Archive for the ‘Auvergne’ Category
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.
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!
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Cheese seems to be top of mind this week, as I recently shared my three favorite French selections. Since it is the BIG day of eating and celebrating with Super Bowl at our virtual doorstep, let’s look at French cheeses to serve (and remember, you don’t need to wait for a party or guests to treat yourself at home!
We shall indulge with a rather more sophisticated menu than Americana’s chips, dips, wings and ribs. How about a magnificent roasted ham, Camembert cheese (oui and a touch of Havarti), croissants and a tantalizing bowl of fruit (or savory salad, if the fruit isn’t up to par this time of year). For me, the cheese is the prima donna…the very thought of French cheeses and choices takes me to Auvergne’s “Cheese Road”. Enjoy the journey with me!
You frequently hear about renowned wine routes in France, but did you know there is a charming “Cheese Road”? It’s true, and the Auvergne region of central France is proud to be the only region in the country to produce 5 PDO cheeses (Protected Designation of Origin – much like the AOC wine designations).
The diverse lay of the land, from Monts du Forez and Puy de Sancy to the Monts Dore and the Cantal, allows for the artisan production of different, flavor-filled cheeses. The savory collection of PDO cheeses includes Cantal, Saint Nectaire, Fourme d’Ambert, Bleu d’Auvergne and Salers. The cheeses range from a creamy Highlands cheese with nutty flavor to the powerful wild blue cheese with, of course, a strong aroma; and in between the Salers robust farmer’s cheese that combines spicy and floral flavors. The cheeses reflect the nature of the land.
Follow The Auvergne PDO Cheese Road and expect warm hospitality, easy access and parking and thorough information about the five unique cheeses. Your “tour” will include visits to production areas – yes, even cow milking – to learn about the history of cheese production and ripening. And perhaps best of all, you have the opportunity to taste and purchase the local products.
We have often enjoyed stopping by a cav for a wine tasting and purchase of regional wines but never imagined the same could be true for cheese. For example, Msr. and Mme. Pons of Monts Dore offer daily tours to explore cheese making, tasting and, naturally, purchasing. And you can hardly go wrong with traveling about the gorgeous volcanic landscape of the Auvergne region.
If you should venture to Le Mont Dore, there is one café you must try. The Café de Paris offers delightful fare, warm hospitality and a delicious Auvergne Truffaude specialty. We enjoyed dining inside the handsome dining room, but you also would enjoy the outdoor patio with sweeping views of the mountains.
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Visit our LuxeEuro site today for a combination of amusement and revelation – our recommendation for lodging in the lovely old bastide town of Beaumont du Périgord in southern Dordogne.
We hadn’t heard of the ville, until our Parisian friend sent us Julia Stuart’s first novel, the Matchmaker of Périgord. Stuart’s novel is the fictional side of Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence, in which she captures so many of the endearing (and not so) idiosyncrasies of provincial French in the story of the barber turned matchmaker.
Do take a look at a remarkable old mill country retreat –Moulin de la Ville Beaumont du Périgord– and have a delightful Sunday remembering past adventures and planning future trips!
This photo of Hotel-Restaurant Edward 1er is courtesy of TripAdvisor
For a relatively tiny community of less than 1,000 people, Monpazier in the Dordogne area of southwest France offers some excellent lodging options. Fittingly named Hotel Edward 1st , the hotel combines friendly hospitality with 12 varied accommodations in a lovely turreted, 19th century building at the edge and within easy walking distance of the entire charming village. Two hotel restaurants easily serve the needs of guests, and the village itself offers a number of bistros and café choices, all within the “embrace” of the walled Bastide town.
The gorgeous rolling countryside surrounds the village, and therein we discover another exceptional lodging choice, perhaps for that family retreat. Set on 4 acres, this Dordogne “farmhouse” – Villa Sainte-Therese – sleeps 8 to 10 and offers all of the comforts one would expect of a nice vacation rental – spacious rooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, gorgeous views and lovely terraces for enjoying the morning sun or evening sunset.
We stayed in a nice little hotel in the village of Saint-Gervais-d’Auvergne to the northeast of Monpazier, but the Bastide is definitely on our must-do list for our next travel adventure in France!
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