Tag Archives: days on the claise

Blogger Round-Up: Choosing accommodation with airbnb – Luggage transfer when cycling – History of potatoes in France

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

In recent times, I have sadly neglected my once-weekly blogger round-up due to my very busy life since moving to Blois last October but three posts caught my eye recently that I would like to share. The first is Simply Sara Travel‘s method for selecting the perfect airbnb accommodation which I’m sure you’ll find helpful not only for Airbnb but also for home exchanges. The next is Experience France by Bike‘s excellent report on luggage transfer when cycling, particularly in the Loire Valley. The third is a very interesting history of New World vegetables in France – potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, chillies and peppers – by Days on the Claise that I’m sure you’ll find fascinating. Enjoy!

My Method on How to Select the Perfect Airbnb Accommodations

by Simply Sara Travel, a girl from New Jersey who traded in her bagels for baguettes and moved to Paris. The aim of her blog is to inspire readers to travel, embrace a new culture, and open their minds to new perspectives.

simplysaratravel_LondonHow people travel is shifting. With sites like Airbnb, more and more people are moving away from staying in traditional hotels and towards a more local experience of renting apartments/houses or shared spaces with residents. There are lots of pros to using Airbnb for lodging – it’s often less expensive than a hotel (especially when split among a larger party, and if there is a kitchen that allows self-servicing some meals) and allows for a more local-feeling experience. There’s a lot of great material already written on this – like Adventurous Kate’s How to Use Airbnb and Have a Great Experience for a detailed explanation of the site, or Expat Edna’s post on 6 Airbnb’s I Loved Around the World to give some inspiration on the cool places you could stay worldwide. Read more

Luggage Transfer – A Great Bicycling Indulgence

by Maggie LaCoste from Experience France by Bike, an American who loves biking anywhere in Europe, but especially France, which has the perfect combination of safe bike routes, great food, great weather and history

experience_france_bike_panniers1No matter how much you love bicycling in Europe, you’re probably not a big fan of carrying all your clothes in panniers.  But for cyclotourists, panniers are a necessary evil, a small price to pay for complete independence on the road.  Despite how carefully I choose every piece of clothing and technology that I pack, my panniers still end up weighing between 32-35 pounds, something I curse every time I go up a hill!

This summer, for the first time in 20+ years of bicycle touring, I used a luggage transfer service for 4 nights along the Mosel River.  It was a fantastic indulgence, enabling us to easily bicycle the 200 km in 4 days with lots of stops during the day. Read more

Monsieur Parmentier versus Deadly Nightshade

by Susan from Days on the Claise, an Australian living in the south of the Loire Valley, writing about restoring an old house and the area and its history and running Loire Valley Time Travel.

DCF 1.0When potatoes and other New World members of the Solanaceae family (tomatoes, aubergines, chillies, peppers) were introduced to Europe they were treated with great suspicion. The intrepid explorers who brought them reported that the South American natives they encountered ate freely of these exotic plants.

But French peasants weren’t convinced. These plants were clearly related to Henbane, Deadly Nightshade and worst of all, Mandrake. No one in their right mind would eat these dangerous plants, associated with witchcraft and capable of killing or sending you mad. Due to a curious twist of evolution, many Old World Solanums are amongst the most poisonous of all plants, but many New World Solanums are safe, nutritious and delicious. It’s true the New World species also contain some dubious compounds, but they are easily dealt with by simple everyday culinary techniques and pose no serious risk to consumers. Read more

The French wine region of Burgundy – Interview: Daisy de Plume of THATLou – Official Butterfly Report for 2012

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

It’s Wednesday again already! Burgundy is a wonderful place to visit and Carolyn from Holidays to Europe gives us an excellent introduction to its charms. It has beautiful countryside, fantastic wine and amazing bike paths. Abby from Paris Weekender interviews Daisy de Plume of THATLou who organises treasure hunts in the Louvre. I haven’t had a chance to join her yet, but I certainly intend to. Susan from Days on the Claise tells us about surveying local butterflies in Touraine. That’s another thing I’d love to do. Her photos are bewitching. Enjoy!

The French wine region of Burgundy

by Carolyn, from Holidays to Europe, an Australian based business passionate about sharing their European travel expertise and helping travellers to experience the holiday in Europe they have always dreamed of

brancion-500I had heard many a travellers tale of France; of the beautiful green countryside, fields of blooming sunflowers and red poppies, depending on when you travel, medieval buildings and ancient ruins, and produce as fresh as you will find anywhere; but after a few wonderful days in Paris, I have to admit I wondered would the French countryside reach the bar? We were heading to Chaudenay, a little village not far from Beaune, the regional capital of Burgundy, and we were in for a very pleasant surprise.

It wasn’t long after leaving the urban sprawl of Paris that rural France began to take its hold on us!  Yes, the countryside was green; yes, there were plenty of medieval castles and ruins atop hills; but there was also plenty more. Read more

Interview: Daisy de Plume of THATLou

by Abby from Paris Weekender, an American living in Paris who offers suggestions for Paris weekends, either staying put or getting out of town

THATLou-2-3Many of you may already be familiar with Daisy de Plume from my post about the Treasure Hunt at the Louvre I enjoyed over the summer. Daisy is the creator of these amazing scavenger hunts, a unique and exciting way to visit this classic museum. But she has also been up to a whole lot more recently, including the launch of THATd’Or (Treasure Hunt at the Musée d’Orsay) and even the coming-soon THATMet – yes, you guessed it. Treasure Hunt at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art! So I asked Daisy to share with us an update on these exciting developments, as well as some background on her innovative creations. For more information on Daisy’s events, as well as the most current updates, I also invite you to visit her site: THATLOU.com.

The following is Part I of my interview with Daisy. Part II will follow next week! Read more

Official butterfly report for 2012

by Susan from Days on the Claise, an Australian living in the south of the Loire Valley, writing about restoring an old house and the area and its history, and running Loire Valley Time Travel (remember Célestine?)

adonis_blueJust as I am gearing up to start surveying my local butterflies for 2013, waiting and watching for the weather to improve sufficiently to make it worthwhile, the official STERF report on last year’s national survey has landed in my email inbox…with a covering message from Luc Manil, who co-ordinates us STERFistes, saying ‘Don’t even think about going out and doing your first survey until the last 10 days of April. The weather forecast is awful and there will be nothing flying but those few species that hibernate as adults…’

The French national butterfly survey has been going since 2005. From an initial 14 survey sites it is now 215 sites. 44% are allocated randomly and can be anywhere within 10km of the surveyor’s home base, 56% are chosen by the surveyors (and are usually nature reserves). Last year both my survey sites were randomly allocated. Read more

Chateauneuf, my secret hill village – La Charcuterie – Musée Nissim de Camodo, Paris

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Some more Australian connections for this Wednesday’s Bloggers’ Round-up, starting with Phoebe from Lou Messugo, who takes us on a visit to Châteauneuf in the south of France; Susan from Days on the Claise who describes her local charcuterie in Touraine and Carolyn from My Sydney Paris Life who gives us a very moving description of the beautiful Nissim de Camondo museum in Paris. Enjoy!

Châteauneuf, my secret hill village

by Phoebe from Lou Messugo, a traveller, francophile, expat, mum and foodie now living in Roquefort les Pins where she runs a gîte after many years of travelling and living in Asia, Eastern Europe and Australia.

chateauneufThe Alpes-Maritimes is bursting with a multitude of pretty hill villages, called “villages perchés” in French, built during the middle ages in strategic spots on mountain tops and hill sides. There are at least 15 within half an hour’s drive of Lou Messugo, all with their own charm and more or less renovated/developed for tourists or left in an authentic untouched state. But there is one so close and yet so hidden that many people visiting the area wouldn’t even realise it exists. (I’d be prepared to bet a significant amount of local residents don’t realise there’s a medieval “perched” bit either). I’m talking about the village of Châteauneuf de Grasse on the outskirts of its famous neighbour, Grasse. Read more

La Charcuterie

by Susan from Days on the Claise, an Australian living in the south of the Loire Valley, writing about restoring an old house and the area and its history, and running Loire Valley Time Travel.

charcuterie1The charcuterie in Preuilly is well patronised and they have a good range of products. Most are made in house, some brought in. French charcuteries focus mainly on value added pork products — often cured, but sometimes simply cooked and ready to eat. They also do salads and prepared dishes. This is because many of them, like the one in Preuilly, are also traiteurs (caterers). Read more

A Legacy of Beauty and Remembrance: Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris

by Carolyn Barnabo from My Sydney Paris Life, writing about global families and change and life in special geographic places that have captured her heart

nissim_museumEarlier this week, Clive and I visited Paris’s Musée Nissim de Camondo. In the days since then, we’ve often found ourselves returning to the story of the family whose sad, horrific history shaped our experience of spending time in what was once their home.

The first time I read about Musée Nissim de Camondo was in Edmund White’s ‘The Flâneur’ (2001). I know little about ‘decorative arts’ and tire quickly of stately homes brimming with historic furniture and all manner of objects — I’d rather explore the gardens and grounds outside. But White’s recounting of the de Camondos’ personal story grabbed me and I’ve had this museum on my Paris to-do list ever since. Read more


Europe in the winter – 6 tips to travel well – Itarod, here we come – A Day Trip to the Great Wall

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

This week’s blogger round up, slightly later than usual, starts with some very useful tips for travelling well in Europe in the winter from Frugal First Class Travel, followed by a horrendous tale of dog sledding in Lapland from Sylvia at Finding Noon (not a destination on my wish-for list) and ends with a day trip to the Great Wall of China by Susan from Days on the Claise. Enjoy!

Europe in the winter – 6 tips to travel well

by Frugal First Class Travel, an Australian who loves to travel – especially in Europe – and who has gradually learned how to have a FirstClass trip on an economy budget, without missing out on anything!

winter_travellingIn this, the third part in my series of traveling to Europe in the winter, I look at traveling safely and how to get the most out of your trip.

1.  Dress warmly, but in layers

You will be outside a lot sightseeing and traveling from place to place.  If you aren’t used to snow and ice, don’t underestimate how cold it can be and cold you will get.  Also don’t underestimate how over-heated European interiors such as shops and museums can get.  Dress in layers, starting with thermals and work your way outwards.  See my previous post on dressing for Europe in the winter (complete with packing list) for more details. Read more

Itarod, here we come

by Finding Noon, an American living in Paris who appreciates fine art, good music, succulent food, and breath taking scenery

finlandOur first morning we awoke, slightly disoriented but excited about the day ahead; we were going dog sledding!

Arriving at Husky & Co the chipper Hungarian guide told us to put on one of their ski suits.

“But I already have this quite swank, rather high tech ski suit on,” desisted Mr French, “is that really necessary?” Read more

A Day Trip to the Great Wall

by Susan from Days on the Claise, an Australian living in the south of the Loire Valley, writing about restoring an old house and the area and its history

roadside marketOn 11 December last year we were returning from Australia via China. Because we had a long wait between flights at Beijing we took a hotel (Air China provides a free hotel room if you know to ask). We had obtained a 72 hour transit permit when the plane landed for a couple of hours in Shanghai before continuing to Beijing and Simon had booked a guide and driver for the morning. Part of the Great Wall is about an hour from Beijing and our guide was confident he could get us there, spend an hour on the Wall, then get us to the airport in plenty of time to get through security (we’d checked our hold luggage all the way through and only had hand luggage with us). Read more

Tips for visiting Venice during Acqua Alta (“high waters”) – Fungi Foray in the Foret de Loches – Toll Booth vs Vignette

Print pagePDF pageEmail page

This Wednesday’s blogger round-up starts with Mary Kay from Out and About in Paris, giving us tips for visiting Venice during the high waters that regularly flood the city (I’ll let you discover her other posts on the same subject); Susan from Days on the Claise shares a more scientific approach to mushroom collecting while Andrea from Rear View Mirror gives an excellent rundown on motorway tolls in the different countries of Europe.

Tips for visiting Venice during Acqua Alta (“high waters”)

by Mary Kay from Out and About in Paris, an American by birth, Swiss by marriage, resident of Paris with a Navigo Pass for the metro that she feels compelled to use

Now that my feet are dry and I have access to a reliable internet connection, I’ve thought of a couple of tips in case you’re ever on holiday in Venice during acqua alta (“high waters”).

Fashion: Whether you’re a hairstylist working in a flooded salon or a couple of hipsters, Wellies are a must-have item when water from the Adriatic Sea flows into the streets of Venice. This new trend has reportedly spread to France because alert fashionistas spotted a large number of people wearing rubber boots as they disembarked from an EasyJet flight arriving at Paris Orly Airport late last night. Read more

Fungi Foray in the Forêt de Loches

by Days on the Claise, an Australian living in the south of the Loire Valley, writing about restoring an old house and the area and its history

This is Part II of an account of an outing to the Foret de Loches by the Association de botanique et mycologie de Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine. Part I is here.

According to Jean-Pierre, we may be in for a very good fungi season. In the autumn following a hard winter or a prolonged period of dry, the mushrooms are often abundant. Since we have had both this year, perhaps we should expect to be overwhelmed by fungal fecundity! Read more


Toll Booth vs Vignette

by Andrea from Rear View Mirror (formerly Destination Europe), a fellow Australian who, after 6 years of living in France, has given up herParis apartment to live a nomadic life slowing travelling around Europe, experiencing each destination like a local.

If you plan on driving on major highways around Europe be prepared for the added cost that often comes with it. Many countries charge a toll for their use and this is either paid at a toll booth or with a vignette/sticker which you stick on your windscreen.

Toll Booths

Toll booths are surprisingly quick to pass through, provided you aren’t driving during peak time like when the August summer holidays are on. There are a few options when it comes to which lane to choose:

  • Manual – Paying the booth attendant directly is usually the slowest alternative but if you want to pay by cash or if you’re worried about using your foreign credit card this is the way to go. These lanes are usually marked with the image of a man leaning out of the toll booth Read more


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...