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A Traveler's Guide to French Rail

If you have never been to Europe before, understanding the rail system seems a bit overwhelming.   At home, we are used to taking our car on long journeys, or using a nimble carrier like Southwest Airlines or Alaska to get to a regional city.   Although Easy Jet and others have made inroads, Europe is fully committed to rail, and then some.  Getting between most European cities by rail is easy, and often faster than air travel, because you don’t have to go way out of town to the airport, wait for security and otherwise be hassled as with air travel. For example, Eurostar is a private, very fast train line that connects London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and a couple of cities...

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Loire Valley Wine and Castle Tour - Schedule

(Back to the Loire Valley Wine and Castle Booking Page) Monday and Thursday Chambord is the biggest Loire castle, yet was only built as a hunting lodge for King Francois I. It's been suggested, but not proven, Da Vinci had a hand in its design, but it's attributed to Phillipe Delorme. Unique architectural features such as the minaret-like spires and grand double helix staircase add to its distinction. Onsite is the Museum of Nature and Hunting, and an especially rare collection of tapestries. Designed by the same architect who created Blois,  has stayed in the Count of Cheverny's family almost continually since it was built in the 16th century. Intact interiors and priceless antiques are a must-see, but the famed hunting dog kennels on...

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From Switzerland to Burgundy: A Travelogue

By Laura Glendinning Recently, we found ourselves in Montreaux, Switzerland  for a travel convention. In Montreaux you are on the shores of pristine Lake Geneva, on the Swiss side  Friendly note: Switzerland is on the Swiss franc, not the euro.  But it's 2019 and we did not trade any money in the age of plastic and chipped cards.   You do get to choose which currency you want to be billed in when they run the card.  I have no idea whether you can save a few centimes doing that.   We literally just alternated the currency choice.  A weird temperature blip/micro-climate allows palm trees to grow along the shore of the lake. That means there is no winter freeze, but you can...

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Visiting Impressionism at its Roots

While visiting Normandy, you just may feel as if you are walking through a painting. The vibrant colors, sweeping landscapes, and charming villages are so picturesque, you may start to wonder if, in fact, they are real. You can rest assured that everything in this region is real and authentic. Perhaps that is the reason why so many painters came to Normandy to stir up their creative juices. Come and see for yourself how art and life harmoniously coexist in this gorgeous region. In the 19th century, Impressionism was born in Le Havre, Normandy close to the lovely fishing town of Honfleur. This style of art was seen as a revolution due to the fact that it focused on everyday...

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Custom World War One Tours

Though the living memory of World War I has faded, touring the famous sites of the ‘War to End All Wars” is easily done in a day trip from Paris. Major battle sites are surprisingly close to Paris, for the most part little more than a two hour drive. We can organize your itinerary any way you like. Below are three sample itineraries. (Image: trenches at Verdun today) Option 1 - America in World War I – battle of Belleau Wood When the Russians surrendered to the Germans on the Eastern Front, freeing Axis troops to focus exclusively on capturing Paris, France was surely doomed . Four years of trench warfare had decimated the Allied armies. But early in 1918...

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