Whether its sipping a cocktail on an elegant terrace, dining al fresco, or enjoying a picnic while taking in a movie en plein air, our insider’s guide to the best of Paris makes it easy to plan your trip and summer like a Parisian.
Paris in the 1920s was a golden age for financially challenged American writers who flocked to the City of Light for the excellent exchange rate for the dollar, the liberated lifestyle, and the hottest art scene in the world. Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his flamboyant wife Zelda, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and E. E. Cummings all staked a claim in the capital of Jazz Age Europe (and were joined by Irishman James Joyce, Brit George Orwell, and a bevy of Russian and Eastern European geniuses).
Hemingway in particular captured the frenzied party atmosphere after the sacrifices of World War I. The members of his so-called “Lost Generation” would hang out on the “terrasses” of boulevard cafés, listen to African-American musicians in the smoky jazz bars, and enjoy bargain meals in the louche back streets of Montparnasse. At that time, Hemingway lived as an unknown writer with his wife, Hadley, in a tiny, sunny flat (74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, near the Place de la Contrescarpe), where he recalled in later books like A Moveable Feast the classic ambiance of cheery drunkards, street urchins, hard-working flower-sellers, and prostitutes with hearts of gold. Their apartment on the top floor cost only 60 francs per month—a few American dollars at the time—and Hemingway wrote his first short stories while looking out over the poetic rooftops of the city. Of course, the writer’s diet of bread and cheese was tempered by the occasional martini at the Hotel Ritz (on the Place Vendôme) with F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Hemingway retained a lasting fondness for the place.
When Hemingway returned to Paris in 1944 as a war correspondent with the American troops, he headed straight to the Ritz to “liberate” its ancient wine cellar after the German occupation—and stayed for weeks in Room 31. In the 1950s, the hotel named the Hemingway Bar in his honor and installed a marble bust of the great writer there.
What story might you discover next with Globus and R and B International Travel ?
G Adventures Top 5: Vegetarian Hotspots
By: G Adventures
With a voracious appetite for vegetables, there are more than a few long-time vegetarians at G Adventures. If vegetables could talk, you’d hear them screaming when they trek into town.
Here are some memorable vegetarian stops we’ve had the pleasure to enjoy during wandering travels around the world.
#1 Chiang Mai, Thailand — While travelling through Thailand the most common vegetarian dishes are usually variations on veggie pad Thai or veggie Thai curry. While both are great dishes, don’t you wonder what the vegetarian Thai eats? In Chiang Mai we found a place that serves up the true North Thailand vegetarian experience. Mangsawirat Kangreuanjam is a small place within the city walls that serves up 20 to 30 different authentic thai dishes daily. Opening early in the morning this is a fantastic place for breakfast. All your choices are right in front of you and you can load your plate for less than two bucks.
#2 Rajasthan, India — (winner of our Best Vegetarian Country award) – India has got to be the best place in the world for a vegetarian meal. The variety in choices of dishes from north to south is mind boggling. One place that stands out however, is the Dream Heaven Guest House in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The meal of choice was a thali dinner consisting of 6 spectacular dishes served with rice, roti and papad. The open air roof top patio has a fantastic view over the lake, the old city and the floating palace. We enjoyed a Kingfisher beer as the sun went down and then enjoyed our meal in the cool evening air.
#3 Cuzco, Peru — Unlike India, South America can be a tough place to find a really good variety of vegetarian food. After a month touring around Peru we found ourselves a little tired of rice, beans and eggs and craving fresh vegetables. While in Cuzco we tried a place called Granja Heidi that had a Mediterranean theme. We had a delicious fresh green salad and penne pasta. Although the dishes were not peruvian, we did enjoy the meal with a Cusqueña beer.
#4 Chamonix, France — Okay, here is one of our favourite lunches. While in the Alps in early June we packed up a lunch consisting of fresh baguette, brie, olives, avocado and a great bottle of red wine and headed out for a hike through the mountains. After an amazing morning hiking through the forests, up the mountain and across alpine meadows we found a stunning view of the surrounding snow caps. There we sat in silence and enjoyed one of the best lunches we have ever had. Don’t forget the corkscrew.
#5 New Brunswick, Canada — No matter where you are you can usually find a vegetarian dish on the menu. But when you stumble upon a vegetarian restaurant in the most unexpected place it is a fantastic score and means you have more than one choice. While travelling through New Brunswick, Canada, we were fortunate, and surprised, to find a vegetarian restaurant just down the street from our bed and breakfast in a residential area of Moncton. The staff at Café Calactus restaurant were very friendly and they served us up some fantastic veg dishes at very reasonable prices.
Ditch the meat and contact R and B International Travel to visit one of these vegetarian hotspots!
There is a reason France is the most visited country in the world. See for yourself why… you won’t be disappointed.
Paris. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a visit to Paris will leave you speechless. The city of lights and love, she is also the capital of the country largely considered to be the philosophical cradle of the Enlightenment. Paris is not only to be savored in the springtime, but summer, fall and winter as well. A quick ride in a Parisian cab or on the Métro will bring you to the Louvre, Notre Dame, Montmartre, Sacré Cœur, the Seine River’s famous left bank, the Hôtel des Invalides where Napoleon is entombed, the Galleries Lafayette or Printemps (or other famous Parisian shops) … the list goes on and on.
The dining: cafés, brasseries, and restaurants offer everything from basic fare to exquisite gastronomy – in the fancier restaurants, it would seem the chef moonlights as a poet, adding to the charm of the experience.
Normandy. Famous for its cider, Calvados brandy, and cheese, to most North Americans, it is better known for the pivotal moment in history that saw the Allied forces break through Hitler’s Atlantic Wall to open the Western Front in WWII. My first visit to Normandy started at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. I remember watching the early morning fog rise revealing perfectly arranged Carrara marble headstones shone like white beacons over the beaches the men they commemorate had helped liberate. I later learned why those grave markers are so white: one of the cemetery’s French custodians takes the time to paint all 9,387 of them each year. The whole area around the landing beaches is a living memorial to those valiant soldiers.
The Loire Valley. Cradle of the French monarchy for centuries, this part of France is where the magnificent chateaux of France can be visited. Chenonceau, once seized by King Henry II, was given to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. After his death, Henry’s wife, Catherine de Medici, had Diane expelled and maneuvered a way to finally call Chenonceau her own. Astonished visitors marvel at the gardens, and this summer party house of royals and nobles, built over the river Cher. Not to be outdone, the chateau in Amboise is also a sight to see, with its secret underground passage. Built by Francis I, the passage connects Amboise to the Clos Lucé, the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci, who had been invited by the king to France and notably brought with him a painting of a certain smiling lady that now resides in the Louvre.
Provence. The inspiration of artists like Cézanne and Picasso. Many artists and actors have frequented Provence, renowned for the way its striking sunlight bathes its perched villages in a warm glow, the fragrant fields of lavender that blush a purple radiance in mid-summer, the olive groves and their related oil and tapenade, and the easy-going nature of its residents, many of whom gather to play long, relaxing games of pétanque under the shade of plane trees. The Mistral wind blows here, necessitating that many of its church towers be built with open wrought-iron campanile, as well as the planting of cypress hedgerows to protect crops and vineyards.
The French Riviera. This breathtaking area opens up France’s Côte d’Azur, where the rich and famous have been coming since the late 19th century for its Mediterranean climate, movie and music festivals, and Europe’s oldest principality in Monaco. Stone dolmens recall this area’s Paleolithic history, and its flower fields are the raison d’être for famous perfumeries like Fragonard in Grasse. Rénoir, Matisse, Chagall, Van Gogh, and Picasso all lived here, along with royalty from around Europe, and who can forget the fairytale marriage of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainer III.
Contact R and B International Travel and discover France Uncovered.
Gregory Hall, one of our seasoned Tour Managers, a citizen of France, who speaks fluent English, French and German, grew up in West Berlin, Germany, and now lives in Michigan. He spends much of his time guiding tours through Europe – and wants to take you on a virtual tour of some of his favorite parts of France!
- France’s large size and geographic diversity means that its climate is extremely varied from region to region. From the long summers and abundant sunshine of the Mediterranean coast to the temperate regions of the interior and the Atlantic to the cold winter playgrounds of the Alps, the climate in France makes for plenty of recreational opportunities year-round.
- In both a historic context and in modern times, the impact of French culture is hard to over-state. Architecture in the middle ages was heavily influenced by French styles and early French literature gave rise to the ideals of courtly love and chivalry. Today, Paris holds sway over haute couture and haute cuisine.
- A holiday in France can range from city visits to special interest travel in the wine country, river cruises, culinary tours and spa tourism. Tourism from North America in the World War II generation maintains a keen interest in Normandy and the sites of great battles from that war.
- France maintains its ranking as one of the most popular destinations for inbound tourism. The completion of the Channel Tunnel enhanced the ease with with travelers could move from the United Kingdom to the continent and made Paris a hub for traveler transport for Western Europe.
- The great museums of Paris remain some of the most popular attractions for visitors. Institutions like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay host extraordinary collections of paintings, sculptures and antiquities.
- The Côte d’Azur cities and beaches are popular with European and Canadian tourists, and increasingly so with a resurgence of travelers from the United States. Terrace cafés, quaint streets and blue oceans attract visitors looking for the essence of the French Mediterranean life and culture.
- The wine country of France remains one of the most popular culinary and wine vacation theme locations in the world. Hosted tours and self-drive itineraries alike are available to travelers wishing to sample the fine wines, food, scenery and the grand chateaux of the wine regions.
Are you ready to getaway to France? Contact R and B International Travel and get started.