The Loire Valley’s iconic 16th-century Château de Chambord is releasing a wine made on the grounds to celebrate its 500th anniversary, but the Chambord trademark is owned by Brown-Forman, the conglomerate that makes the famous raspberry liqueur. Also in Wine Spectator’s Unfiltered, Dwyane Wade launches rosé, Warriors ball out with Moët, and Walmart enters retail wine wars.
Welcome to the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud, founded in 1101 along the borders of three regions, Anjou, Touraine and Poitou. Considered the jewel of the Loire region, this is the largest surviving monastery dating from the middle ages. Also a convent, the Abbey welcomed nobles with royal blood for seven centuries. Following the revolution, Napoleon converted Fontevraud into one of France’s most brutal prisons. So it remained until 1963.
One of the first buildings in France to be named a historical monument in 1840, in 2000 the Abbey of Fontevraud was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of the Loire Valley. What’s happening in the abbey these days? Let me take you on a little tour…
Set upon 34 acres, there is plenty to explore both inside and outside of this monumental abbey. The feeling while touring the grounds is one of complete tranquility and deep mysticism. Undoubtedly a magical setting.
Read more from source: Royal Abbey of Fontevraud – Love in the City of Lights
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the old city of Carcassonne is every bit as enchanting when you see it in real life as it is in the photos.
How Carcassonne got its name
Its legacy goes back centuries, ancient tribes inhabited the area, the Romans arrived and built a fort – they called it Carcasso. The city changed hands several times, its history was colourful, it’s always been sought after. There is a legend that the Emperor Charlemagne laid siege to the fortified city for five long years in the 8th century. On learning that her people had just one pig and a bag of wheat left to survive on, the reigning princess, Dame Carcas, had the pig fed on the wheat and thrown over the ramparts. Charlemagne, believing that the inhabitants must have so much food stored they could afford to chuck it away called off the siege. Dame Carcas had the bells of the city rung in victory, “Carcas… sonne” it was said, “Carcassonne is ringing” – hence the name.
Read more from source: The Medieval City of Carcassonne
Arguably the most famous city in the world, the City of Lights is a fascinating place to see. With its seductive charms and qualities, Paris is a place like no other on the planet. Little wonder that so many visitors have fallen so in love with its ancient cobbled streets and quaint little cafes that they never think to leave Paris.
We get it, really we do, but please don’t make that mistake. Add one or two day trips from Paris to your itinerary so you can experience more of what France has to offer her visitors. You won’t be sorry, we promise.
Paris day trips and other options
France as a whole is beautiful. It sports gorgeous scenery, rich culture, and an amazing history that you can practically feel on your fingertips. Because so many companies offer tours from Paris, the city is an ideal base for exploring a lot of the country.
On the other hand, if you enjoy wine or history, you might want to forgo a day tour and stay somewhere for a few days.
Read more from source: 5 Unique Day Trips from Paris You Can Enjoy
Remains of rock-hewn churches may be found in several European and Middle-Eastern landscapes, where natural caves and calciferous rocks invited hermits to shelter in solitude and prayer. In France, such churches were common in Aquitaine.
Full alike of dignity and courtesy, Martin of Tours kept up the position of a bishop properly, yet in such a way as not to lay aside the objects and virtues of a monk. Accordingly, he made use, for some time, of the cell connected with the church but afterwards, when he felt it impossible to tolerate the disturbance caused by the numbers of those visiting it, he established a monastery for himself about two miles outside the city. This spot was so secret and retired that he enjoyed in it the solitude of a hermit.
Sulpicius, Vita, X – translation from Sulpicius Severus: On the Life of St. Martin. Translation and Notes by Alexander Roberts. In A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, New York, 1894.
Read more from source: Rock-Carved Churches in France – Medieval Histories
Pick up any postcard of Paris and you’ll see the river Seine lined with antique bookstalls. This tradition stretches back centuries and contributes to the bohemian image of intellectualism of which Paris is so proud. Now, these booksellers are seeking UNESCO status to ensure the tradition continues.
The city of Paris is world famous for the second-hand bookstalls that line the gorgeous banks of the river Seine, once described as ‘the only river in the world that runs between two bookshelves’.
These banks were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1991 and so, it seems only natural that the bookstalls responsible for its charm have the chance to revel in the status they so deserve. Strolling through Paris on a summer’s day just wouldn’t be the same without them.
Many people think that this prestigious status is awarded only to unique monuments, buildings or geographic places. But this isn’t always the case, as the 250 booksellers – or bouquinistes as they are known among the locals – demonstrate. They have started a campaign to become a UNESCO World Heritage piece of ‘intangible cultural heritage’.
Read more from source: Paris’s Riverside Booksellers Seek UNESCO Status
Explore France’s Loire Valley and its famous châteaux by car with this three-day road trip itinerary from Saumur to Amboise
The Loire valley, known as the Garden of France, was of immense strategic importance during the Middle Ages, but the feudal fortresses of warring lords were replaced by charming castles during the Renaissance, when kings came here to escape hot summers in the city. Most of the valley is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, which can be enjoyed over a few days travelling from Saumur to Chambord.
Day one: Saumur to Fontevraud
Prepare to fall in love at first sight with Saumur, topped by its 14th-century castle hewn from limestone. This charming town on the left bank of the River Loire is home to wine cellars, gourmet restaurants and food specialities such as fouace. This bun, stuffed with sweet or savoury fillings, is available at Joseph (Boulevard du Maréchal Juin), a bakery on the outskirts of town which also stocks oven-baked bread.
Read more from source: Road trip: explore the Loire Valley
Here’s why you should visit the infamous chateau.
We take a look at why the French king was so enamoured with the former hunting lodge, and why you should go and visit.
1. It’s one of the world’s biggest palaces
The Palace of Versailles started out life as a hunting lodge in what was then a small country village 12 miles south west of Paris.
It was subsequently expanded by Louis XIV and became the principal residence of the French royal family.
The first stage of the expansion took 17 years and saw three new wings added. Further building work included the addition of two more wings, stables, the Grand and Petit Trianon, the Chapel and the Opéra.
2. Wander the extensive gardens
The gardens of Versailles span across 800 hectares and comprise 200,000 trees, 50 fountains and a 5.57km canal.
Much of this was formerly woods and marshland but now in place of these is an extraordinary network of magnificent gardens.
They’ve been inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage List for a reason.
3. Marvel at the fountains
Despite the sheer volume of fountains across the vast gardens, Versailles has always had a problem with water supply.