Top Places to Celebrate New Years In France

Posted on Thursday, March 30, 2017

For those that are lucky enough to find themselves in France on New Year’s, they will find that there are quite a few different places to celebrate. From charming villages to the glitz and glamour of bigger cities, a New Year’s celebration in France is a memorable time.

Les Vendanges du Pacherenc de la St-Sylvestre
The celebrations that take place here are all about tradition. The typical day for visitors is spent with eating and drinking and roaming around the town. At night, locals attend an evening mass and then a torchlight procession. Late at night the festivities wrap up with a grape harvest.

Cannes
For those that want to see a little bit of glitz and glam, the Cannes Dance Fire won’t disappoint. The fireworks show features a phenomenal pyrotechnics display. The weather in Cannes tends to be warmer than some of the other cities in France during this time of year so it’s a great place to enjoy the outdoor fireworks display.

Lyon
For a more traditional time, the New Year’s concert at Opera de Lyon is worth attending. The opera features an orchestra and various vocalists. Afterwards it’s followed by a dinner that focuses on upscale French cuisine.

Lombrives
This is one of the most unique New Year’s celebrations in France as part of it takes place in Europe’s largest cave. Visitors can expect to spend about an hour in the cave to start out with. Then they get to enjoy a gospel concert at Salle de la Cathedrale while they eat and dance the night away.

Paris
There’s a lot to do in Paris on New Year’s. No matter what you want to do, you can find it here. You can go out to one of the many clubs or just enjoy a glass of champagne and a nice meal at one of the restaurants. The Champs-Elysees is a popular place to celebrate New Year’s with its Grand Parade. If you do plan on coming here, try to get here around 9 p.m. so you can get both a good view of the parade and the Eiffel Tower. For a more laidback party, visit The Sacre Couer plaza. There are a variety of bars and cabarets here. New Year's in Paris is not as espensiver as you think. For 4 nights your can spend as low as $715 click here for details.

Bain Saint Silvestre
Looking for a bit of an adventure? Join the numerous people in Brittany and jump into the sea. The freezing water will invigorate you and give you a memorable way to bring in the New Year. Afterwards, you can enjoy a band playing lively tunes while you have a hot drink or eat a hearty meal.

Off The Beaten Path In France

Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2017

France is home to many great sights. However, if you want to see some of the less touristy areas then you are in for a real treat. There are a lot of off the beaten path places scattered all throughout France.
 

 

Clermont-Ferrand

There’s a lot to see in Clermont-Ferrand. It has amazing views and some of the best hiking in all of France. Visitors also can see one of the volcanoes that are located here. For one of the more interesting sights, check out the black granite church. It’s beautiful and creepy all at the same time.
 

Sete

There are two main attractions here; the water jousting tournament that takes place each year and the junk museum. Located in the south of France, this seaside town has been nicknamed The Venice of Languedoc. The waterways make this town easily accessible and frequently visited by tourists.
 

Etretat

Located in the northwestern section of France, this city is known for its white cliffs that overlook the sea. It’s also known as the last place where The White Bird plane was seen back in 1927. There’s even a monument to it located in Etretat. This maritime village is tiny, but absolutely breathtaking.
 

Chalons-en-Champagne

This quaint little town is only about an hour and a half from Paris by train so it’s easily assessable. It’s surrounded by vineyards and absolutely enchanting. Popular attractions include the Notre-Dame-en-Vaux Church and Saint Etienne’s Cathedral.
 

Conques

This town is a nice getaway from some of the more busier spots in France. There are no cars allowed here so it’s relatively quiet. If you are looking for as few of crowds as possible, be sure to visit in the afternoon when most of the tourists have left the area for the day. As far as attractions go, the Abbey-Church of Saint Foy is a popular spot for tourists to visit and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 

Corsica

Located on the east coast, this city has mountains, valleys and ports. It’s a great place to do some hiking or spending time outdoors. A favorite among tourists are the ferry boats that frequent the ports.
 

Dinan

This walled town is located along the River Rance. The entire city is filled with many Medieval buildings including Rue du Jerzual. One of the more interesting components of Dinan is that the locals speak both French and Breton.

The Beauty Of France

Posted on Friday, November 18, 2016

Embrace the history and beauty of France with her stained glass of Chartres Cathedral and the woven threads of medieval tapestries. Visit the manicured gardens at Chateau de Villandry and along floral-lined lanes in a Brittany village, historic castles that honor timeless traditions. See the quaint timber houses in a walled city famed for its pirate history, a mountain-top abbey and a Belle-Époque beachfront resort. Visit Versailles Palace. Travel to Normandy for poignant memories of D-Day battles and heroic sacrifices. See the storied landscapes and cultural riches woven in Bayeux tapestries centuries old. View the Benedictine Abbey perched on an island mount. Travel along the Normandy coast and witness history etched into towns that survived war to thrive today.

Just two hours south of Paris, the Loire Valley will enchant you with rolling hills and emerald forests that dot the landscapes. You'll find castles and chateaux tucked into garden settings, vineyards bucolic to behold with wines equally intoxicating at Chateauneuf-du-Pape and a monumental stained glass cathedral built in the twelfth century. Stroll through sites in Aix-en-Provence that inspired Cezanne and hike to Roussillon. Walk atop the Pont du Gard, take a hands on cooking class in Avignon and visit Van Gogh's legacy at Saint Remy-de-Provence.

Enjoy the French Waterways on the River Rhone with a river cruise. Start in Paris with the high-speed TGV whisking you off to Lyon to embark your ship. First stop, Lyon where an indoor food market will thrill your taste buds, then on to the walled city of Viviers and a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral de Rhone. Visit Arles, immortalized in paintings by Vincet Van Gogh. Explore Avignon and the Pont du Gard Museum and travel to the Luberon region with their orange-pigmented streets. Drive to Tain and explore Tain-l'Hermitage known for its Cotes du Rhone vineyards, fruits and chocolates.

Travel North on the French Waterways River Seine and dock in Le Harve for an excursion to the English Channel coast to explore a quintessential village steeped in history, cultural treasures and seaside pleasures. Visit a goat farm and savor the taste of locally produced chevre fermier (farmhouse goat cheese).Visit the shores of Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery while sharing stories about the events of D-Day. Visit Jumieges Abbey, once a great Benedictine abbey. The Chateau Gaillard, built in 1197 by King Richard the Lionheart is the crowning centerpiece of Les Andelys. Stop at Giverny, Monet's Home and Gardens before returning to Paris. A visit to France is a delight whether it be by land or sea.

TOP 10 Things To See In France

Posted on Monday, April 06, 2015

One of the most romantic yet diverse countries in Europe, France is a trip worth taking at least once in your life. As undoubtedly beautiful as it is, please note that I did not say Paris… Paris is a beautiful city and must be visited, but don’t forget about all the other regions that make up France!

Visiting France entails visiting Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Lyon, Provence, French Riviera, Rhone Valley, French Alps, Normandy, Marseille, Versailles, and Paris.

Did you know that when Baron Haussmann was commissioned to have Paris reconstructed into what would become one of the most beautiful cities in all the world by Emperor Napoleon III, the architect looked to Lyon for inspiration? That’s right!

If you had the time to take a trip to see the TOP 10 Things To See In France, my suggestion would be for you to follow this chart:

Not only have we added pictures of these areas and sites onto the map, we also created a quick description:


Top 10 France

Traveling to France is a must for every art, history, and scenery lover, as the entire country has all the art, history, and scenery you could take in.
 

TOP 5 FRENCH VINEYARDS TO VISIT

Posted on Wednesday, April 01, 2015

TOP 5 French Vineyards To Visit

When most of us think of wine, we think of strolling through a vineyard and watching a vintner and his or her workers cultivate the vines in one of the most (if not the) largest wine producing countries in the world – France. This beautiful country has been producing wine since the 6th century BC and even though the production of wine has existed for thousands of years around the world, France has made wine production a part of their culture. However, the wine industry in France wasn’t always beautifully free of disasters, which is how Quality became a very big part of that culture. It was during this era of uncertainty that the French established a system called, the “Appellation d'Origine Contrô lée”, which is overseen by an authoritative board (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine, INAO). The system is so stringent that many other European systems are modeled after it. The system was established in 1935 subsequent to calamities that plagued the industry beginning with mold followed by the Great French Wine Blight, which was caused by sap-sucking insects known as Phylloxera that attached themselves to grape vine roots causing fungal infections that ultimately cut off flow of water & nutrients. There was also an economic depression and not one, but two world wars that collectively resulted in decimation of vineyards throughout. Once France was met with competition from other countries, the government had no choice but to regulate how wine was made and who better to know than a vintner, which is how Baron Pierre Le Roy, producer of Châteauneuf-du-Pape co-founded The Institut national de l'origine et de la qualité. Even though the organization consists of a board, it is a part of the Ministry of Agriculture, which is governed by the French Government.

There are a total of 12 major “white grape” varieties in France:


Grape Variety Region
Chardonnay Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc
Chenin Blanc Loire Valley
Sauvignon Blanc Bordeaux, Loire Valley, South West France, Languedoc
Gewürztraminer Alsace
Pinot Gris Alsace
Pinot Blanc Alsace
Marsanne Rhône Valley
Muscadet Loire Valley
Riesling Alsace
Roussanne Rhône Valley
Sémillon Bordeaux, Southwest France
Viognier Rhône Valley, Languedoc

As much white grape varieties there are throughout France, there's just as much "red grape" varieties as well:


Grape Variety Region
Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux, Southwest France, Languedoc
Cabernet Franc Loire Valley, Bordeaux, Southwest France
Carignan Rhône Valley, Southern France
Cinsault Rhône Valley, Southern France
Gamay Beaujolais
Grenache Rhône Valley, Southern France
Merlot Bordeaux, Southwest France, Languedoc
Malbec Southwest France, Bordeaux
Mourvèdre Rhône Valley, Southern France
Pinot Noir Burgundy, Champagne
Syrah Rhône Valley, Southern France

Based on the information we have above, we can clearly see that the TOP 5 Major Regions these wines are produced in are:

Burgundy
Burgundy: This region is located to the southeast of Paris, and it has an enormous amount of importance, historically speaking. Until 1477, the region was completely independent of France. In fact, during the One Hundred Years War, Burgundy fought on the side of the English in order to keep their independence. Once home to the powerful Dukes of Burgundy, the region is said to produce the world’s most expensive Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. The region is also famous for its Dijon Mustard (Excuse me, do you have any Grey Poupon?)
 
Loire Valley
Loire Valley: Referred to as the “Cradle of the French”, the Loire Valley has acres upon acres of wine vineyards, fruit orchards, and vegetable fields… In 2000, UNESCO added the central area of the region to its list of World Heritage Sites. Wines in this region are said to exhibit fruity pallets.
 
Southern France
Southern France covers quite a bit of terrane including Languedoc, Rousillon, and Provence. The following wine appellations can be found in each of the provinces mentioned above:  Fitou, Saint-Chinian, Minervois, Corbieres, Faugeres, Cabardes, and many others. In addition to Langedoc, Rousillon, and Provence, Southern France also includes the island of Corsica, which can be visited frequently by cruise ships.
 
Bordeaux
Bordeaux: In addition to being dubbed the “Wine Industry Capital of the World” and home to Vinexpo, (key event for major international wine operators), combined with its suburbs and other communities, the port city of Bordeaux is the sixth largest metropolitan area in France. Similar to Loire Valley, Bordeaux’s historic section is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bordeaux is certainly more than meets the eye! When Emperor Napoleon III instructed Baron Haussman to transform Paris into a modern capital that would make France proud, it was Bordeaux’s model that he used to design Paris.
 
Rhône Valley
Rhône River Valley: Two sub-regions make up the whole of the Rhône River Valley, first of which is the Northern Rhône, which produces red wines from the Syrah grape. The southern sub-region produces an assortment of red, white, and rose wines, not to mention the fact that they usually blend the grapes, which is something Châteauneuf-du-Pape is known for. It is speculated that the first vines were planted around 600 BC. There are lots of theories floating around regarding the origins of the Syrah grape, the first of which is grapes brought by Greeks from Persian city of Shiraz, and another theory is grapes brought from Sicilian city of Syracuse.

Here are the Top 5 most popular wine regions that have been visited in France:

  • Champagne Region > Moet Chandon
  • Loire Valley > Pouilly-Fumé
  • Burgundy Region > Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils
  • Rhône River Valley > Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • Bordeaux Region > Saint-Emilion

TOP 5 French Vineyards To Visit

I admit that the thought of picking up and taking a flight to Paris in order to begin a “Region to Region” adventure filled with wine & motor-coach rides is exciting, but there is another more fantastic option for us wine enthusiasts… Ever heard of a “European Wine Heritage River Cruise”? It exists, and in addition to including all our meals, wine, taxes, and accommodations aboard a five star AMA Waterways River Cruise Vessel, the package also includes an Expert Wine Host! The hosts range from winery owners, vintners, award winning wine journalists, and collectors.

Based on what we’ve discussed as it pertains to France, there is one itinerary that I would love to take and it’s the “Provence & Spain (Wine Themed)” river cruise by AMA Waterways. I would have to fly into Barcelona, which would NOT be an issue as I love Barcelona (or how Spaniards say it) Barthelona! Las Ramblas, Familia Sagrada, Gaudi Park, Tapas, Spanish Wine… What’s There Not To Love??? But I digress…

TOP 5 French Vineyards To Visit

The map indeed seems to contradict what I was saying about flying into Barcelona, but the vessel does sail up and down the Rhone and Saone, and I would so much rather begin in Barcelona and sail up to lovely Paris – what did Gertrude Stein say… Ah yes, “America is my country, and Paris is my hometown”. Gertrude may have uttered these words, but when I’m there looking at the world through rose colored glasses, those words easily become my own.

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