The French Will Always Have Monet and Much More

One of Monet's Views of Rouen

One of Monet's Views of Rouen

I’ve been thinking lately about a couple of major gatherings I attended for the tourism industry last fall.  Both of my beloved lands were covered:  France and Colorado.  The French event, entitled French Affairs ’09, put on by Atout France (also known as the French Government Tourist Office and Maison de la France), took place in New York City.  I attended one full day and evening of this grand gathering of largely travel suppliers and tourism representatives, many of whom had traveled from as far away as France and Tahiti to promote their products and destinations to some of the most attentive travel experts in the U.S.  It was a whirlwind day, marked by fine wine and cuisine, tons of networking and colorful multi-media presentations of some of the most alluring regions of France and many other exotic French-y locales, such as Guadeloupe and Saint Bart’s.  (Some of our favorite island get-ways also fall beneath the umbrella of the French Tourism Office, hence the name Atout France, which I interpreted as a play on words of sorts meaning all of France although the exact translation of atout is asset.  Are you confused yet? )

Now that this year’s tourism season is well underway in France, I’m thinking about how it seems to be shaping up, especially in view of the somewhat jittery feelings that were echoed last fall as the French travel experts touted their products and services.  The elephant in the room—the world’s bad economy—was not dwelled upon too much and instead most everyone projected a wistful c’est la vie attitude.  Perhaps it was the copious amounts of French wine served at the luncheon, the farewell cocktail and the closing dinner, that contributed to such elevated spirits amid so much recessionary doom and gloom.  But I think it had more to do with the fact that the French have seen hard times before and with such extraordinary tourism destinations as Paris, Burgundy, the Côte d’Azur, Saint-Martin and much more, worrying doesn’t make much sense anyway.

So here we are with the euro at a four-year low against the dollar.  Who could think of a better time to visit France?  Sure, there might be a few concerns about flight cancellations due to ongoing eruptions from Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland’s troublesome volcano.  But at least lately glittering images from Cannes have overshadowed that news.  No, it seems as though there are more reasons for going to France in these upcoming months than what we’ve registered in a while.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Paris

Don’t miss the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition at the Petit Palais, the first-ever retrospective of this revolutionary French fashion designer.  You have until 29 August to view this much-talked-about show.

Antibes Juan les Pins

The celebrated Jazz à Juan festival marks its 50th anniversary this July.  As the longest running jazz festival in Europe, it promises to be steamy hot with a lineup that includes George Benson, Diana Krall and Maceo Parker.  There’s nothing like being serenaded by world-class jazz as a cool breeze blows through the nearby palm trees.

Normandy

The Impressionists drew inspiration from the many varied subjects of this beloved region of France, including its verdant countryside, its ports and its major sites.  (Claude Monet captured the many different allures of the Rouen Cathedral in more than thirty paintings.)  This year the region of Normandy pays homage to the indelible mark left by the Impressionists by launching the Normandy Impressionist Festival that runs through September.  Expect lots of culture, fun events and great restaurant and lodging packages both in Rouen and throughout the region.

These happenings and more were highlighted at this French travel industry event.  Find out about others—islands included—at FranceGuide.com, the French Government Tourist Office’s official site.  There you’ll also find links to some attractive travel deals.

We’re ramping up for the summer season in Colorado now.  It’s still pretty bleak here in the mountains but that should all change by mid June.  I’ll report on the Colorado tourism industry event and how the season is shaping up in an upcoming posting.  As you know, spring is the time to be in France.  Here, it’s still mud season and snow remains in the forecast for the mountains the next couple of days. Tant pis, c’est la vie.

Thank you to Catherine Lancien et Carole Loisel, the Musée des Beaux Arts de Rouen and Rouen Tourisme for the use of the above image.

 
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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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