Posts tagged FRANCE
Le Logis: The Home Of Grey Goose in France

Tucked away in the heart of the renowned Cognac region is Le Logis – the 17th-century country manor that Grey Goose calls home. This region is not only famous for producing the world’s finest wines and spirits, but it’s also where the maître de chai (cellar master), François Thibault, was born and raised. The estate was restored and renovated from the ground up, with special care taken to preserve its historic significance inside and out. Comfortable, contemporary and chic, Le Logis has 14 elegant bedrooms, a salon, dining room, open-house kitchen, patio, outdoor swimming pool, poolside BBQ and cocktail bar. A series of specially designed immersive spaces bring the production of GREY GOOSE to life. From field to bottle, each space reveals a part of our unique story. Last week I had the chance to travel to Le Logis all the way from Greece and live a true unique experience with the best team ever. Grey Goose always hosts the best events, but this time was something unexpected and out of a dream.


It was during our welcome dinner of passable French cuisine, when our glasses were filled with white-, red- and rosé-coloured vodka cocktails rather than wine as expected (perhaps sourced from one of the many vineyards that directly enveloped us), that our group agreed that something special was about to happened the next 2 days. Next day a two-hour morning induction into the development of the brand and the drink’s manufacturing process included a tasting of a number of Grey Goose spirits flavoured with fruits was waiting us. I had the chance to learn everything about the world’s most tasteful vodka. The whole group was so focused and impressed about the innovation, the passion and love that is behind the Grey Goose production. A fun bread-making class allowed us to get tactile with the flour used in the vodka’s production and to make a fun break between the cocktails and the photoshoots.


How to Survive Winter in Paris

If you’re not used to low temperatures, Parisian winters can be tiring. Sunrise is late, sunset is early and sunlight is rare. It’s likely to be rainy with cold winds that will no doubt freeze you as you explore the city on foot. The weather might cause low morale and maybe even a bad mood. That being said, we want you to have a great experience in our city! We’ve therefore gathered some morale-boosting advice to help you fight off the cold temperatures and truly enjoy wintertime in Paris.

1. Dress appropriately

The first thing to do before stepping outside is to get the right set of clothes. Ideally this includes boots, a scarf, gloves and a hat or earmuffs. Keep in mind that you’re in a major fashion capital, so you’ll need to look fancy if you want to blend in with the locals! Being fashionable while staying warm is not that easy to achieve, so don’t hesitate to take some time to observe how Parisians dress. For instance, you’ll notice that bright colours aren’t very common and that many people wear black, especially in winter. There’s no real reason to explain why Parisians have such a passion for black clothes. Maybe it has something to do with their gloomy mood!

2. Take good care of yourself

Exercise is an excellent way to fight off the low temperatures. An economical way to get your heart rate up in Paris is to run in one of the city’s numerous parks. Getting motivated can be difficult, but you’ll soon discover that you’re not alone and seeing other runners will motivate you even more. You’ll feel healthier and your body will be better armed to brave the cold. Eating quality food is also important for staying in good condition. Another Parisian local listed the top 10 markets in Paris, including several excellent food markets offering fresh products. Lastly, the extreme temperatures repeatedly attack your skin, especially your face and hands. Luckily you can find many high-quality skincare and dermatological products in local shops and supermarkets.

3. Seek refuge in cafés

Cafés are great shelters when the cold is harsh and when it’s raining. Fortunately, there are many of them in the French capital. Brasseries, cafés, coffeehouses and tearooms enable you to have a break and warm up during your long escapades through the city. Cafés are typical meeting places for French people. It’s not unusual for Parisians to spend an entire afternoon at a café chatting with friends. They are also great places to taste French pastries. Don’t feel guilty – there are good reasons to treat yourself: 1) your body needs calories to store energy and 2) it’s not every day you’re in Paris! For the gourmands, we’ve created a sweet tooth’s guide to Paris so you can discover the city’s best pastries. If you’re more into warming yourself up with a hot drink, check out our guide to the best places for hot chocolate in Paris.

4. Enjoy the winter cityscape

The Paris cityscape is extra special in winter. The brown colour of the Seine is very different from summer. Time seems to stand still. Parks are much quieter and more atmospheric. The frozen environment is an invitation to reveries and romantic strolls. Sometimes snow disturbs the quiet environment and creates great bustle. It doesn’t snow very often in Paris, but when it does, it can be funny to observe what’s happening around you. People tend to use their cars more and create huge traffic jams. Many inhabitants wear shoes that aren’t designed for snowy conditions, so they slip on icy pavements. Even during these cold and difficult periods, you’ll notice that many Parisian’s don’t give up on style!


5. Do what locals do

When the weather isn’t nice, many Parisians prefer indoor activities. They go to exhibitions, museums, theatres, cinemas and concerts. Many cinemas screen films in the original language, so if you don’t speak French, you can still watch movies in English. Parisians also shop a lot and enjoy the winter sales. In 2015, the winter sales take place from January 7th until February 17th.

You can also keep warm at home – invite your friends over and prepare a great dinner for them! This is a great opportunity to complain about the cold weather. French people are known for being grumpy. They (we) complain about many things – it’s part of the culture. The weather is a common topic to complain about. Embrace this philosophy and grumble!

Better yet, you can stay at home under your comfortable quilt.

Non Touristy Things to Do in Paris

If you’re like most people who visit Paris, you probably want to make sure you don’t miss the must-see sights. Seriously! Who takes their first trip to Paris without seeing Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower? But, at the same time, I’m sure you also want to go beyond the basics and find the best non touristy things to do in Paris. That’s why first-time visitor articles and tips for Paris are just as popular as reads about off the beaten path Paris or Paris hidden gems. So, if you’re visiting Paris for the first time, use my cheat sheet linked above. But then, sprinkle in a few of the top non touristy things to do in Paris for a trip that’s all your own.

1. Paris by Vespa

What’s more quintessential than riding around Paris on a Vespa accompanied by a local who knows where to go and how to get there without GPS or a map? Why not add a local twist to your sightseeing plans with one of Paris best kept secrets? Ride ‘n’ Smile offers visitors the chance to ride on their very own Vespa past popular spots like Notre Dame and the Louvre. Along the way, you’ll drive through several arrondissements discovering Paris off the beaten path including historic streets, markets, and tucked away cafes and shops. Choose whether you want to tour the city by day or all lit up and sparkling at night. If you’ve already visited Paris’ main sights, Ride ‘n’ Smile is happy to customize your tour around specific arrondissements or themes. This is perfect if you want to focus on a specific figure or period of time in Paris history. Even better still, let the guide show you alternative things to do in Paris!

2. Visit a local market.

Paris’ historic food, vintage, and antique markets offer the opportunity to stroll with the locals while searching for that perfect bite, specialty item, or bric-a-brac object telling a story of Paris past. One of the best non tourist places in Paris is the Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves. It’s easier to access, smaller, and less overwhelming than the larger Marché aux Ouces de Saint-Ouen. But, both will have you digging deep looking for that amazing antique find, like a 19th-century chandelier or a vintage flapper dress. Marché Saint Quentin is one of Paris’ covered food markets. You’ll find everything from fruits and vegetables to meats, cheeses, and specialty food items. Eat while you’re there or buy for later. If you’re in the Marais, don’t miss the Marché des Enfants Rouges. It’s Paris’ oldest covered market dating back to 1628. Find stalls selling gourmet food, but the real highlights are the stalls cooking up bites in nearly every cuisine for market-goers to munch on. Chez Alain’s crêpes draw a never-ending line and vegetarians, like me, will love the Moroccan cous cous dishes at Le Traiteur Marocain.

3. Spend time with a local expert

Whether you’re interested in cooking, history, or art, put your guide book away and plan time for an authentic experience with a local expert. In my opinion, these experiences are always one of the most memorable parts of a trip! Context Travel offers small group (no more than 6 people) walks led by an academic versed in a particular topic, like my Hamilton NYC Tour. Not only will you learn about non touristy Paris, your guide will undoubtedly share Paris hidden secrets. Walk through Montmartre and learn about the artists and writers, like Picasso and Hemingway, who once called this Paris neighborhood home. Or taste your way through the Left Bank with a local chef to discover the history and flavors of French cooking

4. Get Quirky

Did you know that Paris has somewhere around 130 museums? Or that Atlas Obscura lists over 100 places where you can explore Paris off the beaten track? The Louvre, of course, is a must. But, it’s overwhelming.In contrast, the sculptures and the garden at the Musée Zadkine, located near the Luxembourg Gardens, highlight the works of this Russian sculptor in the studio where he lived and worked. You’ll appreciate the ambiance and will develop an appreciation for the pieces on display in a way that’s very difficult to do among the crowds surrounding the Mona Lisa.Or really go deep and discover 2 unusual Paris attractions. Take a tour of the catacombs or visit the Musée des Egouts de Paris, French for the Paris sewer system museum. Take a tour through either and discover a maze of tunnels, the remains of more than 6 million people, and how these underground places figure into the history of Paris. What’s more, the Musée des Egouts de Paris is one of Paris most secret spots. Yes, they’re both a bit spooky, but you’ll come away with interesting stories to tell and a different view (literally) of Paris.

5. Wander

It’s no secret that sometimes the most obvious idea is the best. Exploring on foot is hands down the best way to discover non touristic places in Paris. For the most fearless among you, just wander is a simple thing. However, I know not everyone feels comfortable doing this in a new place. So, here are some points on the map to get you started.Don’t just go to Montmartre for the Sacre Coeur. Zig zag your way through the tiny streets and you’ll find some of the best non touristy places in Paris! Not only might you stumble upon the best meal of your life or that perfect scarf, you’ll get a feel for the culture and daily life.