Tag Archives: France
I have always felt that the best way to travel is to combine the vacation with something that you love. I did this for the first time last year when I took a 3 month tour through through France on a tour of some of the finest wine regions that it had on offer. I stayed in some great France vacation rentals throughout my trip as opposed to going down the hotel route and in all honesty if you are planning on any kind of travel then I’d recommend vacation rentals over hotels all day long.
I wanted to write a little bit about which were my favorite wine regions and which ones that you should head to if you fancy following in my footsteps and indulging your inner wine-lover and combining it with a trip to France. I must be honest, I much prefer New World wines than the French offerings and my main reason for heading to France was nothing more than a European destination being cheaper and more accessible than heading off to Australia, South Africa or South America. Thankfully, my logistic-based decision proved to be worthwhile as I have no been fully converted to some outstanding French wines. Let’s take a look then at some of the very best wine regions which you should visit when you head to France.
The World Famous Bordeaux
The hearty reds of Bordeaux have long been a favorite amongst my fellow Brits and it was here that I began my very own ‘tour de France’. In Bordeaux you will find a great collection of Champagne, Burgundy and Claret amongst many others. Bordeaux has gained such fame in part due its beautiful produce and in part because of its proximity to the sea which has meant that for centuries, exporting was extremely easy. I visited some vineyards along the Dordogne river and the estuary of Gironde before indulging in the powerhouse vineyards of Saint Emilion and Medoc. These vineyards are full geared up for wine tourists and have excellent tours and tasting sessions. Not only did I enjoy the wine here but the surrounding area of Bordeaux is truly breathtaking.
Warm and Coastal Languedoc
Next up on the list is the Languedoc region of France which sits on the Mediterranean coast in the far south of the country. The climate and coastal location of Languedoc enable the region’s vineyards to produce large quantities of wine which I had always considered as being ‘house’ style wine, very average and very normal.
I was then, pleasantly surprised when I toured the vineyards of this region and discovered that whilst my previous opinion had been true to a point, there was in fact some beautiful sparkling wine being produced down here. The Limoux region in particular is producing some award winning sparkling wines which are beginning to give even the finest champagne a run for its money. I have never been a great lover of the razzmatazz that often comes with sparkling wines and champagne but there is something very special going on in Limoux, watch this space.
The Natural Beauty of Jura
I had heard that this was one of the most underrated locations wine-producing regions in France and I just love a challenge so I headed to the Jura region in the east of the country. I should make a note before I start that this is without question one of the most beautiful French regions that I have ever laid eyes upon and that was before I even got to a vineyard. The region is packed with natural splendor from lakes, beach-fringed reservoirs, swooping valleys and lush greenery to high mountains and alpine meadows, even if you don’t love wine, I’d recommend that you come to Jura.
Regarding the wine itself, the word on the street is true and the Franche-Comte region is producing some of the finest French wines that I have ever tasted. Most wines here are blended and use the grave Savagnin, exclusive to Jura and a grape which gives their wines a sherry-like aftertaste. The vineyards here are relatively new to touring people around and as such they are full of life and energy when telling you about their product. Traveling to Jura provided me with the best trip, the finest wine and gave me a glimpse of some simply outstanding natural landscapes.
So there you have it, my top 3 wine regions in France that I think you should visit if you want to take a wine tour throughout the country. As I said before, combining something that you love along with your travel plans is truly the best way to get the most out of your trip away and if it is wine that you love then look no further than these excellent wine-producing French regions.
As the gloom of winter reaches its lowest point, it seems there aren’t many things around to bring energy into our lives. The cold rain, mist (and occasional snow) drain us of our motivations, and the early darkness of January is enough to make anybody question why one would live so far north at this time of year. Both you and your partner need a pick-me-up, and fast.
Fortunately, you two have the perfect excuse to get the bloody hell out of town … Valentine’s Day! Since it is easy as pie to leave your car at short stay parking at Heathrow, a holiday of this nature is well within your reach, even if you don’t live directly within Central London.
Over on the continent, there is no shortage of cities where one can get away at a moment’s notice. Not only do they prove that living in Europe has its advantages at any time of the year, but they also provide a deep bench of romantic destinations where you can have an intimate weekend with your adorable snugglebunny (or whatever pet name that you have for your love).
Today, we will share three cities that are no-brainers for rekindling the spark in your relationship, no matter how dour the weather might be at home.
1) Paris, France
Out of all the cities on our list, Paris is the metropolis that sticks out like a sore thumb, given that “the city of love” is one of its nicknames. There are many romantic attractions that will vie for your attention, but start your day in Montmartre, a district that is set on a hill, for some gasp-inducing views of Paris in all its ageless glory.
Head to the Wall of “I Love You’s”, known in French as Le Mur Des Je T’Aime, to revel in the corniness of that famous phrase, written in 250 different languages. Finally, after a sensuous dinner at Laperouse, a restaurant set in an atmospheric 17th century mansion, go out for an evening of high society entertainment at Palais Garnier, a century-old opera house that was immortalized in Gaston’s Leroux’s seminal work, “The Phantom Of The Opera”.
2) Rome, Italy
The Italians also give the French a run for their Euros in the romance Olympics with their ancient capital, Roma. After doing the mandatory hand-in-hand stroll past the Trevi Fountains, head up Aventine Hill to give your lover the surprise of a lifetime. At the top, there is a place referred to as the Aventine keyhole, an arch in the headquarters of the Priory of the Knights of Malta, where the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral is perfectly framed between the ivy covered walls of that building.
Afterwards, check out some exquisite art at Villa Farnesina and then attempt to re-create the infamous scene from Disney’s Lady And The Tramp, by getting some plates of pasta at Ristorante Pecorino, located at Via Galvani, 54, a wonderful place to have authentic Italian pasta.
3) Budapest, Hungary
If you want to take your relationship to new places, then head to one of the hottest new places to get away for a romantic city break: Budapest, Hungary. Head to the Fisherman’s Bastion on the River Danube to get a sweeping view of this historic Central European gem, then check out its thermal baths, which are Budapest’s biggest claims to fame.
After a relaxing soak among character-filled bath houses, go to the docks on the Danube, where river cruises are offered. With a glass of authentic Hungarian champagne each, toast each other for the red hot love that you still share with each other even after all these years.
You may not have time for a proper holiday this winter, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t escape the city of a weekend of quality time with your loved one this Valentine’s Day. By taking advantage of your proximity to some of the most starkly beautiful metropolises on the planet, you will keep stoking the flames of passion that are key to a successful long-term relationship!
The diverse range of sporting competitions in Europe mean there are some fantastic destinations to visit all year round. More familiar sports such as rugby and soccer can be found along with a whole range of winter games, obviously less recognizable in the UK and Ireland. For those interested in booking a trip over to the continent for a sporting holiday, here are our top 5 locations to visit.
After experiencing the urban charms of Berlin, head to Dortmund to take in one of the better soccer clubs on the European continent. The higher exposure we have had to German soccer in recent years has also made us more aware of the sheer brilliance of their fans at games. No club typifies this more than Borussia Dortmund who have not just experienced success on the pitch but who have also been commended for their fans’ performance off it. Their Westfalenstadion has become a haven for football fans who wish to taste the imposing atmosphere of a Dortmund home game. Around 80,000 fans, many of them standing and constantly bouncing, make a plethora of noise throughout the 90 minutes of domestic and European games.
Located at the foot of Mont Blanc in the French Alps, Chamonix is one of the most glamorous and popular winter sports destinations in the world. The town itself is naturally geared towards the skiing and snowboarding industries, whilst there are a wide range of budget and luxury accommodation options also. In terms of skiing itself, the more advanced slopes within the range are recognised as some of the most challenging and adrenalin-fuelled in the world. There are many courses for beginners and amateurs also which give us mere mortals a chance to enjoy the resort as well.
Being the national stadium of Wales, the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff holds numerous sporting and cultural events. However, it is most commonly associated with rugby and the tremendous atmosphere generated for Wales home games. Although it is only the 5th largest ground in terms of capacity, the passion of the Welsh rugby fans always provides for a thrilling encounter on the pitch. First opened in 1999, retractable roof is another prominent feature of the stadium.
Within Perthshire lies the luxury hotel of Gleneagles which encompasses world class golf courses within its vicinity. These include the famous King’s Course, Queen’s Course and PGA Centenary Course which attract many prominent players for events every year. Furthermore, in September 2014 Gleneagles will host the Ryder Cup battled out between the U.S.A and Europe; this is perhaps the most well-known golf tournament in the world with the top players competing in the exciting match play format.
In a sporting sense, Moscow may be more recognised for its wealth of soccer teams but it also home to one of the most successful basketball teams in Europe also. Being one of the top-ranked sides, PBC CSKA Moscow regularly do well in the Euroleague and have won the competition twice already in its young existence. Being one of the richest basketball teams in Europe, they also attract some of the continent’s best players meaning their games are definitely worth a watch.