Posts Tagged “France”

Côte d’Or: The Wines and Winemakers of the Heart of Burgundy

Côte d’Or: The Wines and Winemakers of the Heart of Burgundy

Wine from the Côte d’Or was enjoyed by Emperor Charlemagne The name Côte d’Or might not be well known but it is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution. It was formed from part of the former province of Burgundy. This is not only a beautiful part of France but a…

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Affordable Fizz from Les Grands Chais de France

Affordable Fizz from Les Grands Chais de France

Les Grands Chais de France Group is a company based in the Northern Vosges region of France. It’s run by the Helfrich family.  When Joseph Helfrich founded the winery in 1979 he made the decision to sell Cognac and brandy around the world – wine followed soon after.  Les Grands Chais de France Group is…

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Flavors from the French Mediterranean

Flavors from the French Mediterranean

It will soon be summer. We start to muse over al fresco dining and lighter fare. Ingredients with colour and freshness will take centre stage and we look toward the Mediterranean for inspiration, and perhaps to a French chef for some help. We need Flavors from the French Mediterranean. Three-star Michelin Chef Gérald Passedat was…

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Rennes – living with history

Rennes – living with history

History is everywhere in Rennes but it’s actually considered by thoroughly modern folks to be one of the most liveable cities in France. That’s a hard juggling act. Rennes had been in existence for centuries before the Romans and in 57 BC the local inhabitants joined the Gaulish coalition against Rome. That didn’t work and…

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Rennes – second capital of food (or is it third?)

Rennes – second capital of food (or is it third?)

Rennes Market, in the Place des Lices, is there every Saturday, and is considered to be the second- or third-largest in France, depending on whom you are speaking to. It starts in the morning around 7.30 although there is not the full complement of nearly 300 stalls and vendors till an hour or so later….

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Bayeux – A stitch in time

Bayeux – A stitch in time

It’s inevitable that the first thing people think of when you mention Bayeux is the tapestry. Though it’s not actually a tapestry but a very fine embroidery. The Bayeux Tapestry is now on permanent display in a bespoke museum in the city of Bayeux in Normandy, France. It’s unique and huge and merits a home…

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Fontenay Abbey

Fontenay Abbey

Late spring in Burgundy. The banks of the canal were festooned with the colours of wild flowers: the blue of cornflowers, the blood red of poppies and the yellow of other blooms which were unknown to this horticulturally-challenged city girl. That’s the beauty of barge travel – it relaxes the mind and makes space for…

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Reims – Tasteful Souvenirs

Reims – Tasteful Souvenirs

Reims is a beautiful and historic city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France. It is only 130 km from Paris with easy access by train. Excursions to nearby Chalons are a must and there will be not only the delightfully ubiquitous champagne to taste but also the champagne truffles which are so celebrated here. The…

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The Sparkle of Vilmart & Cie

The Sparkle of Vilmart & Cie

The Champagne house Vilmart & Cie was founded in 1890 by Désiré Vilmart and is considered by many an authority to be perhaps the leading producer of quality Champagne in the region of Northern France which bears the same name as this celebratory beverage. It’s an area of many fine bottles but some consider Vilmart…

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La Belle Epoque – 5-star floating through Burgundy

La Belle Epoque – 5-star floating through Burgundy

What a grand title for a barge! Luckily the lady lived up to her name and our expectations, which she did actually exceed in every way. A barge, even a big one, presents the very real prospect of tight accommodations, iffy facilities and, still worse, the likelihood of mediocre food cooked by a well-meaning hobbyist…

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Champagne – a brief encounter

Champagne – a brief encounter

One is spoilt for restaurants in London. Highend Michelin-starred, white-tableclothed establishments abound. The weather becomes warmer. We dream of those balmy days and longer evenings with friends. The picture might include floral frocks, a bowl of salad, a platter of salmon and, of course, a bottle of champagne. It is, for those gatherings, the dot…

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Geoffroy d’Anglejan-Chatillon, DG of La Maison du Chocolat

Geoffroy d’Anglejan-Chatillon, DG of La Maison du Chocolat

It’s a very French company and has an equally Gallic director general in the guise of the suave and genuinely charming Geoffroy d’Anglejan-Chatillon. He has a lifetime of chocolate appreciation, and has made that a delicious career for almost a couple of decades. M. d’Anglejan-Chatillon explains in a rich accent that would have any red-blooded…

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A Table in the Tarn

A Table in the Tarn

It’s not just a story of a table but, in fact, a whole guest house. That guest house being in the Tarn region of South West France where the author, Orlando Murrin, and his partner Peter Steggall have made their home. More accurately, Orlando and Peter have turned an old property into a guest house,…

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Le Lys du Liban – Aix en Provence

Le Lys du Liban – Aix en Provence

This small restaurant (only 36 covers) is tucked away up a side street and is (if you are lucky) easily missed. I couldn’t say it’s like a corner of old Beirut, but Le Lys du Liban has a rustic charm and some of the biggest wooden ceiling beams I have ever seen – and they…

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The Other Side of the Bar …or One Bar, Two Buses, Six Coffees and a Funeral

The Other Side of the Bar …or One Bar, Two Buses, Six Coffees and a Funeral

Don’t we all just love it? The thought of a nice little bar in France, open from early morning, evoking visions of rustic charm, the smoke of half-a-dozen Gaulloises (not any more!) and some animated exchanges over the morning’s St Tropez Daily Worker? At first glance it’s a dream but the reality is somewhat different….

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Les Moustoussades – Bands Together

Les Moustoussades – Bands Together

Every year our village hosts a marching band competition. These are not crisply uniformed semi-military, baton-swirling groups, these are “bandas”! The eight bandas performing this year came from all parts of France and also Belgium, and are made up of players of all ages. They play everything from 1960s pop to Spanish love songs to…

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Le Panier Festival in the Back Streets of Marseilles

Le Panier Festival in the Back Streets of Marseilles

Le Panier had always been a rough part of the city. It’s the oldest part of town with a dense lattice of narrow streets with tall narrow houses. If the streets were not full of people making merry then it would feel dark and threatening. Its squalor was legendary but Napoleon, Casanova, the painter Puget…

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Absinthe – The Green Fairy

Absinthe – The Green Fairy

Originally produced in the Val-de-Travers region in Switzerland and in Pontarlier, France, Absinthe is a distilled anise-flavoured spirit made from herbs including the flowers and leaves of the plant Artemisia Absinthium, also called Wormwood. Although it is sometimes termed a liqueur, absinthe has no added sugar and is therefore considered as a spirit. Absinthe was…

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La Ferme

La Ferme

If you only have time to visit one shop on a quick trip to Carcassonne, then this must be the one. This little up-market deli/wine/coffee/tea/sweet/fine food shop looks like it’s been there for a hundred years. It’s only been twenty. Before that La Ferme was located just around the corner but away from the main…

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