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The Loire In a Day

by Laura Glendinning   When I was a kid I considered Europe to be a place where knights and damsels and castles were still the way people lived, with some peasants picturesquely gathering wheat in the background of a jousting tournament.  There was definitely a guy with a lute hovering nearby. How that exactly makes sense given you have to take a plane to get there, well, that is kid logic.  The Europeans don’t take planes.  We do! It’s a big Medieval Times restaurant, right? You could just about think that on a trip to the Loire Valley, which has 300 castles scattered over a little over 310 square miles.  Math whizzes will note that’s a castle every square mile...

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Our Top Ten Paris Tips

Fodor's recently released "10 Things You Need to Know Before You Go to Paris". It is a good article. Here is a link to it and a few additional notes from us! 1. Dining - You do not need to tip in a Paris restaurant. Enjoy the freedom of not tipping! It is wonderful once you get used to it. Also, remember this phrase "une carafe d’eau, s'il vous plait". Say that and you'll be getting a carafe of water for free instead of an expensive bottle of Perrier. 2. Getting along with the French - If you speak no French at all, download the Duolingo app (it's free) and learn the "Greetings" lesson in full. A little French does...

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Provence Mon Amour

By Laura Glendinning Before high fashion, multi course meals, political intrigues, grand boulevards and palaces, there was, and always will be, the French countryside.  All French regions claim to be the ultimate countryside experience.  Sorry everyone, but that honor belongs to Provence.  It's the history, the food, the informality.  It's something.  It is Provence. The Basics - Getting to Provence There are numerous ways to get to Provence from Paris. High speed rail from Paris to Avignon or Aix, or a meandering drive from Marseille, or rail from Marseille to an inland city and thence to the wonderful countryside of Provence. Personally, I have flown to London from L.A. (via Air New Zealand, one of the best experiences in the air,...

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Three Offbeat Interesting Things to do in Paris

1. Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie Parc de la Villette, 30, avenue Corentin Cariou - A.P. 75930 Paris cedex 19 , 75019 Paris 33 1 36 68 29 30 Groups: 33 1 40 05 12 12, Res. 33 1 40 05 80 90   Porte de la Villette  75, 139, 150, 152, PC One of the world's most respected science museums is Paris's La Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie. The museum is located in the Parc de la Villette.  The museum is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture. Among the museum's top attractions are: Experience the Explora where you can step inside of a camera or travel through the human body, and much more. Board the Argonaute, a former attack submarine. The Geode, one of the world's...

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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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