Sunday, January 27, 2013

Polka Dots Climbing Trees in Aix en Provence

Marseille has started with grand fanfare its  celebration as capital of Culture in Europe.  Art exhibits are to take place in the Phocean* city and different locales in the region. For this occasion, Aix en Provence, just 30 minutes north of Marseille has had its famous plane trees along the main artery, Cours Mirabeau, dressed up in red and white polka dots by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.  The work, called " Ascension of Polka Dots on Trees" gives a sense of exuberance and whimsy against the 18th century classical architecture that lined the street that it quite pleasing.

  * Marseille was founded by Greek Phoceans seafarers thus the nickname.
Aix en Provence- Cours Mirabeau
Yayoi Kusama "Ascension of Polka Dots on Trees"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spring 2013 Tours by Enchanted France

Spring is around the corner.  Check out these two small group escorted tours to France's  countryside especially curated by Enchanted France.  You are guaranteed great sights, luscious food and memorable time.  Space is limited.

Special: Book today and save $100 per person (limited offer) 

Dordogne Discovery
A Cultural and Gastronomic Adventure

Escorted Tour

This is an  adventure through Aquitaine Bordeaux and Dordogne. This vast region of France offers a unique and varied landscape of verdant river valleys, enchanting castles, picture postcard villages and prized vineyards. In this journey you will walk in the footsteps of history to discover the cave paintings of early men in Lascaux and the fortified medieval castles and towns built by English kings when they ruled the region. Along the way you will enjoy a succulent traditional cuisine and savor prized wines. 

Date: April 13-20, 2013

  • Bordeaux and grand 18th Century architecture
  • Prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux
  • Sarlat and 'most beautiful villages of France' : Roque Cageac and St. Amand de Coly
  • Well preserved bastides: Montpazier and Monflanquin
  • UNESCO World Heritage sites :Rocamadour and Saint Emilion
  • Beautiful landscape of verdant river valleys and vineyards
  • Colorful markets; wine tasting of Bordeaux prized wines; cheese and walnut oil mills visits

Provence Escapade with Marseille Cultural Capital 2013
Escorted Tour

Join our small group for a memorable journey through Provence. Together, we will explore the many treasures of this sunny land from its rich historical past to its unique traditions and savoir vivre. You will discover beautiful architecture dating back to the Romans and magnificent landscapes of fragrant hills, lavender fields, vineyards and picturesque villages. More importantly, on this journey you will find your senses stimulated in so many ways from the special light that inspired the impressionist painters to the smell and taste of the many Provencal specialties.

Date: May 18-23, 2013

  • Charming hotels in the heart of Avignon and Marseille
  • Gourmet meals
  • Medieval heritage: Avignon's Pope's PalaceSte. Trophime CathedralAbbaye de Senanque
  • Roman architecture : Pont Du Gard ; Arles' Arena and Vaison la Romaine
  • Irresistible Provencal towns: Avignon ; St. Remy de Provence; Aix en Provence
  • Picturesque perched villages: Gordesles Baux; Roussillon
  • Savoir vivre :: colorful markets ; Chateauneuf du Pape wine tasting; olive oil tasting
  • Beautiful landscape : Alpilles Hills; Luberon National Park; vineyards and lavender fields
  • Discover Marseille – European Cultural Capital 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Paris Sales.. They're Baaack!!!

Paris in January and February is cold, dreary and recovering from all the excitement and splurging from Christmas and New Year celebrations. Starting tomorrow, January 9  the Paris winter “Soldes” will begin and last till February 12.   Sales in France are state-regulated and run twice yearly-- in winter (January) and in summer (July).  Department stores,  boutiques and designer outlets run sales that can reach gradually up to 80% reduction over the course of the month-long period.  Sales cover a wide range of products from clothing, shoes, accessories , jewelry, perfumes, beauty products, appliances, electronics, housewares, furniture and much more. 

Bon Marche
Favorite shopping destinations in Paris include the Grand department stores – Galleries Lafayette and Printemps on the right bank and Bon Marche on the left – At these emporiums you can find luxury goods, latest prêt a porter, gifts, housewares and gourmet items. Other bustling  shopping spots include along rue de Rivoli and at the "not to be missed" BHV store,  unmatched in its offering of quality and diverse  household items; along the  Champs Elysees, the ultra-chic rue du Faubourg St. Honore (luxury brands), in the Marais district and les Halles (for trendy wear); the fashionable St. Germain des Pres (along boulevard St. Germain des Pres, rue de Seine, rue de Rennes and side streets like rue du Cherche Midi, rue Bonaparte, rue Jacob among others) ; under the romantic arcades of the Palais Royal and in the lovely 19th century covered passageways for antiques, jewelry,  unique fashion and gifts.  

Covered passageway
For a shopping trip outside of  of Paris, take the 35 minutes train ride to   La Vallee Village outlet shopping mall  situated in Marne La Vallee. There you will find an array of majour luxury brands- French, Italian, UK and others.

tags: Paris shopping, Paris sales 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Adieu la Bûche, Hello Galette des Rois

On the occasion of the the Feast of Epiphany (January 6) and throughout the month of January la Buche de Noel is promptly replaced by the  Galette des Rois, a golden puff pastry filled traditionally with frangipani cream (a mixture of butter, sugar, eggs and almonds).  Inside the cake lay hidden a "feve", usually a tiny ceramic figure.  The person who finds the "feve" is declared King of Queen and wears a paper crown the rest of the day.  It is a fun tradition, usually celebrated at the Sunday family lunch gathering.  Beside the traditional Galette des Rois a la Frangipane, here is a selection  of confections by renowned patisseries- Pierre Herme (top right) ,  Dalloyau  (bottom right) and Lenotre (bottom left). Vive le Roi!!
Galette des Rois 2013