Friday May 17, 2013
If you act fast, you can get 30% off your First Class, High Speed Rail Europe train travel in France. The promotion will last through June 10th, so you need to get going now. The TGV express trains are impressive, wizzing you from London to Avignon in Provence in 5 hrs 30 mins, to Bordeaux on the Atlantic in 6 hrs 49 mins and Strasbourg in 5 hrs 12 mins. The trains are very comfortable, well equipped and travel up to 201 mph.
TGV Premier train tickets also give you access to the Salons Grand Voyageur or lounges in stations such as Bordeaux St. Jean, Djon, Lille Flandres, Lyon Part-Dieu, Marseille St. Charles, Nantes, Paris Est, Paris-Gare de Lyon, Paris Nord, Paris Montparnasse and Strasbourg train stations. You can use these comfortable lounges while waiting for onward connections.
Prices begin at $99 for TGV Premier tickets.
You need to book via Rail Europe's website or by calling Rail Europe's contact center 1-888-382-7245 (U.S.A.).
Enter coupon code FAST30 during checkout on the delivery page. There are certain restrictions: it's one coupon code per booking and the offer is limited to the first 400 bookings (each with a minimum value of 350 USD) or until the end of the promotion on June 10 at 5.59pm. Online bookings include a meal.
More about Train Travel in France
Image: 1st Class TGV Travel
Wednesday May 15, 2013
The 2013 Cannes Film Festival has just opened, with all the glitz, glamor, hope and expectations you could want - and a rain storm. The first film was The Great Gatsby, which has received mixed reviews in the U.S.A. and did not get rapturous applause at the screening in Cannes. Director Baz Luhrmann takes liberties with the book but the over-the-top parties are magnificent using contemporary artists like Jay-Z, Beyonce and Lana Del Ray. Leonardo DiCaprio might be older than the book's hero but he's superb.
It's expected that Martin Scorsese will appear to talk about Silence, his next film starring Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield as a 17th-century missionary. Also expected is Justin Timberlake who appears in Spinning Gold which tells the story of Neil Bogart, the 1970s music entrepreneur who was responsible for music start like Kiss and Donna Summer.
So hearts are racing along the Croisette in Cannes.
The Cannes Film Festival
Image Top: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire attend the Opening Ceremony and The Great Gatsby Premiere at the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival, 2013 © Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment
Image Bottom: Christoph Waltz, Vidya Balan, Daniel Auteui, Cristian Mungiu, Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman, Steven Spielberg, Lynne Ramsay and Naomi Kawase at the Great Gatsby Premiere at the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival, 2013 © Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
Saturday May 11, 2013
May 29 to June 2 2013
Every year at the end of May, the sparkling blue Mediterranean in and around Antibes fills up with the glorious site of vintage yachts. Created in 1996, Les Voiles d'Antibes marks the opening of the Mediterranean circuit for Classic Yachts and Metric Classes and the first stage of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge.
The yachts are divided up into different classes. Spirit of Tradition yachts are those built since 1970 using modern techniques and materials but looking like traditional Vintage or Classic yachts. Metric Class yachts were designed to race. Created in 1906 in London, this rating created 10 different classes from 5 to 24 'Meters'. However, don't be fooled by this, the class name in meters refers to a complex mathematical equation. So for instance, a 12 Meter yacht is actually over 20 meters long on deck. The 12 Meters was the official class of the America's Cup and these yachts from 1958 to 1987 will race each other. You'll see some of the best Vintage yachts (built before 1950), Classics (built before 1976) and Spirit of Tradition Yachts and Metric Classes (6MJH, 8MJL and the 12MJI).
It's more than a series of races and has become a great meeting place for yachtsmen and women from the far and recent past. Yachts are renovated and appear for the first time with their proud owners along veterans of the Voiles d'Antibes, diehards like the legendary Moonbeam IV, Moonbeam of Fife, Cambria, Stormy Weather, Adria, Outlaw, and Bona Fide.
You can watch the races easily from the shoreline as these gracious yachts race along the 23 kilometers of coast between the Bay of Antibes and Juan-les-Pins. On shore there's a convivial atmosphere in the 'Village' of Port Vaubun, specially set up for the event and open daily from 9am to 10pm. There are exhibitions and events around the theme of the Sea and the Environment plus concerts and of course much to eat and drink.
More about Antibes
Accommodation in Antibes-Juan-les-Pins
Saturday May 4, 2013
The most famous film festival in the world, Cannes, takes place this year from May 15th to 26th. It starts with what is the most eagerly awaited film at the moment, The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Lurhmann and starring Leonardo diCaprio and Carey Mulligan. It's appropriate; F. Scott Fitzgerald finished the book while he was staying on the French Riviera.
Steven Spielberg is President of the Jury selecting the films in competition for the famous Palme d'Or. Films include the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis with Oscar Isaacs, Carey Mulligan and Justin Timberlake; Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra which is apparently the director's last film; and Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive. There are 23 films in competition.
The main prize is not all that Cannes is about. If you're a mere mortal you can enjoy classics and Out of Competition films at the Theatre Lumière and the open-air Cinéma de la Plage. Films include J.C. Chandor's All is Lost with Robert Reford as well as Hiroshima Mon Amour from Alain Resnais. Imagine sitting on the beach with the Mediterranean as a background watching some of the great film classics of all time. Not to be missed.
If you plan to go but haven't booked a hotel you might be in trouble. But you could try staying in Antibes, or perhaps at the Belles Rives hotel in Juan-les-Pins where the Fitzgeralds themselves stayed in the Roaring '20s.
More on the Cannes Film Festival 2013
Cannes Film Festival Official Site
Where to Stay in the South of France
Image: Cinema de la Plage at Cannes Film Festival