Monday, October 15, 2012

Champagne and Joan of Arc

Still dreaming of France, and the birthplace of bubbly, Reims!

Our morning began with a tour of the oldest champagne house in the world, Ruinart. Our knowledgeable guide educated us on the origins of this most delicious elixir, from the happy accident of the perfect location and humidity of the chalk caves, or crayeres, to the wonderful vintages (and non-vintages) still made with the same uncompromising quality 

After a glorious lunch at a charming spot recommended by our driver

we resumed our tour of Reims with a visit to the caves of Veuve Cliquot

                                                     steeped in history and flavor

followed by a sampling Madame Cliquot's wondrous Grande Dame

and a quick trip to the cathedral at Reims


                                                  finishing with a visit with Jeanne d'Arc

before heading back to Paris

                                                                      for a last look

and libation

then to the station in the morning

and the train to Cannes for week 2!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Postcards From France

Parisian Inspiration

Well I've been back from La Belle France for 2 weeks now, and I miss it everyday. If you've been, chances are you know just what I mean and if you haven't, I have just one word for you: GO! France, particularly Paris, is one of those someday promises you make to yourself, but don't let it be one you don't follow up on, and soon. When you do go you'll wonder why you waited so long! This was my 3rd trip to France, and I was mentally planning my next trip on the plane home. 
The best part about travel is the inspiration you get when exposed to a new and interesting culture, and Paris does not disappoint. From the grandeur of the Palais Royal to the funky old-world neighborhood feel of St. Germain, there is nothing to not completely fall in love with. Vertigo keeps me from going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, but the lure of that iconic landmark is like homemade chocolate chip cookies in the oven. I gravitate toward it nevertheless, especially at night. Walking through the Tuilleries soaking up the French vibe, strolling along the Seine while taking in the extraordinary 
architecture, reveling in the history that is everywhere you look. One can't help but wonder how Parisians can ever go about the business of daily life amidst such majesty.

And then, there's the shopping! It's true what they say about Parisian women. They're beautiful. There seems to be an innate sense of fashion, something so effortless about their look. Such simplicity in their style, yet such an impact. Of course, it may be that Paris is the stomping ground of Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Hermes and the like, so perhaps it's just in the air, part of what it is to be Parisian. Ah, could I just take a little home with me...

And then of course, there's the food...

Favorite restaurant, La Societe in St. Germain...c'est magnifique!
Below, the sidewalk cafe at our Hotel, the Plaza Athenee...simply the best experience ever.

Stay tuned for part deux...Reims!