Author: Cheryl Brooks

STEPPING BACK IN TIME: DISCOVERING ROMAN PARIS

The Musee de Cluny, with the Roman figidarium. Photo, telerama

There aren’t many regions in Western Europe that were not once occupied by the Romans, and the city of Paris is no exception.  When we think of modern day Paris, it’s probably more likely to be medieval marvels such as Notre Dame or Sainte Chapelle, perhaps monuments of the French Renaissance, Classical revival, the Belle Epoque, and of course the boulevards lined with elegant 19th century Haussmann-era apartment buildings, that spring to mind.  However, the origins of the City of Light that we all know and love started with the Romans.

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MATISSE: A MAJOR RETROSPECTIVE IN PARIS

‘Sorrows of the King’ by Matisse, 1952. Photo, henrimatisse.org

The Pompidou Centre is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henri Matisse, one of the most important artists of the 20th century.  This special exhibition uses a novel published in 1971 by Louis Aragon, Henri Matisse: Roman as a framework to display not only 230 works, but also over 70 documents, books and archives related to him.

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TOWNS OF CHARM AND CHARACTER IN BURGUNDY

Cathedrale St Etienne, Auxerre. Photo, bourgognemedievale

The historic Burgundy district is blessed with some of the most beautiful rural landscapes in France.  There are world-renowned vineyards to visit and charming small cities, but the region also has a wealth of picturesque towns and villages rich in historical and gastronomic heritage that are a joy to discover.  It’s worth striking further afield from its beautiful regional capital, Dijon, and the wine capital of Beaune to explore some of the other riches of the region.

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MORE GEMS OF THE BURGUNDY DISTRICT

Hot air balloons departing from a Burgundian chateau. Photo, exclusivefrancetours

Burgundy has such a wealth of attractions, ranging from the famous vineyards and the two major towns of Dijon and Beaune, it’s easy to lose a sense of time in these places and not leave enough to explore the region in greater depth.  There are so many rewarding sights to discover, ranging from hilltop medieval villages and Gallo-Roman strongholds, to the quiet beauty of abbeys and monasteries, not to mention hot air ballooning or a gentle cruise along one of the region’s canals.  There’s huge selection of exciting things to see and do, enough for many visits.  Here are a few more interesting suggestions.

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BURGUNDY – LAND OF FINE ART AND FINE LIVING

A typical Cote dOr village in autumn. Photo, matteocolombo

Burgundy is full of surprises and contrasts.  Running from Auxerre in the north to Mâcon in the south, this is a vast and varied landscape of wide rivers, dense forests, granite hills, limestone valleys, meandering country lanes and rolling hillsides.  Of course, even without all this beauty, the attractions that draw most visitors are the region’s wonderful food and world famous wines.

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