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Archive for france

Prehistoric Europe in France

By Linda Tancs

Move over, Stonehenge. Impressive (and famous) as it is, England’s prehistoric monument is dwarfed by Carnac, the largest collection of megalithic standing stones in the world. Situated around the French village of Carnac in northwestern France, the Neolithic structures are believed to be funerary monuments. Comprising more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones cut from local rock, the site features stone alignments, dolmens, tumuli and single menhirs erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany. Due to Brittany’s abundance of megalithic wonders, take advantage of the Megalithic Pass, which will give you reduced rates of entry to nearby attractions.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

France’s Opulent Bunker

By Linda Tancs

Arguably, the most interesting aspect of Château de Brézé in France’s Loire Valley is what’s beneath your feet. That’s because the castle boasts an underground fortress opulent enough to function as the main house, which is why it’s referred to as a castle under a castle. The vast, limestone-hollowed tunnels include a kitchen, a stable, a drawbridge and wine-making rooms. Dating from the Middle Ages, the bunker was likely built to protect its owners against marauders. Less than a mile of this labyrinth is accessible to visitors. Of course, the tasteful apartments of the castle proper are not to be missed. Also be sure to check out the dry moats, the deepest in Europe at around 60 feet!

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley

By Linda Tancs

Lascaux is the setting for a complex of caves near the village of Montignac in the department of Dordogne in southwestern France. It’s part of the prehistoric sites and decorated caves of the Vézère Valley. Anthropologically significant, it’s also a draw because of cave paintings, especially those of the Lascaux Cave. Discovered in 1940, the cave is of great importance for the history of prehistoric art. You’ll find richly detailed and colorful drawings in sectors with evocative names like the Hall of the Bulls, the Chamber of the Felines, the Apse and the Shaft. Best of all, you can tour it from the safety and convenience of your armchair.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Springing Up in Burgundy

By Linda Tancs

Tonnerre is a small town in France’s Burgundy region. Its vines date back to Roman times. So does its seemingly bottomless spring, Fosse Dionne. Used by the Romans to supply water to a nearby palace, it morphed into a public laundry in the 1700s. Encased in stone and surrounded by an amphitheater, it’s a popular tourist attraction today. Springtime snow melts produce a copious gush of water from this karst spring, the source of which remains unknown to this day.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Ladies’ Château

By Linda Tancs

As is widely the case, if you like the interior design of a home, then you should thank the lady of the house. That’s the reasoning behind Château de Chenonceau being coined “the ladies’ château.” Arguably the most visited and photographed château in France’s Loire Valley, its female occupants throughout the centuries are credited with its design, embellishment and protection. Furnished throughout with Renaissance-style appointments, the ladies’ bedrooms are especially exquisite, as are the Christmas decorations this time of year.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Submarine Art in France

By Linda Tancs

When thinking of a site for a digital art installation, a submarine base may not necessarily come to mind. But thanks to French museum operator Culturespaces, an immersive experience was created in four submarine bays on a former base in Bordeaux dating to World War II. Billed as the largest digital art center in the world, Les Bassins de Lumière puts the facility’s massive surface area to good use, projecting contemporary art onto the walls and into the water of the four enormous basins. Visits are conducted on gangways above the water and along the quays of the basins. The facility is easily accessible via a downtown tram and a short shuttle ride.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Republic Within a Republic

By Linda Tancs

Sandwiched between France and Switzerland, Saugeais is a micronation in eastern France. Established in 1947, the self-declared nation in the Haut-Doubs region comprises 11 communes, from Gilley in the north to Arçon in the south and from the Swiss border in the east to Crêt Monniot in the west. Its origins lie in jest, following a French official’s anointing of the area as a republic after jokingly being told he needed a permit to enter the region. Today, visitors are granted a permit to enter, evidence that a good joke is one you can use over and over. The unofficial republic boasts a Prime Minister, a Secretary General, two customs officers, 12 ambassadors and 450 honorary citizens throughout France and Europe who promote its charms.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

France’s Surf City

By Linda Tancs

Located in the Bay of Biscay in the heart of French Basque Country, Biarritz is a popular seaside resort. Generally regarded as the surfing capital of Europe, its surf culture cannot be understated, with 18 surfing schools catering to beginners and pros alike. Its beaches, the La Grande Plage and Côte des Basques, both offer great surf spots. Now is the best time to ply the waters because it’s less crowded and the swells are more reliable.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Bubbling Over in the Indian Ocean

By Linda Tancs

Réunion is a French department in the Indian Ocean, an island known for its active volcano, Piton de la Fournaise. Currently, it’s one of the most active volcanoes in the world, giving Hawaii’s Kīlauea a run for its money. This shield volcano standing at over 8,600 feet is a hiker’s dream, with challenging routes linking the coast with the summit. You can also reach into the bowels of the earth with a lava tunnel tour lasting over three hours or take in the Mars-like landscape from the Plaine des Sables. Then, again, why not do it all? You can rest up at the Volcano Lodge, less than a mile from the crater.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Fruit of the Vine in Paris

By Linda Tancs

Bordeaux, Bourgogne and Champagne may be France’s better known winemaking regions, but centuries ago Paris was the country’s winemaking hub. It would be easy to forget that bit of history but for the network of newer vineyards in the city paying homage to the ancient ways, the most famous being Le Clos Montmartre. Government-owned and largely tucked away in Parisian parks, the wines produced at these sites are not available commercially. Instead, they’re auctioned off and enjoyed only at select festivals.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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