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Archive for france

Strasbourg’s Seat of Power

By Linda Tancs

Strasbourg is a city with its heart in France and its head in the European Union. A cradle of European power, the city is home to the Council of Europe, a meeting site of the European Parliament and the Court of Human Rights, all of which are accessible to visitors in some respect. For a summary of the city’s role in these European institutions, a visit to the Information Centre on European Institutions at the Lieu d’Europe is in order. Its mission is to provide the general public with information on the European Union and all the European institutions present in Strasbourg.

Napoleon’s Water

By Linda Tancs

The second largest town in the Auvergne, the French town Vichy is known for its hot springs. Napoleon III, who developed the town in the 1800s, introduced the thermal waters to the public. Not surprisingly, this city on the Allier River is noted for its spa facilities, such as Thermes des Dômes or Spa Les Celestins. Their prized commodity is also marketed as bottled waters that are exported around the world under the names of Vichy Celestins and Vichy Saint-Yorre.

The Heart of It in Lyon

By Linda Tancs

To the Lyonnais, there’s no such thing as a bad restaurant. The rest of us would likely agree, or else the French city of Lyon would not be widely recognized as the nation’s capital of gastronomy. Home to chitterling sausages and pike dumplings, you’ll find that and more at Les Halles Paul Bocuse, the city’s famed indoor food market with nearly five dozen stalls selling countless gourmet delights. Once you’ve overindulged, walk it off in the old quarter, a World Heritage Site featuring a picturesque mix of Renaissance mansions, narrow alleys and dozens more restaurants. A must-see is Rue Saint-Jean, the old town’s main street. It’s surrounded by the city’s distinctive traboules, pathways joining two streets by going through several buildings. 

 

Where History and High Society Meet

By Linda Tancs

Once Provence was annexed to France in 1481, Antibes became the outermost stonghold of the kingdom, a place where a young Napoleon Bonaparte settled his family before distinguishing himself during the siege of Toulon. Only such an ambitious general could part from an idyllic setting in the French Riviera. Centuries later it would become the summer resort of choice for the world’s elite in political, social and literary circles. In fact, the area is thought to have inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, Tender is the Night. You can bet that the glitterati stayed at Hôtel du Cap-Eden Roc, one of the most legendary and luxurious resorts in the world set at the tip of the Cap d’Antibes peninsula. With no shortage of yachting harbors for the jet set, Port Vauban is the largest marina in Europe.

Endurance Racing in France

By Linda Tancs

The engines are getting ready to roar as the time nears for France’s annual endurance race, Le Mans. One of the oldest races, 24 Hours of Le Mans is taking place from June 18 to June 19 in Le Mans (less than an hour west of Paris). Over the course of the 24 hours, racers clock in with approximately 18 times the length of an average Formula 1 Grand Prix, so it’s easy to see why it’s considered the greatest endurance race in the world. This year will be the eighth time that the contest has fallen on this weekend. In 1932, this weekend saw Frenchwoman Odette Siko put her name in the record books with the best result for a female driver.

Gateway to the Loire

By Linda Tancs

What do Amboise, Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Chinon, Langeais and Villandry have in common? They’re all just a stone’s throw away from Tours, a gateway city to the Loire Valley in France. Notwithstanding the splendor of these chateaux, the city is full of its own charms, like Place Plumereau. At the heart of the historic center, this small square is studded with eye-catching half-timbered houses. Now through September the place to see and be seen is La Guinguette de Tours sur Loire, a café at the docks offering a mix of dancing, film nights, food and drink and entertainment.

Bubbles in Grenoble

By Linda Tancs

Located in southeastern France, Grenoble is prized for its winter sports, especially skiing, considering that it sits in the middle of three mountain ranges. Not up to seeing the city via a downhill run? Spherical cable cars called “Les Bulles” (the bubbles) connect the town to the summit of La Bastille hill, named for the fortress on its slopes built to defend France against its great Alpine rival of the early 1800s, the Duchy of Savoy.

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