Go East to Alsace

In the far east of France separated from Germany by the Rhine River is Alsace, a region unique in its own way. Although it is thoroughly French, it bears outward signs of its proximity to Germany, as well as many historical ties. Alsace-Lorraine has been French since the mid-17th century. However, in 1871 it became German in the course of the Franco-Prussian War. In 1918 became French again. 1940 Hitler took it back, but in 1945 it was again restored…

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Paris A to Z, part 2

It’s time for another A to Z skip across Paris, discovering tips and treasures that will enrich your visit. Last time we covered Antiques, Family-Friendly, Flea markets, Open markets, and organic markets. (see blog post Paris A to Z part I) Today your tour will include: Best Picnic Spots 1) Gardens at Versailles (free if you don’t go into the Chateau or if there’s a special water show at the fountains); 2) Parc Floral in Vincennes, Métro Line 1 Chateau…

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The Apple Culture of Normandy

Wine tours are famously popular in France. But up north there’s something besides wine that’s drawing foodies and beverage enthusiasts. Apples. Apples? Normandy is often identified with D-Day landings and World War II history, and rightfully so. But there’s a lot more growing and cooking in Normandy. It’s true that, though France has many regions famous for wine, Normandy is not one of them. But it IS known for apples and all of the delicious derivatives of this noble fruit.…

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Christmas in Paris!

Merry Christmas from Paris! Surrounding you and extending all the way down the Champs Elysées to the Arc of Triumph is a glowing river of color, making you forget the chill in the air. Lights wink at you from the trees lining the majestic avenue, and it seems everywhere you turn something is glowing with gleeful brilliance. Christmas in Paris…there’s a magical flavor in the atmosphere, and the usual bustle of the big city is infused with something sparkly, festive,…

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Grenoble…Nestled in Mountains

Surrounded by the French Alps and squeezed between 2 rivers, the Drac and the Isère, this large city of 160,000 or so people is only a three-hour train ride from Paris. It sits close to the Swiss border and is considered the capital of the French Alps. Worth a look and a visit for many reasons. One, it’s beautiful there, with mountain views from many vantage points in the city. It’s energetic. It’s lively. It’s on the move. The downtown…

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Loire…and Peace

What is the Loire Valley known for? When I ask this question to my (adult) French students, many of them exclaim, “Castles!” Others hear the words Loire Valley and draw a blank, unsure of where it is or what it is famous for. By the time you finish this post, you’ll know about castles and many other treasures that could draw you to this central region of France. This post is an overview of the Loire Valley, but future posts…

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