Colorado Cycling France French Life French Provinces Outdoor Adventures Paris Podcasts Telluride Writing & Books: Colorado Cycling France French Life French Provinces Outdoor Adventures Paris Podcasts Telluride Writing & Books
I’ve been pounding the pavement this past week, promoting my book, A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France. It’s been great getting out there chatting with people at promotions I’ve done in conjunction with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge—it’s always nice to connect with like minded people that enjoy to read. The beautiful cover of this travel memoir/love story draws people in right away and then I take it from there. I tell some people a lot about my book; others just a little—whatever it takes for them to determine if this is a read for them. I’ve done readings, signings and press interviews and have even distributed flyers and postcards the old fashioned way. To me, it has all been important and best of all, it has afforded me the opportunity to chat with people that love cycling, France, Colorado, food and wine, adventure, romance and other components of my story.
Colorado Cycling French Provinces Podcasts Telluride Travel Trip Planning: Colorado Cycling French Provinces Podcasts Telluride Travel Trip Planning
Food, wine, travel, bicycling—now that’s a recipe for a successful trip. Add France as the destination, a Frenchman with local ties that has lived in the U.S. for over two decades and his wife that draws on her experience in the hospitality industry, and you’ve found an excellent formula for a very special trip. The bike touring company Cobbles & Corks is even cooler than that since owners Bertrand and Laura Marchal live in Telluride, Colorado, a town known for hosting a good time in drop dead gorgeous surroundings.
Colorado French Provinces Paris Travel Trip Planning: Colorado French Provinces Paris Travel Trip Planning
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I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks planning trips for people. Did you know I do that? I don’t publicize it much since it’s sometimes hard to juggle the time required to set up a wonderful trip for someone with my ski instructor/travel writer life, but I’ve decided to put the word out more about this service.
My forte is arranging travel for people to France (Paris and the French provinces, bien sur) and, of course, Colorado. Those are my two loves and having lived eleven years in France and now the same amount of time in Colorado, I know my subject matter. At the risk of sounding immodest, I know these destinations as an expert, as someone that has authored five books on France and blogged about Colorado and other parts of the American West for almost five years. Voilà, those are my credentials. And with all the research I’ve done for myself to travel and experience these different places, you can bet I’ve organized countless trips. It has been fun doing it for others as well since in most everything I do, I try to share my passion for my favorite lands.
Art & Culture Cycling Food & Wine French Life French Provinces Girl Talk Hotels Paris Restaurants Romance & Relationships Travel Writing & Books: Art & Culture Cycling Food & Wine French Life French Provinces Girl Talk Hotels Paris Restaurants Romance & Relationships Travel Writing & Books
Last year around this time, I celebrated a milestone birthday. I was grateful that I was feeling healthy and well, the most fit I’d been in ages and ten pounds thinner (a rarity for me since my weight never fluctuates). Here I am a year later having perhaps gained back five of those pounds—I don’t really know since I stopped weighing myself (a good sign of maturity). And now I’m two days away from another b-day with something far more significant to celebrate—a new book!
Twelve years. Yes, twelve years. I can’t believe it myself. It was twelve years ago that I began to plan a trip that would forever change my life. I actually took that trip in the fall of 2000. We all have transformative events and travels in our lives. I just happen to take a lot of notes on mine. “A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France” is the fruit of all that note taking and so much more.” Click here to see a preview and download excerpts. I hope you’ll enjoy the read. Books are rolling into bookstores now; be sure to ask for it if you don’t readily see it on the shelf. You can also purchase it as a paperback through amazon now or as an eBook on kindle.
Since it’s KOTO fundraising time and I love my NPR-station here in Telluride, Colorado, you can receive a free e-book with every $20. donation and a free paperback with every $30. donation. Books sell for $8. and $20. respectively. Contact me directly through this site to make your donation. Also, if you enjoy Travel Fun, my talk radio show on travel, and the podcasts of those interviews I post here on this blog, please make a pledge or donation to KOTO as well. For that also, it’s best to contact me directly. Community radio is a rare breed in the U.S. and ours is almost entirely supported by caring people like you.
I will be talking about “A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France,” on Travel Fun tomorrow, August 21, at 6 p.m. mountain time. You can also tune in on the Internet at KOTO.org at the time of the broadcast. I hope to post that interview as a podcast on this blog within the upcoming week.
One more thing: Click here to become a fan of A Tour of the Heart on Facebook.
French Life French Provinces Paris Writing & Books: French Life French Province Paris Writing & Books
I’ve sometimes thought I’d like to have a dog just to be able to take him or her to France. Although not a dog owner, I’ve always been amused by clients in French restaurants—including fine establishments in Paris—that enjoy a meal in the company of leur chien. It’s always so much fun to see the French fawn over these cherished, four-legged creatures. So much so, in fact, that a water bowl for the dog is often brought out before une carafe d’eau for his or her master.
Art & Culture French Life French Provinces Podcasts Travel Writing & Books: Art & Culture French Life French Provinces Podcasts Travel Writing & Books
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Peter Mayle and his books officially put Provence, one of many wonderful regions in France, on the map about two decades ago. Although Provence and other parts of the south of France have become increasingly popular with visitors from around the world, the French have appreciated these regions for their sun-drenched richness, transcending landscapes and beloved traditions for centuries. Thankfully you can still count on these prized destinations wooing you as assuredly as finding a Cavaillon melon in a Provençal market—oh, they taste so sugary sweet.
For lovers of the south of France or those just looking for a bit more information about Provence and beyond, there’s Julie Mautner and her Provence Post. Julie avidly posts bushels of fresh information and other news on her popular blog. Listen to our Travel Fun interview below to hear Julie and me talk about Provence, other parts of the south of France, the French and more. If you gaze at the beautiful images that Julie provided for this post you’ll feel transported to this redolent land filled with rosemary, lavender and thyme. And if you’re thinking about planning a trip, know that Julie can help out there as well.
Click on the play button below to hear Julie talk about The Provence Post and more.
For more on Provence read my stories Pondering Provence, Sizzling Sensations from Saint-Tropez and Elizabeth Bard Talks About Lunch in Paris, Love and Provence.
Art & Culture Food & Wine French Life French Provinces Girl Talk Paris Podcasts Romance & Relationships Travel: Art & Culture Food & Wine French Life French Provinces Girl Talk Paris Podcasts Romance & Relationships Travel
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I don’t think there’s a woman out there that hasn’t dreamed about falling in love in Paris. C’mon, admit it to yourself. See, I told you—I’m sure you’ve allowed just a shred of this fantasy to play out in your head at least once in your life. Many women indulge themselves with full-blown visions of strolling hand-in-hand with a lover alongside the Seine or sharing a tête-à-tête in a cozy French bistrot over a savory coq au vin and a good Bordeaux with the man of her dreams. Others just allow a glimmer of a romance flash through their minds. I bet there are some men (those sensitive types!) that have thought wistfully about love in Paris as well. I may be biased but Paris is surely the most romantic city in the world.
What makes it so? Well, it would take a whole book to divulge that—the decor, the mood, the ambiance, the food and wine. Elizabeth Bard does just that in her book “Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes.” I found it to be a terrific read. And I know Paris, love and the whole bonne salade of it all. Elizabeth has done a wonderful job at describing the sights and tastes of the moveablefeast that is Paris. (I haven’t yet tried the recipes she shares, but they seem wonderful and quite easy which is actually what most French cooking is all about.) And of course, Elizabeth meets a love, a Frenchman, and we are swept into their lives like a tourist on a fourteen-day European tour. Fortunately she provides many opportunities for us to savor their moment as well.
French Provinces Restaurants Shopping: French Provinces Restaurants Shopping
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With Deauville and the G8 summit in the news right now, I’ve found myself dreaming of this princely Norman town by the sea. How I loved to go there for weekend getaways from Paris, especially during spring when the bucolic scenery of Normandy—this renowned apple-and-cheese region of France—is most verdant.
A speedy two-and-a-half-hour drive from the capital, Deauville rates high on the list of favorite Parisian weekend destinations. Aside from socializing, gambling, and playing golf, the favorite thing to do in this pristine seaside resort is to walk along les planches, one of the most famous boardwalks on earth. Even on blustery days you can spot pleasure-seekers strolling along as the wind snaps at the myriad brightly colored parasols and their thick sashes of contrasting hues.
Another activity that scores major points as a popular Deauville pastime is shopping. One look around this perfectly manicured storybook town and you can see why: Big-name boutiques abound. Set up mostly on the streets surrounding the casino, these chic showplaces look like satellite shops of their larger mother houses back in Paris. If you walk inland toward the heart of the commercial district, you’ll see further evidence that Deauville is the Norman town à la parisienne; the impeccable half-timbered houses, the irreproachable flower beds, and their Haussmann-like alignment of streets create a look far more refined than what you would expect in a quaint Norman town. There are so many traiteurs (a more upscale version of our delis) here that you’d think that you were in the 16th arrondissement in Paris. Between these pricey takeouts and the plenitude of restaurants, it’s clear that second residence dwellers don’t cook at home much. Visitors also regale in these food and wine lovers’ boutiques, since there you’ll find a wagon-full of fine comestibles such as farm-fresh cheeses, cider, Calvados and more.
My All-Time Favorite Dining Spot on the Northern Riviera
Les Vapeurs Brasserie
Obtaining a table here for Saturday lunch is like finding a quiet spot on the beach during the month of August. Here you can at least reserve in advance—just like les habitués who ritually race up the highway from Paris in time for the midday meal aux Vapeurs, THE unofficial start of the weekend. Once here, you will be greeted by effusive salutations of bonjour madame, bonjour monsieur in typical politesse française, but the hurly-burly of this popular seafood restaurant keeps the waitstaff busy enough that they won’t fawn over you—in fact, you may be left to debone your exquisitely prepared sole meunière all on your own. Their moules meunières taste just as delectable, and if you want to order like the locals, you’ll have the mussels, then the sole, followed up by fraises melba (strawberries and whipped cream)! As you languish on their lobster-red banquettes, you’ll have a fine view of the marvelous photos, advertising posters, and neon signs that plaster the yellowed walls like mementos in an old scrapbook.
160/162 quai Férnand-Moureux, Trouville; tel.: 02.31.88.15.24; Brasserie: Moderate-Expensive; Open year-round; www.lesvapeurs.fr
The above text was adapted and excerpted from my book, “The Riches of France: A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces.” It’s currently out of print, but still may be obtained through amazon.com and other booksellers. Although published by St. Martin’s Press over a decade ago, the information is still quite current since most of the places and establishments I included in that book are wonderful bastions of French tradition.
For more information on the Normandy region of France and more, visit us.FranceGuide.com, the official Web site of the French Government Tourist Office. For Deauville specifically, go to Deauville Tourisme.
Thank you to Atout France, CDT Calvados, Jacques Lorin, Elizabeth Parker and Jêrome Meslin for the use of the above images.