Toulouse: A Pink Jewel in the Southwest

In the southwest of France there’s a happening place… In fact, it’s the 4th largest city in France (but has kept many charming aspects) and has the most booming economy of the country. Where is this city? Toulouse, otherwise known as the Pink City, named for a special rosy-colored terracotta stone used for many of the buildings. Why is Toulouse so popular? The climate is nearly perfect. It’s under 100 miles away from the Mediterranean and not much further from…

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Festivals Around France

Whatever time of year you visit France, there will be a festival happening somewhere. Even in the dead of winter you’ll find a festive gathering, such as a music festival or a Christmas market. Here’s a summary throughout the year! Mid-February: If you’re near Nice, check out the Carnaval. In 2019 it’s Feb. 16-28. If you like over-the-top floats, entertainment, and animation…and crowds, this is for you. Have a look at this video to get the flavor:  http://en.nicecarnaval.com/videos February (2nd…

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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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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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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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