Tuesday December 10, 2013
European train connections are getting even better. Launching on December 15th is the new Paris to Barcelona route taking 6 hours 25 minutes, or to Girona in 5 hours 50 minutes. Apart from the speed, this means that passengers do not have to change in Figueres as they did before, reducing the total journey time by nearly 3 and a half hours.
And if you are going from London St. Pancras you can leave London at 9.31am and arrive a short 10 hours, 9 minutes later in Barcelona.
More about Train Travel in France
Monday December 9, 2013
It's tough, long and the most important race of its kind in the world; La Grande Odysée is a 620-mile long dog-sled race in Savoie Mont Blanc. From January 11th to 22nd, 2014, 20 dog sledders compete for the $100,000 (£62,000) prize.
The 'mushers' as they are known, compete like the Tour de France cyclists in a stage race, with day races, individual time trials and random drug tests on both mushers and dogs. They pass through Savoie and Haute Savoie taking in 25 ski resorts including Les Gets, Megève, Chambery and Bonneval and finishing at Val Cenis Lanslebourg in Switzerland. The race is difficult, with more than a 25,000 meter high difference. The mushers come from all over Europe and range in age from 20 toi 58 years.
It's an exhilarating race to watch, with events taking place as the race passes through the villages, both day and night. You need to book a hotel soon if you're planning to see the race.
If you want to learn, most of the resorts and hotels arrange dog sledding lessons and expeditions.
If you're staying in Megève, you can book a helicopter or a Cessna plane tour and soar above the snow-covered mountains. Check out the Aerocime website for more information.
More about La Grande Odysée
More on French Skiing and Winter Sports
Thursday December 5, 2013
Taking place on the main drag in Champagne in Epernay (the Avenue of Champagne where the main Champagne houses have their public outlets), the Habits de Lumière is a glorious celebration of the world's best bubbly. They choose a different theme each year; in 2013 it's The Unexpected so I won't spoil if for you.
Taking place over the weekend of December 13th to 15th, 2013, there are street shows with weird and wonderful creatures parading as darkness falls each night. There's plenty during the day as well like the vintage car parade on Sunday starting at 8.30am when those splendid roadsters gather, followed by the 'elegance contest' from 9.30am to 10.30am so expect a lot of well-dressed drivers. The main car parade takes place at 11am and wine tasting at 11.30am (but only offered to the participants!)
But never fear, there are many chances to taste Champagne as the main houses open specially and offer visits to their cellars along with films and of course, the chance to buy at their shops. Go along to the Halle Saint-Thibault on Saturday from 9am to 1pm for a series of special culinary tastings from Champagne's top chefs.
Information on the Event
December Events in France
More about Champagne and the Region
Image: Epernay Habits de Lumiere, 2012 © Michel Jolyot/OT Epernay
Friday November 29, 2013
The famous Nantes Merry-go-Round has just won the Best Original Attraction Award for 2014 in Los Angeles from the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). The organizers will receive the award on April 5th 2014. These are the 'Oscars' of this particular kind of attraction, so they are delighted as it's a great boost to tourism.
The Carrousel des Mondes Marins (Carousel of the World of the Sea) is an extraordinary structure. Inhabited by underwater creatures, the machine is made up of 35 moving parts on three levels. Visitors watch the amazing choreography of the sea animals, flying fish and the like.
It's not the only fantastic creature in this city; the Grand Elephant also lives in the Machines de l'Ile district.