Vaux-le-Vicomte (Part 1 of 3): Le Chateau & Visite aux Chandelles

It was an overcast day, with threats of rain in the dark clouds, during our first afternoon at Vaux-le-Vicomte.  My spirits were not dampened, however, as I visited the carriage annexe, followed by visiting the chateau, while eagerly awaiting le crépuscule (dusk) for the evening’s main event:  “visite aux chandelles” & “feu d’artifice” (fireworks). This once-a-month event is beautifully highlighted by 2,000 candles being placed and lit throughout the gardens and in the chateau’s interior.  Quelle ambiance majestueuse – fit for a King (& Queen)!

 

chateau

 

gate & chateau

statue

steps candle] chateau candle

 

candles gardens

candles chateau

 

Chateau photos:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Carriages:

 

 

 

Nice to Paris & Le Train Bleu

Nice’s train statio’s renovation has begun, having eliminated the traffic and parking congestion, and now has a large open space in place, giving it a cleaner/sleeker look.  Bravo to Mayor Estrosi!

Proposed Project:

Arriving at the Gare de Lyon in Paris in time for a late lunch, I noticed the train announcement board is now modernized/digital – a sign of the times, I suppose (pardon the pun!) I missed hearing the sound of the flip-style announcement board, so, I decided to “go back in time” and eat at the famous brasserie, Le Train Bleu, with its ornate decoration, luxurious ambiance, and fine dining.

view onto stationView from restaurant onto the train station

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 Une coupe de champagne to celebrate our arrival, not to mention being à propos to our surroundings, was de rigeur!  As expected, the service was excellent and elegant, as well as a vestiare for luggage.  There was a three-course menu (entrée, plat, dessert) that included wine, so I decided to splurge.  I also noted that they offer a vegetarian choice: une assiette de legumes, priced at 18 Euros on the à la carte menu.

menu (wine included)

 

I ordered the “Royale de fois gras,” followed by the “Paleron de boeuf” and dessert as “La suggestion du pâtissier” with a glass of crisp, white wine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I couldn’t manage to finish my dessert, even with knowing I would work it off by lugging luggage up and down steps in the Metro.

Some photo op pics:

resto sign restaurant sign

Notre Dame

A “killer” tote bag

During my recent trip to the Washington DC area, I was browsing in a hair salon waiting area. A shelf full of colorful, alligator-type textured hand clutches caught my eye.

IMG_0009

In looking closer, I was shocked at the tag displayed with the bags and really couldn’t believe my eyes!

IMG_0008

Why in the world would something like this be on the market & who, in their right mind, would buy one?   Anyone have any thoughts?

Wintery Weather

Cold, ice, & snow – oh my!

Sure, it gets cold in winter months on the French Riviera, but ice and snowy conditions are very rare.  During my recent visit to the Washington D.C. area, there was a winter storm affecting the East coast, and sure enough, I experienced an ice storm, followed by snow accumulations of about 10-12 inches.  Nice to look at, but definitely not the nice/NICE weather I’m used to. Beautiful to look at, but happy to be back home to warmer temps!

(6 photos)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

American Café & Bistro

During my latest visit to the U.S., I came across a recently opened bistro/café in Fairfax, VA.  You know, the typical mom & pop-type shop with friendly and efficient service.  I was drawn to the all-American table & chairs, wall decorations/signs, and especially the salt & pepper shakers!   And oh, yes – the cappuccino was delicious.  CHARMING – don’t you think?

salt pepper salt & pepper pepper salt jeans covered seat carpe diem table & chairs

chicken

Restaurants in THUIR

While in this charming town, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, I ate at a local neighborhood café for lunch and at a more upscale restaurant for dinner: good food and excellent service at both (just in case you venture this way, but bring your GPS!) See why HERE

1. Le Café Bleu (lunch):

Menu

Gambas flambees a l’Armagnac

Salade au poulet et roquefort


2. La Patio Catalan (dinner):

Interior


Lobster soup

Salade frisee

Salad and sardines

Fruit crumble and ice cream

The France Show in London

I recently attended The France Show, held annually in London – an exhibition of all things French: flavors of wines and foods, language, iconic products, cancan dancers (video below), travel options, regions of France, properties in France, financial experts, and much more!

Bien sûr, there was an accordian player playing iconic French songs, a boules court, and a huge variety of exhibition stands to visit. Seminars to attend included wine theaters, language presentations, property and tax information, and cooking demonstrations by a Michelin-starred chef.

As I walked around looking at the various culturally-iconic stands, I felt pride and gratitude for living in France, realizing nonetheless that nowhere is perfect.

I also saw the city’s main attractions from the top of a double-decker bus (what else?) and experienced dining in the local pubs, with menu items of “bangers and mash” and “bubble and squeak” (yes, I had to ask too!)

Attending The France Show and enjoying the English atmosphere of London was truly a “Franglish” weekend!

PUB DECO:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

CANCAN VIDEO:

Le Grand Colbert in Paris

One of my favorite restaurants in Paris is Le Grand Colbert well-known for its lively, brasserie ambiance and great food, not to mention their decadently-delicious and authentic hot chocolate – although I didn’t even have room for dessert!

Also known for its scene setting in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give (video below),” this restaurant has an impressive address in the first arrondissement near the Palais Royal.  It is a special place for special occasions, and maybe Jack Nicholson will show up!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day Trip to Paris

It was only a day trip into the City of Light, since I was staying in the town of Versailles. But, no matter how many times I have visited Paris, and actually lived there a short while, I am always mesmerized by its ambiance and historical beauty.

There happened to be a choir singing in Notre Dame Cathedral, which added to its splendor and glory.

Photo Gallery – And since a photo is worth a thousand words……

Do you know the name of the smallest street in Paris?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.