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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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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Flea Markets in Paris

Maybe going to a flea market wasn’t on the top of your Paris List. But if you are a knick-knack, bargain, or antique enthusiast, it should be! Opportunities for bargains or something simply unique abound at one of two large flea markets in Paris, and in fact all of France. First, I’ll tell you about the mother of all flea markets, Marche aux Puces de St. Ouen, with 15 different markets in one place. This market was established in 1870…

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Your Essential Guide to the Loire Valley

Just over an hour south of Paris, France, is a place you might encounter in your dreams, yet you can go there and experience it for yourself. It’s the Loire Valley, known as the garden of France, a peaceful paradise of rolling hills covered by vineyards, fairytale castles, and charming, vibrant towns. So much awaits you to discover, eat, drink, and enjoy in the Loire River Valley.   (from the book A French Garden: The Loire Valley.)   For the last…

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Compiègne: History and Charm an Hour from Paris

Imagine you’ve just spent a few days visiting Paris when you get the urge to get out of the city for a day. You don’t want to go too far, but you’d like to experience a smaller town, yet one with history, beauty, and things to do. You’ll find all of this in the town of Compiègne, about an hour’s drive (or 40 minutes by train) northeast of Paris. You might not have ever heard about it unless you’re a…

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Paris: Magnetic Montmartre

If you have seen the popular movie, “Amelie,” you may have been drawn into the character’s world by the unique charm of the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris. Today, this is one of the top “must-see” areas of Paris, dominated by the Sacré Coeur Basilica. An equal attraction is the area surrounding it, which maintains a village charm, and the stunning views of the city from the summit. Montmartre is the highest point in Paris. As soon as you get off…

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