RUE MOUFFETARD – A PARIS STREET PAVED WITH HISTORY

There are many delightful cafes in rue Mouffetard.

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. 

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. 

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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THE LURE OF THE LOIRE: EXPLORING ITS CHATEAUX, GARDENS & SO MUCH MORE – PART ONE

Beautiful scenery abounds all along the river Loire. 

With an abundance of charming historic towns and villages, world famous vineyards, beautiful gardens, sweeping forests, great architectural monuments and majestic châteaux, the “Garden of France”, and “The Valley of Kings,” as the region is variously known, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must-see for a memorable visit to France.  As there are over 300 châteaux in the Loire Valley, around 100 of which are open to the public, it’s a region that needs more than a rushed day trip from Paris to do it justice.  Here are some suggestions to help you plan a memorable visit to this special part of France.

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DISCOVER THE RICHES OF THE MARCHÉ AUX PUCES, PARIS

Marche Paul Bert.

To call the Marché aux Puces in Paris a “flea market” is an understatement.  Regarded as the largest market of its kind in the world and with around 180,000-200,000 visitors each weekend, at first sight its sheer size can be a very daunting prospect.  It is in fact a whole series of markets, segmented according to category and price level, ranging from vendors selling museum-quality pieces (at museum prices!), to sought-after collectables, through to inexpensive household bric-a-brac items.  Paris has a couple of smaller, lesser-known markets, but if you want to see the biggest and best, the Marché aux Puces Clignancourt-Saint-Ouen is where to go.  It’s a great experience—and you just may find that special something you didn’t even know you wanted until you saw it there!

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