Posts Tagged “France”

There’s no smoke without … a Saint-Claude pipe

There’s no smoke without … a Saint-Claude pipe

You, dear reader, will be unusual to say the least if you own one; your father probably didn’t have one, either; more likely your grandfather might have had one … or two or three. Take a look in your old family photo album and chances are there will be someone smoking a pipe and looking…

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Bonnet Jujurieux Silk Factory Museum

Bonnet Jujurieux Silk Factory Museum

This is a charming museum, and it seems to encompass most of the original Bonnet silk factory in Jujurieux, a small town in the department of Ain. The hub of the silk-production industry was Lyon. C J Bonnet founded a company in that city in 1810 and established this factory at Jujurieux in 1835. The…

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Absinthe – Green Hills & Green Fairies of Jura

Absinthe – Green Hills & Green Fairies of Jura

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. It’s the same botanical as used in Vermouth. Although it is sometimes termed a liqueur, absinthe has no added sugar and…

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The Bells, The Bells of Jura

The Bells, The Bells of Jura

When you wake in your hotel room in the beautiful green mountains of the Jura, in Eastern France, you may hear, for the first time, the iconic sound of bells – cow bells, tinkling across the valleys as the brown-and-white ladies stroll to the milking parlour (or return to the pasture, if you’re a late…

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Côte d’Or: The Heart of Burgundy – review

Côte d’Or: The Heart of Burgundy – review

The Wines and Winemakers of the Heart of Burgundy 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 celebrated…

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Affordable Fizz from Les Grands Chais de France – drinks review

Affordable Fizz from Les Grands Chais de France – drinks review

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 by Gérald Passedat – review

Flavors from the French Mediterranean by Gérald Passedat – review

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 – travel review

Rennes – living with history – travel review

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?) – travel review

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

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 – travel review

Bayeux – A stitch in time – travel review

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 – travel review

Fontenay Abbey – travel review

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 – travel review

Reims – Tasteful Souvenirs – travel review

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 – travel review

The Sparkle of Vilmart & Cie – travel review

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 – travel review

La Belle Epoque – 5-star floating through Burgundy – travel review

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 – drinks review

Champagne – a brief encounter – drinks review

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 – interview

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

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 by Orlando Murrin – review

A Table in the Tarn by Orlando Murrin – review

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 – restaurant review

Le Lys du Liban – Aix en Provence – restaurant review

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

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 Gauloises (not any more!) and some animated exchanges over the morning’s St Tropez Daily Worker? At first…

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Les Moustoussades – Bands Together in Villemoustaussou – review

Les Moustoussades – Bands Together in Villemoustaussou – review

Every year our village hosts a marching bands 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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