Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Year's Eve in Paris with Monet

The spectacular Grand Palais in Paris is hosting an exhibition of the work of Monet, the greatest of the Impressionist painters.

It's been over 30 years since so many of Monet's masterpieces have been on display at one time; but for four months, until January 24, 2011, over 200 of the works of the French master can be seen together in Paris under the marvellous glass roof of the Grand Palais.

What a great excuse for our France lovers to plan the perfect New Year Eve week end in the City of Lights! This is the perfect base for a weekend in Paris..

Here is an opportunity to pick our brains as this is not your traditional travel agent recommendation, siphoned from a brochure or website; rather a customized trip including where to stay, where to eat, and what to do. We like to get our clients away from the crowds per se and give them a more genuine experience, immersing them in the culture.

Since it is a short stay, we will focus on a specific area of Paris: the Left bank / Latin Quarter.

“La Rive Gauche” is the Southern bank of the Seine river, what used to be the Paris of artists, writers and philosophers, including Picasso, Verlaine, Sartre, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and dozens of other members of the great artistic community.

Nowadays, this historical part of the city houses expensive flats, art galleries and high-end fashion boutiques; and the cafés once frequented by penniless intellectuals and struggling artists are filled with the well-educated bourgeois and students alike of the nearby Sorbonne University. The small streets, busy shops and lively neighborhood feel make this the perfect place to stroll or people-watch over a late-afternoon coffee or an after-dinner drink.

Where to stay: (Jean's picks)

We like to give customers choices -- as knowledgeable we are about the places to stay, it simply may not suit their tastes. Here's a few choices we like:
  • Victoria Palace - From the moment you walk in, only beauty, luxury and impeccable customer service surround you. The food, sleeping accommodations and ambiance is well worth every Euro spent!
  • Hotel de l'Abbaye - Here you can choose from the elegant class or deluxe rooms, or enjoy a junior suite or duplex. Every room has unique decor and personal atmosphere.
  • Hotel le Notre Dame - This is the creation of fashion designer Christian Lacroix, boasts amazing decoration that you won't see anywhere else and the view of the Cathedral is like in a dream
Activities and Dining on the left bank: (Ana's picks)
  • Café de Flore (Brunch in style) - Located on Boulevard St Germain and an ideal place for Sunday brunch. All of the great writers and artists of the 20th century came to hang out here.
  • Les Deux Magots- Just a block over where all the tourists flock...Parisians prefer Café de Flore.
  • Entrecote - Also on St Germain and only serve salad, steak, and fries..(BUT THEY ARE GOOD!)
  • Brasserie Lipp - across from Café de Flore with traditional French bistro food; has an older French crowd where you see older men with their mistresses and older women with their lovers...definitely worth a visit.
  • Dinner at Lasserre - *(gastronomic experience on the right bank)* The bill will be pricey but I guarantee a memorable experience with great food! (Space is limited!) 
…If time permits, I would “make the effort” to get out of the left bank for a meal at Le Soufflé on the right bank… While you must make a reservation, the soufflé is delicate and light, arguably the best in Paris (I recommend the chocolate for dessert).

To complete your stay, a Paris show is a must. I personally prefer the Lido which is dinner and a show, but many of our Parisian friends find the Moulin Rouge more "typical" -- just not too crazy about the area.

Tailor-Made Itineraries is a service our customers love! No matter your taste or reason for travel, we've got you covered!

Jean & Ana

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Normandy and Burgundy in the Fall

France is beautiful -- no matter the season or time of year, but here are a few photos we'd like to share of Normandy and Burgundy in the Fall (submitted with permission from a recent traveler). Don't you wish you could be there?

Our newsletter this month will focus on the beautiful art throughout France -- these pictures say it all...

Enjoy ~

Life on the Burgundy Canal is slow and easy | Canadian World Traveller

Recently published article about one of our luxury barges:

Life on the Burgundy Canal is slow and easy | Canadian World Traveller

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bonjour All!

Welcome to our blog!

For all France lovers, this is a special treat, as we will chronicle our travels and experiences throughout this beautiful country. As the owners of France Cruises, we not only have knowledge of what travelers want, we also have firsthand experience of the locations we send our travelers. We have actually taken trips with the exact itineraries of our cruises so we could revise them or provide more detailed / up-to-date information for clients. This is one reason our travelers feel comfortable calling us at anytime, about anything (train schedules, hotel recommendations, finding their way back after getting lost..)

Ana and I have traveled the world, but France being my birthplace, it holds a special place in our lives. You will find lots of pictures from our adventures, information about the best places to eat, best wineries, and so much more! The small barge and riverboat canal cruising experts want to share even more with you. Subscribe and visit often – we are your French Insiders.
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