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Archive for February, 2012

Hôtel Cour des Loges – Bienvenue!

February 27, 2012 @ 1:01 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Elegant dining at Cour des Loges

Nothing quite imprints the distinct feeling of history like staying in the former mansion of an Italian silk merchant.  Tucked discreetly along the cobbled lanes of Vieux Lyon, Hôtel Cour des Loges offers exactly that experience.  You feel as if the old merchant’s staff welcomes you, but alas – they are contemporary concierges well schooled in warm, refined hospitality (as you might expect of a 4-star luxury hotel).

Every glance through the hotel, from the arched reception and dining rooms to your own handsomely outfitted boudoir provides an agreeable blend of antique and contemporary.  The hotel actually is a complex of 14th to 17th-century buildings that encircle a glass-covered courtyard.

After checking in, ask your concierge about nearby “traboules” to explore.  The passageways first were used by workers in the silk industry and later by members of the Resistance to evade capture by the occupying Germans.  They weave through the old city with a mystique of their own, hiding the stories of long ago.

About the traboules (click to enlarge)

Our friend provided an after-dinner tour, pushing open a door here and there, that appeared to be the entrance to a home or apartment. We followed him along silent corridors, around corners and through other doors, only to exit a few streets away.

You will want to enjoy a memorable dinner at the hotel’s Café-Épicerie, a restaurant that artfully mixes contemporary décor with stone walls, graceful arches and silk tapestries.  Our excellent waiter guided our menu choices and scooped fresh parmesan from a large cheese wheel to accent our selections.  The experience reminded us that dining is not eating.

Merci garçon!

After a restful night, head to the interior courtyard for a delicious breakfast buffet.  We look around the upper and lower arches imagining the life of the original owner and his family in Renaissance France.  You cannot fail to absorb the ancient life, the stories and history of this unique Lyon dwelling.  The hotel serves as a wonderful anchor, after wandering up the hills and by the rivers of this remarkable city.

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

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

 

 

Lakeside Fun in Annecy

February 26, 2012 @ 1:01 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Boats take to Lake Annecy for days of summer fun

Since some of you undoubtedly are experiencing wintry weather, I thought a pleasant, sunny photo of Lake Annecy might bring a smile to your face.  If we were there today, we’d take a walk through the park overlooking the lake and stop to watch the swans gliding through the canal.  After that, a wonderful Savoyarde meal would be in order – perhaps a creamy tartiflette! Have a wonderful Sunday wherever you are, whatever the weather.

 

 

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

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

A Bow to Cuisinière Lyonnais

February 24, 2012 @ 1:01 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Villa Florentine on the hill overlooking Vieux Lyon

A friend in Lyon told us about the book.  And so, after dinner in Vieux Lyon, we climbed with him up to Villa Florentine in the Fourvière district. Not only did our friend know the book would be available there, he understood we would be enthralled with the five-star hotel and view over the old city.

Over a mellow drink of brandy by the pool, he told us the lovely story behind “Cuisinière Lyonnaise”.  One misty morning Stéphane Gaborieau, the Villa’s chef, wandered through a flea market.  He discovered an old recipe book, beautifully calligraphed and filled with family ‘recettes’.

The book opens with “Remarques Préliminaires” (preliminary remarks).  One such entry, for example, deals entirely with the making of mustard with water, salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Monsieur Gaborieau poured his heart into the making of this exquisite cookbook, that fellow chef Paul Bocuse describes as a “tribute to an unknown Mother”.

A treasure chest of old recipes

Not only do we see page after antique-looking page of the beautiful script and succulent recipes of this unknown woman, we have an exceptional treat at the end – the comments and recipes from 15 of the world’s most renowned chefs.  It is so touching to read their nostalgic comments about cooking by the side of their own grand mères.

Over and over again, each refers to seasonal fresh vegetables and fruits, free-range chickens and field- grazed cows.  Their devotion to the highest quality ingredients is a testament to their profession.  The comments of a Lyonnais chef, Pierre Orsi, were particularly sweet.  “…these traditional family recipes take on a new and unusual dimension in the pen of a young woman, who, in my mind’s eye, is precise, refined and delicate.  This is an exceptional work.”

[Note: the book is part of the Stéphane Bachès collection of cookbooks – a delightful range of regional and themed books.]

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

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

 

A Tranquil Week at Hotel Belles Rives

February 23, 2012 @ 1:01 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Seaside balconies, spectacular views

Perhaps, it is true – that money can’t buy happiness.  Nonetheless, I’d rather like to have the money for us to enjoy a week at Hotel Belles Rives, overlooking the Mediterranean in Juan-les-pins.  Yes, it would be a bit pricey at a cost of several thousand Euros, but we could enjoy an opulent vacation and a sort of creative immersion in the place that was once home to F. Scott Fitzgerald.

We all might be published authors, given the chance to lounge about by the sea. In 1926, Fitzgerald rented the Villa Saint-Louis, then a sprawling mansion on the Cote d’Azur.  There he molded the pieces of his life – his doomed marriage to Zelda and her mental illness, his escalating alcoholism and wasted talent– molded all of those pieces into the first passages of “Tender Is the Night”.  At the villa, he would write this fourth and final novel, inspired less it would seem by the surrounding beauty, than by his own internal conflicts and bleak outlook.

Unlike the famed author, our ‘baggage’ would not be packed with bitter old memories.  No, we would fill our luggage with clothes well suited to the Hotel Belle Rives, the mansion turned hotel in 1930.  We would dine in the elegant La Passagère or on the terrace overlooking the turquoise sea.  We would include très chic beachwear to pass lazy afternoons on our private beach.  We would walk among seaside mansions and parasol pines, venturing perhaps as far as the famed Bacon Restaurant at Cap d’Antibes.  And in our bejeweled evening attire, we would sip delicate wine in the Art Deco piano bar.

Hotel Belles Rive

Yes, it would be lovely to have the means to bankroll such a week, but there is a saving grace.  Imagination allows us all of the mental holidays and opulent accommodations we desire.

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

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