THE CHAMPAGNE EXPERIENCE – THE REGION AND ITS PLEASURES

Just a small selection of great Champagnes! Photo, iO.wp

Say the word “Champagne”, and the first thing that springs to mind is the iconic sparkling white wine named for the region in N.E. France where it’s produced.  It’s an area that’s close to Paris for a quick weekend visit, but it has so much more to offer!  Champagne is world-renowned as a symbol of the French art of living, of festivities and celebration, literature, painting, music, cinema, photography and even comics, all testifying to the influence and constancy of this unique region’s image.

Continue reading

DISCOVER THE FASCINATING MEDIEVAL CITY OF TROYES

The medieval heart of Troyes. Photo, thegoodlifefrance

Troyes is one of the most alluring and interesting medieval towns in France.  It’s easy to spend at least a couple of days wandering around, in and out of many historic buildings, fascinating museums, and the numerous beautiful churches.  Its medieval core invites you to stop and enjoy one of the many enticing cafés and restaurants, watch the world go by and enjoy the ambience of this friendly, historic town, surrounded by the most beautiful countryside along the River Seine.  Aside from its physical delights, one of the great attractions of Troyes is that it’s the historic capital of Champagne, with the nearest vineyard only about ten kilometres away.  For those of us who love fashion, Troyes has a surprise in store!

Continue reading

THE MUSÉE MARMOTTAN MONET – A LITTLE-KNOWN GEM IN PARIS

‘Impression, Sunrise’ by Monet, which inspired the name of the Impressionist movement. Photo, wikimedia

A description that’s often used to describe the Musée Marmottan Monet is that it’s a “hidden” gem.  Rather, I’d say it’s perhaps more overlooked than hidden, given its location in the chic Passy neighbourhood in the 16th arr. on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, beside one of the loveliest parks in Paris.  Famous for the world’s largest collection of works by Claude Monet, the museum also has works by other Impressionist painters such as Morisot, Degas, Manet, Sisley, Pissarro, Renoir, Gauguin and Signac as well as over 300 masterpieces from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and First Empire period.

Continue reading

LE CHÂTEAU DE VINCENNES – A MEDIEVAL FORTRESS IN PARIS

Th medieval fortress of Chateau de Vincennes. Photo, commons.wikimedia

When you think of châteaux in the Paris area, Versailles is likely the first that would spring to mind.  For its sheer beauty, opulence and size, not to mention the wonderful gardens and parklands surrounding it, it’s no wonder that Versailles is one of the most visited destinations in the entire country.  However, for those who have “been there, done that” and would like to explore another former royal residence in Paris, the enormous Château de Vincennes offers a most interesting contrast.

Continue reading

WHEN SHOPS TRANSFORM INTO ‘CONCEPT’ STORES

A small Parisian fashion studio that concentrates on handwork embellishment. Photo, s6056.pcdn

Paris has long been famous as a world capital of fashion and design, but it is also a city with a wealth of exciting design concept stores bursting with products unique to France.  It’s a country and a society with a history of commitment to artisan craft skills, a deep appreciation of the handmade object, innovative use of natural materials and the creative expression of the individual artist or designer.

Continue reading