Archive for the ‘Village & Country’ Category
Allow us to recommend a memorable stay at the tasteful 5-star Hostellerie de Levernois in the heart of the Côte de Beaune. An esteemed member of the Relais & Chateaux, the hotel is situated on the edge of a golf course in an 11-acre park that offers a seemingly endless air of tranquility.
The intimate estate includes several room and suite selections and exceptional dining to make the hostellerie the ideal base for exploring the wine country of Burgundy. Indulge in a charming lunch at the Bistrot du Bord de l’Eau on the river, before exploring area vineyards and tasting rooms – bicycles are available for your use. And at the end of the day, a glass of wine on your private terrace is essential to be beginning of a pleasant evening. Read more
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
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!
Words and music for “I Went to a Marvelous Party” were written by Noël Coward in 1938. The song offered a first-person exposé of five parties the playwright-composer-singer attended on the French Riviera in the frantic era of amusement of the Train Bleu society of the 1920s and 1930s. While that particular vignette sparks your curiosity, you need only drive along the jeweled coastline of the Cote d’Azur to imagine the haute lifestyle of that era.
These touches of history merely pave the way to introduce an enchanting hotel on the Mediterranean near Saint-Raphael. No less than renowned author Somerset Maugham initiated the incubator for the hotel, when he purchased the 9-acre estate of Villa Mauresque. Prior to transforming to today’s elegant hotel residence, the villa hosted great literary and society guests in one of the Riviera’s most tantalizing social salons and was Maugham’s secluded home, until his death in 1965.
Around 2005, discretion and good taste led the way in converting the Moorish-inspired mansion into an extremely welcoming hotel. The walled property keeps the world at bay, while you take breakfast on the terrace at the edge of the Mediterranean. Or from your private port, you might tackle windsurfing or a quieter canoe ride.
The Villa was designed by Chapoulard in 1860, one of many of his neo-Moorish imprints along the fabled coast. The boutique hotel has been carefully curated to offset serene ivory walls with bold tapestries and painted doors; and only 11 luxurious suites and bedrooms welcome guests to refined comfort. Two on-site small villas also are a part of the property, available for rental and even engaging a chef-prepared meal en suite.
Speaking of dining, a Michelin-star Chef provides inviting cuisine in “Le Bougainvillier” restaurant with elegant indoor or terrace dining with unparalleled views of the Gulf of Saint Tropez. Atypical of many Riviera resorts, the restaurant open throughout the year to offer … fillet of John Dory from our sea, roasted green asparagus in Provencal style or perhaps roasted lamb chops from the Quercy region
Enough. You must browse the Villa’s site for more information to choose from artist- and writer-named rooms and suites that range from Monet’s 225-Euro room to Baudelaire’s Suite Prestige with sea view at 1,300 Euros per night.
Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.
I suppose everyone has a different approach to travel, some probing the history and points of interest of a given area and others taking a more laissez-faire, let-it-unfold approach. Whichever method appeals to you, discovering different areas of France offers abundant delights! We have found it quite interesting to go back and research about an area you have experienced first hand.
I came across a nicely written and very thorough article that profiled the city of Bourges in the Loire Valley. While reading of historic churches and age-old customs, my mind whisked backward to a remarkably hospitable weekend in the area.
A former Parisian invited our friends and us to visit with him in a tiny hamlet about 30 minutes from Bourges. We managed to pack a ton of discoveries into that one weekend.
En route from our host’s country home to Bourges, we stopped in the quaint artist hamlet – La Borne – for a delightful slice of culture in a petite community. We walked the streets of Bourges at night during the Lumiere extravaganza, when mystical lights cast their glow upon church courtyards and centuries-old, timbered houses. On the steps of the renowned St. Stephan’s Cathedral, I picked up a couple of tiny red and pink tissue hearts, the sweet mementos of a wedding held earlier in the day. We have the deepest respect for the city and its’ storied past.
But now I move on past the sophisticated travel to our deepest memories –
…. Of golden wheat fields stretching, stretching for miles up soft hills capped here and there with a couple of trees, standing as sentries, it seemed, overlooking this ‘bread basket’ of France.
…. Of steaming bowls of coffee enjoyed in the morning in the front yard, as we heard the plans for the day
…. Of an enormous, rhinestone blanket of stars setting the blackest of black nights ablaze with light
…. Of a whimsical house with all sorts of glass art – now, I see, named La Cathédrale de Jean Linard
…. Of narrow country lanes winding through the country, and shuttered homes built inches from the road – they always, always cloak their windows in delicate French lace
…. Of our little trek to La Borne, where 88 village artists give birth to imaginative ceramic works of art
And so we traveled in the footsteps of the Gaulouis and years from now will still enjoy this warm quilt of Loire countryside memories.
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