Highlights from My France Trip 2014

Steve and I Capping Off Our Last Night in France at Julien in Paris

Maribeth and Steve Do France: Capping Off Our Last Night in France at Julien in Paris

Oysters and Vin Blanc at Lake Hossegor:  One of Many Delightful Meals in France

Oysters and Vin Blanc at Lake Hossegor: One of Many Delightful Meals in France

Hossegor Surf at Sunrise

Hossegor Surf at Sunrise

Pâtisserie Française

Pâtisserie du Golfe in Hossegor

Biarritz at Night

Biarritz at Night

Glorious Contrasts:  Steve Headed Out to Surf at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz

Glorious Contrasts: Steve Headed Out to Surf at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz

Tapas at Bar Jean in Biarritz

Tapas and Wine at Bar Jean in Biarritz

How silly of me to think that I could work in a few blog posts while traveling through France during these past few weeks! Really.

That was my intention but I’m afraid I failed mercifully at the task. Instead, I was busy experiencing life in France rather than taking time to write about it sur place. Sure, I took tons of notes and I will be churning out stories from this trip–both here at my blog and in updates of my guidebooks–in the months to come. (I’m also doing a downloadable guide for A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, so the information will serve there, too.)

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Jefferson, France, Wine and Radio

Clay Jenkinson as Thomas Jefferson

Clay Jenkinson as Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, America’s founding father, primary author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, was perhaps America’s first and most devoted Francophile. During his time as minister to France, he lived in Paris five years where he resided in an elegant residence on the Champs-Elysées and entertained his American and French friends with fine food and wine from his newly-adopted land. In Paris, he became truly serious about the pleasures of the table.

Funny how that sounds familiar, since that happens to most of us when we go to France. And wine is always a big part of the equation. Thomas Jefferson was one of the leading figures in facilitating the importation of wine into the U.S. from France and other European countries. Widely recognized as the most knowledgeable wine connoisseur of his day, Jefferson was a staunch advocate of the virtues of wine throughout his life. “No nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and none sober, where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage,” he once argued.

“Here! here!” I say. How true that is–just like a satisfying meal; if it’s delicious, you don’t need to overeat, whereas if you’re not satiated, you’ll likely keep on eating–or drinking–until you are. (I’d say that’s part of the problem in America today.)

I’m thinking a lot about Jefferson these days because I’m in full-on French experience mode, planning a trip to my beloved land where I lived eleven years (in Paris). This devotee of French culture, gastronomy–and the human experience in general–also comes to mind, since Monsieur Jefferson aka Clay Jenkinson is going to be in Telluride, Colorado this Sunday and I plan to go to hear him and say bonjour.

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FlipKey and Me

Ski In/Ski Out in Telluride Where Your Instructor Meets You at Your Rental

Ski In/Ski Out in Telluride Where Your Instructor Meets You at Your Rental

Biarritz Beauty

Biarritz Beauty

Vacation rentals have been experiencing tremendous growth from Telluride to Tokyo–the key is to make sure you land one that delights you. That means it’s a good idea to consider verified guest reviews for the properties you’re considering and FlipKey, a vacation rental service largely owned by TripAdvisor, provides that and more.

Paris Rental

Paris Rental

The “more” includes terrific photos and descriptions about each destination along with expert input. Voilà, that’s where I come in, since I’m now one of FlipKey’s experts for Telluride, Colorado.

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14 Aug 2014, 1:45pm
Colorado France Paris Podcasts Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride Writing & Books:
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Comments Off on Marking Eleven Years in Paris and Telluride with Mom

Marking Eleven Years in Paris and Telluride with Mom

Me and Mom Early Spring 1990ish Having Tea in the Garden at the Normandy Country House

Me and Mom Early Spring 1990ish Having Tea in the Garden at the Normandy Country House

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11 Aug 2014, 4:51pm
Cycling France Paris Tours:
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Discovering Paris with Fat Tire Bike Tours

The Paris Fat Tire Bike Tour Peloton

The Paris Fat Tire Bike Tour Peloton

I always say that Paris is a city best explored by foot. True. But there’s a lot to cover, so I’m suggesting more and more that people first take a bike tour of the City of Light.

If you’ve read my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, you know that I’m into bike riding, so this recommendation should come as no surprise. Although my book features two Paris chapters, which highlight taking in the sites of the French capital, I’ve never pedaled around Paree myself. Mon dieu! I long to do it, however, in the meantime I charged a friend and occasional contributor, Peter Hans, from Discovery Maps and Guides, to check out a tour with Paris Fat Tire Bike Tours himself.

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The Good Life France

Paris Celebrating Bastille Day Last Night

Paris Celebrating Bastille Day Last Night

Ahhhh, la France. I never let le quatorze juillet go by without celebrating France. Even though I’ve been busy bopping around  Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, this year was no exception. I’ll let you know soon what I did in this hot, desert land to toast the richness of my beloved France on its Fête Nationale, but first I’d like to share with you a slice of The Good Life France. Before I left Telluride, I interviewed Janine Marsh, founder and editor of this terrific website/blog for my Travel Fun radio show.

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The Riches of Paris and The Riches of France Now eBooks

The Riches of Paris:  A Shopping and Touring Guide

The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide

If you’re headed to Paris soon or are just an armchair traveler that enjoys curling up with your eBook, may I recommend my books, The Riches of Paris:  A Shopping and Touring Guide and The Riches of France:  A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces. They’re perfect for Francophiles interested in knowing more about the places they’re discovering.

The eBook versions of my classic guidebooks come just in time for spring/summer travels to the French capital and the provinces of France. How handy it is to pull them up on your mobile device or eBook reader to find out about the most interesting places and products to savor.

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15 Nov 2013, 4:41pm
Food & Wine France French Life Paris Podcasts Travel Writing & Books:
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Susan Herrmann Loomis: On Rue Tatin in Normandy

Susan Herrmann Loomis with a Tarte Tatin, Her Signature Dessert

Susan Herrmann Loomis with a Tarte Tatin, Her Signature Dessert

L'Heure de l'Apéritif at Susan's Cooking School

L’Heure de l’Apéritif at Susan’s Cooking School

“Apples are a huge part of the cooking here in Normandy,” says cookbook author Susan Herrmann Loomis on the phone from France during a Travel Fun interview with me.

And to most of us they’re such a big part of fall and Thanksgiving, so tune into the our chat below if you’d like to add a French twist to your holiday feasting. I met Susan briefly some twenty-five years (yes—a quarter of a century) in Paris at an American women’s function when I first moved to the French capital. At that time she was working as an assistant to Patricia Wells on The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris, one of my all-time favorite books.

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