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Archive for November, 2011

Roman Ruins by the Massif l’Estérel

November 29, 2011 @ 1:01 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

 

The Corniche d’Or road along Massif de l’Estérel – © ATOUT FRANCE/Michel Angot

Just one of the many jewels that sparkle through Provence is the historic city of Fréjus. Created as a trading post by Julius Caesar in the first century, the city grew to become second only to Ostie as a Roman port and served as a vital naval base, until the fall of Nero.  Though the victim of countless invasions through the centuries, today Fréjus enjoys an exceptional mix of history, art and culture and an enticing proximity to the spectacular coasts along the Massif Estérel.

Among the 29 protected historic monuments from Roman and Medieval times are an elliptical arena, fragments of a Roman aqueduct and theatre, and a striking pink sandstone cathedral.  Originally holding 12,000 spectators, the arena seating has been restored for the enjoyment of concerts and the occasional bull fight during the summer.  To really explore the area, it’s best to go either in April or May or in October, when the swollen summer holiday crowds have abandoned the Mediterranean.

The Medieval area centers around Place Formige in the fortified Cité Épiscopale, where you will discover the Cathédrale Notre Dame, the Bishop’s palace, cloisters and 5th century baptistry.  The cloisters and gardens have been beautifully restored, and the adjacent Musée Archéologique exhibits Roman artifacts.

Aqueduct Park, Fréjus

Once you have sated your appetite for history, it’s time to pack a picnic and head east along the magnificent coast.  The ancient mountain range of the Massif de l’Estérel offers spectacular vistas of rugged, red rocks plunging into the striking blue waters of the Mediterranean.  The hardy vegetation is the stuff of music – sage, rosemary, thyme, lavender and juniper.

After driving along the coastal road that winds among bougainvillea-laden walls and jagged red ridges, find your perfect overlook to enjoy a picnic by the sea.  Off in the distance, you’ll see sleek white boats cutting through deep blue water, and waves crashing into rocky outcroppings – not sights you’ll readily forget!

We’d love to hear from you!  swsheridan@francedailyphoto.com

Copyright © 2005-2012, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

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Metz on the Moselle and Seille

November 26, 2011 @ 9:27 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Straddling the Moselle, the Moyen-Pont bridge in Metz and the Temple Neuf - © ATOUT FRANCE/Michel Laurent

So many cities and villages in France spread along the leafy banks of gently flowing rivers.  Metz is no exception, where nearly 14 miles (22 km) of the Moselle and Seille riverfronts contribute to the appeal and tranquil rhythm of the city.  The sparkling capitol of the Lorraine department in northeastern France continues to evolve into an interesting and thriving city with heavy influence from Germany and Luxembourg.

Just 80 minutes from Paris on the new TGV Est-European train, Metz combines 3000 years of history with an appealing flower-filled landscape, appreciation for the past and excitement about the future.  The university adds another energetic and cultural dimension to the spirited city.   We are particularly fond of scenic water views, so we explore the river areas first.

In Metz, ancient gardens open on to promenades, and the verdant open-space Seille Park offers an ideal leisure and sports venue as well as a fascinating environmental experience.  The lagoon, reed beds and wet pond  were designed to treat storm water, and perennials mix with towering oaks, maples and sycamores to set a peaceful place for quiet walks.  North of the old city center, charming 18th-century neighborhoods hug the Moselle and the Grand Island Saulcy.  Especially with reflections in the water, you’ll enjoy a beautiful view over the old town from Pont Saint-Marcel.

Saint-Étienne de Metz – © ATOUT FRANCE/Michel Laurent

The recently opened Centre Pompidou mirrors the ambitions of Paris’ Pompidou center.  Together with the Metz Metropole region and the Musee National d’Art Moderne, the stimulating exhibits tap your hunger for contemporary art.   La Cour d’or houses the art, architecture and archeology museums, each illuminating the history of the city and surrounding areas as well as displaying art from the 15th to 20th centuries.

One of the most beautiful buildings in Metz is the Cathedrale Saint-Etienne at place d’Armes with the third-tallest nave in France.  Overlooking the river, the Cathedrale has several beautiful stained glass windows by Chagall, and little canopy-covered café tables provide a delightful place to take in the majestic architecture.

When it comes to Lorraine cuisine, think creamy quiche and lovely rabbit dishes, Mirabelle plum treats, Savoy raclettes and fondues.   Brandy.  Excellent lagers spill through the outdoor terraces in warm weather.  It won’t take long for you to discover your favorite dining spots.

Guidelines and inside tips are nice to have, but always allow your own sense of discovery to lead you to those perfect little places and surprises that make your holiday unique.
We’d love to hear from you!  swsheridan@francedailyphoto.com

Copyright © 2005-2012, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

Happy Thanksgiving to Paris Expats

November 24, 2011 @ 8:49 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

American grocery store in Paris

American expats have been drawn to Paris for decades, and many build and live out their lives in the City of Light and Love.  They may adopt French ways, but they still miss some of their favorite Americal meals.  Today, you can well imagine them, perhaps after attending the American Church of Paris, gathered around a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

They couldn’t do so with ease until 1990, when a French-American couple opened a store in the Marais. Looking for inspiration to name their American grocery, they came upon an Amish cookbook. The first sentence in the book, “For us, every meal is a thanksgiving.”

And so the name and store – Thanksgiving– came to life to provide all the ingredients, spices and specialty utensils needed to create authentic American meals. They import fresh foods – American style bacon, hot dogs, breakfast sausages, and Philadelphia and Cheddar cheeses.

November delivers the makings of traditional American Thanksgiving feasts – fresh cranberries, yams, fresh turkeys and holiday desserts. As we gather with friends and family, we send our best wishes to our expats in Paris. Happy Thanksgiving et Bon Appétit.

We’d love to hear from you! swsheridan@francedailyphoto.com
Copyright © 2005-2012, LuxeEuro, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Fontaines Wallace of Paris

November 23, 2011 @ 10:37 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

The dominant Wallace fountain with four caryatids

 

Over the full measure of time, bread and water have been the basic essentials of life; and that is certainly true in France.  Leaving the artistry of French bread for another day, let’s give a nod to Sir Richard Wallace today.  Next to Tour Eiffel, I can’t think of something more representative of Paris than the handsome green Wallace fountains throughout the “City of Light”.  Thanks to the generosity of an Englishman – Sir Richard Wallace – the green cast iron sculptures deliver potable water across Paris.

Why water fountains?   After the siege in Paris from 1870 to 1871, water prices escalated and especially the poor in Paris were affected.  The philanthropist, who had inherited his father’s fortune in 1870, devised the unique plan to provide water and beauty to the city in the form of “street furniture”.

Tapping the artistic talent of Charles-Auguste Leborg, Wallace offered several provisos to the design and production of the fountains.  They should combine usefulness with beauty, be tall enough to be seen, be harmonious with their surrounding landscape, be appealing in design, be affordable enough to install 50 fountains throughout the city and be created from weather-resistant materials easy to mold and maintain.

Fountain in a Montmartre square

The most dominant cast iron fountains are the 1300-pound Large design with an octagonal pedestal supporting four caryatids (symbolizing kindess, simplicity, charity and sobriety).  Their outstretched arms support a dome, from which water trickles into a basin.  The smaller fountains in public squares and gardens weigh far less and have a simple push-button operation.

Thus, Paris continues to maintain and add fountains to satisfy our right to drinkable water and our desire for artistic beauty.

We’d love to hear from you!  swsheridan@francedailyphoto.com

Copyright © 2005-2012, LuxeEuro, LLC.  All rights reserved.

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