops. The unique value is that you are getting an insider’s guide to the culinary culture of the south of France, as well as making new friends with the same interests you have..
The alpine village of Courcheval is perfect for finding the Heidi in you again. For a snowy adventure on skis or aprés-ski, this charming village has a disco and nightclubs as well as great shopping, gourmet food, world class outdoor activities, cooking classes, hiking in meadows filled with wildflowers in the summer, spas, wellness events and fantastic chalet hotels. When you arrive, take a horse drawn sleigh through the village!
The town of L’Isle sur la Sorgue in southern France is a mecca for antique lovers. The entire village, which by itself is picturesque and fun to visit, is lined with one antique store after another. Some have themes, like culinary antiques, or nautical antiques, or garden antiques. Others specialize in certain time periods or styles. Some are shabby chic. Along with this, there is an open air market in the main streets and dozens of restaurants to enjoy, making this an outstanding day or two trip. Shops will ship anywhere in the world.
Just a short train ride outside of Paris you will find a landscape of gently rolling hills, vineyards, quaint villages and spectacular restaurants. First plan of attack: find a great little hotel to act as your base so that you can fan out for day trips. Take a ride to Dijon to visit the Boutique Maille, the mustard mavens. While in Dijon, take a stroll through one of the best art museums in France, the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Dijon. Book a tour or cooking class with The Cook’s Atelier in Beaune. Visit the beautiful Chateau de Cormatin in Macon, and bring a picnic to have in the garden there. Taste wines at Patriarche Pere et Fils in Beaune. And for a meal to remember, book a table at La Table de Chapaize, in Chapaize, for simply excellent food.
Located near Spain, the Basque countryside still offers an off-the-beaten-path experience to rival any you can have in France. There are great beaches and small fishing villages. In fact, the Basque language is still spoken here, providing an extra ounce of exoticness. Visit Espelette, where the lovely spice Piment d’Espelette comes from, and don’t forget your camera: the village houses are covered in drying red peppers! The local farmers’ market is on Tuesdays, so you can purchase an artisanal bread, cheeses and wine for a picnic on the beach.Write a Comment
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