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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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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9 Nitty Gritty Tips for Traveling in France

Last month I published some tips for your next trip, general tips to make your travels more enjoyable. But I’ve just returned from France and want to share nine “nitty gritty” tips, the ones that help you avoid a bump or simply add to your enjoyment. The Monoprix Sac: All over France is a supermarket called Monoprix. It’s a nice, upscale grocery store with clothing and other products as well. At the cash register, you’ll likely see a small bag…

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