Tag Archives: France 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.
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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.

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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

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.

L’Isle sur la Sorgue Art and Antique Festival April 3-6

FMAPAC084CDT0003151_3After London and Saint-Ouen/Paris, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has the third biggest antique fair. Visit one of the most charming villages in Provence to find unique antique treasures at the International Antique Fair April 3-6 in L’Isle sur la Sorgue.

At the fair you will find antique furniture, decorations, boutis, ceramics, rare finds, must-haves, and collectibles from the south of France and elsewhere. The International fair began in 1966 with 14 exhibitors, and now over 200 exhibitors display antiques along the winding streets of this picturesque town.

FMAPAC084CDT0003151_2Full-time antique dealers will open stands in over 10 clusters through the town, conveniently grouped according to theme such as Contemporary Art, Antique Books, Design/Decoration etc. Many of these exhibitors are normally open on weekends only, but will be available throughout the Fair days.

A wonderful experience awaits as you wander the streets of this beautiful town hunting for treasures and enjoying the exquisite selection of pieces on display.

In addition, to celebrate the Easter holiday, there will be 3000 eggs hidden among the antiques on Monday 6, April 2015 10 am at Park Gautier (for children from 3 to 11). The fair returns to L’Isle sur la Sorgue August 13-16, 2015.

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel March 20, 2015

An outstanding event at the Eiffel Tower March 20, 2015!la-verticale-de-la-tour-eiffel

For the first time in 120 years the Eiffel Tower will host a vertical race in which 60 athletes will ascend the 1,665 steps of the iconic landmark. The open architecture of the Eiffel Tower provides an uncommonly excellent view of the event, unlike most vertical races that take place in enclosed stairwells.

La Verticale de la Tour Eiffel, will be dedicated to climbing the monument: a 279 meter race from the ground floor to the top of the Eiffel Tower, with 1665 steps to climb!

This event will be held on Friday March 20th 2015 at 8:30pm in the evening. 

For the first running of this unique competition, the number of participants is limited. Only 60 experienced athletes will be allowed to climb the stairs of the three levels of the famous landmark, which has not happened for over 100 years!

If you are in Paris for spring break, don’t miss this exciting event.

Baccarat legends of crystal exhibition.

IMG_7985We visited a sparklingly beautiful exhibit at the Petit Palais. To mark Baccarat’s 250th anniversary, the Petit Palais is hosting the amazing masterpieces of the world’s most celebrated crystal maker.

This is the first Baccarat retrospective in France since 1964. This new exhibit at the Petit Palais, a Beaux-Arts building constructed for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, focuses on the creations designed by Baccarat for the big exhibitions in Paris between 1823 and 1937 – the shows which brought Baccarat an international reputation and commissions from leading figures and celebrities all over the world.

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The show presents an exceptional selection of more than 500 pieces, mostly from Baccarat’s own private collection, plus some significant items on loan from several of the most prestigious museums in France.

In addition drawings and other archival material on display for the first time allow visitors to follow the history of the exhibits, and to trace the sources of inspiration for the company’s artisans over the last 250 years.

baccarat01The exhibition includes such exceptional pieces as the monumental ‘Negus’ vase, the Duchesse de Berry’s crystal dressing table and chair, a stunning 23-foot-high crystal fountain, and the intricately engraved ‘Simon’ vases created for the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867.IMG_7957

 

Dinner services commissioned by royal families and other potentates including Tsar Nicholas II, the emperor of Japan, and various maharajahs offer further testimony to the skills of the Baccarat craftsmen. A table featuring some of these commissioned place settings underscore Baccarat’s triumphal contribution to the art of living. A special space is set aside for the history of the legendary Harcourt Glass: commissioned by King Louis-Philippe in 1840, this iconic piece inspired by the shape of a ceremonial chalice was engraved with the king’s monogram.

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The exhibition also features a dazzlingly series of majestic chandeliers hung in the Petit Palais’s Galerie d’Honneur, the most monumental of them gleaming with 250 lights.

Baccarat Exhibition: October 15, 2014 – January 4, 2015.
Petit Palais Opening hours: Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Late opening until 8pm on Thursdays for temporary exhibitions. Closed on Mondays and public holidays. Admission: Adults: 11 €

Provence to Paris by TGV

After two glorious weeks in Provence with sunshine and warm weather everyday, it was time for us to leave Provence and take the TGV fast train up to Paris. From our base in Cucuron, we estimated about an hour drive to Avignon TGV train station. Although the traffic was light and we stopped to fill up the gas station, we found the drive was closer to 1 hour and 30 minutes on the D973and the N7 roads. When you reach the outskirts of Avignon, follow signs to La Courtine, which is the area where the TGV station is located on the southern outskirts of Avignon.

avignon_tgv_stationUpon arrival at the Avignon TGV station, we found the station parking areas under some construction, which made finding the car rental return area a bit confusing. Car rental returns used to be located on the south (back side) of the station, but are now located on the north (front side) of the station. As you approach the station, enter the P1 parking area through the gate and veer right, then follow the signs to the car rental companies offices. Park in one of the designated spots and return your keys to the car rental office.

If you are travelling on a rail pass, make sure your pass has been validated by the ticket office on the first day of use. Enter your passport number and the first date of travel in the numbered dates of travel boxes provided. Note that the dates are entered vertically: i.e. day in upper box and month in lower box. The year is not required in the dates of travel boxes since the first and last day, month and year of the pass validity are already printed above. Repeat for subsequent dates of travel.

IMG_1460If you are travelling on the TGV or any other premium trains, you will need a reservation, and your reservation ticket must b e validated in the yellow borne  machines in the station prior to boarding the train. Put the reservation ticket into the validation machine (borne)  with the right side of the ticket into the machine with the print side down.

Once the platform (quai) number is posted on the departures board, make your way to the platform and look for the composition de train  to determine where on the platform you should wait to board the specific coach number indicated on your ticket. Many TGV trains are duplex with upper and lower seating areas, and your ticket will indicate whether your seats are located in the upper duplex or lower duplex.

There are luggage areas at the entrance to each coach, but these can fill up quickly. More luggage areas are located mid-coach and also at the entrance and midway in the upper duplex area as well. It can be a challenge to drag large and heavy suitcases up the stairs. Make sure you dont overpack and keep your luggage as small and light as possible. You can wait in the entry area until the other passengers are seated, and then take your luggage to the upper level if necessary. Make sure you pack all your valuables separately in a bag that you will keep with you at all times, then you can leave your luggage downstairs even if your seats are upstairs and you won`t have to worry about your valuables.

10140_zshopThere are dining cars on most TGV trains where you can get snacks and beverages, but we prefer to buy a sandwich and a drink at the station prior to boarding. Many stations have a good boulangeries and sandwich shops such as Paul, one of our favourites.

Once you are settled in your seats, you can relax and enjoy the views of the passing countryside en route to Paris.

Bon voyage!

The Luberon region of Provence

The gorgeous sunny and warm weather has continued throughout our visit to Provence. The temperatures have been in the low 20’s C during the day, although at the end of October we are now beginning to feel the cooler air in the mornings, late in the day, and evenings.

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We are now in the Luberon region of Provence – a spectacular area with its countryside filled with vineyards and olive groves, and picturesque perched villages with stunning views. The incredible luminosity and warm colours have long attracted artists, writers and visitors to the Luberon, which boasts 5 villages classified as the most beautiful villages in France.  The perched villages of  Gordes, Roussillon,  Bonnieux, Lacoste, Menerbes are designated, and Ansouis and Lourmarin are also worthy contenders.

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Warm Provencal coloured houses, time-worn stone buildings, shady squares, ancient fountains, and seemingly eternal sunshine come together in charming hilltop villages, which beckon visitors to relax and drink in the beauty, the lifestyle, and the history that have shaped the architecture and the people.

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The Luberon is also an area of lush vegetation with beautiful vineyards, orchards and gardens throughout the countryside, and gorgeous produce fill the market stalls throughout the seasons, including strawberries, asparagus, cherries, melons, figs, apricots, muscat grapes, garlic, black truffles, olives, aromatic herbs and more!

During our stay in the Luberon, we will visit villages, markets, restaurants and vacation rentals in Ansouis, Cucuron, Lourmarin, Menerbes, Goult, Bonnieux, Gordes, Roussillon and more. 276

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