Monday, March 24, 2014

Why You Should Know Jacques Prévert

Jacques Prévert was a French poet and screenwriter. His poems became and remain very popular in the French-speaking world, particularly in schools.  Some of the movies he wrote are extremely well regarded, with Les Enfants du Paradis considered one of the greatest films of all time.
Prévert's poems were collected and published in his books. His poems are often about life in Paris and life after the Second World War. A great description for those who plan to visit the beautiful city!  Thank you for your beautiful art Jacques Prévert!
An orange on the table
Your dress on the rug
And you in my bed
Sweet gift of now
Crisp cool of night
Passion fire of my life
-       Jacques Prévert

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spotlight: Renaissance

Renaissance is a luxuriously spacious and stylishly appointed floating hotel for 8 guests, and one of the largest craft that can navigate the French canal locks. With a stunning salon and four spacious staterooms, comfort and complete relaxation are assured aboard Renaissance.
The ultra-luxurious Renaissance accommodates up to eight passengers. She was extensively refitted in 2009 and will delight the most discerning passenger.

She carries four spacious suites, all of which carry a choice of king beds or twins.
They each carry a 60ft sq private bathroom and a TV/DVD system.
The air conditioned interior includes a beautifully appointed lounge with comfortable seating, a cosy bar stocked with delicious beverages, and bookshelves with books, newspapers and a Bose CD system.
The expansive sundeck contains a canopy under the dining table for wonderful shading, as well as a relaxing and luxurious spa pool. Bicycles are also available for their clients' use.

Renaissance has five members of crew who attend to the eight passengers throughout the cruise including a captain, tour guide, master chef and two housekeepers.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Best Places to Eat In Paris

One of the finest things about travel is the amazing and unique food that comes along with it! French cuisine is known throughout the world as being gourmet food at its most elegant. French flavors, gastronomic techniques and dining etiquette have impressed and influenced cooks and culinary connoisseurs the world over. In short, when it comes to haute cuisine, Paris is its birthplace. While traveling through Paris, there are a number of different places that we recommend you try out! A night out and off the boat at an elegant Parisian dinner is something you won’t want to miss!

The Best Places to Eat in Paris

·Taillevent offers some of the best in fine dining, specializing in old-fashioned, classic haute cuisine. Opened in 1946 by André Vrinat, Taillevent is now run by his son, Jean Claude.

·Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire is well known in the restaurant world for its artistic culinary style. Chef Pierre dazzles guests with innovative concoctions that are both pleasing to the eye and tantalizing to the taste buds.

·Le Cinq, in the Four Seasons George V, utilizes fresh, local ingredients to serve up a delicious combination of classic French cuisine and contemporary dishes. Executive Chef Philippe Legendre’s amazing menu will leave you speechless and eager to return for more
Paris, France travel.

·L’Astrance is known for its Surprise Menu, where Chef Pascal Barbot conjures up a delectable meal for his guests according to their preferences. The food is modern French with international influences.
*Originally published on AOL Travel, you can see the article here.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spotlight: Golden Odyssey

Originally named Drie Gezusters (Three Sisters), and launched in 1926 for a Dutch captain with three daughters, Golden Odyssey spent her working life carrying cargo to all parts of Europe. At what seemed like the end of her career she was bought by a yachtsman who admired her fine lines and high quality construction. The painstaking conversion that followed was guided by the twin watch-words of quality and taste. Thus the re-born barge yacht has conserved her lines, but all else is new with just one exception...

Whilst many guests will simply take the main engine and associated systems for granted, for others it is the subject of deep appreciation. Industry diesel motors are legendary among the older generations of barge captains and Golden Odyssey's has been totally re-built to ensure that she still benefits from the technology developed to serve these craft when they were at their zenith. As to the other systems it will take a more dedicated engineer to maintain his interest. Suffice to say that from generator to plumbing and electrical systems, firefighting, laundry and galley, all is new and built to the highest standards.

The Spa Pool is typical of the high standards aboard. It is a generous 2 meters by 4 meters and is equipped with water heating and chilling systems, a 10 bar jet pump, ozone purification and underwater lighting. Similarly the air conditioning system is designed to exceed the yacht's requirements. It can warm or chill and distributes air through 7 independently controlled air-handlers allowing each guest to control the temperature of their cabin individually. Although discreetly housed, Golden Odyssey has a full range of modern communication and entertainment systems. Communications ashore are maintained thanks to both cellular and satellite networks. There are private telephones in all cabins and fax and email in the office. There is a full stereo system, video and Bang & Olufsen TV.
To learn more, please visit: , or call U.S. toll-free 1-866-498-3920.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A-Rosa Stella

Its time to treat yourself to French savoir vivre- (“knowing how to live”) on a trip through France’s Provence and Camargue countryside, all the way to the Mediterranean coast. This is Europe’s most beautiful countryside, and guests will experience not being able to take enough pictures of the beautiful scenery. Pass through world-famous wine-growing regions such as the Cote d’Or, discover unique landscapes such as Burgundy, or the coastal vistas of the Cote d’Azure. But, you won’t just love the views: on the A-Rosa, the culinary treats on board perfectly compliment the visual feast, which ensures you and your fellow guests will experience optimal luxury and optimum relaxation.

Everyday, guests will be able to enjoy the new culinary surprises of the A-Rosa buffet, with its live cooking station and copious amounts of food- guests will never leave a meal without a full and happy belly. Relax during a variety of activities on or below deck, or, enjoy stimulating conversations with new friends you make onboard! To really capture the soul of a country, you must fully let yourself go. On the riverside, cities and nature give its best. Impressive castles and canyons, breathtaking landscapes and cities line up along the shore. You not only feel that you have spent a few hours here and there, but that you have really lived there a little too. We strive to provide authentic and truly memorable experiences for our guests.

Whatever you’re looking for on vacation—you will find it on board the A-Rosa river vessel Stella, as she sails on the Rhone & Saone Rivers. Those seeking privacy and relaxation must visit the peaceful ambiance of the SPA-AROSA. On the Sun Deck, there is an outdoor pool, shuffleboard and putting green, perfect for guests to kick back and relax, all the while taking in the French countryside. Leaving our daily lives and stress that sometimes comes with everyday life can be difficult, however we strive to make you forget your worries and enjoy your times with us. We want your time with France Cruises to be the best time. The casual and friendly atmosphere onboard, along with the beautiful countryside around every bend of the river hastens your desire to let go and just enjoy.

To learn more about the A-Rosa Stella, visit our website here:, or call U.S. toll-free 1-866-498-3920.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What a Trip: Following in his uncle’s wartime footsteps through France and Belgium

Who: Tom (the author) and Elaine Reale and their friend Bert Iaderosa, all of Anchorage.
Where, when, why: We traveled from Sept. 21 to Oct. 22, 2013, following the route through France and Belgium that my uncle, Joe Cicchinelli, took as a paratrooper in World War II. He parachuted into southern France in 1944, and his outfit — the 551st Parachute Infantry Battalion — liberated several villages and towns from the Germans before going on to the Battle of the Bulge.
Highlights and high points: We visited the site where my uncle and two other soldiers captured the first German general taken alive in Europe and saw memorials to his unit as well as to him and to some of his fellow soldiers. We saw a Nazi flag from the museum in Draguignan, France, that he captured and donated to the village, and we visited the vineyard that he parachuted into. In Belgium, we were shown the spot where he was taken prisoner: He was sent to a German stalag that he escaped from as the war was winding down.
Cultural connection or disconnect: We saw several plaques with my uncle’s name on them, saw his photo displayed in several locations and met people with whom he has maintained relationships over the years. The extent to which WWII is still relevant to the people there came as a real surprise. People are still finding remnants of battles fought, including unexploded ordnance, on a regular basis. People maintain private museums of wartime mementos and photographs, and the official museums are almost too numerous to mention.
Biggest laugh or cry: It was very moving to have people thanking us for my uncle’s service and making sure that we conveyed their thanks and appreciation to him.
How unexpected: The extent to which older people are trying to convey to the next generations just how important it was that the Allies saved Europe from Nazi domination. There are even WWII battle re-enactors there, much as we have Civil War re-enactors here.
Fondest memento or memory: The most powerful memory is of walking through farmlands and pastures where my uncle fought and trying to visualize what it must have been like to have been there in the winter of 1944-45, seeing German tanks coming through the countryside and trying to stay alive in extremely difficult situations.
*Story originally published in the Washington Post, to see the full article, click here.

Spotlight: Roi Soleil

The Roi Soleil has more to do with luxury yachting than barging. Her lines and mahogany and brass trim are inspired by the classic motor yachts of the 1920’s while her interior brings you the best of contemporary design and comfort. Roi Soleil combines the best of yachts and barges. Enjoy a personalized cruise for up to 6 passengers, attended by 4 crew members, for a cruise high on luxurious comfort and mouth watering delights. Make discoveries in an authentic region rich in history and ancient architecture, unspoiled nature, whine, food and crafts. The fully air conditioned Roi Soleil features 3 spacious, bright and airy staterooms, perfect for luxuriating and soaking up France in.

The come with opening skylights, each with queen-sized or single beds and en-suite bathrooms. The main deck boasts optimal area and panoramic views from saloon, to bar, to dining. It features a spa pool, Bose sound system, iPod dock, 3G Internet, DVD library, bicycles, even a fireplace. The shaded aft teak deck comes with inbuilt seating, dining and spa. In addition, innovative gourmet cuisine with cooking demonstrations in an open plan bar/kitchen is part of the fabulous experience aboard the vessel. Choose the romantic 17th century Canal du Midi cruise, now on the UNESCO World Heritage List, or the vibrant Provence and Camargue cruise.

The stylish Salon/Dining room with its fireplace, bar and panoramic views through no less than 20 windows, offers guests a level of comfort equivalent to that of luxury motor yachts. Drenched in natural light and bright colors, its interior is warm and inviting, a charming place to pass time on board. In the salon, guests are welcome to browse the DVD library and watch their selections on the TV; they may also enjoy a drink next to the fireplace. There is a separate Sun Deck area at the forefront of the barge, which is perfect for sunbathing or greeting each new landscape. Truly an extraordinary cruise for those who enjoy a luxurious retreat, furnished with all the modern conveniences.

To learn more, please visit:, or call U.S. toll-free 1-866-498-3920.

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