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Other Activities in France
Touring in France: France has a lot more to offer its visitors than Paris and the Riviera. Each region has its unique characteristics, culture and cuisine and there is no part of France that we can't recommend unreservedly. A splendid network of roads connects all parts of the country and high speed TGV rail service is available from Paris to most major cities. Let us help you plan a tour of this fascinating country.
Eating in France: The cuisine of France is the one by which all others are measured. The French have always taken food seriously and, as far back as the Middle Ages, leading chefs have had an honored place in their society. However, while a basic style may be common to all parts of the country, each region of France has developed its own distinctive cuisine. Accordingly, food is very much a part of French regional culture and should be an important part of any visit to France. However, given all the hype that surrounds French food and particularly its Michelin star system, it is easy to be intimidated by the thought of fine dining in France. But this needn't be and it need not be excessively expensive either. Excellent restaurants at acceptable prices are to be found all over France, including Paris. Just tell us your budget and we will guide you to an outstanding culinary experience.
Cooking Schools: Perhaps you would like to learn more about French cooking or brush-up on your skills! There are cooking schools located all over France, with classes from a few days and up. Many are located in some of the most attractive parts of the country and are attached to atmospheric inns and hotels. Choose your region and we can help you with the rest.
Wine Tasting: France is the largest producer of wines in the world accounting for about one third of the total. Vines are grown in many parts of the country but areas of greatest interest are Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Rhone and Loire Valley. Apart from their outstanding wines, each of those areas has much to interest their visitors. A wine tasting wan range from a one day excursion visiting two or three vineyards to a four or five night stay in a particular area or combination of areas touring and wine tasting.
Normandy Beaches: The sixtieth anniversary of the D Day landings on the Normandy Beaches was celebrated on June 6 th 2009. Nobody whose country participated in the historic event can fail to be moved by a visit to the area. While it is possible to visit the beaches on a one day trip from Paris, a stay of at least one or two nights is strongly recommended as the surrounding country of Normandy is very historic and much for visitors to see and do.
Barge Cruising: One of the most interesting ways of touring in France is by barge. France has a comprehensive network and canals covering much of the country, particularly in its flatter eastern part. While boats of all types are to be found on them, we strongly recommend a trip on luxurious hotel style barge. They come in various sizes; the smaller barges are generally available for charter only and the larger operate scheduled tours. They offer the highest level of comfort and every need is catered to including outstanding meals and wines. Land trips to local places of interest are offered every day. Apart from eastern France, some barge cruises are also available in the Loire Valley, Bordeaux and the South of France.
Chateaux Tours: Historic and evocative chateaux are to be found all over France but in this instance we are essentially referring to the Loire region. During the Renaissance, French monarchs built themselves magnificent chateaux along the River Loire and the nobles wishing to stay close to the seat of power followed suit. The result is that more than 300 chateaux now adorn this lush and fertile valley. It is also a noted wine growing area. An exceptionally pleasant and educational time can be spent exploring this area.
Haute Couture: French leadership in fashion dates back to the 18 th century when the styles and fashion of the court at Versailles was imitated across Europe and haute couture as we know it today originated in Paris in the 19 th century. While the term haute couture is misused in other parts of the world, very strict criteria apply to its use in France and the term may only be used with reference to custom designed clothing. A fashion house must meet strict rules and be licensed to call them themselves a couture house or use the term haute couture in their advertising. However, custom designed clothing is no longer the main source of business for any fashion house but they use their couture designation to enhance their reputation and help sell their ready-to wear lines. A visit to a couture house while in Paris is still a worthwhile once in a life time experience.