Colorado France French Life Paris Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride: Charlie Hebdo French Girl in Seattle Paris teaching skiing Telluride Ski Resort
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How are you, dear reader?
I wish you good health, love and joy in this new year. It might seem like these well wishes are coming a little late, but strike it up to the French in me. In France, it’s tout à fait acceptable to extend new year’s wishes–both verbally and in writing–through January 31. I love how most everyone you encounter in France echoes choruses of “bonne année, bonne santé” throughout the whole month of January. I’m sure that this year those wishes are even more sincere.
After a super busy holiday season teaching skiing day after day at the Telluride Ski Resort during an extremely cold period of time, I finally collapsed from a mega head cold and sheer exhaustion (perhaps partly brought on by my big move the first part of December). I spent a whole week on the couch, one marked by the tragedy of the events that unfolded in Paris. So very sad. Like so many, my heart ached for all involved and for my beloved France. I checked in with my friends in Paris to express my love and support, many of whom attended the demonstration that was held a week ago today. Vive la France! Vive Franco-American friendship and may the French forgive us for the faux pas of not sending proper representation on their important day of solidarité.
Food & Wine France French Life Paris Travel: Belgian Friends Belgian Friendship Cassandra Moonen Clarins Entertaining France French Friends French Friendship French Life Stéphane de Bourgies Victoria Wolff Wolff & Descourtis
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I’m big at counting my blessings year round. As challenging as life can be, I try as much as possible to pause and feel truly grateful for all that I have in my life.
There’s so much for which to be grateful, especially when it comes to love. There’s nothing like feeling love and appreciation. There’s nothing like feeling valued. There’s nothing like feeling your heart swell with love–day after day after day.
I was blessed with an outpouring of love during my recent trip to Europe when friends in France went out of their way to meet with me for coffee, organize special dinners, include me in on Sunday lunches and chat with me at great length over leisurely breakfasts and afternoon teas. My friends in Antwerp entertained me all weekend long. And throughout every encounter, I felt a connectedness with my European friends that made it feel as though I had just seen them the week before. (It had, in fact, been many years.)
France French Life French Provinces Paris Romance & Relationships Travel Writing & Books: Hotel du Palais Biarritz Hotel Le Miramar Biarritz Hotel Les Hortensias lodging Biarritz lodging Guéthary lodging Hossegor surf capital of Europe surfing south of France tourism Basque Country tourism Landes travel France travel Paris Villa Catarie
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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.)
Being Green Food & Wine French Life Travel: Bag It French coffee hotel coffee Keurig single-use coffee makers
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I’m practically on the eve of departing for a big trip to France and I’m excited about many things: the flakey croissants that taste far superior to most sold in the U.S., the fabulous runny unpasteurized cheeses you can’t find stateside (unless smuggled in), slightly chilled red wines such as a good Fleury, rich French stews such as a daube Provençal or a boeuf aux carottes, a savory couscous, the perfect omelet–well, you get the picture. As much as I love France for its beauty and the French for their joie de vivre, I guess I am most looking forward to their food and drink.
Coffee and tea rank tops on that list, too. I’m more of a tea drinker and the French do tea–in my humble opinion–as well as the English. By mid-morning I love a good coffee, whether it’s a creamy café au lait or an espresso ladened with lots of sugar. Yes, the French do it right at home, in restaurants, cafés and hotels. It has been a while since I was in France but last time I checked, they still hadn’t adapted the American tradition of having a coffee pot in hotel rooms. Mais non, their approach was always far more civilized and if you wanted a coffee or tea–even in small, modest hotels–they’d bring it to you. And it would be delicious, served on a little tray accompanied with cold or hot milk and often un petit pot of hot water.
For breakfast, they always gladly delivered your hot beverages to your room–with or without a basket of pâtisseries, something that is tout à fait normale, or common practice. Having breakfast in bed always has been more the norm in France than not. I’m praying that this tradition has been upheld.
If I enter a hotel room–not to mention more than one or two–and find those stupid personal coffee makers à la Keurig, I think I’ll have a fit. Who ever was so stupid to invent those devices? I had a huge experience with them on a ten-day trip this summer where they were proudly displayed at every coffee station inside and out of the rooms. I can’t tell you the aggravation I had getting them to work properly–they didn’t half the time. And if they worked, often the coffee was cold. I had a few excellent cups of coffee and tea from them but none was worth the aggravation. I even had to call housekeeping a couple of times to help out and they ended up scratching their heads.
Art & Culture France French Life Paris Telluride: America's original Francophile Clay Jenkinson Jefferson Hour The Thomas Jefferson Hour Thomas Jefferson Paris Thomas Jefferson wine
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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.
France French Life French Provinces Paris Podcasts Writing & Books: France French Life French Provinces Paris Podcasts Writing & Books
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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.
France French Life French Provinces Hotels Paris Restaurants Shopping Travel Trip Planning Writing & Books: France French Life French Provinces Hotels Paris Restaurants Shopping Travel Trip Planning Writing & Books
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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.
Art & Culture Colorado Denver French Life Shopping: Art & Culture Colorado Denver French Life Shopping
THIS JUST IN as of February 5: The Nature as Muse: Impressionist Landscapes from the Frederic C. Hamilton Collection of DAM has been extended through March 24.
Allez vite, vite, vite! Go fast! Only about ten days remain for you to see the magnificent Passport to Paris exhibition at the Denver Art Museum (DAM). I went earlier in the month and it felt like I was transported to Paree for an hour and a half of sheer delight. Truly my heart sang as I wended my way through the suite of three exhibitions that make up this show, a smartly-chosen trifecta that focuses on French art from the late 1600s to the early 1900s. From the grand works executed during the reign of Louis XIV through the more well known paintings of Poussin, Boucher, Pissarro, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh and other greats, here French culture and society are revealed to the visitor in one of the most effective manners I’ve ever seen. As you saunter through the galleries that make up this show, it’s easy to understand how Paris became the center of culture and the tastemaker for all of Europe.