Category Archives: France

French Tea Time: A Guide to Afternoon Tea in Paris

Four Seasons Hotel George V La Galerie luxury afternoon tea in Paris

After many cups of tea, we’ve put together a guide to afternoon tea in Paris. People often associate Paris with outdoor cafés and coffee and wine culture, so you may be surprised to know that there are a number of great spots for savoring tea in Paris. The act of drinking tea in France dates back to the 17th century and it was long associated with being a pastime of the aristocracy. Whether you are looking for an indulgent afternoon tea served with a silver tiered tray of sandwiches and pastries at a grand luxury hotel or simply a cup of tea and a madeleine at a more casual spot, you are sure to find something that fits your taste and budget. We’ll also share some of our favorite French tea brands for those wanting to buy and savor tea at home. We are still exploring all the afternoon tea spots in Paris, Read the Rest…

Paris Lunch Splurges: Saving Money on Michelin Starred Restaurants in Paris

Paris fine dining Lunch in Paris Best value Michelin restaurants in Paris

Paris is one of those cities that encourages you to splurge, whether it be on fashion, fine art, or good food. Given all the Michelin starred restaurants in Paris, Ethan and I typically splurge on one great meal on each trip to this great city. We have found that one way to save money and still sample some of the cooking of Paris’s finest chefs, is to avoid dinner time prices and go for a fabulous lunch instead. Many of the city’s best restaurants offer great gourmet prix fixe lunches for half the price of their prix fixe dinner menus. Now, none of these lunches come with a price tag that may be acceptable for budget travelers, but this can be a great way for those with a more moderate budget to enjoy a three-star meal. We’ll give you a list of some of our picks for best lunches from Michelin Read the Rest…

A Visit to Grasse France: Creating My Own Perfume

Grasse France things to do in Grasse French Riviera make my own perfume fragrance

Grasse France might be the sweetest smelling city in Europe, widely known as the perfume capital of the world. Known for its leather tanning work in the Middle Ages, this hilly French town would eventually become the center of the French perfume industry after it began manufacturing perfumed gloves in the 16th century and farming a number of flowers used for fragrances. Grasse still enjoys an international reputation in the perfume industry and is the home of dozens of fragrance companies. Even the flowers used for making the world-famous Chanel N°5 are grown and harvested here. In addition to the perfume industry, Grasse also provides travelers a break from the crowded Riviera coastal towns and offers a glimpse of the real Riviera away from the tourist route. We spent a full day and night in Grasse and we’ll share what you need to know to plan your own trip to Read the Rest…

Canal Cruises in Paris: A Boat Ride on the Canal Saint Martin

On our last visit to Paris we took a boat cruise on the Canal Saint Martin. While a good percentage of Paris visitors take a boat cruise on the famous Seine River, very few venture onto Paris’ canals. In fact, I think most people don’t happen to know that Paris has canals, let alone that there is over 80 miles of canals that form the Paris canal network, which also includes the interconnected Canal de L ‘Ourcq and Canal Saint-Denis. This canal network was commissioned by Napoleon I in the early 1800’s to provide Parisians with clean drinking water and provide an alternative waterway for industrial boat traffic other than the Seine. Today there is little industrial boat traffic on the Canal Saint Martin, but the city has recently invested millions of euros in developing the areas around the canal to allow for boat cruises, biking, and scenic walkways. If Read the Rest…

Tips on Buying and Using the Paris Museum Pass

Paris Museum Pass France travel

If you are planning a trip to Paris and want to spend some time admiring great artwork and visiting grand monuments, you’ll likely save money and time by purchasing a Paris Museum Pass. The Paris Museum Pass not only allows for free admission to a number of the top-visited attractions in Paris (i.e., Louvre, Orsay Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame tower, Versailles), but it also allows you to skip the long entrance lines at many of these attractions. However, in some cases, the Paris Museum Pass may not be a good deal for you, especially if this is not your first visit to Paris or you have only a day or two in the city. We’ll help provide all the information you need to know to decide if the Paris Museum Pass is a good deal for you, decide on which pass to buy, and how to get the most Read the Rest…

A Guide to Going to the Movies in France and Deciphering Pariscope

going to the movies in France cinema in Paris movie listings French movie theaters Pariscope

How hard can it be to go to the movies in France? We found out it is not super difficult, but it did turn out to be a bit trickier than we expected. While in Paris this past Spring, we decided after a long travel day that we wanted to see a film. We found the film listings in Pariscope, but then we were a bit surprised to have some difficulty interpreting the movie listings across the multitude of cinemas in Paris. What is the difference between v.o. and v.f. films? What does sf Lun mean? How do I make sure I am seeing the new release of the movie and not an older version? At the time, we couldn’t locate any good online English resources to help us interpret the movie listings, so we thought we’d share our experience and tips here to help others who may be trying Read the Rest…

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse: A Little Town in Provence with a Giant Spring

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse Fontaine de Vaucluse

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is a small Luberon town in Provence France. It is most famous for being the town where the source of the Sorgue River is located, which gives the town its name. The Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is the largest spring in France and one of the most powerful resurgent springs in the world. The main reason it is a tourist attraction is that the spring happens to be located in an enclosed valley at the mouth of a cave, surrounded by high cliffs with a ruined castle located high above, making it quite a picturesque site. The area is also famous for being the place where the Renaissance Italian poet and scholar Petrarch wrote about his love for Laura de Noves. Most travelers, like us, come here before or after a visit to nearby L’Isle sur la Sorgue to examine the source of all the water that runs throughout the pretty town. Read the Rest…

Market Days in Provence: Visiting the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday Market

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday market Isle sur la Sorgue Provence makerts antiques Luberon

The L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday market is the largest outdoor market in the idyllic Luberon area within the Provence region of France. The large Sunday market at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a food market, flea market, and antique market rolled into one so you can buy everything from olives to fine art here. The town itself stretches across the Sorgue River—earning it the nickname “Venice of Provence”—and makes a very lovely backdrop to this large market with its shade-providing plane tress, babbling river, historic waterwheels, and flower-filled riverside cafés and restaurants. The town is famous for being a big hub for antique dealers and is the second largest antique center in France (after Paris). Interested in visiting this famous Sunday market? We’ll share everything you need to know to plan your trip to the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Sunday market and tell you about our own experience visiting L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Basic Information on Visiting the Sunday Market at Isle Read the Rest…

Tea in Paris: Afternoon Tea at Mariage Frères

Mariage Frères afternoon tea in Paris Mariage Freres

A cup of tea from Mariage Frères always reminds me of Paris, France. Interestingly, for most people tea does not come to mind when they think of Paris. People generally imagine Parisians at cafés chatting over coffee and wine (and maybe even absinthe à la Hemingway) rather than sitting down for afternoon tea. It’s true, Paris isn’t London or Beijing, but tea has been gaining popularity in the City of Lights over the last few decades and tea rooms and afternoon tea services have been popping up all over Paris. We’ll take you on a quick tour of the oldest tea company in France, Mariage Frères (translated: Mariage Brothers), which was founded in 1854. We love their teas and we were excited to finally make it to one of their tea salons for a cup of tea and some pastries during our last visit to Paris. Some Basic Information about Read the Rest…

Visiting the Deportation Memorial on the Île de la Cité in Paris

Deportation Memorial Paris Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation

While almost every visitor to Paris comes to the Île de la Cité—the island home to some of the most famous sites in Paris—most visitors miss the Deportation Memorial or the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation. It can be easy to overlook the Deportation Memorial on the Île de la Cité given all the blockbuster historical sites—Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, the Conciergerie—as well as the flower market and loads of souvenir shops that fill up the island. But if you are looking for a more serious, quiet place of reflection, I would recommend a quick visit to the Deportation Memorial, which is a memorial to the 200,000 French citizens who died in Nazi concentration camps. We’ll share everything you need to know to visit the memorial and tell you about our own experience visiting the Deportation Memorial in Paris. Basic Information on Visiting the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation Where? The Deportation Memorial is located at Read the Rest…

Visiting Nimes, France During the Pentecost Festival: Feria de Nîmes

Nimes France Feria de Nîmes Feria de Pentecôte Pentecost festival

Nîmes is a medium-sized city in Southern France that lies within the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It is most known for its textile industry (the word “denim” comes from Nîmes), its Roman history (some wonderful Roman architecture survives here), its public gardens, and as being the final stop of the water carried by the 30-mile-long Pont du Gard aqueduct. Our visit to Nîmes happened to coincide with the annual Feria de Nîmes (or Feria de Pentecôte) that takes place during Pentecost. The Feria de Nîmes is one of the largest festivals in France and draws a lot of European visitors. If you visit during this festival, you may forget you’re in France and believe instead that you’ve somehow walked to Spain as you eat paella, sip sangria, and observe bullfighters and flamenco dancers in the street. We’ll give you some tips for visiting Nîmes, some special advice on the Feria de Nîmes, Read the Rest…

Monkeying Around in the Alsace: A Visit to La Montagne des Singes

Barbary macaque monkeys Kintzheim France

La Montagne des Singes, or “Monkey Mountain” in English, is a sanctuary for Barbary macaque monkeys in the Alsace region of France. There are over 200 monkeys in the 24 hectacre forested park that provides a place for both conservation and research of these monkeys. Barbary macaque monkeys are an endangered species native to the forested mountains of Morocco and Algeria (also same kind of monkeys roaming the Rock of Gibraltar), and have adapted well to the pines, firs, and oaks of the Vosges Mountains. During our recent trip to the Alsace region of France, Ethan got very excited when he found out there was a park full of monkeys nearby so we had to make a stop at the Montagne des Singes. If you’re interested in visiting, we’ll give you all the details about the park, provide some tips on making the most of your visit, and tell you Read the Rest…

Cruising the Seine River in Paris: How to Choose the Best Seine Cruise Boat Tour

Seine cruise boat

Seeing the romantic city of Paris by boat is on the must-do list of most visitors to Paris and Seine cruises are very popular. These short river cruises allow you to take in many of the highlights of the city—the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, etc.—as you float along the famous Seine River. However, deciding on the right cruise may be difficult as there are several companies that provide similar tours along the Seine River. In this article, we’ll give you the details on the most popular boat tours in the City of Light and help you decide which one might be best for you. We’ll also let you know which one we chose and why for our Seine river cruise experience. So each of the Seine cruises last about an hour in duration and stop and end at the same point unless otherwise noted. They Read the Rest…

The Great Paris Macaron Debate: Ladurée versus Pierre Hermé

Ladurée versus Pierre Hermé macarons Laduree Pierre Herme Paris macaroons

Ladurée is a famous pâtisserie, or pasty shop, in Paris that is well-known for its yummy, rainbow-colored assortment of macarons. Many visitors flock to the main Ladurée store along the Champs-Elysées, but have you heard about the second most famous macaron stop in Paris: Pierre Hermé? Pierre Hermé actually worked at Paris competitors Fauchon and Ladurée before striking it out on his own and now has a number of locations named after himself. Whereas Ladurée is known for its Belle Époque store décor and more traditional offerings, Pierre Hermé is known for innovative and creative flavors combinations. For instance, one of the current seasonal macaron flavors at Pierre Hermé is olive oil with mandarin orange and cucumber water! Now, if you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know we already discussed our discovery of macarons at Ladurée during our 2012 Paris visit which you read about here. But on our subsequent visit this past Read the Rest…

Shopping at Free’P’Star: Cheap Vintage Clothing in Paris

Free'P'Star vintage clothing in Paris

If you are interested in buying some clothes in Paris, but don’t have too much money to spend, Free P Star may be a great store to check out. Free’P’Star is a Parisian vintage store that currently has three locations in the Marais. While many vintage clothing shops in Paris have me saying “C’est trop cher”, prices at Free’P’Star begin at just 1€! We happened upon the store on Rue de Rivoli while doing some exploring in the Marais this past Spring and thought we’d share our discovery for those of you searching for some cheap vintage fashion finds in Paris. Our stop here turned out to be a little shopping adventure. Basic Info on Free’P’Star Store Locations: All three Paris store locations are in the Marais in the 4th arrondissement so you could actually hit all three in an afternoon if you are ambitious. Addresses: 1) 8 rue Sainte Read the Rest…