Categories

Share

Hostellerie de Levernois – Burgundy

Burgundy countryside

Serene Hostellerie de Levernois

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…

Share

French Riviera – Stunning Hotel Choices!

Nice, France

Petit Palace terrace views

Of course we would love to be in France right now, but why not look forward, dream a little, imagine an over-the-top stay along the Riviera.  Grand idea – let’s take a look at two very charming Cote d’Azur hotels and the “stars” associated with them.  The 3-star Belle Époque style residence, Le Petit Palais in Nice is a smaller, elegant residence located in the heart of Cimiez.  The 5-star Grand Hôtel Cap Ferrat is all one would expect of a luxury hotel by the Mediterranean. Read more…

Share

Elegant Retreat Near Normandy’s Coast

Normandy France Coast

Port-en-Bessin, Normandy

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…

Share

Villa Mauresque – Boutique Riviera Hotel

France Travel

Villa Mauresque, Saint Raphael

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.

France Travel cote d'azur

Author and artist named suites

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.

France Travel

Overlooking the Gulf of Saint Tropez

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.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc

Cote d'Azur

Seaside pool of the Hotel Cap du-Eden-Roc

For a royal experience, one might expect a royal price tag; and Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc  does not disappoint in either category.  A luxurious and lavish resort delightfully positioned on the tip of Cap d’Antibes, the hotel has long been the chosen mecca for celebrities and privileged guests through the ages.  No doubt they have left a trail of interesting tales in their wake.
Words simply cannot capture the legendary hotel.  From 1870, the “Villa Soleil” welcomed writers looking for inspiration, but in 1885 a Piedmontese hotelier set his vision in motion and transformed the Napoleon III-style villa into the unparalleled Hôtel du Cap.  One of the most interesting hotel embellishments is the seawater swimming pool carved into the rock, though the seaside “cabins” (33 cabanas, in all) and Eden-Roc Pavilion are equally alluring.

Now celebrating its 100th Anniversary, the hotel was recently refreshed with a €45million refurbishment that preserved and enhanced the resort’s stunning, authentic quality; while adding every contemporary convenience and several new amenities.  Imagine refined, spacious rooms and luxury appointments, the sumptuous Bellini Bar, gourmet restaurant and assorted intimate bars and grills. There’s even a fresh Juice and Ice Cream Bar in the shade of the Alep pines – parfait for the children!

Eden Roc, France

Love the ‘scanty’ suits of 1932

Open only from mid-April to mid-October, the five-star hotel rates are equally ‘handsome’ for accommodations ranging from standard, classique and Supérieure rooms to a private villa complete with your own butler.  Gala events planned for the celebratory year include a magnificent gourmet evening with some of the world’s best sommeliers and Michelin-starred chefs.

But I have a humorous twist to this story.  The postcard shown was sent to my father in Paris from a lady friend staying at the hotel in 1932.  In part, her message reads, “Here I am at this wonderful place – $6.00 a day for room, bath and meals (in between seasons) … You ought to see the scanty one-piece bathing suits.  Oh, I don’t know where I’ll end – the temptations are lovely and many.”

The prices surely have changed, but I rather imagine the temptations to still be … lovely and many.

 

We’d love to hear from you!

Share

Elegant Villa & “Cuisinière Lyonnaise”

Vieux Lyon France

Overlooking Lyon, Villa Florentine

In visiting Lyon for the first time, we were so fortunate to have a connection … through our landlord in Paris, no less!  We phoned him and enjoyed several outings in the city he knew so well.

One evening he told us about a very unique cook book; and so, after dinner in Vieux Lyon, we climbed with him up to Villa Florentine in the Fourvière district. Not only did our friend know the book would be available there, he understood we would be enthralled with the five-star hotel and view over the old city.

Over a mellow drink of brandy by the pool, he told us the appealing story behind “Cuisinière Lyonnaise”.  On a misty morning the Villa’s chef, Stéphane Gaborie, wandered through a flea market.  He discovered an old recipe book, beautifully calligraphed and filled with family ‘recettes’.

The book opens with “Remarques Préliminaires” (preliminary remarks).  One entry, for example, deals entirely with the making of mustard – with water, salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Monsieur Gaborieau poured his heart into the making of this exquisite cookbook that fellow chef Paul Bocuse described as a “tribute to an unknown Mother”.

Not only do we see page after antique-looking page of the beautiful script and succulent recipes of this unknown woman, we have an exceptional treat at the end – the comments and recipes from 15 of the world’s most renowned chefs.  How touching to read the nostalgic comments about cooking by the side of their own grand mères.

Repeatedly each chef refers to seasonal fresh vegetables and fruits, free-range chickens and field-grazed cows.  Their devotion to the highest quality ingredients offers a testament to their profession.  The comments of a Lyonnais chef, Pierre Orsi, are particularly sweet.  “… these traditional family recipes take on a new and unusual dimension in the pen of a young woman, who, in my mind’s eye, is precise, refined and delicate.  This is an exceptional work.”

[Note: the book is part of the Stéphane Bachès collection of cookbooks – a delightful range of regional and themed books.]

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2016, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved

 

Share

Brantôme en Périgord – Luxurious Eden!

Brantome, Dordogne France

Refined, four-star Relais & Chateaux hotel

We’re all aware of the Garden of Eden, but I believe I’ve discovered the “Island of Eden”!  Tucked away in the Dordogne department of southwestern France, the small village of Brantôme en Périgord enjoys unparalleled natural beauty. Just imagine with me. Beyond a fascinating history and appealing architecture, the village is situated in the middle of the River Dronne and often is referred to as the Venice of Périgord.

Naturally the perfect setting calls for extraordinary accommodations, and Le Moulin de L’Abbaye fulfills that desire without hesitation. This member of the prestigious group of Relais & Chateaux luxury hotels has entertained guests for well over thirty years, offering a picturesque and enticingly refined base from which to explore the beauty of the Dordogne. Spacious and well-appointed rooms are split between the three historical houses that make up the hotel that is poised alongside the original mill pond. The main reception and gourmet restaurant are located in the inviting ivy-covered mill that was the center for milling the village’s grain, weaving its wool and ultimately providing electricity to the 2,000 inhabitants. Today, the weekly market each Friday imbues the provincial village with the quiet buzz and color of local artisans and farmers.

Brantome en Perigord France

L’Abbaye elegant rooms

From a variety of accommodation sizes and types, guests look out over the 16th century Pont Coudé Bridge and the medieval garden and Abbey founded by Charlemagne. With no effort, I can picture dinner on the terrace with the lights of the bridge and village illuminating the evening … walking about the village to explore galleries and boutiques … a lazy boat tour or canoeing along the river.

And history abounds in this part of the old pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Over more centuries than we can contemplate, inhabitants included the Celts, Romans, early Christians and the very monks whose early monastery evolved into the remarkable abbey present today. After wars and plagues, Brantôme emerged, established notably by Charlemagne as a leading religious destination.

Dordogne France

Overlooking River Dronne

Should you choose to explore the surrounding landscape, the area is home to many ‘plus beaux villages de France” …Saint-Jean-de-Cole, Saint-Amand-de-Coly, Limeuil, Beynac …the charm seems endless. When you return, stop in for pizza and wine on the outdoor terrace of the popular Bar du Marche in the main square. If you share our partiality to delectable crepes, stop in at the hospitable and savory L’authentique.

 We’d love to hear from you

Copyright © 2015, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Share

Poised Above Saint-Tropez

Cote d'Azur

Overlooking Saint-Tropez in a 25-acre garden setting

Saint-Tropez may not be your first thought for a restful exodus from your madcap daily existence, but the Château de la Messardière offers precisely the serene, tucked-away retreat you desire.  Set among parasol pines and cypress trees in a 25-acre estate, the luxury hotel looks out over carefully-tended gardens and spectacular views of the Mediterranean.

“But it’s not on the beach.  But it’s not in town.”  True, delightfully so.  Poised above the beaches, bustling squares and star-studded bars of Saint-Tropez; the hotel surrounds guests with a calm, tasteful retreat, expansive spa and beauty services and exquisite dining.

St. Tropez

Spacious accommodations with stunning views of the Mediterranean in the distance

Request a room or a suite with a view, so you can enjoy your morning coffee or evening glass of wine overlooking the sea.  Your spacious and elegant lodging combines with the kind of continuous, attentive   service that makes you feel very much a welcome guest.

Imagine your choices.  A walk through shaded gardens with the scents and sights of the Var region’s beautiful fauna and flora. Quiet moments with a book in the luxurious pool area, where stunning mosaic tile designs reflect those of the relaxing spa.  And speaking of tranquility, with subtle lighting, numerous personal services, a serene tide pool and Jacuzzi; the spa is the “genuine oasis of peace and relaxation” the hotel promises.  And from the sweeping terrace overlooking the beaches of Pampelonne,  you choose from a creative mix of French classics and Mediterranean cuisine in the “L’Acacia” restaurant

The largest of Saint-Tropez hotels with 117 rooms, the five-star Château de la Messardière also includes a stimulating art gallery that features a number of international artists, as well as the works of Victoire de la Messardière, a descendant of the original 19th-century owners of the chateau.  And for those times when the buzz of Saint-Tropez calls, the hotel’s 24-7 shuttle whisks you to town in five minutes.

Saint Tropez, France

5-star comfort along the Cote d’Azur

The entire management and staff of this delightful hotel understand the meaning of hospitality.  For all of the Chateau’s natural beauty and accoutrements of luxury,  you will appreciate that personal and professional service among your many pleasant memories.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Hôtel de Crillon Reimagined

Paris luxury hotels

Overlooking Place de la Concorde – ©Atout France/Hôtel de Crillon

Two years into the renovation of the renowned Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, we still can only imagine the changes taking place. Many of us would wonder at any change to this veritable institution directly across the street from the American Embassy. Yet, in 2013 came the announcement about the closure for renovations and the forthcoming change in management to Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.

Beyond tantalizing mentions of the auctioning of an abundant number of hotel accents, furnishings … and wine; the fate and future of the hotel has been cloaked in mystery. Now, though, we learn that no other than Karl Lagerfeld has been commissioned to apply his creative genius to the design of two suites.

luxury hotels of Paris

Junior suite – ©Atout France/Hôtel de Crillon

Acclaimed not only for fine craftsmanship but for blending history ‘with an edge’, perhaps even Mr. Lagerfeld feels a slight hesitation in tackling this Parisian landmark. Of course I am wrong about that – what designer wouldn’t jump at the chance to create a signature suite in one of the world’s finest hotels?

Under Rosewood’s core philosophy – A Sense of Place® – Mr. Lagerfeld will apply his unparalleled talent in the marriage of 18th century heritage with 2015 ‘je ne sais pas’.   Overlooking Place de la Concorde, the Hôtel de Crillon has witnessed abundant history from the reign of French Kings to the fall of Napoleon’s Empire and the birth of the League of Nations.

I hope that Karl Lagerfeld and the myriad designers involved in this renovation find the ideal balance of respect for heritage with light touches of the contemporary world in which we live. While my personal prejudice sways away from ultra-modern treatments of grand old buildings, I recognize that some might lean in the opposite direction.

Some describe the magnificent hotel as “…a living testament to the very best way of life France has to offer.” Alas, we all simply must wait and see for the unveiling of this monumental project in 2016.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Le Prieuré – Elegant Avignon Retreat

Retreat to the French countryside

Le Prieuré – hotel in the country by Avignon

Gift-giving season is here, and who among us wouldn’t cherish the gift of travel in France?  While we love the refined manoirs within the storied walls of old Avignon; we would easily enjoy experiencing a private setting with easy access to the historic area.  Le Prieuré,  just across the Rhône in Villeneuve- lès- Avignon, would definitely fit that bill!

The owners promise a stay that is both authentic and elegant. You’ll first want to book your stay at Le Prieuré, though keep in mind their seasonal closure may run to mid March, 2012.  A member of the distinguished Relais & Chateaux collection of luxury hotels and restaurants, Le Prieuré is a former 15th-century convent, magically transformed into a welcoming hotel and perfumed by the priests’ trellised garden of roses and wisteria.

Lavish Provençal style mixes with contemporary convenience in the carefully restored rooms and suites, that guarantee an intimate and comfortable stay. You may be surprised at the rich heritage and treasures in the village.

The dominant tower on the skyline – Fort Saint André and the Philippe le Bel Tower – remind us of Avignon’s alliance with the Holy Roman Empire and the need to protect the Benedictine abbey and town.  And the municipal museum in the Pierre-de-Luxembourg mansion displays exceptional art, notably religious works from ivory carvings to 17th century paintings.

The charming village becomes the focal point for performances and festivals throughout the year; due to their strategic location where Provence, la Camargue and Languedoc come together. Of course, you will visit the lovely old streets of Avignon to enjoy its’ special blend of history, striking architecture and inviting collection of shops and restaurants.

But the delight comes with your return from those lively moments to seal each and every memory with a quiet glass of wine on the balcony.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Provençal Retreat – La Cabro d’Or & Spa

Avignon France

Tranquil gardens of La Cabro d’Or

On the first day of the hottest month of the year – throughout out America and particularly in Florida – let’s just get away.  Let’s imagine an escape to a lovely Provençal farmhouse, surrounded by natural beauty and infused with unnaturally warm hospitality.

We arrive at our Relais et Chateaux hotel and restaurant – La Cabro d’Or & Spa – in a magnificent garden setting in the valley of Lex Baux de Provence.  The Alpilles mountains stretch across the landscape; where olives and wine share the fertile land, and the jagged white rocks of the Val d’Enfer provide a delightful contrast.

at home near Avignon FR

Exceptional cuisine in a warm setting

Your Maîtres de Maison, Geneviève and Jean-André Charial, perfect the mood of peace and quiet with graceful rooms, elegant living areas and a dining room and terrace that celebrate the incomparable cuisine of the land.  Imagine confit tomatoes and asparagus from the garden, suckling pig and scallops from the seas.  Following the seasons, the cuisine and wines mirror the rich land that surrounds La Cabro d’Or.  We shall end at least one meal with a magnificent creation – bourbon vanilla, grand cru chocolate mousse and Camargue salt.

historic sites of Provence

Daudet’s Moulin, Provence

We will slide through the cool water of the huge pool, stop here and there in the garden, explore the historic villages of the area and, perhaps, discover a special antique in Saint Rémy de Provence or visit the famous Windmill of Daudet.  And at day’s end, we will yield to tranquil farmhouse evenings.

One guest perfectly described his La Cabro experience: “…There is one thing that stands out above all others: the freedom to do just as you please.”

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Luxury Redefined at Hôtel de Crillon

Hotel de Crillon, Paris

Crillon lobby elegance!

The renowned Hôtel de Crillon, right next door to the American Embassy in Paris, is about to complete a two-year renovation. Slated to reopen next year, one of the most luxurious hotels in the world will present a bright new face in order “to meet its clients’ highest standards.  Really?

Far be it from me to question the tastes and/or decisions of those who cater to those who likely spend as much on a stay at this magnificent hotel as many would spend on six months’ worth of mortgage payments! That disclaimer aside, you can be certain that the Crillon had not fallen into musty disrepair! Rather, like a bored homemaker shoving furniture about or painting a wall to freshen the home; the new management wanted to make a dual statement of refined continuity and techno-luxury progress.

Paris hotel Luxury

Signature style – what is coming at Hotel de Crillon?

I stand among many who appreciate the Hôtel de Crillon and, in fact, have some very fond memories of brushing up against her opulent presence. Many years ago during my first visit to Paris, my good friend once again demonstrated ‘the world is my oyster’ style. Dressed for a casual walk and a bit sodden with the Paris mist, she insisted we duck into the hotel for a visit to the restroom and gift shop. So discreetly imposing was the grand edifice, I balked at the thought quickly theorizing that such a visit would equal attending an upscale event in shorts and flip flops!

No, no, my friend assured me, and we entered … with her darling dog in the lead. A uniformed gentleman nodded with an appropriate smile, and we traversed the marble foyer and descended elegant stairs to the toilette. Certainly quite serviceable and inviting, the rest room nonetheless did not equal that of The Ritz; though I don’t intend to cast aspersions.

Then, we enjoyed moments of hushed French-style conversation with the gracious attendant in the gift shop, as we looked among porcelain keepsakes, sumptuous leather goods and light-as-air silk scarves. Despite my initial misgivings, it was a delightful experience … and certainly memorable.

I had no idea that the genteel tenacity of my friend offered such benefits!  Well indoctrinated now to the Crillon’s egalitarian hospitality, on another occasion I waited to meet my friend in the hotel lobby….that famous, gleaming lobby with quietly efficient hosts and elegant guests.  I marveled at the thin, fine leather boots of a statuesque young woman attached to the arm of a quite dignified gentleman.

Imagine, then, my sorrow on reading about a tourist who had the same thought to take a peek inside, perhaps a good ten years after our adventure.  As this lady approached the door, a guard at the front explained that only hotel guests could enter in order to protect the privacy of their guests.

Now, I only wish we had stopped in for a glass of wine, as my daughter and I did one evening at The Ritz; but that is another story, and I am well satisfied with my Crillon memories at the moment.  In fact, even ambling along the sidewalk in front of the hotel is quite an experience.  Elegantly uniformed livery men oversee a stable of sleek, black vehicles, every ready to spring into action for in-or outbound guests.  A stately tall black man leaves the hotel in what appears to be the attire of African royalty.  There is an indescribable hum of service and wealth and privilege that is interesting to see, a window on a world most of us do not encounter … on a regular basis.

Enjoy the big and little moments of your life.  And, as they say, “act as if” and perhaps you will be welcomed into otherwise hallowed ground!

We’d love to hear from you!

swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Share

Île Saint-Louis Homes and Rentals

Paris mansions

Hotel Lambert at the tip of Ile Saint-Louis

Last time we were in Paris, we stayed for a week in a charming vacation rental on Île Saint-Louis.  Other than the sometimes grueling climb up four flights of stairs, we were absolutely enchanted to enjoy our residence on one of our favorite places on earth!

BUT that is also when we first heard that, “The island has changed.  So many foreigners have bought property here, and it no longer feels authentic.”  Well, I’m sure I’ve paraphrased somewhat, but the key thought remains the same – the long famous and revered Île Saint-Louis doesn’t feel so French anymore.  I hasten to add that we do not share that sentiment, perhaps because we are blinded by the island’s charms!

Mind you, if we had the ‘spare change’ to buy property on l’île, we would jump at the chance; but we also would spend lots of time there.  Recent studies show that many foreigners, including Americans, have gradually driven out less well-off Parisian residents; and the second-home nature of their ownership and brevity of visits has had a negative impact on neighborhood shops and local schools.  Authors of the study indicate that this district is the only one in Paris that is losing inhabitants.  Given the French love of heritage, home and history; you can imagine how this ownership transfer has been received.

Those tensions resulted in quite a clash between historic and new residents, between architectural designers and cultural protectors.  A Qatari prince purchased one of the island’s most beautiful, historic and revered buildings – Hotel Lambert.  Once home to Chopin and Voltaire not to mention the Rothschild family, the 17th century mansion contains many artistic treasures, including priceless frescoes by artist Eustache Le Sueur created around 1652.

Paris france landmarks

Hercules Gallery at Hotel Lambert

As if the drastic structural changes anticipated by the prince were not enough, a significant fire broke out in 2013 and caused the rooftop to collapse and destroy the Le Sueur designs.  Part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, the building was empty and undergoing the controversial renovations.

Nonetheless legal actions still are underway to assure that changes to the famous building are in line with historical dictates.  One heritage architect specialist went so far as to describe the proposed changes as “a monstrosity with the aesthetics of a James Bond villa”.  Parfait!

The hotel was originally designed and built for the personal secretary – Lambert de Thorigny – of King Louis XIII.  Voltaire was said to have courted his mistress, the marquise du Châtelet, at the Hôtel Lambert; and prior to being sold in 1975 to the Rothschild banking family, noteworthy visitors included Chopin and Balzac.

Perhaps on a more positive note, it seems that many of those owners of second homes in Paris want to blend in, opting for traditions like visiting the local boulanger for bread and La Presse for the daily newspaper.  It is, in fact, that village feeling that so many of us seek, when we arrange our vacation rentals in the City of Light.

If you have always opted for hotel stays in Paris, we highly recommend the more authentic and cost-effective vacation rental.  You still may eat out as often as you wish, but that morning cup of coffee in your own apartment is quite nice!

We’d love to hear from you!

swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Share

Historic & Enchanting Provence

Historic Provence chateau

Château des Baux de Provence – ©C. Recoura

Tucked away on a rocky outcropping in the foothills of the Alpilles mountains, Château des Baux de Provence is a centuries old historic sent poised above the dramatic valleys of Provence. More than 20 years ago, the District of Les Baux-de-Provence called upon the expertise of Culturespaces to develop and manage this cultural and historic gem. Their efforts have been so successful that Château des Baux is now second only to the Papal Palace of Avignon as the most visited monument in the PACA region.

Towering over the village, the site of the Castle of les Baux de Provence is listed as a Historic Monument and offers visitors stunning views of the whole region – views that offer insight into the strategic location of this embattled area. Dramatic ruins, buildings and war relics trace the storied history of this region, where conflict was as common as the Mistral winds that sweep the area.

Overlooking Alpilles mtns.

Château des Baux de Provence – ©C. Recoura

Across from the cemetery that overlooks the Val d’Enfer (Hell Valley), the Chapel of Saint Blaise, for example, is a quaint 12th-century edifice built by the guild of wool carders and cloth weavers. Famous Provencal painter Yves Bayer and poet André Suarès have their final resting place in the cemetery.

Beyond managing this magnificent site, Culturespaces has wisely partnered with local hotels and restaurants to suggest every convenience for interested visitors. One of our favorites is the hotel Mas de l’Oulivié just 2 kilometers from the village of les BAUX DE PROVENCE, one of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France”.

The charming 4-star hotel is the ideal ‘home away from home’ from which to explore the beautiful landscape, architectural heritage and historic sites of the area. An intimate hotel, there are only 25 exceptional rooms and 2 suites, each designed to provide its own character and special views to the countryside or landscaped garden. Set in an olive grove, the garden has more than 120 species of trees as well as a landscaped swimming pool tucked into a rocky, natural setting.

Beyond historic sightseeing, visitors can choose from cycling and horseback riding, golf and shopping in local markets. Naturally local olive oil is a favorite purchase!

 

We’d love to hear from you!  swsheridan@luxeeuro.com Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Golf Retreat in the Dordogne

Dordogne luxury retreat

Château des Vigiers golf retreat

Near Bordeaux and Saint-Emilion, the 16th century Château des Vigiers is an appealing golf retreat – a blend of classic and contemporary.  The 4-star Château is regal, set like a Grand Dame in the undulating Dordogne landscape with a spectacular 27-hole golf course.   The beautifully restored centerpiece and resort have been designated one of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World”.

A little side note is interesting.  I know France hasn’t much of a golfing tradition.  Perhaps, with so much beauty, culture, history and “je ne sais quoi”, they simply haven’t the time or desire to chase a little white ball around grassy knolls.  But there was one notable French golfer who made history more for his loss than Paul Lawrie’s win at the British Open at Carnoustie.  In a virtual bow to the theme of the movie “Tin Cup”, in 1999 Frenchman Jean Van de Velde stepped to the 18thtee with a healthy 6-stroke lead. To make a long story short, he made one bad decision after another, spending twenty excruciating minutes working his way in and out of the barns and water.  Though his triple-bogey took him into the playoff, he would not walk away with the Claret Jug.  An interesting story, but let’s get back to our golf escape.

You will enjoy distinct room choices, from a classic Chateau room to spacious patio wing rooms with your own terrace overlooking the gardens or golf course.  All rooms are beautifully furnished with every comfort.  And you can cap off your round of golf with a visit to the beauty and spa centre.  After enjoying a leisurely lunch, by all means explore Saint-Emilion and local vineyards.

4-star luxury hotel, France

Golfside dining

At day’s end, dine “al fresco” on the scenic terrace overlooking the lake, while the wine steward uncorks your favorite rosé from the wine cellar.  Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?

We’d love to hear from you!  swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Basque Luxury – Saint Jean-de-Luz

Down in Basque country in southwestern France, everything from the language to the regional cuisine is decidedly unique. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a happy, sauntering kind of village of about 15,000, a lovely retreat to visit.

Imagine a relaxing “Cote Basque” seaside and lively fishing port with medieval, Moorish and Spanish influence; and you’ll begin to envision the charming resort. On the Bay of Biscay, almost as far south as you can go in France without entering Spain, the town sports a blend of Spain’s Andalusia and Basque building styles – definitely the prototypical “Old World” charm.

Consider a luxurious getaway at Le Parc Victoria , when you plan your visit. A member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux, the hotel is just minutes from the beach and offers a sheltered 19th century setting from which to explore the village.

The enticing beach offers a bit of everything – boutique shopping and sporty surf shops, casino, hearty Basque dining, brightly-colored fishing boats and plentiful sun for beach worshippers. The village is on the bank of the river Nivelle; and the port is on the estuary, just short of the point where the river joins the ocean.

St.-Jean-de-Luz Beach

Begin your discovery ‘tour’ at Place Louis XIV – the main village square. The King married Marie-Therese here in 1660, thus uniting Europe’s then two most powerful countries. The Eglise St. Jean-Baptiste is the one notable historic attraction in the town. On Place Louis-XIV, visit Maison Adam, the confectioner who has satisfied many a sweet tooth since 1660, specializing in the flavor of almonds, caramels and fruit confits. Indulge in shopping along pedestrian rue Gambetta for leather goods, brightly-colored Basque textiles, mouth-watering chocolates and macaroons.

But there’s far more to the exceptional Basque cuisine than sweets. The Basque gastronomy pulls from the land and sea, from French and Spanish cuisine. Fresh seasonal ingredients and simple, home-style cooking techniques produce Basque pumpkin soup, wild mushroom omelets, ewe’s milk cheese spread, grilled fish and Basque tapas.

One of your daily pleasures should be a walk at sunset along the promenade. When you look over the calming waters of the Atlantic, you won’t quite believe that this port once was a center for privateers. Today it is pleasure, not pirates, that attracts vacationers to set aside the daily routine for a restful stay by the ocean.

We’d love to hear from you! swsheridan@luxeeuro.com
Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Share

Sweet Luxury at La Bonne Étape

Provence Luxury lodging

La Bonne Étape – balcony views

I have a new mind ‘game’ for those nights, when sleep is a fighting proposition instead of an easy transition from wakefulness to sweet dreams.  I’ve never been a sheep counter.

Lately, though, I comb through my memories for beautiful views … from patios and courtyards to balconies and seaside overlooks. And instead of fretting about things left undone or chores for the morrow, I am lost somewhere in France … and then sleep settles in and feels welcome.

Perhaps that’s just one of many reasons I am taken with La Bonne Étape. One of their delightful descriptives – “Cosy corners for your sweet dreams” tells me they understand my search for beautiful sights and peaceful sleep.

The lovely 4-star Relais & Chateaux post house dates to the 17th century and has been carefully looked after by generations of the Gleize family. Jany Gleize is the current proprietor – Chef de Cuisine and Maître de Maison.

His personal touch permeates La Bonne Étape from the charming, lacy balconies and almond-green shutters to a kitchen that pours forth the Provencal recipes of his grandmother, Gabrielle. I always research places we visit and write about, and I was most impressed with what I found on TripAdvisor.

Each comment by a guest of La Bonne Étape was responded to – in detail – by Jany. That is the sign of one who pays attention, who cares enough to make things perfect for guests – though doubtless we all know there are some folks who cannot be satisfied!

Each room is uniquely situated and decorated to exude its own character and comforts. Some rooms overlook the organic garden; others offer a view of the pool or the rolling landscape of Chemin du Lac. More elaborate first-floor rooms offer inviting private terraces, and all accommodations include modern comforts – air conditioning, Wi-Fi, en-suite baths and satellite television. In all, La Bonne Étape offers 18 rooms and suites in a delightful boutique hotel atmosphere in the countryside of Provence.

Jany presides over two enticing restaurants, where le Chef produces exceptional regional classics from local herbs and produce and his own kitchen garden to enjoy in the more upscale La Bonne Étape or in the more simplified Au Goût du Jour.

Within easy reach, you can discover the sunlit wonders of Provence – the stunning Gorge du Verdon canyons and winding river, countryside biking or rounds of golf, a visit to the Citadelle de Sisteron. Take in the local markets or search out antique shops. Picnic by the gorge or horseback ride along the rolling landscape. No two days need be alike in this magnificent area of France.

We’d love to hear from you! swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Share

French Gift of Pure Luxury

Le Bernard Loiseau in Burgundy Franche Comte

Le Bernard Loiseau Relais & Chateaux Property

Naturally,  you can count on an elite organization like Relais & Châteaux to assemble a French gift of pure luxury. Drawing on their many superior lodgings and gourmet restaurants, the organization presents very enticing “Gift Box” offers.

The “A la Carte Dream” for two includes either one weekend night or two weekday nights in a double room, a three-course dinner for 2 (sans drinks) and 2 breakfasts to be enjoyed from Sunday to Thursday at one of their 127 global properties.

I can’t imagine a more memorable gift, one that combines comfort and relaxation with refined hospitality.  The range of R & C properties is nothing less than spectacular, as you can easily understand from a couple of profiles.

Step off a little side street at the peak of the Provencal village of Castillon-du-Gard into a world of handsome Renaissance architecture and panoramic views. Le Vieux Castillon hotel and restaurant blends sun-drenched cuisine, refined decor and unparalleled hospitality for that oh-so-ideal sojourn in Provence.

And in the Burgundy region, it is Le Relais Bernard Loiseau that provides a spectacular welcome. Tucked away in the village of Saulieu, the cuisine is a top attraction as is the historical breakfast room and the sumptuous lounges and guest rooms.

In every sense, your Relais and Château selection guarantees an experience that imprints luxurious memories for all the days to come. Other gift selections are available and are beautifully boxed and presented with a copy of the Relais and Châteaux Guide.

We’d love to hear from you!

swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2013, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Share

Les Prés d’Eugénie – Aquitaine

One of three Guerard dining choices Aquitaine France

One of three dining choices

If we can no longer continue to invent and as a result find pleasure in our creativity, then we must ask why.”

—Chef Michel Guérard

Introducing a phenomenal property today, bienvenue to the charming village of Eugenie-les-Bains in southwest France and to the incredibly refined Les Prés d’Eugénie.  One of the prestigious properties of the Relais & Châteaux Association, Michel Guerard’s accommodations could be described as a gated enclave in a serene setting just steps from a village that could as easily be part of that pristine principality of Monaco.

Their own signature description is an “echo of colonial India”, and it is accurate – refined, elegant, a mix of antique furnishings and original paintings within a tasteful setting.  Every single element seems designed to inspire warm hospitality in this Landes department in Aquitaine.

Monsieur Guérard’s story and his success are apropos and interesting.  Early on a celebrated French chef, Michel and his wife, Christine, bought the existing chateau and property in the early 1970’s with the thought of creating an ideal south-of-France experience.  Such was the birth of Eugenie-les-Bains and Les Prés d’Eugénie, a retreat with beautiful, lush grounds, a relaxing spa and a country restaurant – Fermes aux Grives.

Chef Michel masters his style of cooking, one of the first of the nouveau cuisine that blends the bounty of the area with the artistry of the chef.  One might expect a lofty air from such a property, but no – warmth and courtesy abound.  You can enjoy a bike ride in the country or a Michel bottle of wine on your own garden-oriented terrace.  In no time, you can visit glamorous Biarritz on the Atlantic or cross the Pyrenees to San Sebastian.

My ‘bucket list’ definitely includes a visit with Michel and Christine!

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Beaumontois en Périgord

France Dordogne

Beaumontois en Périgord

Today we have a combination of amusement and revelation in recommending a sparkling little jewel in Dordogne.  First, there is the lovely old bastide town of Beaumont du Périgord in southern Dordogne.

On the humorous side, I admit to being unaware of the ville’s existence, until my Parisian friend sent me Julia Stuart’s first novel, the Matchmaker of Périgord.  Stuart’s novel is the fictional side of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence, in which she captures so many of the endearing (and not so) idiosyncrasies of provincial French in the story of the barber turned matchmaker.

So that is the amusing side of our introduction to the old mill town, but we move along now to make your acquaintance with an historic ‘mill house’ that proves you needn’t boast five stars to offer charm, warmth and refined but ‘home-like’ lodging.

Given the owner’s talents and passions, none of that hospitality and grace is surprising at Moulin de la Ville Beaumont du Périgord.  Your hosts combine the professional interior design of Sue with the Michelin Star master craftsmanship of Chef Steve.  Is it any wonder that the resulting Chambre & Table d’hôte is infused with their inspired talent?

Dordogne FR

Chateau in the Dordogne region

Less than a quarter mile from the center of the village, the old mill and house combine delicate and thorough restoration, contemporary comforts and historic Moulin features in an appealing streamside country retreat.  Breakfast on the verandah?  Mais oui!  A visit to the night market?  De rigueur!

The medieval bastide town and surrounding countryside invite you to explore and absorb the scenic treasures, history and hospitality of southern Dordogne.

Do not take our modest word for it, but do take the time to visit their site.  Like us, we think you will find that a peaceful retreat, exceptional hospitality and fresh, gourmet meals are not the sole province of sophisticated star-bedecked lodging.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Théoule sur Mer Retreat

Mediterranean France

Theoule’s stunning views!

We are particularly fond of smaller hotels with charming French architecture, so we definitely want to add the appealing 5-star Yaktsa Tiara Hotel to our wish list! The location along the French Riviera.  The limited 21 rooms and suites.  The serene Moroccan-Asian influence.  In fact subtlety exudes from the more intimate Théoule sur Mer location, well away from the glitzier Cannes and Saint-Tropez destinations.

As any of us would expect of a 5-star hotel, Yaktsa Tiara features stellar service, extraordinary views of the rugged, red-rock shoreline of the Riviera, spa services and comfortable rooms opening to private balconies and patios.

The hospitable staff is ready to help you plan outings to the many beautiful sights in the area (Cannes is just a 20-minute drive).  One suggestion they will undoubtedly make  – lunch at L’Aguille overlooking the Bay of Cannes.

theoule-sur-mer

Theoule sur Mer beach

We have some gorgeous beaches in Florida, but I have no difficulty imagining our wrapping up in our own discreet world at the end of the day.  Perhaps we would wake to a swim in the pool or a good read in the poolside, umbrella-covered daybeds.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Why Visit Montreal in New France?

Montreal - New France

Lovely Queen Elizabeth views over Montreal

A line in one of my favorite movies, Shirley Valentine, reminds me of my initial reaction to Montréal.  Shirley said, “What am I to do with all these feelings?” Even in contemplating what to share in this post, I don’t know where to begin.

Montréal is very much a part of France – “New France”, that is.  This cosmopolitan city is a stunning mix of old world charm and chic contemporary, village warmth and metropolitan excitement. And, keep in mind that Montréal is the second largest French-speaking city in the world. One guess as to the first!

Perhaps some of my lasting impressions might prompt your first …. Or 12th visit!  First, The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel –  so grand, so comfortable, so delightfully perched above the rail system and a maze of tunnels and shops. When frigid arctic air rests over Montréal; you can shop, dine and explore the city in the weather-protected underground labyrinth.

Montreal New France

Old Montreal’s boutique restaurants

From the moment this luxury hotel opened in 1958, royalty and robust international business leaders have been enthusiastic guests.  During our delightful stays, we appreciated the distinctive guests that had gone before us – the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, General Charles de Gaulle, Jacques Chirac, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama ….  Louis Malle also enjoyed the comforts of the QE, as did John Lennon, who held his famous ‘bed-in’ in 1969 in Suite 1742, where the song Give Peace a Chance was written and recorded.

Vieux Montréal’s cobblestone streets encouraged us to wander here and there, into shops with Inuit carvings and ornate Indian dolls, artisan figurines and gorgeous textiles. Much as we would in Paris, we stop to watch a while over coffee on a café terrace. Dinner along Place Jacques-Cartier is warm and intimate, tucked up against thick stone walls with fire-warmed hearths. And horse-drawn carriages simply tipped my mind backwards to what life must have been in days past.

Perhaps Montréal had the perfect upbringing from the city’s initial 17th-century founding as Ville-Marie. The site of Old Montréal was fortified and under French control until the mid-18th century. The British arrived – still very much a source of contention today – but the Ville evolved to a bourgeois city, as a political and commercial center of Upper and Lower Canada.

Today, Montréal combines Victorian showcase architecture with sleek, contemporary designs. With a reverence for heritage and an embrace of innovation, the highly multicultural city demonstrates her personality across cuisines and festivals, shops and creativity, in haute fashion and traditional Canadian lore.

I haven’t even touched upon McGill University, where my grandfather was an engineering student in the early 1900’s, or Mont Royal or the Saint Lawrence River. More… later.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Corsican Luxury Resort – Calvi

Corsica France

Villa Calvi, Corsica

Today the spotlight is on a dreamy Corsican resort on the port of Calvi.  The five-star Hotel La Villa is poised between the mountains and the Mediterranean with spectacular views of the sea.  The Villa’s Chef – Sébastien Sevellec – has earned the prestigious “Rising Chef” award for his “…hymns to Corsica that this son of a fisherman has created, having worked at this property for 12 years now …”

The Villa’s extraordinary pleasures begin with stunning views of the bay, easily enjoyed by taking in one of the Chef’s savory menus at La Terrasse or one the other restaurant offerings at the resort.  Imagine a seaside lunch of poisson freshly caught in the bay of Calvi!

Established over fifty years ago, Relaix & Châteaux sets the standard for excellent hospitality in over 500 associated luxury hotels and gourmet restaurants throughout the world.  I particularly appreciate their emphasis on the genuine hospitality and uniquely authentic regional cultures and tastes their properties represent.

Whether you fancy an intimate Villa experience in Italy or an elegant Château in France, you will discover a world of pleasure for that very special holiday you plan.  We carry their directory with us when travelling, so we can discover unique restaurants or lodging, we would not otherwise have located … like Bernard Robin – Le Relais in the quaint village of Bracieux.

Wishing you a delightful Relais holiday or memorable gourmet meal!

We welcome your comments and recommendations!
We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Collioure 4-Star Seaside Resort

Collioure FR

Collioure – Le Relais de Trois Mas

“There is nowhere else in France a sky with a deeper blue than the sky of Collioure…”  HENRI MATISSE

Though the anchovies for which Collioure is known might not be enough for a draw for you, make no mistake that this charming seaside ville is well worth visiting.  Along the Côte Vermeille, the village lies where the Pyrenees plummet down to the Mediterranean.  The landscape is striking and varied – a mix of craggy cliffs and sun-drenched beaches, hilly vineyards and colorful villages.  Add a number of châteaux and castles, and you have a lovely, laid-back seaside venue with proud traditions of culture and heritage.

Long the inspiration of countless artists, even a style of painting was born here in the “City of Painters”.  With Henri Matisse’s vivid, untamed paintings, Fauvism came to life.   Artists still are drawn to the area, and art galleries and museums are plentiful.

French Mediterranean restaurants

Port side dining in Collioure

The area really is Catalonian, a blend of France and Spain, where the Spanish rhythm of life dictates late lunches and dinners.  The unparalleled choice of lodging is the 4-star “Le Relais des Trois Mas”, tucked along the bay facing the sea.  As one might suspect, the Mas enjoys spectacular scenic views and offers rooms beautifully decorated and named after painters who have visited Collioure.It’s the perfect place from which to explore the historic sites (such as the lovely Notre Dame des Anges), to enjoy the Catalan-influenced cuisine and to take in the tranquil Mediterranean beaches.

We welcome your recommendations and comments.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Hôtel Cour des Loges – Lyon – Bienvenue!

Lyon France

Cour des Loges lobby, Lyon

Nothing quite imprints the distinct feeling of history like staying in the former mansion of an Italian silk merchant. Tucked discreetly along the cobbled lanes of Vieux Lyon, Hôtel Cour des Loges offers exactly that experience. You feel as if the old merchant’s staff welcomes you, but alas – they are contemporary concierges well schooled in warm, refined hospitality (as you might expect of a 4-star luxury hotel).

Every glance through the hotel, from the arched reception and dining rooms to your own handsomely outfitted boudoir provides an agreeable blend of antique and contemporary. The hotel actually is a complex of 14th to 17th-century buildings that encircle a glass-covered courtyard.

After checking in, ask your concierge about nearby “traboules” to explore. The passageways first were used by workers in the silk industry and later by members of the Resistance to evade capture by the occupying Germans. They weave through the old city with a mystique of their own, hiding the stories of long ago.

Cour des Logees

Merci garcon! Parmesan hand scooped!

Our friend provided an after-dinner tour, pushing open a door here and there, that appeared to be the entrance to a home or apartment. We followed him along silent corridors, around corners and through other doors, only to exit a few streets away.And speaking of dinner, you will want to enjoy a memorable experience at the hotel’s Café-Épicerie, a restaurant that artfully mixes contemporary décor with stone walls, graceful arches and silk tapestries. Our excellent waiter guided our menu choices and scooped fresh parmesan from a large cheese wheel to accent our selections. The experience reminded us that dining is not eating.

After a restful night, head to the interior courtyard for a delicious breakfast buffet. We look around the upper and lower arches imagining the life of the original owner and his family in Renaissance France. You cannot fail to absorb the ancient life, the stories and history of this unique Lyon dwelling. The hotel serves as a wonderful anchor, after wandering up the hills and by the rivers of this remarkable city.

We welcome your comments and recommendations!
swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2005-2012, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Share

“Platinum” Cruises Through France

Tournon France cruise

Viking Cruises – Tournon

Do you know the movie The Bucket List?  Rob Reiner’s comedy stars none other than Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, two terminally-ill men, who take a last road trip to do all of those things they want to do before they ‘kick the bucket’.

VikingCruises

Serene riverside dining through France

Not to discourage any and all desires to fulfill, before the curtain falls; we have our own “Platinum Bucket”.  We would prefer to fill our bucket with Dom Pérignon Champagne and indulge in some extraordinary adventures in France.

Certainly one addition to the bucket would be a Viking River Cruise through France – either the short version from Paris through Normandy or the indulgent 15-day excursion that extends your initial trip to Avignon, Arles and beyond.  Accolades for the Viking cruises are plentiful, and they have a number of French and European cruise choices available to discerning travelers.

Cruise Critic Editors chose Viking River Cruises Longship as the Best New River Ship in 2012. With six new longships recently launched, Viking has exceeded high expectations with state-of-the-art engineering, balcony cabins, suites and expansive, atrium-style common areas.  They have applied their more than 175 years of experience to provide carefully-planned itineraries on extraordinarily comfortable ships. Viking crews pride themselves in providing the kind of personal attention that makes your cruise equally comfortable and exciting. National Geographic even features Viking in their The 10 Best of Everything awards.

We prefer the “Platinum” route, so we choose the combo cruise that runs the length of France. Viking combines their abbreviated Normandy adventure with a cruise through the southern regions of Burgundy and Provence.  With visits to Avignon, Arles and Lyon and many points between, can you imagine a more delightful itinerary? Touches of Monet and Van Gogh. Cuisines of Lyon and Avignon. Cobblestone streets and soaring Gothic architecture. And the magnificent sights of Paris need no description.

Viking Cruises France

State-of-the-art Cruise Ships

A ‘thumbnail sketch’ may inspire you to explore the possibilities for yourself. Imagine a comfortable, spacious stateroom with your own balcony. Expansive sun decks offer 360-degree views, as do observation lounges and bars with panoramic windows. Wireless internet service, boutique, library – they’ve thought of every comfort and convenience to spoil you.

Talented chefs labor to provide a mix of fresh, seasonal local vegetables, regional specialties and menus adapted to your tastes. From pleasant and complete breakfast choices to your five-course dinners, you will be well nourished for active days and pleasant evenings.

Your itinerary takes you from Avignon to Arles, from Romanesque ruins to wine tastings at Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Tournon, Vienne and Lyon stimulate the senses and the imagination. A visit to Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy, offers wine tasting that takes on an entirely new experience in the famous cellars. After a night docked in Chalon-sur-Saône, you will ride through Dijon to Paris; where you board your second ship, after stimulating city and museum tours.

Visit the comprehensive website of Viking Cruises to learn more about this and other cruises through France.  We think you will agree that this adventure belongs on your Platinum Bucket list!

We welcome your comments and recommendations.

swsheridan@luxeeuro.com
Copyright © 2005-2014, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

Share

Four Classic Bordeaux Properties

Stunning window - Bordeaux france

Chateau Grand Barrail

All 5-star rated by the prestigious Five-Star Alliance of exceptional hotel properties in France, keep these four Bordeaux properties top of mind.

Rated among the “Best Travel Web Sites” by The London Times, Five Star Alliance remains focused on   appropriate luxury properties for business and pleasure travelers.  Not only does the organization hand-pick hotels, they manage to leverage their influence to secure advantageous rates.  Offering the highest levels of 24/7 service, Five-Star takes extra precautions to assure safeguarding clients’ privacy and security.

Four exceptional choices in and around Bordeaux include a mix of large and small property choices in a variety of settings and styles.

Hotel Château Grand Barrail, for example, is a 19th century Château set in the heart of stunning vineyards in Saint Emilion, arguably one of the world’s most famous wine regions.  In a mix of traditional manor splendor and modern comforts and amenities, the Grand Barrail offers you a choice of 33 rooms and 9 suites.

Bordeaux France

Serene and elegant Chateau Mirambeau

Of a similar size and taste, Château De Mirambeau includes 23 rooms and suites between Bordeaux and Mirambeau.  The Renaissance-style castle is the magnetic jewel at the heart of a lovely park, where indoor and outdoor pools and two tennis courts keep guests active.  Within the sumptuous chateau, the deft combination of elegant fabrics, furnishings and crystal chandeliers evoke a grand era and the quintessential ‘art de vivre à la Française’.  One captivating highlight is the Cognathèque, a relaxing room wholly devoted to wine and cognac tastings.  And what better region to reveal the treasures of the vineyards?

The Regent Grand Hotel Bordeaux

Bordeaux grandeur!

The Grand Hotel Bordeaux provides a city experience in the heart of Bordeaux, where stimulating shopping, dining and recreational options … include, but are not limited to, visits to popular wineries. The ‘haute’ re-design of their 150 rooms and 22 suites includes such five-star amenities as a Bose® wave music system and high-speed, wireless Internet access.  Naturally, you needn’t ever set foot from the hotel, as on-site gourmet restaurants and relaxing spa treatments are perfectly capable of meeting every guest’s desire and preference.

Finally, Five Star highly recommends yet another variant in luxury Bordeaux region properties.  The Relais De Margaux is a 4-star Deluxe Hotel with 100 guest rooms and expansive outdoor amenities – swimming pool, tennis court, volley-ball pitch, a Par 71 18-hole golf course and quite an enchanting private harbor. And did we mention gastronomic dining choices and terraces with panoramic views of the Gironde estuary?

We welcome your comments and suggestions.

swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2005-2013, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Share

Corsican Resort in Calvi

Corsica France luxury

Corsican resort views – Hotel La Villa

Poised between the mountains and the Mediterranean, the five-star Hotel La Villa launches your holiday experience with spectacular views of the sea. Just last year the prominent Relais & Châteaux group honored La Villa and its gourmet chef as a “rising star” that has joined the exclusive group of luxury hotels and restaurants.

The Villa’s Chef – Sébastien Sevellec – earned the prestigious “Rising Chef” award for his “…hymns to Corsica that this son of a fisherman has created, having worked at this property for 12 years now …” At the Villa stunning views of the bay serve as the very appealing backdrop to one of the Chef’s savory menus at La Terrasse – imagine a seaside lunch of poisson freshly caught in the bay of Calvi!

Established over fifty years ago, Relaix & Châteaux sets the standard for excellent hospitality in over 500 associated luxury hotels and gourmet restaurants throughout the world. We particularly appreciate their emphasis on the genuine hospitality and uniquely authentic regional cultures and tastes their properties represent.

French luxury resorts

La villa pool bar

We carry their directory with us when travelling; so we can discover unique restaurants or lodging, we would not otherwise have located … like Bernard Robin – Le Relais in the quaint village of Bracieux. Simply look up the region of your planned trip, and the directory will unveil multiple options for lodging and dining.Wishing you a delightful Relais holiday or memorable gourmet meal!

We welcome your comments and recommendations!

swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2005-2013, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Share

Golf Holiday in the Dordogne Region

Chateau luxury hotel, France

Golf holiday in the Dordogne

We have discovered just the right place to indulge your wish for an appealing golf retreat in the countryside of France.  Set in the Dordogne, near Bordeaux and Saint-Emilion, the 16th century Château des Vignes is an appealing blend of classic decor and contemporary comfort.

The 4-star Château is regal, set like a Grand Dame in the undulating landscape of a spectacular 27-hole golf course with special attention to the “natural” golf course design. The beautifully restored centerpiece and resort have been designated one of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World” and manage to perfectly combine golf, spa amenities and serene country views for your complete enjoyment.

A little side note is interesting. France hasn’t a strong golfing tradition. Perhaps, with so much beauty, culture, history and “je ne sais quoi”; they simply haven’t the time or desire to chase a little white ball around grassy knolls.

Dordogne France luxury hotel

Spa and Beauty Center

But there was one notable French golfer who made history more for his loss than Paul Lawrie’s win at the British Open at Carnoustie. In a virtual bow to the theme of the movie “Tin Cup”, in 1999 Frenchman Jean Van de Velde stepped to the 18th tee with a healthy 6-stroke lead. 

To make a long story short, he made one bad decision after another, spending twenty excruciating minutes working his way in and out of the and water rough terrain. Though his triple-bogey took him into the playoff, he would not walk away with the Claret Jug.  C’est la vie – let’s get back to our golf escape.

Comfortable rooms, exquisite views

Dordogne France

Chateau comfort and luxury

You have the choice of a classic Chateau room or one of the spacious patio wing rooms with your own terrace overlooking the gardens or golf course.  All rooms are beautifully furnished with every comfort and convenience. 

You will enjoy the appealing beauty and spa centre,  pleasant rounds of golf, leisurely lunches and perhaps a side trip to explore Saint-Emilion and local vineyards.At day’s end,  why not dine “al fresco” on the scenic terrace overlooking the lake, while the wine steward fetches your favorite Rosé from the wine cellar.  Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?

We welcome your comments and recommendations.

swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2005-2014, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

Lovely Aix-en-Provence Hotel

Elegant Aix en Provence retreats

Villa Gallici, Aix-en-Provence

Among our top four favorite cities in France, Aix-en-Provence definitely holds a treasured position.  We enjoyed everything about the city – the cuisine and seemingly endless dining choices, the fabulous flower and produce markets, the artistic niches and galleries around every corner, the fountains, the dynamic night life …. Yes, I could go on for quite some time, but shall I sum it up by adding that if it was good enough for Cézanne, it was good enough for us.

Provence, France

Elegant rooms, Villa Gallici

And we have an ideal recommendation for your visit – La Villa Gallici, a charming 22-room mansion  ideally set in a seven-acre hillside garden.  You will relish your Provençal room and private terrace with lovely period furnishings and welcoming toile fabrics, all perfectly suited to the 18th-century honey-colored manor.  Comfort, effortless style and the appeal of just-the-right-size hotel from which to explore Aix-en-Provence makes La Villa a wonderful choice.  And you are but a 15-minute walk from the leafy boulevard of Cours Mirabeau.

Provence, FR

Serene outdoor dining, Aix-en-Provence

 

Despite all of the unique Aix restaurants available, you will want to spend an evening ‘at home’ enjoying dinner on the terrace with a blend of Provençale,  French, Mediterranean dishes and appealing local wines.  Regional specialities range from la soupe au pistou (aioli, garlic and basil vegetable soup) to fougasse bread and calissons.

The engaging concierge will be happy to recommend side trips to the calanques at Cassis or the quaint villages that spread across the Luberon and Cote d’Azur regions.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved. 

Share

Idyllic Château in the Midi-Pyrénées

Elegant French retreats

Chateau de la Treyne

I am not an historian, but I understand the reasons for locating various Chateaux in France in strategic locations. Fortifications were extremely important to people threatened from within and without by enemies. But that’s not really my thinking, as I recommend an enchanting holiday in the country.

The desire for hunting and quiet retreats also drove the locations of chateaux and manors. One such place is the Relais & Chateaux-designated Château de la Treyne in the Midi-Pyrénées. Though the original Château’s history goes back, back, back to the religious wars and beyond, the delightful castle that greets visitors today is a wonderful blend of the authentic past with the imprint of today’s modern comforts and amenities.

Remarkable, Scenic Location

The 4-star lodging overhangs the Dordogne River, high on a cliff with magnificent views and French formal gardens – an oasis, it would seem, in the middle of nearly 300 acres of forested land. That alone calls to mind the retreats that served as ‘hunting lodges’ for French royalty.

Your hosts are Philippe and Stéphanie Gombert, who manage to mix warm hospitality and refined décor with an oasis of calm and quiet. Enjoy breakfast under ancient cedars or dine on the terrace overlooking the Dordogne. Naturally fine cuisine is a part of this unique establishment, where the Chef has tapped the goodness of local products and embellished them with his own creative genius.

French Chateau retreats

Stunning riverscape views – Dordogne

You can stay quite close to ‘home’ and enjoy leisurely garden walks, the outdoor heated pool, hiking and biking and canoeing along the river. You are in the “Land of Marvels”, between the Lot and Dordogne Rivers, and your accommodating hosts arrange themed sojourns to help you discover the rich land and many chateaux and villages in the region. You might even jog along the former cliff-side path of the Postman to enjoy scenic river sights.In a land so filled with quiet surprises and historic sites, it is no surprise that the Château de la Treyne is designated one of the “Grand Sites of Midi-Pyrénées”.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Share

La Vague d’Or – Saint Tropez

Saint Tropez

Saint Tropez

I suppose if they awarded ten Palme d’Ors for “Best Picture of the Year”, it would rather dilute the meaning. Either you’re the “best”, or you’re one of ten.

And so it is with the esteemed Michelin star system. If the etoiles were handed out like baubles in a Mardi Gras parade, few would pay attention.

Only one French restaurant in Saint Tropez added a third Michelin star to the 2013 guide to top restaurants in France. Chef Arnaud Donckele of La Vague d’Or is now one of only 27 restaurants in France to join the elite three-star club; and at 35, he is the youngest chef to hold that rating.

I suppose if one has to ply one’s trade, one might as well select the French Riviera as the place to do it. Imagine a mix of golden sun, seaside panoramas, parasol pines and passionate cuisine. The restaurant is located in Saint Tropez’s Résidence de la Pinède, where the chef’s fine touch focuses on Mediterranean cuisine with the abundant use of local vegetables and fruits.

My cooking tells my past, my region, my desires.

Our only aim is to give of our best, and during the process of learning

To be worthy of these products and the people who produced them. – Arnaud

La Pinede’s restaurant combines the highest quality ingredients with elegant attentive service – very much the tradition of the Delion family, owners of the esteemed resort. Dine, evenings only, in the refined restaurant or, during the summer, surrounded by umbrella pines on the lovely terrace overlooking the Gulf of Saint Tropez.

We welcome your comments and suggestions.

swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2005-2013, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Share

Luxury Stay at Les Prés d’Eugénie – France

Pres d'eugenie

Les pres d’Eugenie

We invariably trust the exacting standards of the Relais & Chateaux Association and its members, so we have no hesitancy in recommending a phenomenal property in the charming village of Eugenie-les Bains.  Located in southwest France, Les Prés d’Eugénie seems like a gated enclave just steps from a pristine but welcoming village.

Michel Guérard describes his accommodations as an “echo of colonial India”, one with a mix of antique furnishings and original paintings, tasteful accents and comfortable luxury.  Every room has a singular personality that ties sumptuous fabrics with handsome, burnished wood.  Imagine breakfast by your own warm fireplace and terrace views over the garden – parfait!

Accomplished ‘innkeepers’ have that perfect knack for hospitality that is gracious but not intrusive, helpful but not overwhelming.  Every element of Les Prés d’Eugénie works in harmony to offer guests an ideal retreat in the Landes department in Aquitaine.

If we can no longer continue to invent and as a result find pleasure in our creativity, then we must ask why.”  — Chef Michel Guérard

As you see, “Part II” of this particular Chateau ‘story’ revolves around the celebrated cuisine.  Chef Guerard’s well-deserved success is equally apropos and interesting.

While already an accomplished French chef; Michel and his wife, Christine, bought the existing château and property in the early 1970s with the thought of creating an ideal south-of-France experience.  Such was the birth of Eugenie-les-Bains and Les Prés d’Eugénie, a private world with beautiful, lush grounds, a relaxing spa and a country restaurant – Fermes aux Grives.

Chef Michel masters his style of cooking, one of the first of nouveau cuisine that blends the bounty of the area with the artistry of the chef.  One might expect a lofty air from such a property, but no – warmth and courtesy are quite the norm.  You may enjoy a bike ride in the country or a Michel bottle of wine on your own garden-oriented terrace.

We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Copyright © 2005-2012, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

Share

La Bastide Saint-Antoine – Grasse

Cote d'Azur France

La Bastide Saint-Antoine

Isn’t it time to reward yourself to 5-star luxury in the South of France?  Fluff your pillow, set your worries aside and prepare for a dream holiday.

From the heart of Grasse in the South of France, wind your way  up Avenue Henri Dunant, lined with grey stone walls and canopies of parasol pines, to La Bastide Saint-Antoine.  Set in the midst of lush Mediterranean vegetation, the 18th-century retreat welcomes you to pristine comfort overlooking the Bay of Cannes.  Naturally you can’t go wrong with a premiere Relais et Châteaux property, particularly with the perfect blend of the spirit of Provence and refined hospitality.

Enter your special room with antique furnishings, plush linens and your own fireplace; but expect every contemporary amenity needed and desired. “Bio Tea” in my room?  We wouldn’t otherwise consider this choice!

In all seriousness, we can’t imagine a more satisfying combination of tranquility and stimulation – the quiet hills and ancient olive trees, Provençal villages and sun-swept Mediterranean beaches of the Côte d’Azur.

Take in Antibes and Saint-Jean-Cap Ferrat. Discover perfumeries in Grasse and glass-making in Biot.  And see if you can arrange a round of golf at the historic Golf Country Club de Cannes-Mougins, founded in 1923 by the likes of Aga Khan, Prince Pierre of Monaco and Baron Edouard de Rothschild.

In between appealing journeys through the area, return to your country manor for gourmet meals on the terrace overlooking 1,000-year-old olive trees and the perfumed air of Provence.  Then cozy up to the lounge fireplace for an after-dinner drink.   You might even challenge fellow guests to a rousing game of petanque on the boules court near the kitchen garden.

We’d love to hear from you! swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2005-2013, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Share

Hôtel d’Europe – Avignon

Avignon 5-star accommodations

Chambre at Hotel d’Europe in Avignon

We’ve found the ideal lodging for a long weekend in Avignon, one of our favorite ancient, walled cities. We happened to be there during the peak of the summer festival, so a calmer weekend in May will be ideal for really enjoying this historic city.

The long list of positive referrals points us to Hôtel d’Europe  for an enticingly comfortable stay. Built as his residence by the Marquis de Graveson in 1580, this lovely five-star hotel enjoys a spectacular setting on one of Avignon’s most beautiful squares. In 1799 the Pierron’s founded the hotel, and in a testament to its fine lineage, Hotel Europe is the only Avignon hotel that appeared in Michelin’s first Guide in 1900.

We’re very much inclined toward mid-sized accommodations, as large hotels seem overwhelming and small gites a little too cozy. With 39 rooms and 5 suites, Hôtel d’Europe applies that deft French touch in low key elegance throughout the common (and not so ‘common’!) areas and spacious, beautifully-appointed guest rooms.

Hotel D'Europe Avignon

Fine cuisine to match the hospitality!

Seasoned travelers in France know well, though, that décor and amenities can quickly be sullied with poor, haughty service.  Not so at this hotel, where welcoming staff help you plan your days of exploring the historic city or the renowned Luberon countryside and welcome your return with a glass of wine at the handsome bar.We’d love to hear from you! swsheridan@luxeeuro.com

Copyright © 2005-2013, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

Share

LuxeEuro
Assign a menu in the Right Menu options.