Friday, February 17, 2012

The Most Beautiful Villages of France: Atlantic Coast

Villages across the Atlantic Coast in France are dotted with small white houses and gorgeous hollylocks. It may not seem sound so spectacular, but once you step foot in one of the following five, you will understand why they made the list of The Most Beautiful Villages of France.
Sitting proudly at the tip of Ile de Re island, Ars-en-Ré shines with its 40-m high church steeple. Workers today still continue to farm the famous Fier d’Ars salt marshes, which is what the village grew up around back in the 11th century. Places to visit include: the Church of Saint Etienne, the L’Huîtrière de Ré oyster farm, and of course, the church steeple and salt marshes.

A short drive from Royan lies Talmont sur-Gironde, overlooking the Gironde estuary. The lovely village, founded as a bastide town in 1284 by Edward I Duke of Aquitaine, still has the same layout as it did 700 years ago. Hollyhocks run rampant, as do small alleys and – what else – white houses. Today the symbol of the Poitou-Charentes region, the superb Church of Sainte Radegonde, continues to be protected by ramparts. Catch a tour of this magnificent church, and history and fishing museums when dropping by.

At a glance, Mornac-sur-Seudre comes off as a typical fishing port. But inside, one will discover more than just boats. The little village devotes itself to oyster farming and the salt produced by its marshes. A stroll around will allow one to discover small white houses and striking pink hollyhocks everywhere. Visitors should see the Church of Saint Pierre, and the marshes (salt, oyster farming, etc.)

La Flotte
All year long, La Flotte endures boats coming and out … and the village wouldn’t have it any other way. The charming port town welcomes boats every day, beautifully lining the shores across cute shops and restaurants. The streets are decked out in flowers and the low-roofed houses’ white painted walls provide a riveting background to the blue and green shutters. Highlights include the Fort de La Prée, Maison du Platin, and remainds of the Cistercian abbey of the Châteliers.
Vouvant's Melusine Tower

The beautiful walled village of Vouvant is sits on a hillside overlooking the River Mère. Legend has it the town’s trademark Tower of Mélusine was marvelously built in a single night by Fairy Mélusine, an ancestor of the Counts of Lusignan. The majestic 11C Romanesque church rightfully deserves a visit. Other places to see include: the Church of Sainte Marie and Nef Théodelin, an exhibition chamber.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Everything Bordeaux in "Bordeaux World Heritage & Its Wines" Guide Book

The title says it all – "Bordeaux World Heritage & Its Wines."

The 324-page guide by Laurent Moujon, Bordeaux resident for 20 years, focuses on the city of Bordeaux in France, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its world-famous wine regions.

Intended for English-speaking individuals, the guide provides excellent content on everything there is to know about the world's major wine industry capital. It covers everything from the history and heritage to the city’s exciting festivals. 120 pages are dedicated to the city itself and 200, unsurprisingly, detail great information on its wine. For those that want something more aesthetically pleasing, the guide contains hundreds of pages filled with color photos. In addition, the book touches the wine routes of the vineyards of Bordeaux, from the renowned Saint Emilion, known to have some of the finest wines worldwide, to Medoc, home to Bordeaux’s “Great Classified Growths.”

The four main themes mentioned throughout the book include:
• Accommodations (where to stay) – Everything from quaint, 2-star boutique hotels to deluxe chateaux
• Restaurants (where to eat) – From top gourmet eateries to local brasseries and wine bars.
• Shopping (where to shop) – Luxury boutiques, authentic craft shops and more. ‘
• Attractions (where to go and what to do) – Of course, sites of interest are included like the wine trail to St-Emilion, Pomerol, and Fronsac.
Wine connoisseurs and those planning on visiting the city shouldn’t think twice before purchasing this homerun.

For more information on, or to purchase "Bordeaux World Heritage & Its Wines," click here.

Planning on exploring Bordeaux yourself? Discover it aboard a Hotel Barge Cruise!
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