Archive for the ‘Historic Sites’ Category
We hate the numbers ‘game’, but there are so many reasons to visit this enchanting city….one must limit!
1. Provençal Avignon owes its very history and much of its attraction to the Papacy. The medieval politics of the early 14th century led Pope Clement V to move the papacy to Avignon, under the protection of Philip the Fair of France. His successors came along, and Benedict XII and Clement VI felt the need to locate the great Palais des Papes overlooking the Rhone River in the center of the medieval city. The imposing palais offers a magnificent, stark white contrast to the vivid blue skies of southern France and the sprawling square beneath the palace. Read more
Though stained with the blood, burial grounds and memorials to lost young soldiers; the vast Normandy landscape tells multiple stories. We feel the weight and sad wonder of history, struggle and loss; yet this magnificent land unfolds in soft, rolling farms and golden hay fields that embrace an existence made possible by that very history. Read more
When Florida temperatures and electric bills suddenly elevate by 30 percent, I wander to cool places in my mind. I can’t think of a more refreshing mental escape than Lake Annecy. Tucked up against snow-capped ridges in the East of France, this pristine lake – the 3rd largest in France – displays a lovely turquoise invitation to boat, swim or simply enjoy a magnificent visual feast.
The city of Annecy welcomes visitors entranced by her location, history, cuisine and hospitality; but several villages and enticing inns surround the sprawling lake. I think I may have discovered an ideal retreat in the Abbaye de Talloires on the Southeast shoreline of the lake.
Certainly the locale’s history, dating as far back as 866 A.D., is intriguing, but let’s be candid here. That’s a lovely addition to the overall atmosphere, but panoramic lake views, ultra-comfortable rooms and brasserie dining by the lake engulf my imagination and quest for cool weather and beautiful outdoor views.
We have always wanted to return to Annecy for a more thorough exploration, but I’m afraid we can’t make the trip at the moment. We certainly can take our cooling mental journey and add this lovely retreat to our “Bucket List” for real travels in the future.
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And don’t forget – my book Fired Up for France: The Promise of Paris – now available in E-book (pdf) and print!
“Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life.” Rick Steves
Florence, Italy. The Duomo bells ring, at 7:45 a.m. –an unusual alarm clock that follows a warm evening with family in a room filled with vibrant students. Through Jacksonville University in Florida, Leo’s sister and brother-in-law offer summer programs of art history, photography and painting in France and Italy. We were fortunate to be included in the farewell dinner celebration for the end of their studies.
The student group of 15 young people, aglow with new experiences and the kind of relationships forged through sharing all things new, trade group photos and insider memories. They may have an ever-so-small idea of the imprint they will carry with them from their sojourn in Italy. The molecules of imagination have been stimulated.
The students gathered from Maine and Ohio, West Virginia and Florida. They seem to recognize the unique privilege of participating in a life-changing program and summer. Their families and friends will welcome home students who are different, who are better equipped and more motivated to dive off the board into the pool of possibilities life offers.
We-are well beyond the clear-eyed face of youth but our ventures have been similar. It IS never too late to learn, to set aside old fears and needs for security to pursue new roads of travel, learning, and culture.
Our mature eyes absorb the naked truth of Alpine ridges against the sky and the fickle faces of sunflowers turned away from the sun. We exchange bonjours and ciaos with kind and interesting people. We see the pride enmeshed in each fine craft that has evolved from generations of artisan development. Each adventure renews our feeling that we’ve just begun.
All of us feel the tumult in the world these days with so much suffering and displacement, adversarial politics, economic fears and ongoing security threats. How easy it is to focus on the negative and even to let your fears guide your decisions about travel.
We can attest that travel so broadens your horizons that you re-gain your perspective and refresh your spirit to address challenges that lie ahead.
Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.
At the very least, I always think of Paris as the bookends of any trip to France. Of course the City of Light offers the natural entry point to France, but Paris also is home to our dear friends and so many of our favorite haunts – my, oh my – aren’t we unique!
Don’t limit yourself though, as enjoying the countryside of France offers such diverse landscapes and adventures. If your itinerary includes a trip to the Côte d’Azur, include a fascinating visit to the Villa Grecque Kérylos on the Mediterranean. The Villa is one of the most spectacular sights along the Mediterranean between Nice and Monaco. Visitors are able to wander among gardens of olive and pine trees, oleanders and iris and enjoy panoramic views of Cap Ferrat on the Côte d’Azur.
The Library itself is one of the most imposing rooms in the Villa with a gallery that occupies one-and-a-half floors. Designed with every comfort and convenience in mind, the library faces east for maximum morning light and is furnished with oak pieces positioned around a mosaic of Prometheus and Hera and filled with authentic objects from daily life in Ancient Greece.
And as long as you are so close, don’t forget to make a little side trip to Èze, our favorite seaside village. There is nothing quite like a glass of wine overlooking the sun-washed sea!
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