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

Compiègne, France . . . 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…

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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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3 Days in Paris

Paris . . . you’ve always wanted to go. you’ve just learned that you can sneak in a 3-day side-trip as an add-on to your Provence or Loire Valley vacation. Or your business trip somewhere else in Europe. What can you do in three days? Actually, a lot. But you need to ask yourself some questions. What is most important to you? Food? Museums? Walking all over? Antiques? The Best Of? Answering that question is a vital first step to…

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Parisian Café Culture

The Parisian café is something of an icon, one that exists everywhere. It is almost as synonymous with Paris as the Eiffel Tower, complete with the row of round tables facing outward to the sidewalk. Even though the weather in Europe can be fickle, small tables outdoors grace many sidewalks around the capital city, and there will always be someone parked there with a newspaper, an espresso, or a café crème. The very first Parisian café was opened in 1672,…

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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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