Category Archives: Travel tips

Provence villa rental review

8413France Bound client villa rental review: On behalf of my family, I want to express my deepest appreciation for organizing such a spectacular trip for is to Provence. I would highly recommend France Bound to any of our friends planning a trip to France.

Everything was seamless, and we thoroughly enjoyed Villa Goult, We found the central location ideal for what we wanted to see and to do.
8413-2012

The recommended restaurants were spectacular, and one of the best meals we had was prepared at the villa by a local recommended chef. It was a great way to celebrate my wife’s birthday.

8413b-2012

 

We also appreciated your day trip recommendations, including a day at Cassis. Although we were unable to charter a boat with a skipper, we took the 65 minute tour boat along the shore and inlets and found it perfectly enjoyable. We also took you up on your suggestion to visit Sault to discover the wonder of the lavender fields.

Thank you for making our trip so special.
With best regards,
Dan
July 2015

Advertisements

Aix en Provence apartment rental review

France Bound client review: “We are back home after our French adventure and wanted to say thank you for your help in ensuring that we had a great holiday. Coming from Australia we find that some organisations are more geared towards the US and Canadian market. We really appreciated the effort you made, not only to ensure that everything went smoothly for us, but also to ensure that we were confident and secure about all of the arrangements that you had made. The France Bound information pack on Provence was also very helpful in helping to plan our stay.

Our stay at France Bound’s “Aix en Provence Apartment Elegance” was one of the highlights of our trip. We really appreciated your detailed directions on how to get to the apartment, after our taxi had to drop us off short of our destination due to road closures. We could not have asked for a more welcoming or helpful hostess in Holly. She was there to greet us, and gave us great advice about the area, as well as restaurants and shopping. The apartment was even better than the photos on the web. It was not only stylish, but more importantly very comfortable and well appointed, stocked with everything that we could possibly need during our stay. It was in a great location, but it was the light bright rooms, high ceilings and big windows that really made it a pleasure to stay in. There is nothing like sitting back with the windows open, enjoying the Aix sunshine with a glass of wine in the late afternoon after a day of sightseeing.

We are back in cold Tasmania now, missing the warm Aix sun, and dreaming of our next holiday. We will be recommending France Bound to our friends.”

Helen Bennett and Ray Smithurst. June 2015

Air France Inaugural Flight Vancouver to Paris

image1March 29, 2015. Air France makes its inaugural flight from Vancouver to Paris.

Today, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) welcomed Air France’s inaugural flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). The non-stop flight marks the beginning of a new, highly requested non-stop service between Paris and Vancouver.

“Bienvenue Air France! British Columbians have been asking for direct service to Paris for some time, and we are very excited to welcome Air France to YVR,” said Craig Richmond, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority.

“The new service will boost tourism and business, provide more choice for Canadian travellers, and have a positive impact on our economy,” said the Honourable Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the Minister of National Revenue, Government of Canada.

Celebrations for the inaugural flight began as the Air France Boeing 777-200 taxied into YVR with French and Canadian flags waving from the cockpit windows. Inside the terminal the event was celebrated with speeches, an Eiffel Tower cake, and a variety of French food, music, and entertainment.

This is a very important service for British Columbians who travel to France and to Europe, as it has been over 15 years since we have had non-stop scheduled service to Paris from Vancouver. France is the most visited country in the world, and the number of Canadian travellers to France continues to increase, reaching over million Canadian visitors to France in 2013, which was a 15% increase from the previous year. This new convenient direct service between Vancouver and Paris will expand opportunities for British Columbians to discover and explore France.

Service between Vancouver and Paris will operate three times a week until May, then expand to five times a week for the summer months.

Air France announces non-stop flights between Vancouver and Paris

IMG_8148As of next spring, Air France will fly non-stop between Vancouver and Paris up to five times a week. The new service between Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) will begin March 2015.

Flights will be operated by Boeing 777-200 with 309 seats: 35 in Business, 24 in Premium Economy and 250 in Economy. The non-stop seasonal service will operate:

  • From March 29 to May 3, 2015, flights on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
  • From May 4 to September 13, 2015, flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • From September 14 to October 24, 2015, flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Flight schedules (in local time):

  • AF 379: Leaves Vancouver at 14:00, arrives at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 8:35 the following day
  • AF 374: Leaves Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 10:35, arrives in Vancouver at 11:50 the same day

In addition to Air France’s co-carrier KLM’s daily flights between Vancouver and Amsterdam, the opening of the Vancouver-Paris route five times a week now offers customers greater choice for connections to 55 destinations in Europe. According to Air France representatives, the new YVR-CDG flights will also contribute to develop trade and tourism between France and British Columbia, and add $13.7 million in Gross Domestic Product, $8.8 million in wages and 248 jobs to the B.C. economy.

YVR representatives are “… thrilled to welcome a premier carrier like Air France to YVR’s growing list of business partners. Our customers have long been asking for Air France’s non-stop direct flights to Paris. We recently surveyed Metro Vancouver residents and results showed Paris as the number one requested destination from YVR.”

Tickets for the new Air France Vancouver-Paris service are now available for purchase. For booking information, visit www.airfrance.ca

A Great New Find in Paris

IMG_8027
We love to find small intimate chef-run restaurants with great food and ambiance. During our stay in Paris, we discovered REED restaurant: a small charming restaurant tucked away on a small street in the 7th arrondissement.

Reed-Cooking-Class-in-Paris
The restaurant is owned and operated by Catherine Reed, a Canadian from Quebec City, who was a private chef for 17 years in Switzerland and France. Catherine is a talented chef, and a warm host, and will ensure you are well taken care of.

Her small cozy restaurant accommodates about 16 diners, and offers traditional French food in a friendly and leisurely atmosphere.  All the dishes on the menu are home made using the freshest ingredients personally selected from the neighbourhood markets, and the French wines are carefully selected to add another dimension to your Parisian dining experience.

IMG_8040

The restaurant has an open kitchen concept, which is perfect for the cooking classes that the chef offers on Wednesdays.
The cooking classes are taught in English and feature seasonal ingredients and techniques cooks can use at home. Classes are limited in size to provide participants with an intimate experience.

IMG_8046No matter how experienced a cook you are, this class encourages beginners and the more skilled alike to experience a new twist on cooking. You will learn useful tips, basic techniques and classic French cooking principles.  The class menu (starter, main course and dessert ) is set according to fresh seasonal products and technical interest.

IMG_8052We thoroughly enjoyed the morning preparing an outstanding menu, beginning with a three cheese soufflé served with a side salad of mâche lettuce with sundried tomato and balsamic vinaigrette. The main course was an outstanding combination of herb stuffed free range chicken roasted in a salt crust served on a bed of crushed herbed potatoes with a medley of sautéed fresh mushrooms and a wedge of baby romaine lettuce. For dessert we created a divine fresh strawberry shortcake. IMG_8043

After the hands on class, we sat down to enjoy our delicious dishes with a glass of wine or two! The class was a highlight of our stay in Paris, and highly recommended.

Reservations are required for the class and friends can join later for the lunch.IMG_8050

Cooking classes are €135 per person from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm on Wednesdays.

Reed restaurant is open for dinner Tues-Friday (closed Sun & Mon). Dinner reservations are recommended.

 

Reed
11 bis rue Amélie
75007 Paris
01 45 55 88 40

Impressionist Exhibit at the Musée Luxembourg

luxembourg1On another sunny fall day in Paris, we set out for the beautiful Luxembourg Gardens to see the Paul Durand-Ruel Impressionist exhibition:  The gamble of the Impressionists Manet, Monet, Renoir.

Museums have never before dedicated an event or comprehensive study to Paul Durand-Ruel (1831-1922), one of the greatest art dealers in the world at the turn of the 20th century and a major figure in the history of Impressionism. From the beginning of the 1870s, Paul Durand-Ruel discovered and supported Impressionist painters with flair and passion, buying and selling thousands of Impressionist paintings, including the masterpieces of the movement, often in difficult circumstances. A painting “missionary” as Renoir liked to call him, he also contributed to the invention of the modern art market and gave an unprecedented international dimension to his gallery, particularly in the United States. At the turn of the 20th century, the dealer had established the largest European and American Impressionist collections, both public and private.

IMG_20141106_144344Through some 80 paintings, drawings, photographs and documents, the exhibition recounts a crucial time, from the end of the 1860s to the turn of the 20th century, where an artistic avant-garde gained international recognition driven by an enterprising and inventive dealer.

By considering the part played by a gallery in actually writing the history of an art movement and its appreciation, both the exhibition and the catalogue, which is designed as a richly illustrated reference work, will reflect the detailed research that is kindly and generously supported by the Archives Durand-Ruel.IMG_20141106_144145

An exhibition organised by the Réunion des musées nationaux- Grand Palais in partnership with the Musée d’Orsay and in cooperation with the National Gallery, London, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It will be presented at the National Gallery, London from 4 March to 31 May 2015, then at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from 18 June to 13 September 2015.

We really enjoyed this exhibit, and were delighted to see many Renoir pieces that we had not seen before. Definitely recommended.IMG_20141106_144844

 

Musée du Luxembourg. October 9,  2014 – February 8, 2015. The museum is open daily from 10am – 7.30pm, and until 10pm on Fridays and Mondays. Last entrance 30 minutes before closing time.

Musée du Luxembourg
19 rue de Vaugirard
75006 Paris

Rue Cler market street

IMG_7915In the morning, we walked from our apartment to nearby Rue Cler, a famous market street in the 7th arrondissement with a wonderful selection of specialty food stores, patisseries, butchers, delicatessens, cheese specialists, fishmongers, greengrocers, chocolate shops and cafés.  Most of the street is a pedestrian area and still has its original cobblestones.  This authentic market street is where the locals go to buy their favorite foods or to meet friends and enjoy sitting on the terrace at one of the many cafés, while they watch the world go by.

Some of our favourite places on Rue Cler:

davoliDavoli – La Maison du Jambon: The lines leading onto the street indicate that this is one of the best and most popular shops in the neighbourhood. This Italian delicatessen sells homemade specialties from Italian sausages and meats to pasta, Italian cheeses, side dishes such as roasted peppers, desserts and the best sauerkraut choucroute in Paris. This is an excellent dish for a cold day. Tell the salesman how many you’ll be feeding they’ll suggest the delicious sausages, ham, meats and side dishes. All you have to do is heat and serve for an easy and fabulous dinner at home !

Darius Rotisserie – Chickens! The smells from this shop will make your mouth water and you may not get any further. This is a chicken brasserie; they cook flame roasted chickens, sold in bags which remain hot for an hour. You can buy whole chickens, breasts or legs so everyone can have their favorite meat. Another convenient take away option for dinner at home in your Paris rental apartment.

fromage4Fromagerie – this is an excellent cheese shop and very popular. This is a real dairy store where you can find a delicious selection of butters from Normandy , yogurts and fresh eggs. Excellent goats cheeses…everything is good! When you want a soft cheese, such as Camembert, Brie, Epoisse, St. Marcelin (the same as St. Felicien) or Neuchatel  — tell the salesperson when you plan to eat it.  “Ce soir” or “Demain”, etc. Your specialist will squeeze the packages until they find the cheese that will be perfect (or ‘fait’) at the moment you want to savor it. It’s really a treat! If you haven’t had St. Felicien or Marcelin (same cheese), try it and make sure it’s fait (ready to eat). It’s so creamy you almost need a spoon and you will be back the next day for more.

Top Halles – A large greengrocer with good quality produce and competitive prices.  They will help you to select the best products for ripeness and flavour, and they have great specials that are beautifully displayed outside. deli3

Deli Zius Gastonomia Italiana – Excellent Italian Specialties: you recognize it by the Olive trees outside. Delicious olives, pastas and other Italian specialties.

Oliviers and Co (O&CO) – This high quality group of stores is becoming known in the US, as their products are now distributed by Williams Sonoma.  Their prices are significantly lower than in the US, so it is worth stopping in and sampling their oils and specialties. We love their lemon flavored olive oil especially on salads, and their basil flavored olive oil on grilled fish.

Bacchus – This wine shop is a good one and they do a good job recommending wine for a particular meal. We also recommend the wine shop at 145 rue St. Dominique where they do an excellent job of recommending wines and offer good value for money. 

Charcuterie Jeusselin – Increasingly popular, this Charcuterie sells all French specialties and is located across the street from Davoli.  Their growing popularity and prepared casseroles and dishes make them a popular stop for locals.  Specialties are displayed in the glass cases in front of the shop and they have won several awards for their sausages.

Leonidas Chocolatier – Belgian chocolates which are excellent and reasonably priced.pastries

Boulangerie Patisserie – This boulangere is kitty corner from the Cafe du Marche. They have good pastries and breads, including the flute and grain breads. Note the beautiful windows and original features. We like their pain au raisin – our favourite morning pastry.

 

Cafe du Marche – The Cafe du Marche’ is one of the most popular cafe’s in the neighborhood, with a covered area outside where you can eat winter and summer. It’s a fun place to sit and people watch. Its also a great place for lunch with a number of daily specials on blackboards at reasonable prices.rue-cler

After we browsed the fabulous and tempting selection of products and made our purchases, we stopped at the Café Marché for a coffee and a pain au raisin from the boulangerie and sat on the terrace under the heat lamps to watch the morning activity unfold.

These experiences are part of the joy of renting an apartment in Paris, where you can live life like a local Parisian.