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France

This is a country the size of Texas and the regions offer incredible diversity which will suit and visitor.

Paris
The city never disappoints visitors – it consists of many neighborhoods called arrondisements.  The famous attractions are the Eiffel tower, Les Invalides with Napoleon’s Tomb, Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum and the Palais Royal.  Walkers enjoy strolling through the fashionable Le Marais, Ile St. Louis, the Right Bank of the River Seine where you find the Paris created during the 1870s and the Left Bank, called the Latin Quarter, which is ancient Paris.  If you are lucky you will see a few ancient cobblestone street and pieces of the medieval city wall, in the St. German des Pres Area.  Complete your visit with visits to the Tuileries Gardens, the Antique and Flea Markets, innumerable temptations of patisseries selling macaroons, chocolates, teas and the gourmet stores of Fauchon and Le Duree.

There are a number of important excursions outside the city, notably the Palace and Gardens of Versailles, Chartres Gothic Cathedral and Monet’s Garden at Giverny.  Continuing your visit to France, to further destinations . . . but these are not day trips from Paris.  These would be the D Day Normandy Beaches, Mont St. Michel and a stop in the Loire Valley to visit the many chateaux built in the time of King Louis XIV.  

Normandy
Considered one of France’s most charming provinces with its half timbered houses, endless beaches, historical towns and villages.  Its past is the Norman Conquest at Baueux, John of Arc at Rouen, Caen, and the poignant D Day landing beaches.  Monet’s garden at Giverny and the Port of Honfleur were immortalized in 19th paintings.  The chic resort time of Deauville on the English Channel.  Food itineraries include the cheese route to Camembert, Livarot and Port L’Eveque cider, seafood and desserts like Tarte Tatin.  Mount St. Michel is an off shore monastery only accessible at low tide where you find the farmhouse La Mere Poulard restaurant known for its omelttes.  

Loire Valley
Some of France’s most spectacular chateaux such as Chenonceauz – built across a river were built in Renaissance times.  Enjoy the local markets as well as the famous cathedrals of Bourges and Charters.  Early morning travelers can enjoy a hot air balloon from either Amboise or Tours during the summer months.

Provence and the French Riviera
Provence was part of Roman France in the time of Emperor Julius Caesar.  It has a beautiful countryside of lavender fields, olive groves, vineyards and rustic stone farmhouses, with some of the most luxurious hotels many of which are members of Relais et Chateaux properties and fine cuisine.

Visit the Roman Ruins at Arles, Nimes, Orange or St. Remy.  Enjoy the remains of Avignon’s bridge, of the song, Sur Le Pont d’Avignon and its Palais des Papes.  There are so many hilltop villages in the Luberon Valley or the national park of the Camargue with its bull farms and flamingo sanctuary, and Aigues Mort 9th century castle town.  Enjoy the local markets with their typical food and handicrafts of the region.  Do not miss going to Port du Gard a Roman Aqueduct.  

The French Riviera offers luxurious hotels with Mediterranean views, and not too many sandy beaches.  Its hill towns like Eze, Vence, Grasse and St. Paul de Venice were homes to important 19th and 20th century French Artists of the Impressionists and other movements.  

Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Dordogne
Few areas of France offer such delight to todays food and wine lovers.  These 2 areas are diverse scenically, but offer world class wines in Bordeaux and the Medoc or Burgundy.  They all offer history from the Caesars, talks of pilgrimage and Romanesqu architecture in such churches as Vezelay.  Its wine center is around Beaune known for the legedary Pinot Noire, Chablis and Chardonnays.  

Bordeaux – its wine history dates from King Louis XIV and the drive along Route des Grand-Crus wine tour is filled with legendary vineyards such as Chateau Lafite.  North of the Garonne Rive borders you find St. Emilion and the the southwest the regions of Graves and Sauternes.  South of Bordeaux is a seacoast of Arcachon the largest sand dune in France and known for its oysters and seafood.  

Dordogne – A beautiful countryside known for its gastronomic food as foie gras, duck confit, and truffles.  If has many prehistoric caves such as Lascaux, and Pilgrimage site like Rocamadour or sleepy villages where you enjoy rustic country elegance, or some castles who once guarded the riverbanks and valleys of Souillac of Cahors.

 

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