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Dordogne Basin – UNESCO Biosphere Honors

July 16, 2017 @ 2:38 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Dordogne River Basin Honored by UNESCO

The Dordogne river basin has been designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve – © ATOUT FRANCE/R-Cast

For the past two days, the dynamic Tour de France of 2017 has taken cyclists and viewers throughout the revered Dordogne area and the Massif Central, where volcanic landscapes showcase lush forests and are covered with wildflowers each Spring.  Today, Le Tour race ended in the latter in the enchanting city of Le Puy-du-Velay.

UNESCO pays homage to the extraordinary blend of cultural heritage and art de vivre within the Dordogne’s well-preserved natural landscape. Abundant natural resources stimulate the healthy economy of the basin that benefits from tourism, agriculture, forestry and industry – all in the remarkable beauty of the Dordogne and its tributaries.

Le Puy de Sancy in the Massif Central

Spring wildflowers cover the volcanic slopes of Le Puy de Sancy – © ATOUT FRANCE/Pierre Desheraud

France now boasts 11 such areas of natural heritage, including Mont Ventoux in the Vaucluse and the sprawling Camargue in the South. While UNESCO also designates World Heritage sites, the unique biosphere reserve honor aims to encourage people to revere and maintain the symbiotic relationship and mutual respect between man and nature.

When my husband and I ‘motored’ around the region, we were stunned by the landscapes – stark hills and long rolling landscapes, the cooling river waters and quaint villages.  We aren’t able to spend nearly as much time in France as we would like, but I’ll let you in on one of my little vicarious travel secrets.

Google Earth offers me phantom travel, so that I can zoom down to a small road in the Dordogne or elsewhere and travel right along the routes we may one day visit. I also can re-visit Le Mont-Dore and search for that little restaurant we found. It’s simply a fun pastime that can lift my day and offer hope for new adventures.

Don’t hesitate to contact S. Sheridan with questions or specific requests!

Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved

A Passion for Travel … and France!

June 24, 2017 @ 8:57 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Why travel is important

Paris laid back in September

My son surprised me with his declaration that one of the reasons he loves me  is  “… because you have such a passion for France. I wish I felt that passion for a place.”  I think many of us have felt a certain envy of those who are immersed and enriched by their love of a place, an art form, a hobby … any of those interests that brighten our lives.

I realize that travel … and France specifically … has uplifted and transformed me and allowed me to leave behind some difficult days of youth, significant losses, career responsibilities and the never-ending challenge of raising children!   With travel I could embrace a new world, entirely apart from all of that, a chance to escape the cage and fly.  I believe that captures one of the most important reasons to travel – to immerse yourself in another place that draws you into its charming circle and allows you to emerge with new appreciation for the unique world around you.

Montmartre Paris France

Dinner with a view!

I had enjoyed three trips to France, when I met my future husband in the States. After many years as a widow, I was blessed beyond imagination to find this phenomenal man who shared my love of travel. We honeymooned in Paris. We traveled for an entire summer in France. I wrote the following at the end of that lovely summer:

The calm after the tourist storm (on the road in August) is welcome. We stay again in our chosen Montmartre apartment, where Sacré-Cœur attracts legions of tourists; but the population has rapidly decreased with the end of vacations. Fewer families on the street, fewer shops closed, more locals about makes for the ‘normal’ rhythm of the city we enjoy.

I dashed ‘one more time’ to the fabric stores. How do you choose from all the incredible fabrics? I touch them. I look at their sheen in the light. The Louvre? Fantastic, but the fabrics and chocolates and people in phone booths are as interesting, though less historic.

Last night we climbed ‘the mountain’ (Montmartre) to have a simple dinner at a sidewalk café just at the base of Sacre Coeur. We enjoyed a delightful waitress with an appealingly mixed French-Italian accent.  When we walked to the steps of the cathedral, as always there was a crowd gathered, a mix of tourists living out their last night of Paris vacation and locals taking advantage of enjoying this last warmth and freedom,  before serious work and cold weather arrived.

Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Homeward bound 

Our timing was perfect to see the Eiffel Tower perform its light show, as it does for ten minutes at the top of every hour through midnight. We will ALWAYS relish this trip, this experience. Who would ever have dreamed it possible?

So there you have but one vignette that underscores the value and enrichment of travel. Within some realistic boundaries,  set aside travel fears and budget constraints and allow yourself this freedom to discover.  Whether you choose France or Colorado or any point in between, you will be refreshed and anxious to plan your next trip.

 

Don’t hesitate to contact S. Sheridan with questions or specific requests!
Copyright © 2005-2017, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved

Gerberoy – Tranquil Country Escape

May 24, 2017 @ 5:30 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Picardy France

Gerberoy – Plus Beaux Village

We love the metropolitan vibrancy and attractions of Paris, Lyon, Aix-en-Provence and many other cities of France; but now and then, we just want to wander, discover and ‘see things in new ways’.  Many of us are enticed by some of the enchanting villages tuced here and there throughout France, and an excellent resource to tap is “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France”.  What an enchanting array of choices!  Let’s visit one.

Just an hour north of Paris, the plus beaux village of Gerberoy offers a quaint and colorful step not only into the past but into a traditional country setting.  Among draping wisteria and plentiful roses, you find yourself winding along cobbled streets amidst a beautiful mix of brick-faced homes and pastel timbered buildings.  Not surprisingly, this appealing blend attracted post-impressionist Henri le Sidaner for summer visits, where he crafted his mystical trademark motif – a single window lit at dusk.

Gerberoy, Plus Beaux Village, France

Enchanting brick and timbered homes, Gerberoy

Dating back to the heart of the Middle Ages, Gerberoy presents an abbreviated charm compared to the sometimes daunting list of museums and monuments found in large cities.  The unique local architecture runs from Norman to Picard and shines across a variety of small townhomes, manors, farms and canonical estates.  Despite the relatively small size of the village, the large, 15th-century Collegiate Church Saint-Pierre – adorned with stunning Aubusson tapestries – underscores the former prominence of the small town.

Well, we are ‘sold’ and will plan to stay a night or two in a welcoming Gîte de France – Le Logis de Gerberoy, where their first floor “La Chambre Terrasse” overlooks tranquil gardens.  Hospitality, an appealing petit dejeuner and local products (cheeses, jams and local gateaux) on site sound like the perfect place to enjoy garden sights and quiet walks in the village and country – parfait!

North of Paris village

Cobblestone streets and beautiful gardens of Gerberoy, France

We’d love to hear from you!
Copyright © 2005-2019, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved.

Parisian Cafe Moments

January 5, 2017 @ 12:46 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Paris cafe life

Intimate brasserie near Jardin du Luxembourg

Many of you know that I completed a dream goal last year in publishing Fired Up for France:  The Promise of ParisAbove all, I wanted to inspire others to throw caution to the wind and take the plunge to visit – for the first or umpteenth time – the most captivating city in the world.  Yes, my personal opinion but one seemingly held by millions of others.

In a series of vignettes and enticing photos, I sought to capture the essence of a city that lures you around every corner – with a window display or a street musician, with a myriad of architectural details or a soothing garden path, with a simple café moment or a stunning ballet performance.  Paris holds enough tantalizing sights, sounds and experiences to whirl you about for your entire visit, but part of the magic lies with the people.  Residents and visitors alike seem to come alive in The City of Light, sharing moments and greetings in a world that seems to exist to encourage their wellbeing and outright joy.

Paris cafes

Warm hospitality along rue Mouffetard

And so, I sit on my porch on a sunny day in Florida sharing pleasant memories with you, while admittedly I do so to mentally transport myself back to those cherished moments.  Though we have enjoyed many areas of Paris, we have particularly relished the Latin Quarter and its environs.

Our best friends live quite near The Panthéon; so we have wandered with them along the worn paths of the Jardin du Luxembourg, where hundreds of people raise their faces to the sun from a simple green chair overlooking the Medici fountain or the grand Luxembourg Palace.   Children dash about, while nannies or moms watch over them.  One gentleman reads a book; another flirts with his girlfriend.

Paris cafes

Another Latin Quarter cafe with our friend, Philippe

We step across the boulevard to take in the café life that mirrors the same kind of individual and group pleasures – that little table with coffee and croissant from which you watch the world pass or the full table sharing a pichet of wine while enjoying quiet conversation.  Café life offers some of the most peaceful moments and enduring memories of your visit, so much so that you must tailor your budget to allow plenty of time to explore their magic.

We hope 2017 finds you along the Seine, visiting the markets, listening to the street guitarist and gathering your favorite collection of Paris cafés.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2016, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved