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France Insider's News: Masthead

[Below is a sampling of Joanne's writing for France Insider’s News, the quarterly supplement to the France Discovery Guide. Both were publications of the French Government Tourist Office, in New York.]

Autumn 1998, VOL 6, NO. 4
“French Adventures” section

Truffle Snuffle in Provence
Tel: 04-92-78-07-65, Fax: 04-92-78-09-00


Anyone who loves truffles has dreamt of hunting for them. Here’s your chance, in the woods of Haute-Provence with your intrepid guide—Pepete the pig. This adventure takes place at the Ferme-Auberge La Colle, a farm-inn located within the scenic National Park of the Verdun. During their week-long stay at the farm, guests “sniff out” other delicacies as well: they sample the spicy local pastis, truffle pâtés, and brandy-dipped Banon goat cheese in the market town of Forcalquier; make bread in a wood-fired oven at a village bakery; enjoy dinner at Alain Ducasse’s Bastide de Moustiers; and taste wines from the vineyards of Côtes de Provence, Lubéron, and Ventoux.

Apartments at La Colle sleep two to eight people. Available November 1 to March 15, the Truffle Snuffle package is priced from $3,000 (for two people) to $9,000 (for eight), double occupancy, for six nights’ accommodations and all meals with beverages, including two restaurant dinners. There is an additional charge of $600 to $1,000 for the rental of a car or minibus. La Colle also offers painting and watercolor workshops at the farm, as well as cruises of rivers and canals on its luxury hotel-barge, Avenir.

gourmet
Photo: Jean-Daniel SUDRES

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Autumn 1998, VOL 6, NO. 4
“Museum Update” section

Musée du Montparnasse Debuts in Paris

The brand-new Musée du Montparnasse mounts changing exhibitions that explore the Parisian neighborhood’s colorful past as a center of bohemian culture. Starting around 1906, successive waves of young artists—among them Matisse, Picasso, Léger, and Modigliani—settled in this Left Bank quartier. The museum is located at the same address where Marie Vassilieff’s famous cantine des artistes fed starving painters and sculptors from 1915 to 1918 for 50 centîmes. The meals lasted well into the night.

Upcoming exhibitions will focus on the Japanese and Russian artists who made Montparnasse their home. A small gallery shows contemporary creations from the neighborhood’s current crop of artists.

Open Wednesday to Sunday, 1 pm to 7 pm. Entry: FF20.
21, Avenue du Maine, Tel: 01-42-22-91-96.

Musée

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Summer 1998, VOL 6, NO. 3
“Books” section

The Hidden France: An Insider’s Guide to the Most Beautiful Villages

Whether you are planning your first trip to France or have been there many times, you will learn something new in Hidden France: An Insider’s Guide to the Most Beautiful Villages. The book spotlights 50 villages throughout France—including towns in the Burgundy wine country, along the Normandy coast, in the foothills of the Pyrénées, and within the breathtaking gorges of the Ardèche. Richard Turpin’s striking color photographs capture the dramatic beauty of the villages and their surrounding landscapes. Author Brigitte Tilleray describes the history of each region, as well as its special foods, wines, fashions, and customs. For those not content just to dream, maps and charts help you get around. Sterling Publishing, $40

books

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Spring 1998, VOL 6, NO. 2
“Hotel Update” section

Château de Bagnols
Tel: 04-74-71-40-00

Since its 1992 renovation, the Château de Bagnols has made a name for itself as one of the most prestigious hotels in France. A classified historic monument set among the Beaujolais vineyards near Lyon, the Château’s 13th-century origins are still seen today in its towers, moat, and drawbridge; and the interior is rich and romantic. The hotel’s restaurant, La Salle des Gardes, boasts a Michelin star.

The Château and the converted stables, called “La Résidence,” together have 12 rooms and 8 suites decorated in styles from the 13th to19th centuries with period antiques, silk, and embroideries. Prices range from FF2,200 to FF5,000 per night, single or double occupancy.

Hotel Update

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Spring 1998, VOL 6, NO. 2
“Museum Update” section

Vaux-le-Vicomte
Melun
Tel: 01-64-14-41-90


In 1661, Nicolas Fouquet, an ambitious finance minister under King Louis XIV, invited the king and his court to an extravagant feast at his home, the château Vaux-le-Vicomte. He had hoped to impress his guests with the splendor of his château, its gardens, cuisine, and entertainment. Fouquet had every reason to believe his visitors would be struck with awe. To create his palatial residence, he had engaged the most renowned artists of his time: architect Louis Le Vau, decorator Charles Le Brun, and landscape architect André Le Nôtre. But instead of winning praise for his achievement, Fouquet found himself arrested and imprisoned by an envious Louis, who then hired the same artists to build an even more lavish château—Versailles.

Today Vaux-le-Vicomte remains one of the finest examples of 17th-century architecture in France. Located about 40 miles southeast of Paris, near Melun, it is open every day February 28–November 11, 10:00 am–6:00 pm. Admission is FF56.

If you visit Vaux-le-Vicomte between April and October, on the second or last Saturday of the month, you will see the garden’s 36 fountains come to life at 3:00 pm, in a three-hour waterworks display. From May 1 to October 10, Vaux-le-Vicomte is open on Saturdays and holidays for spectacular evening visits, when you can see the château by the brilliant light of 1,800 candles. Hours are 8:30–11:00 pm, admission: FF75, which also includes the garden and museum.

Museum Update

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Winter 1998, VOL 6, NO. 1
“At Your Fingertips” section

Carcassonne Named UNESCO Site

UNESCO recently bestowed on the city of Carcassonne the honor of World Cultural Heritage Site. One of the best preserved medieval walled fortresses in Europe, Carcassonne has ancient ramparts and towers that give the impression of a fairy tale come to life. Located in the province of Languedoc-Roussillon, the town began in the first century AD as a Roman fort, later serving the same purpose for the Gauls, Visigoths, Moors, and Franks. In the 13th century, it became a major Cathar stronghold during the Albigensian crusade—a series of bitter religious wars. Carcassonne’s present fine condition owes much to architect Viollet-le-Duc, who oversaw its restoration in the mid-19th century.

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Winter 1998, VOL 6, NO.1

Spotlight on Cîteaux
May through October 1998: A Fine Time to Visit Medieval Burgundy

• Click here to read article
• Click here to download article as a pdf)

Clos V

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Winter 1998, VOL 6, NO. 1
“French Adventures” section

River Tourism in the French Southwest

The Southwest of France is crisscrossed by a network of navigable rivers and canals that can carry you deep into a world of architectural wonders and natural beauty. Trips down the Lot, Baïse, and Garonne Rivers, as well as on the Garonne Lateral Canal and the Canal du Midi, take you past towering cliffs, gently rolling hills, vineyards, and orchards. The banks are dotted with castles, picturesque villages, fortified medieval towns, and monasteries such as the Abbey of Flaran and the Abbey of Moissac. You can discover towns like Toulouse and Carcassonne and sample the region’s culinary delights: from foie gras and Roquefort cheese to the wines of Armagnac and Cahors.

You can choose escorted cruises on fully equipped luxury hotel-barges with a chef and crew, cozy self-drive houseboats that are easy to operate, or even short excursions for half- or one-day trips. Two companies that arrange such tours are Le Boat, TEL: 800-922-0291, and Kemwel, TEL: 800-234-4000. For general questions on river tourism or the French Southwest, contact the France On Call Hotline at 202-659-7779.

French Adventures

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Autumn 1997, VOL 5, NO. 2
“Riviera Restaurant Update” section

Restaurant Maximin
689, CHEMIN DE GAUDE, VENCE
Tel: 04-93-58-90-75


Jacques Maximin, one of the leading chefs of France who, won acclaim at Nice’s Chantecler, has made a charming turn-of-the-century villa into a leading Provençal restaurant.

Inland from the Riviera’s bustling beaches is a quiet world of ancient hilltop villages nestled in rugged terrain, and it’s on the road to one such place, Vence, where you can enjoy Maximin’s cuisine. The dining room is decorated with paintings, sculpture, glassware, and tile work by local artists, and the cuisine stays true to the flavors of Provence.

Two good-value prix fixe menus are available for both lunch and dinner: the FF240 menu includes an appetizer, main dish, cheese, and dessert, and the FF400 menu includes three main dishes, instead of just one, as well as cheese and dessert. Ordered à la carte, main dishes are priced from FF220 to EE300.

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Autumn 1997, VOL 5, NO. 2
“Accommodations in Paris” section

Hôtel d’Aubusson
33, RUE DAUPHINE, 6TH ARR.
TEL: 01-43-29-43-43, FAX: 01-43-29-12-62


The Left Bank’s newest luxury hotel, the Hôtel d’Aubusson, opened last fall just off boulevard St-Germain, in the center of one of Paris’s liveliest neighborhoods. The Old World atmosphere of the hotel is set by the renovated 17th-century town house in which it’s located. It boasts its original oak beams, a courtyard garden with a fountain, a fireplace made from Burgundy stone in the sitting room, and a genuine Aubusson tapestry in the breakfast room. Single or double occupancy rates are FF1,150 to FF1,700 through November 9 and FF850 to FF1,500 from November 10 to December 31, 1997. Continental breakfast is FF80, buffet breakfast FF100.

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