Champagne: A Pleasure and a Region

In France, the word “champagne” means two things. First, Champagne (capitalized) is a sizeable province in the northeast of France. It lies between Paris and Belgium. Within this area lies the champagne wine region, the second meaning, for which the area is known around the world. Wine has been produced here since the middle ages, and it’s the only place in the world where you can find real champagne. Any other sparkling wine has to have another name. In other parts…

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What do the French Eat at Christmas?

(See holiday recipe below!) The whole world instinctively understands that French cuisine is synonymous with delicious and elegant food. At holiday time, all the stops are pulled and holiday food rises to a new level. Usually, Christmas Eve is a more important time for gathering and eating than Christmas Day itself. This is called the réveillon de Noël. The Réveillon (without Noël) usually refers to New Year’s Eve. People send holiday cards to wish friends and family a Happy New…

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Discover the Land of Burgundy

Burgundy (Bourgogne) is a word you’ve likely heard. Burgundy wine is perfect for Coq au Vin, and of course, yummy to simply sip on. But Burgundy is also a hilly, agricultural region in the east of France where these famous wines are born. The eastern part touches the  Jura mountain region. You can reach Dijon, a great jumping-off spot, by TGV high-speed train in about 1 hour 40 minutes from Paris. In Burgundy you find more than wine. There are…

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Le Jura, a Natural Wonder in the East

Tucked away in the east of France between Burgundy and Switzerland is a place you may not have heard of but must discover, le Jura. Breathtaking beauty surrounds you in this lake region, seventy lakes and basins, both natural and manmade, to keep you busy. The region gets its name from the Jura mountains to the east. You come here to de-stress from the demands of life, while you hike, bike, sail, windsurf, ski, swim, rock climb, camp, visit unforgettable…

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Driving in France: What You Need to Know

At some point in your France travels you’ll likely want to rent a car. It’s helpful for getting to those out-of-the-way detours in Brittany or Provence, and you certainly don’t want to miss those. And with a car, you aren’t bound by train schedules, as practical as they are. Before you hit the road, you should know the following LEGAL and PRACTICAL tips for driving in France. Legal You must be 18 years old to drive in France.   You’ll…

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10 Unexpected Places to Visit in Paris

Maybe you’ve already seen the big sites in Paris and you’d like something a little more out of the way. Maybe you are tired of crowds but know that there are more treasures to be found in Paris. Here is a list of 10, though there are many more, that you’ll enjoy. Les Galeries: what are they? These are the first malls in France, dating from the 1850s. Gas lighting was implemented right around that time. These are passageways often…

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