Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Day in Paris

Christmas in France is a day to gather with family, celebrate, eat wonderful food.. oysters, turkey, buche de Noel, redolent cheese and good wines... but if you are a tourist Christmas day can be a challenge to find open restaurants or great things to do.

If Paris isn't buried in snow (!) consider ice skating in front of the gorgeous Hotel de Ville or at the Eiffel Tower. Both spectacular and festive venues! The art nouveau brasseries are generally open so consider a meal at Le Vaudeville near the Bourse or another festive Paris brasserie. (Check first!) Window shopping and dreaming is always fun. Pick a Paris quarter full of great shops and stroll, dream, and enjoy.

The celebrative midnight mass at Notre Dame is an always packed and special event.. but get there at least 90 minutes in advance for a seat. And look at the posters or at Pariscope to find fabulous concerts in the week leading up to and after Christmas.

If you have an apartment with a kitchen, shop the markets and have a festive dinner a la Parisian traditions..

Joyeux Noel!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Two Very Special Holiday 'Spectacles' Around Paris

If you are lucky enough to be in Paris during the holidays and want to do something a bit unusual while touring two gorgeous chateaux to boot, check out the Christmas Illuminations at Vaux le Vicomte or visit the chateau of Chantilly for the special 'Horses of the Wind' show complete with jugglers and acrobats.

Vaux le Vicomte is roughly an hour southeast of Paris and is the magnificent chateau that inspired Versailles. Vaux le Vicomte transforms itself every holiday season into a sumptuously decorated home with roaring log fires and candlelit rooms. Gorgeous.

Chantilly is north and slightly west of Paris and is a later but also a gorgeous chateau. The collection of 800 plus fine paintings in Chantilly are second only to the Louvre in the breadth and quality of the collection. And, in addition to the lovely park surrounding the chateau, the stables (said to be considered the most beautiful, intact, 18th century stables in Europe) are always worth seeing. This season there is a special show at 2:30 in the afternoon (check dates) with thirty plus horses, riders, acrobats and more. Spectacular indeed.

Talk with me about my colleague Jean Pierre who will pick you up at your hotel or apartment and take you to either of these marvelous venues for an unforgettable day.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cheese Spotting: Paris!

If you love French cheese this is THE custom tour for you. How about a three hour immersion in the redolent world of French cheeses? Learn about the vast variety of French cheese, how to choose and pair cheeses on the cheese-plate of your dreams. And, unique to this tour, learn about the best accompaniments to cheese.... flavored and pure olive oils, flavored salts, savory confitures and more. All the while you will be guided by a renowned food writer and convivial culinary expert. And you will finish this delicious immersion with a stop for a relaxed lunch or perfectly paired cheese and charcuterie AND French wines. Fabulous.

For groups of six to ten, or talk with us about pricing for larger groups or even for smaller groups. One guest experiencing this new tour literally told my colleague that this was one of the best, most enjoyable days of her life. And this was a woman who travels frequently and is not un-sophisticated in things-culinary!

Details on or email me.

A Holiday Gift to You.. Give Trip Advising and Get A Great Discount

Need a personal and perfect gift for your France-bound friends? Your Great Days In Paris is offering our new and returning clients a healthy discount on Trip Coaching and Advising Services (now including Istanbul), up to four hours per client. Price: $50 not $70 per hour. We'll get you and your Francophile friends to the best in Paris, carefully considering your budget, interests and your preferred travel style. Happy Holidays!

Or, for a BIG and wonderful gift, present your friends with the opportunity to join me on a culinary or cultural tour in Paris, Turkey, the Pays Basque or Lyon in 2011.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Two Paris Parks Worth a Visit

My article "Two Paris Parks Well Worth A Visit" is up on the French Today Blog. Read about two very different and each wonderful parks, the Promenade Plantee and the Palais Royal. French Today is my good colleague Camille Chevalier's Karfis' company based in Brittany. Camille is a talented teacher of French to Francophiles and to those planning a trip to France who just want some language proficiency. Excellent teaching tools plus lessons. Take a look at my article and at the overall website.