Chef Bernard Loiseau, known for his world class fine cuisine, is no longer with us but his Three Michelin starred restaurant, La Côte d’Or and hotel, Le Relais Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu continue his legacy largely due to his family’s dedication and current chef Patrick Bertron. His attention to detail, focus on exceptional dining and overall perfectionism is felt everywhere here, and if anything, Bernard Loiseau should be remembered for what he was able to achieve during his lifetime and the hallmark he leaves behind. Nothing else.
We loved staying at Le Relais and eating La Côte d’Or. If you come to France and don’t make it to one of Bernard Loiseau’s establishments, you’ll be missing out on what would be one of the most memorable trips and meals you’ve ever had.
Some photos from our trip!
Le Relais Bernard Loiseau
21210 Saulieu – Bourgogne, (Côte d’Or, Burgundy) France
Tel. : + 33 (0)3 80 90 53 53
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
CLOSED Tuesday-Wednesday from November 2 to December 22, 2010
Other Bernard Loiseau locations:
Restaurant Loiseau des vignes
31, rue Maufoux – 21200 Beaune, Bourgogne, France
Tel. : + 33 (0)3 80 24 12 06
E-mail : email@example.com
CLOSED every Sunday and Monday
Restaurant Tante Louise
41, rue Boissy d’Anglas – 75008 Paris, France
Tel. : + 33 (0)1 42 65 06 85
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
CLOSED every Saturday and Sunday
Restaurant Tante Marguerite
5, rue de Bourgogne – 75007 Paris, France
Tel. : + 33 (0)1 45 51 79 42
E-mail : email@example.com
CLOSED every Saturday and Sunday
Right about now, when people look out their windows in most of France (and other parts of the world), they’re seeing snow covered trees, houses, streets…well snow covered everything. It’s February, so that kind of weather is not surprising but it’s fairly depressing after a while. So, to cheer some of you up, maybe it’ll be a good time plan a trip to somewhere warm. How about Cannes? It’s not exactly warm there at the moment but in a a short month or two, it should start heating up. This year, will you decide to go the the Cannes International Film Festival in May? How about attending any number of the conferences, trade shows and exhibitions coming up in Cannes like MIPTV or IDEF to name just a few?
It’s probably not too early to reserve a place to stay in Cannes, and if you’re going to the Cannes Film Fest, there’s a very cool accommodation in Cannes, perfect for the celebrity lookiloos. This fully furnished, two-bedroom, luxury apartment for up to three people, not only has gorgeous views of the sea but there’s a terrace with a direct view of the Croisette and the red carpet right in front of the Palais, where the stars line for their close ups! This is ideal for the celebrity star gazers and worshippers.
Back to finding accommodations in Cannes. Born to Host has a long listing of various luxury villas, apartments and yachts to rent while you’re in the City of Luxury whether you’re going to the film festival or not. They will find places for you to stay any time of year, although the best time to visit Cannes, of course, is during warm months.
Born to Host
Telephone: +33 6 37 44 07 44 (Marine) or +33 6 03 44 28 77 (Maurice)
Website: accommodation cannes
“I tip the torchlight and examine a wall in my hotel room. From a distance, the wall looks like vanilla frosting roughly applied. Up close, I see nuggets of caramel-colored stone, faint brown streaks…and an oyster shell. The wall before me is 100 million years old, the raw edge of a cave scraped into a cliff above the Loire River. The oyster was a much earlier guest here, a fossil left from the sea that once covered this part of France and left behind a thick bed of white stone called tuffeau.
Many buildings in the Loire Valley are constructed from this stone. On a trip to France four years ago, I stayed in an elegantly restored farmhouse near Tours, its walls made of tuffeau blocks, stacked like irregular sugar cubes. The farmers of long ago probably dug their own tuffeau. It’s just under the surface–unplanted fields gleam with tuffeau churned to pebbles by the plows. However, the serious quarrying was for the signature chateaus and other monumental architecture of the Loire Valley.
At the time, I was among friends who wanted to visit all the chateaus. The first few exhausted my taste for opulence. Then, near the chateau in Amboise, I noticed caves in the cliff, some with brightly painted front doors, windows, shutters and flower boxes. As we drove around the Loire Valley, I spied more of these domesticated caves, some with chimneys thrusting through scruffy vegetation at the tops of cliffs or new facades and courtyards. Oh yes, someone finally explained: after widespread quarrying of the tuffeau began in the 11th century and created cavities in the hills and plains, people moved in. Some to escape warfare, others because the caves made convenient, low-rent dwellings. Until the early 20th century, many people lived in these so-called troglodyte homes. Entire villages were underground. Some people still live in the caves, I was told, and others are …”
When we head to Paris, we usually stay in a small hotel right in the center of town, but last week we opted for change. We had a meeting in the periphery of Paris so we stayed at Les etangs de Corot, a small boutique hotel with about 40 rooms, situated about 10 minutes from Versailles, just a little southwest of Paris. It’s close to the park in Saint Cloud and it only takes about 15 minutes to get to Paris.
Their promotional photo (above) is slightly misleading, however. While there IS a little lake on one side, the other (front) side of the hotel doesn’t look like that at all. I thought I’d mention that because it looks as if it’s totally secluded from a big city, which it isn’t. That said, it was a quiet place to stay, with an underground parking lot, good service and an excellent brasserie called Le Café des Artistes.
This would make a good base if you were to visit Versailles (there aren’t many choices of hotels directly in Versailles), and Giverny (about 55 minutes from the hotel) or wanted to stay in a calm place but have relatively easy access to Paris.
Les Etangs de Corot
55, rue de Versailles
92410 Ville d’Avray France
Website: Les etangs de Corot
Tel: +33 1 41 15 37 70
Room Rates 175 € to 285 €
Breakfast: 20 € per person
We haven’t been too thrilled about the chilly weather that has descended upon us in Burgundy so we decided to head south to our favorite bed and breakfast home away from home in Provence, Apres la sieste in Saint Laurent des arbres, not far from Avignon. This is the fourth time this year we’ve been back. They can’t get rid of us!
It’s beautiful and warm, just what we needed. The olives are ripening.
Chill time in the warmth.
I saw this creepy praying mantis! Probably recently ate its mate and is now getting ready to lay eggs. I’ve never seen a real one before but it totally reminded me of Zorak from Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
Après La Sieste
2 suites, 3 rooms; breakfast included
Contact: Jacques et Chloé (English and French spoken)
Website: Après La Sieste
(Visit their site for more room photos, details and rates)
Telephone : 04 66 50 33 94
Mobile Phone: 06 61 84 58 40
After getting a taste of a couple of French MOFs’ (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) awarding winning desserts and meals (Le Daniel and Paul Bocuse), we’ve since been on a mission to seek out and try out more and more (and more!) of them. Perhaps I’ll be shopping for new clothes here soon.
Les 5 Sens (The 5 Senses), a 2-year old modern and reasonably priced gastronomic restaurant in Avignon, is owned by Chef Thierry Baucher, an MOF. We were in the neighborhood last week, so we headed out with Jacques, Chloe and Noa (from Apres la sieste), in search of a yummy meal. Yes. We found what we were looking for and more. The meal was positively and incredibly memorable.
Chef Thierry Baucher working in the kitchen
Note: You will notice that I forgot BOTH my cameras (I know. I’m a fired blogger!) so some of the photos were taken with the phone camera in very low light, and many of them just didn’t come out. I had to shrink the remaining of them. (The top photo is a scan from their business card.)
We sat outside in the courtyard on a beautiful, warm evening. The night kicked off literally with a bang starting with the amuse bouche, traditionally served before the first course. A small glass filled with a mixture of cucumber and tiny pieces of raw salmon.
Suddenly, my sweetie let out a little scream. Then Jacques blurts a little “woah!” Next, Chloe and I followed. The chef had sprinkled Pop Rocks (candy) into the amuse bouche. Pop Rocks, remember those fizzy exploding candy things?! (also known as Action Candy, and in France it was called, “Frizzy Pazzy”) A memorable amuse bouche (with mouths snapping, crackling and popping) if ever I knew one.
Everything that followed was excellent, so much so that everyone was fully concentrated on their meal for a while, oohing and ahhing in between.
Each dish and the dessert was truly unique and absolutely wonderful, and there were always unexpected twists in dishes. There’s not much to say, really, except that you must try Les 5 Sens if you’re ever in Avignon.
I had to sample the cheeses by Josiane Deal, another MOF! They were superb, and the sorbet made with roquette, lime and mint, perfectly accompanied the cheeses, as well as being really refreshing and singularly different.
So the chef heard that the blogger from Why Travel to France was eating in the courtyard, so he came out to chat with us. Kidding. I’m not sure why he came out to talk with us, but it was very sweet of him, anyway. Give that man a raise!
A clean kitchen is a must.
Another last note: The bathroom has black toilet paper, which my sweetie thought was blog worthy. I agree.
Les 5 Sens
Place Plaisance (the restaurant is not visible from the street so you must enter the courtyard)
18, Rue Joseph Vernet
84000 Avignon, France
+33 (0) 4 90 85 26 51 (reservations recommended)
Hours: 11:30am to 2:30pm and 7:30pm to 11pm
Closed Sunday and Monday except in July
Usually when we get ready for a trip, we do a little research on specific accommodations if we’ve never stayed there before. It helps so much to see web sites that have participant reviews, so you’ll know what to stay away from, what to expect and simply plan from there.
Our recent trip to Bretagne (Brittany) did not involve this process because it was actually hard to find a B&B online with reviews – so we did take a huge risk by choosing a place with no user feedback. We found a lot of promising places on the internet but some only “sounded” great in theory. For example, we saw “Stay in a 17th century castle!” describing luxurious amenities etc. – the only problem was: there were no photos. Um. We need photos, people!
For instance, say we show up at a place that has no photos on their website. What are possible scenarios? A hotel from The Shining? Norman Bate’s House? The Cottage from The Undead? My point: Never stay at a place you haven’t seen!
Back to this post. We fortunately chose a place that did have photos on their website (though we couldn’t find any reviews). It looked promising and was run by a French family, so we thought we’d give it a try and stay there a whole week. It was awesome.
Le Manoir de Villeneuve isn’t just any ole bed and breakfast place. It is far beyond this category of B&B because it’s an elegant, relaxing 18th century estate in a huge French manor (more like a small castle) and it was a wonderful place to call home while traveling around in Bretagne.
The rooms are impeccably clean, comfortable and tastefully decorated. They will also be freshened up each day.
The bath is large and inviting. Each room in the manor has its own private bath.
You’ll wake up to find fresh squeezed orange juice, real raw milk from a farm nearby, luscious coffee or tea, fruit, baked breads and home-made, organic cakes and pastries. Who needs bacon and eggs? Here, no one. This is wonderful, wonderful breakfast, the French way.
The estate stretches across 6 hectares of land, which is enormous, so don’t be surprised if you run into some animals here and there when wandering around the vast “park” and side areas. Note: Donkeys are so soft!
An enormous advantage, and a criterion we require from our accommodations, is that it serve as a convenient base that is accessible to several points of interest. Le Manoir not only meets this criterion, but it also gives you the feeling that you are far from everything yet you are actually very close to Saint Malo, the beach, Ile de Bréhat, Dinard, Paimpol, Fort La Latte and both the cote d’emeraude / Emerald coast as well as the Cote de Granite Rose (Rose granite coast). Also, from here you are just an hour’s drive to Rennes.
For a true, French B&B experience in Bretagne, we highly recommend Le Manoir in Lamballe. It is an ideal location to have as a base to explore many places. Coming back to the manoir and town of Lamballe is comforting and you’ll have a variety of things to do there. The town of Lamballe is beautiful and there are excellent restaurants, cheese shops, wine stores and specialty shops that will keep you well-fed and entertained.
The full time residents of the manor is a French family of five (a couple and three kids) and you might see them around, as well as their friendly Weimaraner, Tom. You’ll be greeted by a very gracious and sweet hostess, Nathalie, a former sign language translator. She will be your contact during your stay at Le Manoir de Villeneuve.
Le Manoir de Villeneuve
Contact: Nathalie Peres (French and English spoken)
3 Rooms, 1 Suite
St-Aaron, 22400 Lamballe France
Telephone: +33) 02 96 50 86 32 or +33) 06 20 81 16 28
Website: Le Manoir de Villeneuve (for more photos and rates)
The Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris is climbing on the SATC bandwagon and giving you the opportunity to step into the shoes of Carrie Bradshaw for the time of your fictitious TV life with an ultra-glamorous offer. Here’s what you get:
• A Cosmopolitan cocktail “Carrie’s favourite drink” for each person, served at Le Bar du Plaza Athénée.
• A chocolate shoe made by our World Champion Pastry Chef Christophe Michalak.
• Carrie’s “Must have” shopping booklet “All is about shoes”, listing the leading footwear names found on avenue Montaigne. Thanks to a VIP contact in each boutique, you will enjoy a personalised welcome.
For an additionnal fee of €1000, have a custom-made pair of shoes created by you with the help of a designer. The shoes are hand-made in four weeks and delivered to your home address.
Based on a two-night minimum stay, double occupancy, including daily American breakfast:
Please note that the offer is subject to availability.
Deluxe Room € 810 / € 880
Junior Suite € 925 / 1030 €
Deluxe Suite € 1 700 / 2 300 €
Prestige Suite € 2 900 / 3 600 €
Presidential Suite € 3 810 / 4 800 €
Rates understood per night. VAT included.
Exclusive of Paris City tax: 1.50 Euro per person/day.
Subject to availability.
It just occurred to me that the bed and breakfast where we stayed in Carcassonne (southwest France) recently, was not only the first B&B we’ve stayed in in France, but it was also a real one, in the sense that you really are staying in someone’s house. In this case, you’re chez Patricia and Andre Ledu.
We loved it.
“Aux Anges Gardiens” means “With The Guardian Angels,” and you’ll feel like your guardian angels were watching over you when you selected this b&b as your home away from home while taking your holidays in Carcassonne.
Patricia and André fled a hectic lifestyle in Paris to embark on a completely new adventure with their B&B. They bought and embraced an 18th century “fixer upper,” took it under their wings and completely restored it. The result of their hard and thoughtful work is a warm, welcoming sanctuary where you’ll feel comfortable and cozy. The house and your hosts will quickly put you at ease and you’ll readily be able to settle in and feel at home. Aux Anges Gardiens is another one of those rare places where you’ll not want to leave.
The rooms are spacious and luxurious, and all have their own private bathroom, so you won’t have to share facilities with other guests in the house. You might be able to tell by the names of the rooms that this place is ideal for couples.
For example, we stayed in the room called, “la Chambre Nuptiale / The Honeymoon Suite” but you have other choices. Oui oui. How about “la Chambre Cocoon / The Love Nest” or the “la Chambre de Maitre / The Master Suite”? Does it sound like a perfect romantic getaway?
If you’re into more chill kinds of vacations, you will LOVE the patio and pool area at Aux Anges Gardiens. Grab some much needed French rays (remember your sunblock) out there, and laze to your heart’s content during your stay. You’ll be one happy B&B-er.
Since it is a real and true B&B, and we’ve talked about the first B (bed), you’ll be glad to know that the 2nd B, breakfast, is pure YUM. French coffee, fresh bread and baguettes from a nearby bakery, homemade jams, baked cakes made in-house, fruit, yogurt, fruit juices. The REAL breakfast of champions à la française.
Much like Après La Sieste in Provence, Aux anges gardiens is another ideal location that you’ll be able to use as a convenient base but in the region of Langedoc-Roussillon. The medieval city of Carcassonne is just minutes away. Drive or grab the bikes at Patricia and Andre’s to get there or to the neighboring lake. Nearby cities include: Toulouse, Perpignan, Narbonne, Montpellier, and if you have a couple of hours, you’re not very far from Barcelona. Just cross the border and you’ll be speaking Catalan in no time. On a semi-sidenote, from Carcassonne you’ll find really cheap flights to Ireland on Ryanair. I mean, really, really cheap (based on an advanced purchase): about 20 euros roundtrip. REALLY.
Back to the guardian angels. If you’re in the area for business or travel, consider staying at this absolutely fabulous B&B. You will not regret it.
Aux Anges Gardiens, Bed and Breakfast in Carcassonne
Open all year, highspeed internet, 3 rooms, breakfast included
Contact: Patricia et André Ledu (English, French spoken)
2 rue du Barry – hameau de Villalbe – Carcassonne – France
Tél. +33 (0)4 68 47 14 03 – cell .+33 (0)6 64 90 70 13
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: Aux Anges Gardiens, B&B in Carcassonne (more photos, rates and availability)
A brand new website dedicated to Paris accommodations has recently launched and is looking for owners of hotels, apartments, gites, and chambres d’hotes (bed and breakfast) to be included on the site. If you know someone with a place to stay, please feel free to let them know about it.
For about a week now, we’ve been back in the land of foie gras, confit de canard and truffles, at our favorite accommodations in Sarlat, which is in the southwest region of France called, Dordogne (in Perigord Noir) and – a couple of days ago, FINALLY, the sun was out!
Today is different, though, and there’s grisailles galore but since we’re here to work, the gray weather couldn’t be better.
It occurred to me that Au pre de l’arbre (independent fully equipped (self-catering) chalets in a forest) is a great place to escape to – from where ever you happen to be, and if absolutely necessary, (like us) take your work with you. On days like these you can be very productive.
Also worth noting is that it’s a great place to base yourself if you’re house hunting in the Dordogne area. Each of the rental houses here is fully equipped with high speed DSL and if you don’t want to bring your computer, you can use one provided by Au pre de l’arbre. They even have a list of real estate agents for you. That’s service if you ask me.
You don’t have to be workaholics like us, to stay here. Most of the people who come to Au pre de l’arbre are here to vacation: to explore the prehistoric drawings (Lascaux), to visit the wonderful villages (La Roque Gageac, Rocamadour, etc.) nearby, to participate in outdoor sports like rock climbing, horseback riding and canoeing – all within the unique backdrop of Dordogne’s signature stunning scenery. After a full day of travel, it’s a sigh of relief to come back to your comfortable chalet at Au pre de l’arbre. And then, take a swim in the gigantic pool that overlooks a forest.
The beautiful thing about Au pre de l’arbre is that it’s open all year ’round. We like to come outside of the busy season, but if you want to come during the summer, make sure to secure your reservations right about….NOW.
A note: You can stay for as short as a weekend or even longer term. And here’s a little secret: if you come during the low season, feel free to barter a bit with Marc to lower your rent. (I swear, he likes that!)
Maybe, just maybe once during your trips to France, you will venture out of “the comfort zone” of your little Paris. Yes! There’s a whole ‘nother world outside of Paris that might amaze you even more than looking at the teeny tiny, glass-enveloped, security guarded, popularity queen, The Mona Lisa, which could quite possibly be a replica (Ok, the latter is just my own conspiracy theory).
A little detour to Provence (south of France) will literally be a welcome breath of fresh air once you exit the cities. We’ve been in Provence, of course at our favorite Après La Sieste, the best place to stay in Provence, in our humble opinions. In addition to being the most beautiful and relaxing B&B ever, they have a heated salinated pool, (which is like being in a comfortable hotspring more so than like being in a chlorinated pond), and an in-house chef for a memorable gastronomic meal that goes perfectly with local wines from the famous Chateauneuf du pape.
After exploring the region’s lavender fields, the surrounding “most beautiful villages in France,” the seaside Camargue and Callanques, the wine cellars and vineyards for tasting award-winning wines and more, you may, after all the day’s activities, feel pretty beat albeit happy. Lucky you because if you stay with Jacques and Chloe at Apres la Sieste, you can get a heavenly massage, a perfect Provençale denouement.
Apres la Sieste’s newest addition is an in-house masseuse, who will erase your little aches and pains and simply make you feel wonderful. You might not ever want to leave.
Apres la Sieste opens officially for the season on March 21.
Après La Sieste
2 suites, 3 rooms; breakfast included
Contact: Jacques et Chloé (English and French spoken)
Website: Après La Sieste
(Visit their site for more room photos, massage and chef meals details and rates)
Telephone : +33 4 66 50 33 94
Mobile Phone: +33 6 61 84 58 40
Oftentimes when traveling, you want a different sort of hotel experience, one that is far from the typical, run-of–the-mill hotel chain . Perhaps you’re planning a very important trip, or you need privacy, or simply, your traveling style requires much more comfort, luxury and perfection. Face it, life’s too short to do that Average Joe kind of thing all of the time. You’re special, damn it, and you deserve the best.
Luxury Accommodations in France are not always very easy to come by, especially for the discerning traveler, but with the listings at Kiwi Collection, your choices are all in one place, making your luxury planning effortless. Travelers simply search the site using customized criteria based on their lifestyle, time of year, destination, interests and more. The results will be a listing of the places that suit them best. For example, if you’re looking for a Chateau experience in the Loire Valley or in Dordogne in the summer, you’ll find it here. Even if you’re looking for a luxury lodge during the Ski season in the Alps, no problem.
Depending on your needs, you’ll soon be staying at your interim home away from home, whether it’s a quaint inn hidden from the crowds, a trend-setting boutique hotel steeped in the latest designer decor, a high-end ranch or exclusive luxury resort.
“The entryway to this former hunting lodge in the heart of the Loire Valley is a large pond with floating swans. The 33 rooms have 19th century furnishings, marble baths and flat screen televisions. The on-site garden reaps the vegetables and herbs for the property’s restaurant. Visit dozens of fairytale castles, including Chateau de Chaumont, Henry II’s residence, and the 440-room Chateau de Chambord, the summer home of Louis XIV…”