Tag Archives: France
- Published:March 25, 2013 1:21 pm
The Louvre can be the centerpiece of your Paris vacation with kids, or it can be a brief interlude before they indulge in a box of pastel-colored macarons. The Louvre has an entire kid-friendly aspect to its organized flow so that you can go and visit with ease. Depending on the amount of engagement your child has with the displays, the museum can become a focal point for building lasting memories of your trip.
Take Advantage of Kid-Friendly Tours
The Louvre knows that not everyone in a traveling party will have the same interests. When visiting a museum as comprehensive as the Louvre, the staff has the luxury of coming up with creative tours that can appeal to many different interests.
- Buy tickets for a guided treasure hunt. These private tours can keep your children engaged as the tour encourages them to search for items in the museum as the tour goes along. At the end of the tour, they can find the “treasure.” This is a two-hour tour, which most people note online is a perfect amount of time for keeping the kids interested with the drama of the search.
- Go traditional for a comprehensive tour. If your kids are older, the Louvre’s Masterpieces tour is the basic essential tour of the most famous pieces in its collection. You will not miss any of the museum’s highlights, and the tour runs twice a day.
- Follow a theme: Since the Louvre has so much to see from different periods, you can organize your visit by themes offered by the museum: www.louvre.fr/en/parcours
The museum’s website may give you inspiration on how to get kids involved in the tours, and by reviewing the website your kids, you may get an idea of what would appeal to them in person on a walking tour. Here are some things to keep in mind before the trip.
- Brace for waiting: Make sure someone in your party can stand in line for tickets before the Louvre opens. This process will take less time than waiting after crowds show up for day visits.
- Consider an evening visit: If possible, a night visit may be more pleasing with fewer crowds and more time to linger in front of the museum’s most famous pieces, such as the Mona Lisa.
- Purchase a Paris Museum Pass: Although more expensive, you can skip the ticket lines at the Louvre and go see additional museums, such as the nearby Musée d’Orsay.
- Don’t plan a Tuesday visit: The Louvre is closed that day.
For traveling with little ones, don’t worry so much about a tantrum overtaking the mood of your surroundings. It’s the Louvre, not a library, and it is a loud place with lots of ambient noise. Remember it’s different from taking your kids to a road trip in Canada. A little one’s meltdown may go unnoticed by the majority of those around you. Remember that the museum’s outdoor fountain can be a relaxing place for a child to chase the pigeons and for you to unwind and observe the crowds.
For more insight, you can visit the Louvre’s official site to see current featured exhibits, or for more tips on visiting the museum and the surrounding area with children.
- Published:November 28, 2012 2:33 pm
Driving across France can be the ideal holiday for a couple or for a single tourist. It allows you to take in the sights, sounds and culture of France at your own pace and allows you to experience each region as quickly or as fully as you want to. Renting a car in France is quite easy if you have a valid UK driver’s licence and passport and there is a large variety of vehicles to choose from with international companies like Alamo.
The French are renowned for their food, and with good reason. Each region in France takes inspiration from neighbouring countries, meaning that the food in different regions is varied and rich. There are some staples that you can get anywhere, such as the toasted sandwich (Croque Monsieur/Madame), croissants and French onion soup, but each region has many delicious dishes associated with it.
In the south west of France most of the foods found are rich and heavy. Duck and goose liver (foie gras) are popular, as are oysters, truffles and mushrooms. Most of the food comes paired with heavy Bordeaux wines, which is not overpowered by the rich foods. Regional specialities include confit de canard (leg of duck that has been preserved with salt and spices) , foie gras (specially fattened goose liver) and pruneaux d’agen (pitted prunes that have been stuffed with prune puree).
Normandy, in the north-western part of France is mainly known for its apples and seafood. The apples are used for cider as well as in cooking and in calvados. The seafood in the region is particularly good, with the focus being on oysters and mussels. The region is also known for the Camembert and Brie cheeses. The crepe is the most well-known food found in Brittany, and can be found in every town and city in the region. It is usually served sweet, either with sugar, sugar and lemon or with butter and sugar.
Eastern France shares a border with Germany, and food in this region is influenced by German sensibilities. Most food involves cabbage and pork in some form or another. Savoury pastries made from pork are popular, and these are served with foie gras or jams and preservatives.
Burgundy is known for having the best beef in France, and this is heavily used in cuisine in the region. Two well known dishes from this region are coq au vin, chicken braised in Burgundy wine with garlic and mushrooms and Boeuf bourguignon, braised beef stewed in red Burgundy wine with garlic, beef broth, onions and mushrooms.
The south of France is bordered by Spain, and the foods in the region are heavily influenced by Spanish cooking. Tomatoes, peppers and spicy sausages are prevalent and are used in a variety of dishes. Cassoulet, a slow cooked casserole with pork sausage or mutton, pork skin and white beans is the iconic dish of the region.
The south-eastern position of France borders Italy, and the cuisine is based around olives, herbs and olive oil. Fish stew, known as bouillabaisse is the staple dish of the region, and is often the main course in restaurants as well as in the home.
- Published:November 13, 2012 10:46 am
City living may not be to everyone’s taste, if only because it’s never easy to put up with congested streets, bustling sidewalks and polluted air. However, city break holidays are becoming increasingly popular around the world, because they give the visitor a wonderful taste of metropolitan life in an iconic location without the need to commit to living there.
One of the best, perhaps even the very best, of them all is Paris. The elegant, beautiful and atmospheric French capital is home to some of the world’s most familiar landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre Museum. And when it comes to accommodation, nobody does style and luxury quite like the French. Here are five of the finest hotels the City of Love has to offer.
Now part of the Four Seasons group, this elegant establishment is located in Avenue George V, just off the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. For the ultimate luxury, the Royal Suite offers antique furniture, a private terrace and marble bathrooms. Although the suite is among the most expensive in the world, the luxury is well worth the outlay.
Hôtel de Crillon
On the Place de la Concorde, just a stone’s throw from the Jardin des Tuileries, you’ll find the historic Hôtel de Crillon. This spectacular building was originally constructed as a palace under the orders of King Louis XV in the 1750s. While there are a great many luxury accommodation options in the heart of Paris, few can offer their guests a heritage as rich as the Crillon.
Hôtel Le Bristol Paris
Each of the 188 rooms at the Hôtel Le Bristol Paris is decorated in the classic 18th century style, although the hotel in its current incarnation has its roots in the 1920s. Its location, on the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, is popular with lovers of fashion and the arts. During World War Two, the hotel became a safe haven for Americans who were living in Paris during the conflict.
Avenue Montaigne is home to some of the most famous designer stores in Europe, with names such as Vuitton, Lauren and Chanel gracing the shopping area. At number 25 you’ll find the stylish Plaza Athénée, one of the most fashionable hotels in the whole city. Famous guests of the past include Rudolph Valentino, Grace Kelly, Gary Cooper and the exotic American-born dancer Josephine Baker.
Located on the Rue de Rivoli and just across the road from the Jardin des Tuileries, the Hôtel Meurice has been welcoming refined guests from all over the world since 1815, originally in Rue Saint Honore (the current building has been used since 1835). As you might expect from such a luxurious establishment, it has played host to the great and the good for many decades, and perhaps the most notable of all was the painter Salvador Dali, who was a regular visitor to the Meurice for at least thirty years.