Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Réserve Hospitality Collection Opens Paris Hotel & Spa in Former Pierre Cardin Mansion

February 4, 2015
La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa is recreated from the Haussmannian Mansion formerly owned by designer Pierre Cardin.

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa is recreated from the Haussmannian Mansion formerly owned by designer Pierre Cardin.

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa just opened, joins La Réserve Apartments as La Réserve Hospitality Collection’s first metropolitan outpost, following two years of fastidious work by more than 120 artisans.

The 40-room hotel was designed by Jacques Garcia, marking the third successful collaboration between Michel Reybier and the renowned decorator (La Réserve Genève in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Château La Chartreuse de Cos d’Estournel in Bordeaux, France). The new hotel and spa occupies a Haussmannian mansion previously owned by the designer, Pierre Cardin, off the Champs-Elysées at 42 Avenue Gabriel, tucked away in the 8th Arrondissement – a stone’s throw from the Palais d’Elysée and Place de la Concorde – with views of the Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais, Pantheon, and Luxor Obelisk.

La Réserve Paris is a serene escape from the bruit de fond of France’s capital city. Interiors of the 26 spacious suites (including four Presidential Suites) and 14 rooms that pay homage to the chic style of the Belle Époque. The large rooms feature period antique furniture, rich fabrics, regal colors, and muted lighting.

The particularly refined spaces, beyond the rooms and suites include facilities like a private lounge, bar, courtyard, smoking parlor, library, and the seasonal French restaurant Le Gabriel, helmed by Jérôme Banctel, former Chef du Cuisine of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Senderens. Suites will include personal butler service, and in-room wine coolers.

The spa consists of three treatment rooms, gym, sauna, and a 52 foot indoor pool. The treatment menu features the world-renowned Swiss anti-aging treatment, Nescens.

La Réserve Paris Apartments consists of 10 furnished apartments for longer-term stays, located at Place du Trocadéro, and has been open since 2007 and is considered an extension of the new hotel and spa.

Conceived by Michel Reybier to express his passion for fine living, wellness, and high design, La Réserve Hospitality Collection has hotels in Geneva and Ramatuelle, just outside St. Tropez. Reybier also owns La Chartreuse, Château Cos d’Estournel, one of Bordeaux’s top wines and Tokaj Hetszolo, one of Hungary’s most beautiful vineyards.

La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa, 42 avenue Gabriel, 75008 Paris – France, +33 1 53 70 53 70,,

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France Cruises Offers Free Land Tour with Purchase off Cruise and Hotel

November 23, 2013
A guided walking tour of Dijon brings me up to the tower atop the magnificent  Palais de Ducs for the fabulous view of the historic city © 2013 Karen Rubin/

A guided walking tour of Dijon brings me up to the tower atop the magnificent Palais de Ducs for the fabulous view of the historic city © 2013 Karen Rubin/

For a limited time, France Cruises is offering guests a free land tour with purchase of a cruise and hotel. The free full-day land tour is available in Paris, Carcassonne, Dijon, Avignon, Tours, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Nice.

A France Cruises booking agent will assist either you or your travel agent in arranging all of the trip’s details. Once you have chosen your cruise and land tour, France Cruises will also help recommend and book a hotel for your pre or post cruise excursion.

For more information, call 877-579-7447 or visit

See our series, Barging through Burgundy on France Cruises:

Barging through Burgundy: A visit to Chagny Market and slideshow

Barging through Burgundy, Day 2: Chateau de Rully and slideshow

Barging through Burgundy, Day 3: Hotel-Dieu, Beaune and slideshow

Barging Through Burgundy, Day 4: Clos de Vougeot, ‘mother church’ of wine and slideshow

Barging through Burgundy, Day 5-6: Walking Tour of Dijon’s Old City and slideshow

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TourCrafters Offers Winter Week in Paris for $1139

January 31, 2013

Paris is marvelous to visit in winter: You won’t wait in line at the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay, you won’t suffer un-air-conditioned buses and restaurants, and prices are a lot lower.

To take advantage of the lower prices, TourCrafters is offering a land-only Classic Paris in Winter package until March 17 that starts at $1,139 and includes private airport transfers, six nights’ accommodation in a charming 3-star hotel, six breakfasts, one lunch, a sightseeing cruise on the Seine, a 5-day Paris Visite Pass, a 2-day Museum Pass, and a 1-day Hop On Hop Off sightseeing tour.

The Hop On Hop Off bus tour introduces the city’s major sights: the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay, Opera Garnier, Champs Elysées and Arc de Triomphe; and the Paris Visite Pass provides free public transportation so you can explore the rest of the city on your own. The Museum Pass gives free access to 60-some museums and monuments (including the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay).

One day there’s a cruise on the River Seine in a glass-covered boat, which provides the best views of the city (photographers, get ready!), followed by a typical French 3-course lunch in a riverside café-restaurant.

The $1,139 package includes a room in the charmingly-decorated boutique Hotel Relais Monceau in the fashionable 8th arrondisement or the trendy modern Standard Design Hotel near the Place de la Bastille. But upgrades are available: The stylish 4-star Concorde Opera Hotel, near the Opera Garnier and the big department stores, costs $1,456, and the luxurious 5-star Hotel du Louvre, steps from the Louvre and Palais Royal, costs $1,668.

All prices are per person, double occupancy and are subject to availability. TourCrafters offers the best transatlantic air fares available at time of booking. For more information, visit

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AmaWaterways Introduces New Paris & Normandy Itineraries on the Seine River

June 13, 2012

AmaWaterways has just iintroduced the new 164-passenger AmaCerto in Europe, joining the AmaVerde and AmaBella in offering an exclusive Twin Balcony design in the majority of staterooms; multiple dining venues; complimentary Internet and Infotainment system, a heated swimming pool or whirlpool on the Sun Deck plus many more unique design elements.

Celebrating the land of Claude Monet, Victor Hugo and Napoleon Bonaparte, AmaWaterways invites guests to explore the rich history and culture of France with two new 2013 itineraries: Paris & Normandy and The Jewels of France. The Francophile cruises will visit classic French landmarks, enchanting towns and famous wine regions.

“These itineraries take our guests through the heart of France,” said AmaWaterways Founder Rudi Schreiner. “From the design of the French Balconies onboard our ships to the locally-sourced ingredients, menus selections and wines, AmaWaterways combines old-world French charm with a luxury travel experience.”

AmaWaterways’ French cruises highlight the charm of the Seine and Rhone Rivers with visits to Paris, Vernon, Giverny, Rouen, Les Andelys, Conflans, Barcelona, Perpignan, Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Vienne, Tréveux and Lyon. The itineraries include shore excursions through Roman ruins and medieval villages, wine tastings at rustic French vintners, expeditions to the famous Normandy beaches and walking tours through some of Europe’s most beautiful cities and picturesque harbors. AmaWaterways’ new 2013 French cruise itineraries are as follows:

PARIS & NORMANDYAboard the AmaLegro, the seven-night Seine River cruise will travel through Europe’s enchanting cities of Vernon, Rouen, Les Andelys and Conflans before returning to Paris. Excursions include visits to the village of Giverny, where Monet lived for 43 years and tours of Honfleur, a charming French harbor town made famous from artist’s paintings. Passengers will say “Oui” to a stroll through Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, followed by an unforgettable excursion to the famous Normandy beaches. Visit the charming town of Les Andelys, home of the impressive Château Gaillard. The trip bodes “au revoir” in the magical city of Paris, where guests will spend two nights. North American travelers can book voyages from March 29 – Nov. 8, 2013.

JEWELS OF FRANCECombining two of France’s most beautiful rivers, the seven-night Rhone River cruise and the seven-night Seine River cruise showcase Europe’s most charming cities. Starting with 3-nights in Barcelona, passengers will explore Spain’s second largest city. In Arles, France, passengers will board the AmaDagio to cruise through France’s legendary wine regions. Excursions include wine tastings; exploring Roman ruins at Pont du Gard & Uzes and visits to the Renaissance palace in Grignan. Disembarking in Lyon, France, passengers will travel to Paris aboard the high-speed TGV train to embark on a seven-night Seine River cruise aboard the AmaLegro through historic northern France. Passengers will visit charming villages, the French harbors made famous by many artists, the famous Normandy Beaches and the impressive Château Gaillard before returning to Paris. North American travelers can book voyages from March 26 – Oct. 25, 2013.

The AmaLegro and AmaDagio are luxurious cruising experiences featuring spacious staterooms and suites, which range up to 255 sq. feet. Passengers will enjoy Chaîne des Rôtisseurs culinary creations with free-flowing wine, and unforgettable shore excursions that will immerse them in the local culture and history.

In-room furnishings include plush down bedding, a cozy sitting area, flat-panel TV, hair dryer, safe, terry bathrobes, slippers, individually controlled air-conditioning, ample closet space and bottled water replenished daily. The bathroom features a shower with multi-jet shower heads, spa bath and body toiletries and a magnifying mirror. Passengers can stay connected with complimentary Internet & Infotainment System with Hollywood movies. Other amenities include a massage and beauty salon. Special highlights include lectures, themed dinners, cooking demonstrations and onboard music performances. For passengers wanting to explore the serene paths along the rivers, AmaWaterways offers a fleet of bicycles onboard.

To download AmaWaterways’ 2012 and 2013 brochures, and for more information, visit To book, contact a local travel agent or visit, like on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

About AmaWaterways

Founded in 2002 by river cruise pioneer Rudi Schreiner, river cruise executive Kristin Karst and founder of Brendan Vacations, Jimmy Murphy, AmaWaterways is the premier river cruise line on Europe’s Danube, Rhine, Main, Mosel and Rhône rivers. Known for its custom-designed ships, extensive complimentary amenities and personalized service levels, AmaWaterways consistently leads the way in river cruising. With destinations traveling through Europe, Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia, and new voyages to Africa and Portugal the line’s award-winning fleets compliment a variety of travel plans.

The Europe fleet includes the AmaPrima (2013); AmaCerto (2012); AmaVerde (2011); AmaBella (2010); AmaLyra (2009); AmaDolce (2009); AmaCello (2008), AmaDante (2008); AmaLegro (2007) and the AmaDagio (2006). In the spring of 2012, AmaWaterways will introduce the new 164-passenger AmaCerto in Europe, joining the AmaVerde and AmaBella in offering an exclusive Twin Balcony design in the majority of staterooms; multiple dining venues; complimentary Internet and Infotainment system, a heated swimming pool or whirlpool on the Sun Deck plus many more unique design elements.

In addition to the European destinations, AmaWaterways offers the separate and distinct AmaVoyages to Vietnam and Cambodia via the AmaLotus (2011) and the La Marguerite (2009); Russia via the AmaKatarina (2011); Portugal via the AmaVida (2013); and Africa via the Zambezi Queen (2009).

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Frelon’s Fabulous France Celebrates Royal Wedding with Royal Holiday at Private Estate in Burgandy

February 22, 2011

Frelon’s Fabulous France is honoring the joyous occasion of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton this April with their own eight-day “Royal Holiday” at the private ‘La Ferme de la Lochere’ estate in Burgundy – complete with a recreation of the wedding meal by Katherine Frelon, a successful chef with a litany of assignments that includes cooking for a member of the royal family.  From the Royal High Tea upon arrival to the farewell dinner, guests at the meticulously restored 400-year-old property, with accommodations for up to ten, enjoy the finer things in life.  Champagne during a hot air balloon ride, dining at Michelin-starred restaurants,  private wine tastings and several hands-on cooking experiences with Katherine, whose training included the Michelin-starred kitchens of Marc Meneau, are just a few of the examples.  Prices for the April 30-May 7, 2011, holiday are 1,895€ ($2,561)* per person, double.

Treats inspired from the best teashops in England and organic products from Prince Charles’ own farm accompany the Royal High Tea, setting the tone for the week.  Guests receive insider access to several local places of interest: the magnificent Abbey of Fontenay, exclusive wine tastings at some of the most renowned vineyards of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits, a privately guided tour of the opulent Hospice de Beaune, and a cooking demonstration and lunch with award-winning chef Laurent Peugeot at Michelin-starred Le Charlemagne.  There are tours of the Vineyard of Flavigny, the town of which hosted the filming of Chocolat; lunch at the three Michelin-starred restaurant Bernard Loiseau; visits to the colorful markets of Dijon; and trips to the medieval town of Semur-en-Auxois and the charming Chateauneuf-en-Auxois.  Several cooking lessons throughout – each incorporating seasonal ingredients (a great time of year for mushrooms) — culminate in the recreation of the royal wedding meal for the farewell dinner.

Rates for the holiday include accommodation; all meals prepared on the property; culinary instruction and ingredients; transfers to and from the Montbard train station; attractions specified in the itinerary; set menus designed with seasonal ingredients by the head chef – complimented with wines especially selected by the sommelier – at both Michelin restaurants; and a complimentary cookbook from chef and host Katherine Frelon.

La Ferme de la Lochere is a 400-year-old private estate in the heart of Burgundy, conveniently located four hours from London and one hour from Paris, by train, and meticulously restored by the owners to reflect the rich history of the area while providing guests with modern amenities.  The property includes several charming courtyards, an extensive library, mezzanine lounge area, heated swimming pool, a spacious state-of-the-art kitchen and five individually-designed, airy bedrooms with gorgeous views of the mountains and vineyards – each with private bath, fresh flowers, L’Occitane products and wifi.  Each luxurious itinerary is complemented by free time for guests to lunch on the rolling hillsides, bike along the Canal de Bourgogne, stroll through the scenic countryside, shop in the unique towns – and more.

Frelon’s Fabulous France provides tailor-made, luxury vacations in Burgundy from April through October. Information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from Frelon’s Fabulous France, 6 Rue de la Lochere, 21150 Marigny le Cahouet, France; +33 672 865 609; or, visit

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Family-Friendly Spring Break in Provence, France

January 29, 2011

Been there and done that?  This spring, embark on a fun and cultural five-night family-friendly getaway in the charming region of Provence, France.

Where: The refined rustic Hotel Crillon le Brave is one of France’s most notable boutique hotels. Just 90 minutes North of Marseille, it consists of seven beautifully restored stone houses dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, which are linked by bridges, cobblestone walkways and hidden courtyards. Families who book the package receive spacious accommodations in a two-bedroom Junior Suite.

What’s Included:

Fun for the Little Ones:

Learn to speak French with entertaining lessons and games.

Throw on a chef hat and make signature French desserts. Think chocolate mousse, crêpes and rice pudding!

See how baguettes and croissants are made at a local boulangerie and how olive oil is bottled at a nearby mill.

Discover the village of Crillon le Brave with a treasure hunt!

Fun for the Grown-ups:

Do you speak perfectly incomprehensible “franglais”? Surprise everyone by coming home able to parlez francais like the locals with our vacation-friendly French lessons.

Sip exquisite wines from the Rhône Valley, paired with savory regional cheeses.

Unwind with body therapies at the open-air spa (additional fee).

Fun Times Together:

Experience an authentic Provençal BBQ and participate in a petanque competition (one of Europe’s most popular outdoor games).

Relax with a pizza and movie night – soda for the kids and wine for the adults!

Play tennis on the nearby court or bicycle through the historic cobblestone streets.

Don’t miss: Kayaking on the Sorgue River, horseback riding around Mont Ventoux, or teeing off on one of the most scenic golf courses imaginable.

When:   April 17- 22 and April 25 – 29, 2011

Rate:  The five-night package costs €2,290 for a family of four.

How to Book: Email or call +33 (0)4 90 65 61 61.

French Country Waterways Offers Upper Loire Valley Cruise Aboard 8-Passenger Princess

January 7, 2011

French Country Waterways, which has offered elegant vacation experiences aboard its own fleet of luxury canal barges for more than 25 years, is returning to the Upper Loire Valley in 2011, and using its luxury eight-passenger Princess on this itinerary for the first time.  The well-appointed barge, formerly the private barge of shipping magnate Daniel K. Ludwig, sails between Châtillon-sur-Loire and Montargis every Sunday from April 3 through Oct. 30.

Highlights of the sailing include a private cellar tour and wine tasting in the charming village of Sancerre; dinner ashore at the Michelin-starred Auberge des Templiers in les Bezards; a visit to the medieval town of Gien, a leading center for French faience; and a day trip – including lunch – to the magnificent Chateau de Chambord, the largest of the Loire Valley chateaux.  Guests are escorted via private motorcoach to and from Paris.  Prices for the weekly Sunday departures, April through October, range from $5,495 to $6,695 per person, double.

Guests aboard the Princess also enjoy a host of  luxury amenities that are par for the course on all of French Country Waterway’s cruises: creative cuisine prepared by talented young chefs, who blend classic cooking techniques with the trend to lighter fare; four-course candlelit dinners accompanied by Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines from Burgundy and other major French wine regions; all breakfasts, lunches and dinners, including one dinner ashore at a Michelin-starred restaurant; attentive service from a crew fluent in English and French; daily sightseeing excursions and private wine tastings; and time to relax on the sundeck and walk or bicycle along canal towpaths. Hot-air ballooning is also an option.

The Princess has four suites with king-size beds, a salon with large picture windows and well-stocked bar, formal dining room, separate library, powder room and canopied sundeck for relaxing and al fresco meals.  All meals are included on board, as well as the Michelin dinner and local lunch.  Wine is served at lunch and dinner as well at other time and other drinks from the well-stocked bar are complimentary.  The Princess chef shops in farmers’ markets and local bakeries each morning to provide guests with freshly baked breads, buttery croissants and local cheeses, produce, meats and fish to prepare his tempting menus.

The barges are available for individual bookings and for charter by families, friends and groups of eight to 12.  Special room rates are offered at several deluxe hotels in Paris for guests wishing to extend their stay.  Information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from French Country Waterways, Ltd., P.O. Box 2195, Duxbury, MA 02331; (800) 222-1236 in the U.S. and Canada and (781) 934-2454 in MA; or, visit