Category Archives: Europe

Rent Julia Child’s French Home via AirBnB

Stay in a culinary legend’s equally legendary country home.

Anyone traveling France whose lodging budget is on the threshold of $700 a night can stay at Julia Child’s home in Provence via Airbnb — if it is available and not being used for cooking classes. This is where she herself mastered the art of French cooking. Child, a traditionalist in the kitchen, died in 2004 and could hardly imagine such a lodging set-up.

Julia Child’s French kitchen, as it appears today. The pegboards are a legacy of Paul Child, who customized kitchens for his wife, the beloved French Chef.

Here’s how the decorating magazine, Domino, described it:

Foodies rejoice: Julia Child’s picture-perfect cottage in the Provencal countryside—dubbed La Pitchoune (“The Little Thing”) by Child and her husband Paul—is now available to rent on Airbnb. For just under $700 a night, the legendary bungalow, designed and built by the Childs in the 1960s, could be all yours, including the kitchen that helped spark the French cooking movement of the 1970s.

Nestled on several acres of rural land just North of Cannes, the cozy cottage once owned by Child offers three bedrooms (that can sleep up to six) and three-and-a-half bathrooms, as well as multiple gardens, terraces, and a saltwater swimming pool. Variety reports that the current owners bought the house in 2015 from the family that originally leased the land to the Childs. It has been updated since Child’s time, but many original details remain.

Click here for the AirBnB listing, noting that few dates remain for 2018 and reservations are being taken for 2019.

Cross-posted to http://culinary-colorado.com.

Culinary Tour Company Offers Small-Group Travel

Traveling foodies and food-loving travelers, this one’s for you.

I hear and read about a lot of tour companies, but one captured my attention, both because of the clever name and because the subject interests me. Pack A Fork! Unique Cultural & Culinary Adventures is a small group tour company offering guests international tours that are about learning, discovery and immersive experiences. It describes its offerings like this:

Tours are focused on the history and culture of a region as well as its culinary scene. Guests can count on must-see main sites as well as unique experiences/off-the-beaten path. Guests meet locals, learn about the foods and wines of the region, participate in hands-on cooking classes, take hikes with picnics and taste local foods they may never try on their own. Guides are committed to exceeding each guest’s expectations.  

All tours are small with a maximum of 15 guests + guides. Included are all accommodations, private transportation, select gourmet meals, winery tours and food tastings, museum or site-guided tours, marketplace tours, culinary experiences and more. Free time is built in to every tour offering guests opportunities to relax or go out on their own. Tours are open to men, women, solo travelers and couples. 

Upcoming itineraries are to Peru, Spain/Portugal and Tuscany.

Frommer’s Guides at 70

Lapsed lawyer’s travel guidebooks defined American travels.

An edition from the early ’70s. I think this was the one I toted around.

While Arthur Frommer was stationed in Europe during the Korean War, he published a slim guide to help nervous GIs navigate the mysteries of foreign travel with its mysterious money, food and customs.

The book sold out, and the inspired Arthur Frommer, a recently minted lawyer, returned to Europe to research and write what became Europe on $5 a Day. It was published in 1957, making this the 60th anniversary. When a college roommate and I toured Europe for three months several years late, inflation had not yet struck, and we managed on close to a $5 daily budget. That trip fueled my lifelong desire to cross oceans to see and experience new places.

There followed more guidebooks a magazine, a television show and a blog. In recent years, he has teamed up with his daughter, Pauline, to keep the iconic brand going. Thank you, Arthur, for kindling the travel lust in millions of Americans.

Bern’s Onion Market

Swiss capital’s unique fall food market.

swissflagSwitzerland has no Thanksgiving, but late November brings the Zibelemärit (Onion Market) to the quaint capital of Bern. This traditional folk festival is held on the fourth Monday of every November.

Farmers from the surrounding area bring over 50 tons of onions that have been artistically woven into braids to the federal capital, along with garlic. Colorful market stalls offer ceramic pots, vegetables, traditional market goodies and mementos. To help resist the winter cold, don’t miss the Glühwein stand with its hot mulled wine.

The bustle gets underway at 5 a.m. as hundreds of visitors from home and abroad flood the city. If you go, be sure to try savory cheese tarts, onion tarts and onion soup that are served in all the restaurants, filling the air with a heady aroma. Younger visitors scatter confetti in the streets and have fun at the fairground.

Special trains are scheduled by  the S-Bahn Bern and Swiss Federal Railways makes travel to the Zibelemärit easy. If you’re not within striking distance this year, consider it for 2017.

Oktoberfest Aloft

Meet Lufthansa’s ‘Dirndlcrew’ on select fall flights.

Lufthansa-logoThis is the 10th anniversary of Lufthansa’s Dirndlcrew, which, since 2006, has flown to some 20 destinations on four continents. Two days prior to the beginning of this year’s Munich Oktoberfest, two cabin crews take-off in Angermaier attire  — first on flights from Munich to Toronto and from Munich to Washington, DC., and then to destinations including Shanghai and Hong Kong on September 20, Denver on October 2 and Boston on October 3.

Lufthansa's variations on the theme of Dirndl during Oktoberfest,
Lufthansa’s variations on the theme of Dirndl during Oktoberfest,

At the beginning and the end of the Munich Oktoberfest, a crew from Lufthansa CityLine swaps regular uniform for the distinctive Dirndl on Belgrade, Birmingham, Cluj, Nice, Olbia and flights.  During Oktoberfest, Lufthansa passenger service employees at Munich airport also wear this endearing national costume. Since Denver celebrates its own Oktoberfest, I’m glad that the Dirndlcrew is assigned the MCH-DEN route early next month.

Europe’s Drinking Water

Is it safe or not? Depends on the country.

Europe-mapIf you’re concerned about drinking tap water when traveling in Europe, I’ve added a page to this blog about which countries have reliably safe drinking water and which don’t. Where the water is possibly unsafe, you might want to heed the usual cautions about fresh but unpeeled fruits and vegetables, water for brushing your teeth and even showering.  And I’ve cited Condé-Nast Traveler as the source of this list.

Croatia’s New ‘Festival Island’

Almost “deserted” island becomes festival site.

In Colorado, Telluride is known for is nearly-weekly summer festivals. The island of Obonjan  6 kilometers from the city of Šibenik will fill that role in Croatia. Once used by the Scout movement and then known as widely known as the ‘Isle of Youth,’ it remained virtually uninhabited, occupied only by the island’s caretaker Mirko who has lived there with his dog, Jimmy, since 2008.

Yoga is to one of Obonjan's wellness offerings.
Yoga is to one of Obonjan’s wellness offerings.

This summer, this idyllic Adriatic island will come to life again, reopening to the public for an inaugural eight weeks for the Obonjan Festival  (July 28-September 6) and independent travelers. Glamping-style tents and air-conditioned Forest Lodges are available, starting at €70 per person per night. The festival features a fusion of creative and holistic pursuits that include art, food, music, talks, wellness activities and entertainment.  Click here for a schedule. Even though visitation is limited to just 800 people at a time, some expect a real party scene too.

FoMoInfo: +44 (0) 203 808 7333. To reserve, email bookings@otokobonjan.com.

Luxe Chairlift in Austria’s Tryolean Alps

Kitzbühel’s sexy new eightpack.

AustriaSkiTwenty or more years ago, American skiers heading for Europe were often put off by the lifts and the liftlines. Many lifts were either high-capacity sardine-packed cable cars or surface lifts (T-bars and platterpulls), while in North America, skiers were accustomed to the relative comfort and ease of chairlifts. And liftlines here have always been orderly.

Fast-forward to now, and the wonders of European lift technology. Swiss cable cars and French and Austrian chairlifts have far eclipsed American uphill transport — and in fact, proved to tough for such American lift-makers as Hall, Riblet and YAN to compete against. Those American lift manufacturers are history.

Here’s a new lift in Kitzbühel, Austria, to show that there’s sizzle as well as steak in the realm of European lifts.

KitzbhuhelLift

It has been called “the world’s luxurious chairlift,” and what with ergonomic, leather seats, heated and bubble- covered, who’s to argue? Leitner Ropeways required 10 months to complete the chairlift, designed with input from  auto industry experts. Audi? Mercedes? Porsche?

Lufthansa Adding Denver-Munich Nonstops

New Airbus service to begin in May.

Lufthansa-logoI have long felt that Denver and Munich are twin cities in spirit, separated by history and time zones. Both are near the mountains but not in the mountains. Both display the energetic pulse of a young, active population. And of course, they are both famous for beer. And come May 11, they will be on either end of new nonstop flights. My husband and I were just talking about our next European trip, so we might well book this one.

A Lufthansa Airbus A330-300 will fly the five-times weekly service. The new eastbound LH 481 will operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing Denver at 4:05 p.m. and arriving in Munich the following morning. The westbound LH 480 service will also operate on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing from Lufthansa’s Munich hub at 11:45 a.m. and arriving in Denver at 2:30 p.m.(all times local) after a 10 hour, 45 minute flight.

The Denver-Munich route is  the first time that the A330-300 has been scheduled for regular service at Denver International Airport — 177 in Economy and Economy Plus, 30 in Business and a handful in the ethereal front cabin.

The ‘Isle’ of Mont St.-Michel

Supertide phenomenon covers causeway to French coastal community.

MontStMichelle

Once every 18 years, a supertide turns France’s famed Mont St.-Michel into an island — a visitor attraction that never gets old.  Very high tides are part of the reality along France’s entire northern  coast, the periodic supertide is especially dramatic. One such tide occurred yesterday. Legend has it that the supertide comes in the pace of a horse’s gallop. It briefly turns into an island, while the day’s low tide allows people to walk on the expansive flat seabed off the coast of Normandy. Mont St.-Michel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some 30,000 people reportedly came to Mont St.-Michel to witness the first supertide of the 21st century.

Actually, the supertide effect is evident elsewhere as well, including the Bay of Fundy on the Atlantic Coast between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Tierra del Fuego off the southern tip of South America, the northern coast of Australia and the Bristol Channel in Britain.