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

Refreshing Lake Annecy Retreat

Annecy France

Gorgeous lakeside views from the Abbaye de Talloires

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.

Annecy France

Appealing rooms with panoramic views

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.

Annecy France

Can you imagine a relaxing French-style lunch by the lake? I can!!!

We’d love to hear from you!

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

And don’t forget – my book Fired Up for France:  The Promise of Paris – now available in E-book (pdf) and print!

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

Stay at Le Château de Chambord!

Chateau Chambord, France

Chambord’s chapel in the Loire Valley

South of Blois in the Loire Valley, the 18th-century Château de Chambord rises at the heart of over 5,000 hectares (12,000+ acres) of ancient forest.  Chambord was the personal chateau and hunting sanctuary of King Francois I, and today is the largest enclosed forest park in Europe.

Our first encounter with Chambord destined our return.  We attended the light show —  “les clairs de lune de Chambord” — a fantasy light show production created to recall the hunting of deer and boar, fox and pheasant by guests of King Francois.  We arrived shortly before sunset to stroll through the grounds surrounding the Château.  Couples shared ice cream or light snacks under an outdoor arbor.  Others dined on the patio of a hotel restaurant.

Wait – hotel?  There is actually a quaint hotel overlooking this magnificent chateau?  With little hope that it would be affordable or available for the one night we would have between gite rentals, we had to check.  When we were able to book a room at a reasonable $75 rate, we felt as if the king himself had invited us to his retreat!

Francois I chateau, Loire Valley

Chateau de Chambord

Prior to the show, we watched families gather on the lawn with children, couples take to rowboats to enjoy an end-of-day outing.  France bestows these blessings on a public entranced by history and tradition.  Chambord’s information pamphlet reinforces this gift:

“It is to the passion of Francois I for hunting, that we owe the existence of Chambord, designed both as a meeting place and a belvedere for observing the hunt.”

Alas, when we returned a few days later,  Francois was not on hand to greet us.  Still, we wandered the grounds and imagined the privileged guests and game hunting of 300 years past.  Visitors biked and hiked through the many lanes that lace through the forest.  Others gathered for the equestrian and falcon shows.

This night, we would see the light show from our dining table on the terrace.  Indeed, with our exceptional bottle of local Vouvray and delicious French fare, we felt like guests of the king!  When the park closed, only the hotel guests and Château staff shared this enormous sanctuary.  Chambord remains a national hunting reserve and home to an abundance of wild creatures that roam free.  No, we didn’t encounter a graceful stag or menacing boar, but the crisp night sky offered us millions of stars to illuminate our stay.
We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2017, 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

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

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

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

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

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

A Weekend at a Château near Blois

Blois-Chateau

Chateau Nanteuil near Blois

We took the train from Paris to Blois, quietly traversing the flat, fertile countryside and miles of vivid yellow rapeseed fields.  Friends told us about a quaint Château near Blois, so we planned a weekend getaway and off we went.

We explore a bit in Blois, before picking up our rental car.  We walk through medieval streets, handsome windows hung with scenes on lace and ornate doors bidding welcome.

After picking up the car, we thread through roundabouts and over bridges to make our way to our 18th-century Château De Nanteuil overlooking the petite River Cosson.  Our host, Frédéric Théry, welcomes us and sits for a chat over café au lait and a delicious île flottante  dessert (floating island).  Frédéric’s English grandfather – a Trinity College Cambridge gent – purchased the Château in the early 1900’s.  Frédéric has never been to America; and we have the feeling, he neither feels deprived nor in need of going.

Following his recommendations, we visit Brassieux, driving through forested lanes and age-old villages, past Loire Châteaux and stone-walled cottages to arrive in the petite commune.  We wander a bit and discover an antiquaire, where we ring a bell and are welcomed by the shop keeper.  Her store is filled with silver and pewter, bits of lace and lamps, books and lanterns and china.  We pick two treasures – a 50-year-old yellow Quimper plate and an authentic pigeon oil lamp and return to our weekend ‘home’.

Le Château is both grand and ‘unfinished’, with many touches of charm but no defined décor.  Our room overlooks the garden and river, with an enormous bath, eight-foot doors, a fireplace, but no television nor phone (no problem!), stationery package or tiny bottled shampoo – definitely not a Comfort Inn for which we are grateful.

A fire in the dining room greets us, and within minutes, we are enjoying a glass of red wine, soon to be followed by a feast of lapin (rabbit), soup and an enormous crème brûlée.  A large family and a couple of other smaller parties had arrived, and we tried to figure out the mothers, fathers, couples – who are they at this large table presided over with discretion and charm by a happy, bifocaled gran père?

Another great adventure is coming to a close, while our anticipation of the next already grows.

 

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

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

Share

Discover Haute-Savoie Gîtes & Lodging

Chinaillon France

Hearty mountain cuisine in the Alps

Sometimes we are so fickle in cherry-picking our favorite memories and places or in evaluating what we might have done differently in traveling through France.  Annecy is just one example of an incredibly charming lakeside city, in which we wish we had spent more time…like settling in for a week of exploring the Alpine countryside.

C’est la vie – after a day and a night, we sought out the local office of the Gîtes de France for help in reserving a room in the area.  If you are not familiar with the organization, the Gîtes de France developed the first European network of ‘homestay’ accommodations and celebrated 50 years of service in 2005.  They focus on rural areas and promote hospitable and comfortable tourist stays.  Their latest count of offerings was 43,000 French homesteads that open their unique homes to welcome tourists.

Alpine France

Gorgeous Alpine villages near Chinaillon

The GDF helped us to reserve a charming room in the little village of Chinaillon, just up the road … or mountain from Annecy.  Though we vowed to return to that gorgeous city, the Alpine countryside began to weave its’ spell around us.A couple of roosters welcomed us in our ‘car park’, and a few hikers passed by on trails up the hillside looming behind our gîte.  The owners – Isabelle and Jean Louis – were very pleasant, and each morning we joined with other guests (5 or 6) for a nice breakfast, before taking to the local roads to explore.

Over a three-day period, we simply wandered … along winding roads that rose to offer spectacular, flower-framed views, before dropping down into one charming village after another … through artisan hamlets and chapel-centered bourgs… over to the Mont Blanc tunnel, where we emerged in Aosta, Italy and wound our way back to our little village for a warm café meal.

When you plan your adventures in France, we heartily recommend you stay a bit in the Haute-Savoie region.  For all of the other benefits, surely the Savoyard cuisine and famous regional Reblochon cheese will reward your decision for all time!

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

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

Share

Bed & Breakfast in France

Pyrenees

Castell Rose Bed & Breakfast

Just one of the benefits we try to offer through LuxeEuro is locating and evaluating helpful travel resources. We recently encountered a new website that focuses on Bed and Breakfast accommodations in France.

After spending way too much time combing through Samedi Midi – The Best Bed and Breakfast France, we think it has some very nice attributes to assist your lodging hunt.

At the top of the list are the well-organized categories. Many, like us, seek different travel experiences, mixing up city sojourns with lazy, out-of-the-way ‘lost weekends’. We often scale back the budget in one location to help underwrite a more lavish encounter in the next.

Lovely mountain views

Lovely mountain views

Samedi serves two purposes quite well – offering a central promotional site for bed and breakfast and guest houses and an informational resource for travelers in search of unique accommodations. Since 1982, the organization has organized lodgings into 14 themed paperback guidebooks, sorted by French regions, by lifestyle choices, by city and village, by luxury and gastronomy – you name it, and you have a host of choices to meet your particular desire.

From Provence to the Pyrénées and from Brittany to Burgundy, Samedi Midi has pulled together some exceptional lodging selections. We’ll leave it to you to wander through their site, but here is just one example that appealed to us – from Bed and Breakfasts in the Most Beautiful Villages in France.

Tucked away in the small village of Prades in the South of France, Castell Rose is one of those ideal ‘home away from home’ choices. Pleasant hospitality combines with very comfortable room selections and exceptional views. For the traveler on the go, the well-equipped laundry and notebook computer are welcome amenities. Though the lovely garden setting allows genuine tranquility, the town of Prades is an easy, ten-minute walk; and four of the regions “Most Beautiful Villages” are within a few kilometers.

You can mix a day of poolside lounging or reading a book under the lime tree with a day of exploration – horseback riding around the Pyrénées near the Canigou, sacred mountain of the Catalans, or discovering churches and priories like the stunning Romanesque Marcevol. Another day you might visit the beautiful village of Mosset, that is reminiscent of Gordes, poised on a hilltop overlooking the valley. All of those lovely mountain and village experiences are just 25 minutes from Perpignan.

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.