Category Archives: France

Our Man in Paris

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Snapshots from the City of Love… courtesy of Our Man in Paris, Jacques, a longtime friend of the Coopers. Nothing like Paris in the sunshine! Captions provided by Jacques. 

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Yesterday I walked around Paris and took a few photos, lovely sunny day, not cold. This building dates to the XIV century = 1300+ A.D. Holding well and is still inhabited.

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On the bridge over the Seine, between the Ile De La Cité and the Ile Saint-Louis, a very good pianist was playing classical music. Behind him is the main Paris city hall and Saint-Jacques tower.

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Notre-Dame Cathedral, surprisingly only a few tourists waiting to go up to the top.

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7 Facts about the Eiffel Tower We Betcha Didn’t Know

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And now for our favorite segment: Did you know?

Did You Know: The Eiffel Tower

It’s everybody’s favorite landmark – come to Paris, see the Eiffel Tower! Around 6 million people visit the tower each year. Despite its status as a world-famous icon, however, there’s a lot that’s not widely known about the Tower’s history.

Here are 5 Facts of the Iron Lady we betcha didn’t know:

1. Construction took only 2 years.

It took 2 years, 2 months and 5 days to build, with construction starting 1887.

2. Bienvenue British Royalty and Buffalo Bill!

The very first people to visit the Eiffel Tower were the British royal family and the famous American showman ‘Buffalo Bill’.

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3. It’s not going to turn green anytime soon.

Yes, the Statue of Liberty is green and in all likelihood the Eiffel Tower would be as well–if not for the regular recoating of paint. The Tower is repainted every seven years with around 66 tons of paint! Throughout the years, it’s been red-brown, yellow-ochre, chestnut brown… thankfully, all natural colors.

4. Parisians hated it – at first.

Well, many Parisians hated it. Around 300 locals signed a petition, calling the Tower “useless and monstrous,” a “stupefying folly,” an “odious column of bolted metal.” We’re sure glad they didn’t get their way!

5. Eiffel built a secret apartment for himself.

Yes, it’s on the third level of the tower, a whopping 1,000 feet up. He used to host people like Thomas Edison and show off his grand piano. Nowadays you can still take a tour of it – considering you’re not put-off by the life-size mannequins of Eiffel and his guests.

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6. It was “sold”–twice.

In the 1920s, legendary con artist Victor Lustig convinced two separate investors to buy the Eiffel Tower from him. He garnered no less than $70,000 from one of these schemes!

7. It was married.

Erika LaBrie is an American woman who married the Eiffel Tower in a much-publicized ceremony in 2007, and changed her name is Erika Eiffel. Feeling an emotional connection to an inanimate object–why not–it’s the City of Love, after all! Apparently, she also had a longterm relationship with the Berlin Wall, although it’s unknown if these two romances conflicted.

To check out the Eiffel Tower for yourself — who knows, you might fall in love yourself! — call Willamette Intl Travel. We organize unforgettable and delightful trips all over the world. 

 

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UniWorld: The #1 Rated Family Cruise Line

 

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Willamette Intl Travel Agents have years of experience sending clients on Uniworld river cruises, so we’re your best bet for feedback and insider tips! We can help you to get a picture of your holiday. We also have access to special discounts. Do call us if you’re thinking a River Cruise with your kids! Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Give your kids an opportunity to experience the thrills and transformative moments of cross-cultural travel. Discover and grow (and have fun!) together, bonding as a family on an unforgettable shared adventure. The memories you create on a Uniworld Generations cruise will last a lifetime, along with a deeper understanding and respect for other peoples, places and perspectives.

Kids cruise for half price!*

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*For every accompanying adult, one child between the ages of 4 and 18 qualifies for the 50% savings off the cruise-only fare. Call WIT for details!

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Filed under Cruises, Czech, Europe, Family Travel, France, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, SALES, Uniworld

NEW Chocolatine Workshops in France

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Bonjour! Chocolatine introduces some fabulous workshops available during your fabulous trip to France! Call your agent at Willamette Intl Travel for more info on these one-of-a-kind tours!

NEW – Chocolate Workshop

  • *Learn the secret of making delicious chocolate candies and confections with Laurent, a talented master chocolatier, in his private workshop in a non-touristy area of Paris.
  • *Taste a variety of chocolates as you learn about the process from cacao bean to chocolate bar.
  • *Participate in hands-on chocolate candy preparation with Laurent and write your name in chocolate on your creations!
  • Duration: 90-minutes
  • When: Monday through Friday
  • Number of Guests: 2-5 people

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NEW – Just Croissants Workshop

  • *Spend 4 glorious hours learning how to make croissants—perfect, beautiful, authentic croissants—from scratch with Johanna, a very talented pastry chef in her new atelier!
  • *Discover the secrets of the flaky pastry as you leaven the dough, fold in the butter, shape the croissants, and prepare cream fillings.
  • *Savor your freshly-baked goodness with a beverage, and take away the rest!
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • When: Monday & Tuesdays
  • Number of Guests: 3-6 people (no children under age 10)

Our NEW Chauffeur for you!

  • We have just connected with a fantastic chauffeur, ready to drive you around Paris! Although Paul is not a tour guide, he can showcase the highlights of the city and offer excellent information about the neighborhoods, monuments, and historic sites. If his guests want to enjoy a short coffee break… take photos… make a quick stop for a patisserie… Paul is happy to make it all happen!
  • Paul drives a brand new Nissan Qashqai
  • Number of guests: 3 people maximum – 1 in front, 2 in the back.  

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Giverny with Paul!

  • If you enjoyed the city drive with Paul, he’s just as delighted to escort you to Giverny!
  • Includes: Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • About 3 hours in Giverny, a visit to Monet’s garden, and time to stroll through the charming village.

Taste of Nice (an exclusive Chocolatine tour!)

Chocolatine’s wonderful Niçoise guide Monique (Nice-born and -raised!) takes visitors on a fantastic walking tour of Nice. Many summer guests enjoyed it immensely! For September and October travelers visiting the Riviera, this half-day (4-hour) tour provides a chance to discover the real heart and soul of Nice.

Highlights:

  • *Discover the unique architecture of the city.
  • *Meet the locals and discover the traditions of the Niçoises.
  • *Enjoy an introduction to AOC Olive Oil in the Alziari boutique—owned by the same family for five generations.
  • *Discover how a perfumer masters the creation of fragrances, while learning about the history of perfume. Create your own special perfume!
  • *Visit the oldest cellar in Nice (1860) where the owner, Franck, personally welcomes you. Add your name to a guest list that has included Elton John and Brad Pitt, and enjoy a conversation with Franck about his wine passion and his hometown of Nice.

Chocolatine in France. Hailing from France and based in the Pacific Northwest, Chocolatine offers private services in France that are 100% tailored to your needs. We work closely with them to arrange private excursions in Paris and elsewhere in France.

Call us to book at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under France, News, Travel by Taste

Louvre Pyramid “Disappears!”

From the Desk of our friends at Chocolatine: 

Bonjour! 

The French are masters of trompe l’oeil —literally, “fool the eye”—and the latest example is delighting Parisians and visitors from around the world. The renowned graffiti artist, JR, has made the pyramid in front of the Louvre his latest optical illusion. From now through June 27, if you want to see what the museum looked like before I.M. Pei constructed the glass pyramid, just take a walk over to the Louvre—you won’t believe your eyes!

NOTE: Just a friendly reminder: selfie sticks are forbidden inside the museum (but not outside of course!)

More info (and pics) at Condé Nast:

http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2016-05-31/in-paris-artist-makes-louvre-pyramid-disappear

About Chocolatine: Based in the Pacific Northwest, Chocolatine is a spectacular tour company that offers private services in France that are 100% tailored to your needs. We have worked closely with them for years to arrange one-of-a-kind excursions in Paris and elsewhere in France. Call Willamette Intl Travel to discuss options for unique explorations within Europe at 800-821-0401 or email us at info@wittravel.com.

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Paris on a Dime

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flickr creative commons (c) Vincent Anderlucci

Think the City of Lights is expensive? It doesn’t have to be.

Airfare to Europe has been relatively low this summer, and travelers can continue the trend of saving money once in the city. Saving can be valuable especially on a longer trip, say to three major cities like London, Amsterdam, and Paris.

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flickr creative commons (c) Moyan Brenn

So let’s take a quick look — here are some cost-saving methods to see La Belle Paris:

Walk around. Paris is a big city, but so much can be seen and enjoyed on foot. Don’t forget to head out from the metro and wander around — who knows, maybe an afternoon getting lost will turn into an afternoon munching down succulent delicacies at a secret patisserie. Plus, it’s always good exercise! (Just bring a pair of good walking shoes.)

Free Museums. The Paris Museum Pass is a wonderful way to see some of the best art collections and attractions in France. Let your Wittravel agent advise you whether or not you would benefit from a pass. However, did you also know some Paris museums are free? Maison Victor Hugo, where the writer lived while composing Les Miserables, the pretty gardens at Musee Carnavalet, and the remains of a Roman Theater at Arenes de Lutece are all open to the public at no charge.

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flickr creative commons (c) Moyan Brenn

Hop on a Boat. At Wittravel you can pre-book a boat tour, at a low per person price, and cruise the Seine river. These 1- or 2-hour trips are best enjoyed at dusk, when the lights bloom all over the city, and the Eiffel Tower begins to glow. Some boat trips even offer you champagne tasting or historical lectures on board.

Take a Day Trip. You can reach a lot of interesting sites on the outskirts of the city by just taking the local commuter RER. Visit Auvers-sur-Oise for Van Gogh, the charming town of Crécy-la-Chapelle, the royal chateau at Fontainebleau, or the medieval villages of Moret-sur-Loing and Provins.

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flickr creative commons (c) Cristian Bortes

Window Shop. True, it’s not technically shopping, but who doesn’t love it? Check out the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps to see luxury clothes, chocolates, jewelry, what have you, in all of their glory. And you don’t have to spend a dime — but you always can if you want to.

which brings me to…

Splurge! It’s Paris — don’t forget to spoil yourself a little. Take your special someone out to a fancy dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Buy that necklace as a token of your trip. Live a little — you’re on vacation after all!

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Chauvet Cave Paintings

Our man in France Jacques V headed down to the Ardeche region to check out the Chauvet cave and its replica that opened recently to the public. The cave contains the earliest known cave paintings in the world, which are estimated to date back about 36,000 years old!

Discovered in 1994, the cave is located in the Gorges de l’Ardeche in south-east France (near Provence) and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Unfortunately visitors cannot enter the cave proper (due to threat of damage and deterioration) but there is an exact full-size replica just a few kilometers away, which opened on April 25 of this year–and still see an exact reproduction of this ancient art.

The paintings depict cave lions, panthers, cave hyenas, bears, rhinos, as well as “Venus” figures and hand prints. In addition to art, the cave contains a child’s footprints, charred remains of a heart, smoke stains, paw prints of cave bears, and fossilized bones of bears and of an ibex. Check out Jacques’ spectacular photos below!

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http://en.cavernedupontdarc.fr/

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