Author: Cheryl Brooks

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.

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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.

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RUE MOUFFETARD – A PARIS STREET PAVED WITH HISTORY

There are many delightful cafes in rue Mouffetard. Photo, Paris + Plus

Around every corner of Paris you will find streets full of history.  The secret to discovering the real Paris is to detour off the grand boulevards, famous squares and enticing shopping streets.  If you delight in discovering special places, little nooks and crannies, narrow, ancient, pedestrianised streets beloved by locals but unknown to most visitors—the rue Mouffetard in the Latin Quarter of the 5th arrondissement is for you.

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NANTES – THRIVING CITY AT THE MOUTH OF THE LOIRE

The mechanical Great Elephone, one of the Machines de L’Ile de Nantes. Photo, Paris + Plus

The city of Nantes in western France is located just 50kms from the Atlantic Ocean.  Nowadays, it’s the capital of the Pays de la Loire Region, but will always be known as the capital of Brittany, when the Dukes of Brittany ruled from here until the Duchy was united with France in the 16th century.  The city is home to many significant buildings, including the former Duchy’s seat of power.  The lifeblood of the city is due to its location on the Loire which brought the world to its doorstep, allowing trade and industry to flourish.  Today, with great art, cuisine, river islands and Muscadet wines, Nantes is a vibrant, lively city where history and the present merge to offer visitors art, culture and fun.

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THE LURE OF THE LOIRE – PART 2

Chateau d’Usse and part of the gardens. Photo, i.reddit

As we’ve seen in the previous post, the Loire Valley has a wealth of lively towns and villages, plus world renowned vineyards and enchanting scenery to keep any visitor happily engaged for numerous visits.  Not only are the many châteaux a window into a world of grandeur and history, it’s possible to have a more personal experience of these historic places, as some now offer fantastic accommodation.  What would a trip to the Loire be without great food?  Fortunately, the region has any number of great restaurants to try—so you may need to seriously consider lengthening your stay to discover some of these memorable experiences!

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