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Archive for the ‘Historic Sights’ Category

Saint-Antonin Noble Val – Visitez!

August 3, 2017 @ 2:29 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan

Saint Antonin Noble Val – stunning landscape!

I recently discovered a must-visit medieval village for our next adventure in France. Just an hour north of Toulouse, Saint-Antonin Noble Val enjoys a spectacular setting and abundant activities at the confluence of the Aveyron and Bonnette rivers in Southwest France.

And I’ve found an ideal chambre d’hôte from which to explore – the very appealing La Résidence. In a comfortable blend of elegant antiques, charming architecture and contemporary convenience; the hosts offer an enticing atmosphere in which to enjoy their hospitality. The deluxe room not only includes breakfast but a private roof terrace overlooking the garden and terracotta rooftops of the ancient village at a reasonable 80 to 110 Euros per night.

Beyond exploring the marketplace and artisan shops of the village, the scenic, gorge-laced countryside begs to be discovered in casual walks, by bicycle, kayak or canoe. La Résidence looks so relaxing, I would almost be tempted to simply while away time and stroll through the village.

La Residence Garden, France

La Residence garden

Many of the streets and buildings of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val date to the 12th century and include the medieval market hall and the belfry-adorned Town Hall that is said to be the oldest of all French civil buildings. Not surprisingly, the extraordinary historic town was one of many stopping points along the renowned pilgrimage path to Santiago de Compostela. If you’ve seen the Cate Blanchett film – Charlotte Gray – you already will have some familiarity with the village, where the movie was shot.

Steeped as we are right now in the blazing heat of Florida, I can’t imagine a more enticing escape – equally restful, stimulating and filled with charm, history and astounding natural beauty.

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

Add Van Gogh to Your Paris Trip

July 29, 2017 @ 7:45 am
posted by Sandra Sheridan
day trip Paris france

The tiny ville that inspired Van Gogh – © ATOUT FRANCE/Martine Prunevieille

If you are lucky enough to be in Paris … or planning to visit soon … just 17 miles northwest of Paris, Auvers-sur-Oise is a charming little commune on the banks of the Oise River.  This quaint ville attracted Vincent van Gogh and other famous Impressionist artists destined to translate their surroundings into cherished art.

A pleasant day trip from Paris, you will find your journey centered more on mood and imagination than on history.  Catch the 10 a.m. direct train from Paris’ Gare du Nord, and in just 30 minutes you’ll discover a window into the world of Van Gogh, to see the sights he painted in a whirl of artistic expression in the last two months of his life.

I’m not a videographer, but this charming video offers a ‘walking tour’ and specific ‘how-to-go’ information in a quaint and helpful presentation.  As always, double-check specific travel details should schedules and prices change.

The tortured and talented artist moved to Auvers to be treated by Dr. Paul Gachet, though he felt the good doctor in a worse condition than his own.  Nonetheless, they were friends and, in an ironic twist of fate, Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” brought nearly the highest auction price of all of his paintings.

The artist was prolific in Auvers, where he produced many of his best-known works – The Church at Auvers, Thatched Cottages by a Hill, Wheat Field with Crows and more. A couple of standard stops include the handsome Chateau d’Auvers that pays homage to Impressionist painters and the Absinthe Museum that evokes the mystique of the potent green liquid that was Van Gogh’s favorite.  To this day, rumors swirl about the so-called mind-altering spirit nicknamed “The Green Fairy.”

Even your visit to Van Gogh’s tiny attic is an understated experience, more in keeping with the bare solitude of an artist than an orchestrated emphasis on historic significance.

Day trip Paris France

Hotel de Ville by Van Gogh

The genuine Auvers experience is less about museum visits and more about immersing yourself in a time and place that inspired the genius of many painters.  Stroll along the river and through the village to see and feel the scenes that inspired the Impressionist paintings.  Wander past the church to the famed wheat field and hillside cemetery where Theo and Vincent Van Gogh are buried.

Before your return to Paris, enjoy a lazy, memorable lunch at Van Gogh’s Auberge Ravoux, where the chef partners with local farmers and muses of yesteryear to create the traditional French cuisine of Van Gogh’s era.  In the middle of the wayside tavern atmosphere, you will cement your experience with one more facet of the life and spirit of the Impressionist colony.

We’d love to hear from you!

Copyright © 2005-2019, LuxeEuro, LLC. Photo and text, all rights reserved

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Autographed copies with notecard gift

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

Hôtel de Crillon – Paris Reopens!

July 3, 2017 @ 1:29 pm
posted by Sandra Sheridan
Paris Luxury

Set on Place Concord, Hôtel de Crillon

The renowned Hôtel de Crillon, next door to the American Embassy in Paris, has finally completed a four-year renovation! Always considered to be one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the hotel steps forward with a classically subdued mix of 18th-Century elegance and refined, contemporary comfort – including the central air conditioning that many of us consider essential today.

Certainly the Crillon had not fallen into musty disrepair, but catering to those who likely spend the equivalent of a mortgage payment on a night’s stay requires a discerning makeover now and then.  No less than 700 people tackled this renovation at a cost undisclosed by representatives of the Saudi Prince who has owned the hotel since 2010.

paris hotels

Just one of Hotel Crillon’s signature suites

Changes range from the addition of an indoor pool looking up to a garden, more accessible dining and bar areas, intimate lobby nooks and an overall atmosphere of visiting the manor of an ever-so-well-to-do friend in the heart of Paris. I look forward to stepping through her hallowed doors, as I did over 20 years ago.  And THAT is a story worth telling!

During my first visit to Paris, my good friend demonstrated her indefatigable ‘the world is my oyster’ style – a style, I might add, that can leave me quaking! Dressed for a casual walk and a bit sodden with the Paris mist, she insisted we duck into the Crillon for a glance about and a visit to the restroom and gift shop. I balked at the thought with the feeling that such a visit would equal attending an upscale event in jeans and tennis shoes.

Quite the view from the Suite Bernstein

No, no, my friend assured me, and we entered … with her darling dog in the lead. A uniformed gentleman nodded with an appropriate smile (I think the dear man rather enjoyed seeing ‘regular people’ entering the distinguished address!) We traversed the marble foyer and descended elegant stairs to the toilette. Then, we enjoyed moments of hushed French-style conversation with the gracious attendant in the gift shop, as we looked among porcelain keepsakes, sumptuous leather goods and feather-light silk scarves. Despite my initial misgivings, the experience was delightful and the welcoming staff as hospitable as the signature service of the hotel would lead a guest to expect.

I later heard about a tourist who had the same thought to take a peek inside, perhaps a good ten years after our adventure.  As this lady approached the door, a guard at the front explained that only hotel guests could enter in order to protect the privacy of their guests.  I really don’t know if that is the case today, but I feel certain my friend would have the ‘new keys to the Crillon’.

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

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