About Me

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Barrington, Illinois, United States

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

There’s a 'Secret Versailles' Right Outside Paris

Friday, May 12, 2017

Le Tour de France 2018

If you have plans on watching next year's TDF in person, in the coming weeks we will be posting some of our favorite picks of hotel accomodation's in all  locations for all stages including the start in Vendee, France.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Enjoy the Good Life France Magazine

In English, you will enjoy all that this magazine has to offer.  http://joom.ag/o0p

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Best Lavender Fields of France

In my opinion any lavender field no matter the acreage will be significant eye candy for me but truth be told there are some fields that are simply more magnificent over others.  One of the best areas in the Provence is the region of Avignon.  We are including a few different websites offering their picks for ‘the best’ lavender fields around.

These include actual maps describing specific routes you can follow to not miss many of the best fields around. There are specific tours one can take just to view these fields but our opinion is do the research on your own, rent a car and start discovering the region on your own. You can participate in harvests but you will need to determine which region you want to explore and make certain the timing of your holiday coincides with harvest time.

Avignon is just one place to make your base camp for your tour of the lavender fields.  Don’t cheat yourself by limiting a morning or afternoon for adventure but allow 2-3 days if you’re truly the lavender hound you say you are.  Below are a few different websites to give you more insight on planning your discovery of the lavender fields in the Provence.

From Travel France online find out educational facts about this brilliant plant that enriches our lives in so many ways. http://www.travelfranceonline.com/lavender-fields-in-provence-origin-facts/
The Luberon.com offers helpful information and maps to plot your tour of some of the most beautiful lavender fields in the Provence.   http://www.theluberon.com/activities/lavender-provence

Another great site is Provence and Beyond. I really love their color coded map that highlights in great detail all of the possibilities to explore.  http://www.beyond.fr/themes/lavender-fields-provence.html
Finally, I recently stumbled on the website ‘Your Private Provence’. Emily, the host, offers custom itineraries from a few days to a week. She can introduce you to lavender growers, tour the distilleries and visit ‘off-the-beaten path’ walks. Want to hunt truffles?  Emily can help you. 2017 bookings are being accepted now.   http://yourprivateprovence.com/

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Utrecht, Netherlands (A hidden jewel)

Prior to any hotel or chateau booking vast research is done as we want to know as much as possible about our destination, including the full history, which is typically what drew us there in the first place.

There is so much more to the Netherlands besides Amsterdam and tulips and windmills. Yes these mentions offer rich enjoyment and numerous adventures but the Dutch people, so modern, open and a tolerant society, we found the people to be one of the most charming things about the Netherlands.

We are also intrigued with their canal system and wharfs, endless bicycle enthusiasts and charm of the university town of Utecht just south of Amsterdam and much easier to navigate in and out of the city by car.  Fourth largest population in the Netherlands and also the capital of this brilliant Dutch country.
Many of the historic city houses go back to the middle ages.  

According to BBC Travel it is said Utrecht is the 4th happiest place in the world. I would not dispute that.  Like most Dutch cities, Utrecht offers an vast network of cycle paths, which makes cycling much safer. Driving a car you must always pay attention to the humans in their bike lanes with signals and all.

Most amazing 33% of all city journeys are by bicycle, (cars account for 30% of trips). Bicycles are used by young, old, and families. The variety of bikes you’ll see including the most traditional upright, steel-framed bicycles, (with few or no gears) is most fascinating. Thousands of bicycles are parked in town lining the canals which to us is part of the allure that calls you in.  

The continuous activity in the city center offers so much from sidewalk cafes to boat rides, museum's and shopping. The canals are most beautiful and being there in fall added that much more color to the slightly rainy day we visited. The Domtoren, a 14th-century bell tower with city views, stands opposite the Gothic Cathedral of St. Martin on central Domplein square.  The city center is small enough to explore on foot but we could have used 2-3 days more to explore further as 1 really wasn’t sufficient.

One of the highlights for us was bike riding on some of the designated trails in a small village of Soestduinen, and Soest north of Utrecht.  Our lovely hotel provided us with free bikes and as it was a very cool day there may have been a fee if we had been gone for 4-5 hours.  I have attached a link to a video we made during the ride. The video is a bit rough but hope you enjoy.  The bike paths are endless and there are countless ways and opportunities for anyone to ride a bike in Holland (as Americans seem to only want to call the Netherlands, urrrr).

Our Bike Ride Adventure Link: