In this issue you will find
[PLEASE REMEMBER THAT ALL UNDERLINED ITEMS THROUGHOUT THIS TEXT ARE
ACTIVE LINKS TO APPROPRIATE WEB SITES. JUST CLICK ON ANY ONE OF THEM!]
A Wedding to Remember
Imagine your wedding at the stunning Château d'Hattonchâtel located high above the countryside of the beautiful département of the Meuse in Lorraine. Romantic and luxurious, the château offers a fine wedding banquet and all the accoutrements to ensure that the occasion runs smoothly and effortlessly.
Delectable menu selections The magnificent château
For a truly memorable wedding, do consider this fine château in the northeast of France, convenient to Paris, Nancy, and Strasbourg. Visit their pages on our site today at Château d'Hattonchâtel to read all about it and see photos of the beautiful rooms and gardens.
SPONSORING THIS ISSUE
France but hesitant to rent and drive a car there?
Forfait Court Séjour (short stay special)
This package includes :
* 2 nights in a double bedded room
Nature et Spa
your greater well being, the château has created a natural environment
Thouvenin is happy to welcome you to their lovely château where you
Get Married in Historic Gascony!
Whether you require a full ceremony and reception or just a reception with your close friends and family ~ Chateau Pomiro is the ideal venue. You are invited to discuss the arrangements with their wedding planner, and they will do the rest. You can have:
The château owners offer in-house catering services, floral arrangements, and professional wedding photography by a renowned female photographer. Live music at the reception or gala evening is also available.
Visit Château de Pomiro on our pages today, and don't lose any time making your booking for a that extraordinary château wedding in southwest France! For information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org soon!
[Photos courtesy of Château de Pomiro, 2009. All rights reserved.]
The Dordogne (Périgord) is a must-see region for anyone visiting France. Lush, green, and brimming with historic villages and beautiful rivers, the Dordogne offers a glimpse into the prehistoric world of early man as well as the delights of twenty-first century French life.
Domaine des Faures is one of our recommended places to stay, and the English owners have lovingly restored this fine stone residence to provide the ultimate comfort for their guests. Enjoy the lovely swimming pool, the amazing country views and appreciate the 'green' nature of the property and their small organic herd of cattle.
Some tempting activities to encourage you to stay with them are also being offered. First, they are organizing cycling holidays with routes from Les Faures to different venues ~ active but not exhausting holiday excursions.
Second, they have an agreement now with a South African couple who owns an organic vineyard where Domaine des Faures' guests can take a tour which includes nearby St Emilion.
Current special offers: Book a 4-nights' stay Monday through Friday for the price of 3 nights ~ or book 3 nights, Friday through Monday, and receive a free evening meal on Sunday!
this lovely chambres d'hôtes (and possible weekly rental) on our
site today at Domaine des Faures. You'll
be glad you did!
In the unique and incredibly lovely village of Biron, just steps away from the grand and historic château of the same name, is Le Prieuré du Château de Biron. Its French owners have just completed major renovations and redecorating to take what was already a beautiful chambres d'hôtes and make it even more luxurious and elegant.
The priory with Château de Biron in background
Two of the guest rooms and the dining room at Le Prieuré
You will find the location perfect for visiting all that the Dordogne has to offer; especially enjoyable is a visit to nearby Monpazier on market day. But, beyond the tourist attractions, the tranquility and charm of Le Prieuré provides a relaxing and rejuvenating holiday in spacious, comfortable and elegant surroundings.
Please pay a visit to Le Prieuré du Château de Biron on our site today to read all about this historic property and the lovely village it calls home. For more information, please send an email to email@example.com.
[Photos courtesy of Domaine des Faures and Le Prieuré. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.]
Villes et Villages de France
. . we hope to tempt you to visit these marvelous places
A favorite of ours is the town of Loches in the Indre-et-Loire département, not far from the cities of Tours and Châtellerault and the historic towns of Chinon and Richelieu. We've visited it many times to explore the 11th century fortress and keep, visit the Logis Royal (once the court of Joan of Arc, Agnès Sorel and Anne de Bretagne), take in the extraordinary 11th and 12th century Collegiate Church, and stroll through town to see the ancient gates such as the Porte Picois attached to the Hôtel de Ville or the 15th century Porte des Cordeliers next to the public gardens.
Wandering along the canal or enjoying a fine meal at one of the towns many restaurants is very pleasant indeed. We enjoyed dinner several evenings at La Tour Saint-Antoine, 2, rue de Moulins. Their phone number is 02 47 59 01 06 and they can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations. A restaurant we discovered offering fine food with a great view of the countryside is Le Vicariat, 4, place Charles VII. The telephone number is 02 47 59 08 79 and email is email@example.com. Both restaurants offer very pleasant outdoor dining.
The restaurants mentioned: Le Vicariat and Tour St-Antoine at right of 2nd photo above
For further information about this lovely town in the Indre-et-Loire département, visit the official tourism web site at http://www.loches-tourainecotesud.com/accueilgb.php.
© 2006 -2009 Cold Spring Press. All Rights Reserved.]
Stay in a Gîte at a Château!
If you are looking for a small weekly rental for your family or a few friends traveling together, why not consider a gîte on the grounds of an historic château? A gîte is a self-contained, self-catering property often with its own small private terrace or garden. Instead of renting a cottage in a village or at a remote countryside location, you can enjoy the pleasure of sharing a vast estate dominated by a fine château.
Those who rent a gîte by the week almost always have the use of the château's pool or tennis courts if those exist, and quite often there are other amenities not available with an ordinary rental. The gîtes are not to be confused with apartments within the château itself. (Some of the owners refer to their gîte as a carriage house, coach house, farmhouse, cottage, maison du gardien or self-catering suite.)
We are not suggesting that you will still find gîtes available this summer, because August is usually booked up months in advance, and few weeks are left in July or early September. But do consider the autumn which is quite beautiful in France. Late September and October are good times to spend a quiet holiday in France without the tourist crowds and long lines of visitors at museums and other attractions.
The B&B and rental properties on au Château where gîtes are offered are as follows ~ please click on the links to visit their pages and read more. [A few of the properties below have gîtes at locations other than on the château grounds, but most gîtes are on the estates.]
Château de Vaudezert
We hope that after visiting their pages on au Château, you will have found one or two perfect locations for your next week-long rental in France.
Courtesy of respective property owners © 2009. All Rights Reserved.]
French Quiz 98
first person whose email is received with the correct answer
Send your answer by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We had a
winner from our May/June issue. The correct answer was
[Photo credit: © 2009 Cold Spring Press. All Rights Reserved.]
A Little about French Etiquette
The French have many traditions with regard to social behavior. Although they may seem to be free spirits in so many ways, they also follow polite and courteous behavior in social situations. The following tips will help you to feel as though you fit in when visiting France and will earn you the respect of the native French during your visit. After all, we should always be the kind of guests our hosts will want to see again!
Tipping: Although tips are included in the prices given on restaurant menus, it is suggested that a euro or two be left for the waitperson to express your appreciation for their service. If a sommelier attends to your wine service, it is recommended to leave a nice tip for him or her. When staying in bed and breakfasts, whether they be country houses or grand châteaux, be sure to leave a tip for the chamber maid on your last day. We suggest a minimum of a euro per person per day...more would certainly be appreciated. Taxi drivers usually charge by the reading on the meter plus an additional charge for each piece of luggage they handle when they pick you up and drop you off. A small tip above that is always a nice gesture and is appreciated. Remember to only tip for good service!
Holding the Door: When going through a door (for example, into a shop, restaurant or your hotel) and a stranger is following close behind, always hold the door for that person until they have their hands on it. Never walk through the door and let it shut behind you. It is simply seen as rude behavior in France.
Shaking Hands: The French probably shake hands with people they meet more than anyone in any other culture ~ and always when meeting someone for the first time. They will most likely do it again when leaving. If you are approached to shake hands, be sure to do it with a firm and brief handshake. More familiar people, especially women friends, greet with kisses on the cheeks, but you may not want to take the lead. Although there is no firm rule, this is usually first a kiss right cheek to right cheek and then left cheek to left cheek. In reality, the cheeks just touch one another and a kissing sound is made with the lips in the air.
Bonjour Madame, Bonjour Monsieur: Always address people in shops, restaurants, hotels, and other public places with either "Bonjour (or Bonsoir, if it is after 6 PM) Monsieur or Bonjour Madame"...never simply Bonjour. If you know their surname, then by all means add it to your greeting. As you depart, be sure to say "Au revoir, Monsieur" or "Au revoir, Madame" as well. Taking a few seconds shows your polite intentions and respect for the people who are helping you. If you happen to be addressing a titled person such as a mayor or a count, you would say, "Bonjour Monsieur le Maire or Bonjour Monsieur le Comte". If you need assistance or directions, use "Excusez-moi, Monsieur", once again including the title of the person you are addressing.
Wine at the Table: If you are fortunate to be invited to dine at the home of a French person or family and wine is served with the meal, only your host or hostess is to pour the wine, whether it is the first glass or to refill your glass. Even if the bottle is sitting right in front of you, it is not correct for you to tip off your glass or that of anyone else.
Voices low: You may have noticed in past visits to France, as we have, that when you are in a French restaurant, the conversation at adjoining tables is quite subdued, no matter how many people may be at the table. This is even true when children are present (in most cases). It is not polite to speak in loud voices, talking over your dining companions, to the irritation of fellow diners. You need not whisper, of course, but being cognizant of your fellow diners is simply a courtesy.
Writing Letters or Sending Emails: It is very important to take a little time to write letters or emails with the proper greeting when inquiring about a reservation or asking for some other information. We have, unfortunately, seen emails begin, "Do you have a room for the 15th of June?" or "We want a room for the first of August for a family of four", without any Dear Sir or Madame, or Cher Monsieur or Chère Madame. These come across as quite abrupt and rude, and may not get the result the writer wants. It is important to take time to be polite. The French always begin their correspondence with niceties and end them with respectful closing salutations. Believe us when we say that a polite email is very much appreciated.
There is a certain romance and mystery about the very farthest southwest corner of France: Basque country. The local native Basque speak both French and their own language - Euskara - and signs are most likely to be in both. (For those of you interested in the roots and history of the Basques and their language, we suggest you visit this very interesting web site: http://planetrjl.tripod.com/LaFraughName/id14.phpl). We can all thank the Basques for contributing (among other things) the beret and the espadrille to the world. And, don't pass up the opportunity to taste their regional cheese!
To enjoy this very interesting part of France, we highly recommend renting an authentic Basque-style residence, Villa Iratz-Aldéa, not far from towns and the beach, yet in a lovely quiet neighborhood in Urrugne. You will not only be pleased with the spaciousness and comfort of this house, but you will definitely appreciate the location: the views of the Pyrénées are spectacular!
Villa Iratz-Aldéa will comfortably accommodate ten to fifteen people, and it is completely self-catering. You can make yourself at home! Adding to the wonderful house itself, there are tennis courts and a fine swimming pool on the grounds for week-long enjoyment.
Another important reason to visit Basque country for your holiday in France is the weather. It has a very pleasant climate with access to activities both in the mountains and at the seashore. Something for everyone!
[Photo credit: © 2009 Villa Iratz-Aldéa. All Rights Reserved.]
Easy Recipe: Baked Aubergine
Called by many names throughout the world, the French 'aubergine' is known in the US as 'eggplant', and is a purple fruit of the berry family. There are many varieties from round to cylindrical (often called 'Japanese' eggplant), but all are delicious and have a variety of cooking applications.
It is no longer necessary to prepare tasty aubergine by frying it in lots of oil when one can bake it in the oven with delicious results. Simply slice an unpeeled eggplant into 1/2" thick slices, lay the slices on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a good, cold-pressed virgin olive oil and lightly with sea salt (we prefer Guérande salt from Brittany), and bake in a pre-heated oven between 450 and 500 degrees F. Keep an eye on the aubergine, and you can turn the slices over once if desired. When tender with a fork, they are ready.
Aubergine slices can also be lightly brushed with olive oil and placed on a grill with other raw vegetables as an accompaniment to an outdoor summer meal.
Look for more recipes for aubergine in future newsletters! Bon appétit!
Special note to our readers:
There are 27
châteaux on this web site that host weddings, including
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