France

France is full of history, culture, tradition, and love for great food and wine. Our tour provided us with two very different French experiences.

Beaune is a small town in the Burgundy region. In this regard, it is similar to other quaint European towns that we visited. The people are friendly. The atmosphere is relaxed. But Beaune isn’t just any small town, it is the wine capital of Burgundy. 

Our tour ended in Paris, the City of Lights. What a perfect end to a wonderful trip. Paris is full of museums, shopping, gardens, art, love, and of course, French cuisine. Let’s raise a glass of French wine and toast “à votre santé” to a remarkable European journey.

Beaune

Not only is Beaune the wine capital of Burgundy, it is also one of the key wine centers in all of France. Each year, the nationwide annual wine auction is held at the Hôtel-Dieu. We took a group tour there.

The Hôtel-Dieu was established in the 1400s as a hospice to take care of the poor and disabled. The hospice is also famous for its wines. Every third Sunday in November, the wines are sold at a famous charity auction at the hospice.

Many Beaune wineries have cellars underground that are used to store their wine. We even ate at a restaurant that converted one of the cellars into a restaurant. It was very cool (both atmosphere and temperature).

Hôtel-Dieu
Beaune, France
Room for the Wealthy
Hôtel-Dieu
Wine Education
Cellier de la Cabiote
Underground Cellar
21 Boulevard
Quiet Evening Stroll
Beaune, France

Paris

Paris is made up of districts called arrondissements. Each has its own vibe. It was very interesting to visit and learn about some of the districts during our visit.

Our hotel was located in the 7th arrondissement. Rue Cler, a market street filled with assorted specialty shops, was our first introduction to Paris – full of excitement and activity but a small neighborhood feel.

We walked past an elementary school with a plaque commemorating the deportation and murders of 13 Jewish children from the school. The bottom of the plaque said: “Never forget.”

Motto Picquet Primary School
7th Arrondissement
Metro Lesson
7th Arrondissement
Notre-Dame
4th Arrondissement
Sainte-Chapelle
4th Arrondissement

Don’t be afraid to use the Metro. Your guide will give you an introduction. The Metro is the fastest, inexpensive, and most reliable way to travel around Paris. There are even apps that can be used to help navigate the connections.

Make sure your reusable Metro ticket isn’t touching your phone as this can demagnetize the ticket. Found this out the hard way.

Louvre Museum

The Louvre Museum was part of our tour. Lisa helped us through security and into the museum. After that, we used the Rick Steves’ app audio guide to explore the museum. This allowed everyone the freedom to visit the areas they wanted. 

For couples using a mobile app audio tour (such as Rick Steves’ app), share a pair of earbuds (each person wears one). This allows both to stay in sync, and also permits you to hear what is going on around you.

Mona Lisa
by Leonardo da Vinci
The Winged Victory
of Samothrace
Denon Wing
Virgin and Child with little
St. John the Baptist by Raphael
Denon Wing
Art of Living at the
French Court Room
Sully Wing
Milo of Croton
by Pierre Puget
Richelieu Wing

The Finale

It is hard to believe that three weeks ago a group of strangers met and embarked on a whirlwind adventure.

And so our tour officially ended…

Group Highlights

Hôtel-Dieu
Beaune, France
Wine Tasting
Beaune, France
Paris Flower Market
4th Arrondissement
City Hall - Ready for Olympics
4th Arrondissement

Personal Highlights

Hôtel-Dieu Gardens
Beaune, France
Pantheon
Paris, France
Street View
Paris, France
Le Calife Dinner Cruise
Paris, France

Local Cuisine Spotlight

Plateau de Fromage – French Cheese Plate

In France, the cheese course is traditionally served in between the main course and dessert. It is possible to have the cheese course as dessert.

You may have the option to select cheeses, or the chef may make the selection for you. There is such a variety of cheeses. Well worth the experience!

 

Nightlife

Paris is definitely a city full of vibrant nightlife options. But as we neared the end of our trip, our pace has slowed down.

Like Italy, dinner was usually served later. We had many reservations for 9 pm and eating was slower. More relaxed. Much more enjoyable.

After savoring our meals, we preferred just to stroll the beautifully lit streets, hand in hand taking in all the sights and sounds. Paris isn’t just the City of Lights. It is also the City of Love.

As this year marked our 30th wedding anniversary, we could not have asked for a more magical holiday.

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