Bordeaux… More Than Wine

When you hear the name Bordeaux, most people think of wine or vineyards… St. Emilion, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec…enough to make you reach for a stemmed glass and a chunk of cheese. But you might be amazed to know other outstanding features of this southwestern city and region of France. Bordeaux is the fifth largest city in France, but it is often thought of as “little Paris.” Think of the typical architecture of Paris for a moment…wide avenues, regal stone…

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La Camargue…Unique Nature

There’s a place in France that can only be called unique. It might not appeal to the average traveler, but rather one who seeks the unusual experience in the midst of nature. That place is La Camargue, at the bottom end of Provence, a regional park and natural reserve just south of Arles. On either side are two branches of the Rhone River. It is an international wetland, 360 square miles broad, of which one third is water or marsh.…

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Tours, Gateway to the Loire Valley

Tours, France is often called the Gateway to the Loire Valley, because it’s a great jumping-off point for visiting the many sites along the rich river valley…such as chateaux and vineyards. Despite this ideal centrality, you don’t want to neglect seeing this bustling city itself, located between two rivers, the Loire and the Cher. It’s not far from Paris, so ideal for a side-trip or if you’re arriving in a Paris airport. Take the TGV for about  an hour and…

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Amboise: A Nearby Chateau…or Two

Take a TGV train for a short trip of about an hour and a half and you arrive in the town of Amboise in the Loire Valley. Of course there are many chateaux in the towns dotting this valley that surrounds the longest river in France. But Amboise is a good place to start for two purposes: One, if you’re visiting Paris and you have an extra couple of days to go on a side trip, but don’t want to…

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Loire Valley Teaser…

There’s just too much to say about the Loire Valley, known as the garden of France. The Loire River is France’s longest river, over 600 miles long, and it cuts right through the center of the country. It will take several posts to squeeze out what I experienced on my trip last week. I hope you were able to follow some of this on Oliver’s France Facebook. Here are a few visual teasers to pique your interest in this varied…

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A Twist on French Lodging

When it comes to accommodations, let’s think outside the hotel box. If you spend your vacations days on the run and use your hotel only to sleep, they are a good choice. You get exactly what you need, a bed, a shower and possibly some breakfast. But suppose you want a different lodging experience? You have choices in France. Here are some. I’ll cover apartment rentals in another post. Here we’ll talk about gites, villas, and chambre d’hotes. What are…

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