Dating Holidays in the Loire Valley

If your last series of date nights ends up in pubs with you going home drunk, it’s probably time to switch things up. Don’t just go out to dinner; take your dating to the next level by going on a holiday together. Going on holidays actually produce enough time, space and just the right energy to really spice up the romance in your relationship. A two week dating holidays in the Loire Valley is the ultimate romantic getaway.

Romance comes more naturally in the Loire Valley with its rich history of passion and intrigue. Loire Valley or the Garden of France is famous for its magnificent chateau, enchanted vineyard and spectacular gardens. With its lovely palaces, its fine gastronomy and great landscapes, the Loire Valley is indeed the ultimate romantic destination in France.

Loire Valley is a paradise for photo lovers, from scenic landscapes to grand chateau the photo opportunities are just everywhere. These photos will make sure you bring back home lasting memories. There are diverse range of attractions and things to do Loire Valley. From its glorious castles and cathedrals, lovely gardens and natural parks everything will interest you. Activities can be on land, water and in the sky – you will not be disappointed!

Choose from a choice of hotels, holiday cottages, village house, manor house, B&B as well as villas to enjoy the different experiences of your romantic holiday.

Loire Valley Chateau
Loire Valley is best known for the architectural heritage of its famous chateaux which are classified as UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the best of the Loire Valley castles and immerse yourself in the French Renaissance.

Sleeping Beauty Castle – Le Chateau d’ Usse
Marvelous castle overlooking the Indre and Loire Rivers which is the inspiration of Charles Perrault for the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Step inside the castle and marvel as the fairy tale springs to life before your eyes.

Chenonceau Castle used to be the royal residence; it’s an exceptional site because of its original design, the richness of its collections, its furniture and its decorations and the history of the women who protected it.

The architecture of Chambord is a balanced blend of traditional elements of Medieval French and Italian Renaissance. It is the perfect reflection of the king who built it.

Chateau Amboise
The chateau is an emblematic monument and its landscaped gardens offer one of the most remarkable panoramas of the Loire Valley. It is registered as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The chateau is open to the public everyday except New Year and Christmas.

Chateau Villandry
The great gardens of Villandry are one of the few places in Loire Valley to be open every day of the year. Make the most of it and be amazed at their constantly changing beauty from January to December!

Wine tour is perfect to incorporate into your romantic dating holiday schedule. Wine tasting can be a stand-alone day visit for the novice or connoisseur.

Le Tasting Room
Wine tour gives a fascinating insight into the wines and winemakers of the Loire valley. They give a comprehensive tasting and lunch in the comfort of the old winemaker’s home followed by a guided winery visit in the afternoon.

Loire Valley Wine Tour
It’s a fun introduction to the region and its wines. The tour allows you to enjoy the vineyards and wine tasting without the worry of driving. They offer half-day and one-day visits, two-day tours with accommodation and multi-region tours over five days.

Loire Wine Tours
Discover, savour, reveal, explore, and uncork wine. The Loire Wine Tours offers a selection of short break wine tours and wine tastings in the Loire valley vineyards for individuals, couples and for groups during May to September.

The perfect place for a cycling holiday with a mix of dedicated cycle paths and meticulously signposted routes along minor roads. Bicycling is such a delight, pedal past vineyards and orchards to grand chateau. Fill your bike with goodies and picnic down the road.

For an unforgettable moment, order a picnic lunch or bring out your hampers, shopping bags stocked with local delicacies and wines, spread out a blanket and bask in the early summer sun.
There are private estates in the region which are open to the public and provide a perfect setting for eating al fresco.

Feast your eyes while flying over some magnificent landscapes rich with lush forests, vineyards and the last wild river in Europe.

Balloon revolution
Fly over the Loire Valley and Cher, castles, vineyards and forests and discover the garden of France as you’ve never seen! Celebrate the event around the toast of balloonist, while the pilot gives you the flight certificate.

France balloons
Drift slowly over the architectural masterpieces in a hot air balloon guided by the winds. Balloon rides in the Loire valley are scheduled every day in the morning and evening when the weather conditions are optimal, daily, including national holidays, from April to October.

CANOEING & KAYAKING in the Loire River
There are many opportunities for canoe/kayak ride within the Loire Valley. Discover the natural, historical and architectural heritage of the region while descending its many delightful rivers.

Canoe France
An unmissable singles dating activity in the Loire region, canoeing and kayaking is an unforgettable experience accessible to everyone. Situated in an ideal position on the banks of the River Loire, 5 minutes from Blois in the heart of the Pays des Châteaux, discover the natural and cultural heritage of the Loire Valley.

Witness a truly view of the breathtaking Loire Valley and its major castles in a helicopter sightseeing tour. This is probably one of the best ways to celebrate a special occasion with a loved one. Land in a vineyard for an unforgettable wine tasting or in a castle park for a unique local product tasting.

Stately châteaux, colourful gardens, flourishing vineyards and mediaeval villages make boating the Loire Valley a magical experience. Stop to fish, take the bikes for a spin, and enjoy the scenery.

The only hotel barge navigating the heart of the Loire Valley. The 6 passenger hotel barge Nymphea is the ideal vessel for cruising the Valley. They will take you on unforgettable tours of Château de Chenonceau, Château d’Amboise, Château du Clos Lucé, the Villandry Gardens and a Troglodyte cave dwelling allowing you to become completely immersed in the wonders of the Loire Valley.

There is a wide range of restaurants in the region offering everything from traditional local fare, to ‘special occasion’ restaurants, and a mixture of foreign cuisines.

Gourmet Tour
The Gastronomy tour will welcome you in the heart of France and have you fall in love with the intense aromas, beautiful thought out flavors and sensational tastes of delicately crafted masterpieces. Visiting the impressive castles and chateaux of the region will make dining like kings and queens a true reality.

The Orangerie
The castle allow visitors inside the Orangerie, it will welcome you in a charming setting at the back of the Jardin Vert designed by Bernard Palissy. It has a restaurant, a snack bar, a tea house and a store.

Côté Loire
Côté Loire is nestled back from the road that follows the bank of Loire, on the Place de la Grève (just a 2 minute walk to the castle of Blois). The restaurant was built during the XVIth century.

Château du Breuil
The Chateau du Breuil is situated in the heart of the Loire Valley a few leagues from Cheverny, it is above all a place where visitors are welcomed as a very special, privileged guest.

Les Closeaux
A traditional restaurant nestled in the Loire vineyards, between Amboise, Chenonceaux and Chaumont-sur-Loire. The restaurant is organized around an open calcareous tufa chimney and a reception room upstairs.

What better way to learn about the history of France than in its museums?

Blois Museum
Immerse yourself in the amazing History of France. Blois was the residence of seven kings and ten queens. Its architecture and collections of paintings offer a panorama of all the best that was achieved in France between the middle ages and the 17th century.

Parc Leonardo Da Vinci
Château du Clos Lucé countryside display is a top cultural attraction. The museum is journey of discovery, on the trail of Leonardo da Vinci’s visionary genius. Learn more about Leonardo’s creativity while enjoying a walk which is both fun and educational.

Do you Know History & Heritage is remembered best when experienced?

Have you ever realized that some people find history boring? Well, you may wonder why, but that is the case. However, the great reason why this happens is ‘not being part of the story”. That is, experiencing history. You find that it is interesting to be part of a team that is enjoying a particular activity that is dated years back in history.

See, you do not have to just memorize dates, names of places, some famous guys, or relic hunting spots. The best way is to board a yacht that was used a long time ago, say like 200 years back. That is just like experiencing history. Actually, it would be best if you got an opportunity to enjoy the James Craig Heritage Fleet. Here are ways to get to know more and enjoy historical things.

Try Watching Historical Movies

If you love movies, then the best thing to do is to grab a few historical films to get to know more about past events. This might give ideas on where to visit, the kind of food that was eaten a long time ago, the type of clothes people used to put on those days, places where people lived, and the type of government that ruled in those days and how they did it.

Visiting Museums

Visiting history collection spots like museums is one of the best ways to feel a sense of history. You see, it feels so good to have a visual glimpse of history. You will have a look at various artifacts and gems that museums hold. Thus, if you want to have a look at the clothes used in olden days, rings, and even tools.

These museums give more information about the ancient days that you would get in any history booklet. And you experience a lot if you even get a chance to take photos alongside such artifacts and gems.

Exploring Historical Places

Have you ever heard about memorial sites where battles or wars are commemorated? Well, you would want to to pay a visit to such places. You can develop more sense and interest in certain subjects if you see where soldiers were honored. However, you need to be more focused on learning the significance of the place you visit. Not just taking as many pictures as you can.

Trying Historical Recipes

You have heard famous kings and queens who had favorite meals that you can try. You see, the recipes re available in the book, online, and even via various platforms. To enjoy the meal, consider trying out the recipe during your free time. You can even involve your kids, and they will definitely love it.

For example, there are meals that people used to eat in the 90s. How about trying such recipes? See, if you eat what those who lived in the ancient days, we say you are experiencing history and heritage.

Bottom line

The best ways to enjoy history and heritage are by visiting museums, cooking the food that people ate a long time ago, exploring historical sites, and having a glimpse of historical movies.


Enjoying Your Stay in the Valley

If you’re looking for the perfect holiday destination for the whole family, the Loire Valley offers something for everyone. The valley is

located along central France’s Loire River littered with glorious chateaux and versatile countryside. The River Loire is a World Heritage Site with interesting villages and towns to explore. The valley offers a huge range of activities for the clan to enjoy. From historic museums, waterpark, gardens and impressive castles everyone is guaranteed a good time.

Here’s a list of activities you can do while enjoying your stay in the valley:

Rediscover Leonardo da Vinci at the Chateau de Close Luce
Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist and inventor spent the last three years of his life in Chateau de Close Luce. The chateau in Amboise served as his official residence. Today, it has been converted into a museum. You can tour the museum to learn about the valley’s history as well as look at this invention. School-age-kids will surely love many of his inventions on display. Kids can learn by touching, spinning and exploring his fascinating inventions. The museum also offers playground and picnic area for the whole family.

Stroll the Garden of Love at the Chateau de Villandry
The gardens at the Chateau de Villandry are renowned for their beauty. The magnificent gardens have been admired for over 500 years. The best view of the gardens is from the higher vantage points inside and outside the castle. Look down and appreciate the meaning and the complete designs of the gardens. The labyrinth is divided into symmetrical sections for easy exploration.

Cycle along the River through the Loire à velo Cycle Route
Hire a bicycle and cycle the River Loire through the Loire à velo cycle route. The route stretches 800 kilometres from St-Brevin-les-Pins on the Atlantic coast through the cities of Nantes, Angers, Saumur, Tours, Orleansto Cuffy in the Cher. The route is easy and well organised with signpost and paths to ride. You can also take the side routes that concentrate on the Loire Valley chateau. Go at your own pace or stop for sightseeing. You can also have a picnic under the fruit trees or just rest on the banks of the river.

Marvel at the great Gothic Cathedrals at Bourges
Cathedrale St-Etienne at Bourges is one of the great gothic cathedrals of France which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bourges cathedral is modelled in Notre Dame in Paris. Take a pair of binoculars when you visit this great cathedral so you can pick out the details of the biblical stories in the stained glass.

Taste the Healing Waters at the Spa Town
The spa town in La Roche Posay was founded by the Romans in 15th century. The spa is renowned for its healing waters which is good for the skin. Taste the waters from one of the taps outside the spa and enjoy its health giving properties. La Roche Posay is also the home of two race courses. The Hippodrome features both trotting and steeple chasing. You might even find some free book maker bets at the onsite tote style betting shop.

Tour the Château de Chenonceau
Chenonceau is perhaps the most famous chateau in the Loire Valley. The castle literally spans the River Cher with the attractive mixture of late Gothic and early Renaissance architecture style. The interior of Chenonceau is meticulously restored, showcasing the intricate tapestry, furniture and paintings. The high-ceiling rooms lets you step back in time and visualise royal life. The fresh flowers made the castle feel lived in. The chateau is small that you can tour all the rooms in less than an hour.

Wine Tasting at Bouvet-Ladubay
Bouvet-Ladubay is one of the valley’s best producers of sparkling wine. They offer an extensive guided tour of the winery. It has less than 10 mile of wine cellars to explore with wine tasting at the end of the tour. The winery also offers cycling tours for people worried about walking the subterranean miles.

Visit the delightful Art Museumat the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours
Musée des Beaux-Arts is located in the bishop’s former palace in Tours. This delightful art museum contains one of France’s most extensive art collections with artist including Monet and Rubens and more. The sculpture collection features ancient classical Greek and Roman pieces, including the sculptures of historic French monarchs.

Explore the Valley in the Air
Float over the Loire Valley and see the landscapes from a whole new perspective.Riding the hot-air balloon is a unique way to explore the town of Amboise, its magnificent castles and the countryside. Exploring the field, forest and rivers up in a hot-air balloon is a magical adventure that will linger with the kids for a lifetime.

Visit the Natural History Museum in Tours
Natural History Museum in Tours is one of the most child-friendly museums in the region. The kids will surely enjoy seeing the stuffed animal section of the museum on the second floor. Kids will go wild inspecting gorillas, lions and other predators at the museum. There’s also a live animal exhibit which include reptiles and insects as well as other crawling critters. The museum is fun for all ages.

Let the kids explore the PapéaParc
The PapeaParc located in Yvre-l Eveque is a family-friendly theme park that is sure to wipe your boredom away. Families with young kids that need to expend some energy will find lots of things to do here. Take a pedalo ride out on the lake to let the kids meet and greet the farm creatures. There are also stomach-churning rides like the log flume or pirate ship.

Meet animals at La Fleche Zoo
La Fleche Zoo is one of the best in France. It contains 1,200 animals kept in enclosure that replicate their natural habitat. The zoo has an innovative viewing windows at allow kids to take a glance into the animals without disturbing the inhabitant. Feeding session provide opportunity for younger kids to learn about the different species in the zoo.

Corporate Holidays in the Loire Valley

According to a 2015 survey conducted by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., a global outplacement and business coaching firm, 80 percent of the respondents still planned to have their corporate holiday parties despite the slow economic growth.

Corporate holidays are unlike the holidays which most people experience with friends and family. They tend to be shared with a group of people who aren’t familiar with one another and require an ice breaker to occur. Traditionally, corporate holidays are filled with booze, music and flirting; however, companies can throw parties that can still be classy, relaxing and fun.

Corporations that have deep pockets can host upscale corporate holiday events and treat their employees to a trip of their lifetime. One of the places upmarket travellers might want to visit is the Loire Valley, the land of chateaus, fine wines and stunning sceneries. Considered as among the top holiday destinations in the world, Loire Valley offers a lot of activities that holidaymakers can enjoy. Here is a guide of things to do while in Loire Valley:

  • Tour Around the Valley on Bike
    The stress and pressure of a corporate job is very taxing. While in Loire Valley, you can relax and appreciate the beauty of the region while biking your way to some of the famous chateaus, parks and gardens on quiet country roads. You can either arrange group tours or just rent a bike and discover the allure and splendour of the countryside.
  • Get Sporty With a Canoe Holiday
    After pedalling through the forest, going back to the Renaissance period with trips to chateaus, and resetting your inner Zen at reposeful parks and gardens, you can paddle your way to more explorations with a canoe. Discover more chateaus and know more about the valley’s rich culture and heritage while following the rhythm of the water as it streamed down the river. Canoeing is a good team building activity. Companies can set race contests in groups or pairs. There are also group tours available to travellers.
  • Drink Wine
    Savour the French heritage with wine at vineyards and wine bars. While in Loire Valley, don’t miss visiting vine-covered hillsides that surround the region. Sample some of the most famous quaffs that are grown around the area or enjoy themed-nights at lounge bars which offer cocktails, salsa and jazz music. Celebrate your promotion or your company’s success at wine bars while relishing delicious terrines and rilletes that are made more flavourful with a bottle of Sancerre.
  • Throw a Fairy Tale-Themed Ball
    Since you are already surrounded with castles and a Renaissance ambiance, throw a fairy tale-themed ball where employees get to dress as royalties. Pose as kings and queens at stationed photo booths or have a portrait taken by a pro. Hand them custom-made goodies and souvenirs from their trip at Loire Valley. Don’t forget to add some music and of course, food and wine.

Employees look forward to enjoying corporate holidays. Before giving them a lavish experience of fun and spectacle, always keep your company’s finances in check. For upmarket travellers, avoid incurring debts during your holiday trip. If and when this happens, settle them with companies that provide quality assurance.

Joan of Arc and the Brutality of British Law

There are few more fascinating stories from history than that of Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, who led the French against the English in the Loire Valley in 1429. Apparently, she was an illiterate farm hand who heard the voice of God inside her head, telling her to defeat the English. The Battle of Jargeau, was her first offensive engagement, and took place along the districts at this point on the Loire River. This was one battle in what is known as the Hundred Year’s War, fought between the House of Plantagenet ruling England and the House of Valois defending its rulership of France.

Joan of Arc was involved in five military actions in 1429: lifting the Siege of Orleans; the Battle of Jargeau; the Battle of Meung-sur-Loire; the Battle of Beaugency; and the Battle of Patay. Her leadership of the French forces was seen to be decisive in turning the war in France’s favour. This period is seen by historians as the first real development of opposing French and English nationalistic feelings amongst the peoples of these lands. Prior to this the English kings were vassals to the French ruling house in France, since the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Joan of Arc and the Brutality of British Law

In 1430 Joan of Arc was captured at Compiegne by the Burgundians, who were allied with the English. They handed her over to the English and Joan was tried by the Bishop of Beauvais on charges of witchcraft, amongst others, and found guilty. Whilst still only nineteen years of age; Joan was burnt at the stake by the English in 1431 in Rouen, Normandy. The brutality of British law would see them burn her remains three times. This was because she died of smoke inhalation the first time, and her organs were not completely incinerated the second time, so a third burning was required under law.

One wonders what wills and estates the Maid of Orleans may have left for her surviving family. Unmarried, a virgin, it would have to be her parents or siblings that would inherit, if she had left any property behind. Joan of Arc became a saint, and a national icon of French, when she was beatified and canonised by the Catholic Pope, and celebrated by Napoleon Bonaparte. Church and state united behind this illiterate young woman who fought fiercely for French identity against the English.


Business Loans for a Chateau in the Loire Valley

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Fairy tales such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White gave us the need to make sense of life and romance with the hope of good triumphing over evil, but aside from that, it also opened our eyes to the breathtaking beauty of magnificent castles.

Imagine living in a tower-topped chateau governing the landscape with a vision of mystique and romance. Walking in through the castle doors and going up the long, windy staircase will make you feel like you’re transported into a dream, a fairy tale land where happy endings always exist.

If you’ve ever been to the Loire Valley in France, you must have visited some of the magnificent and enchanting castles in your exploration expedition. The countryside is riddled with a number of majestic chateaux with a diverse palette of styles which captures the imagination like no other architectural wonder.

Chateaux are definitely not cheap and usually has over 1 hectare of land. But despite of it being costly, there’s a strong interest for people to buy such property, either for a family home or a tourism trade. Business loans are what most business people turn to, to gain the financial assistance they need in order to acquire the chateau of their dreams. They’re either renovated then transformed into a hotel or serves as a family retreat for the more affluent ones.

If you’re contemplating on buying a chateau either for pleasure or business, you can find many beautiful properties to choose from in the Loire Valley. French chateaux and large estates are offering value for money with acres of land, lakes, outhouses and ample floor spaces. Those with less budgets opt to buy a large building with little land to make their money go further while others buy a smaller Logis style property and then utilises the land for horses, wildlife or hunting.

Living in a castle is nothing short of spectacular and if I had the resources, I definitely would buy a chateau in France where I can live my very own fairy tale. But for the meantime, I’ll just go ahead and book a trip to the Loire Valley for a spot of castle hopping!


Mobile Phone Radiation Effects

Avoid Mobile Phone Radiation, Escape to the Countryside

Did you know that the average smartphone user checks their phone 150 times a day? In this day and age, most people use different gadgets in organizing their calendar whether it’s for work, communicating with family or friends, and playing or reading ebooks. These days, almost everything is done right from the palm of our hands. In fact, there is an enormous increase in mobile phone usage throughout the world. Surely, it’s great to have new technology advancements which we all enjoy, but it’s not really all fun and games.

Technology has a dark side and one of them is radiation. It is a growing threat which we face today. Mobile phones for instance, emit electromagnetic radiation, which studies have linked to development of brain tumours, brain dysfunction, sleep disorders and other exposure-related conditions. Every time our cell phone’s power is on, it exposes areas of our body to the harmful effects of mobile phone radiation.

High mobile phone radiation levels pose serious health effects and harm people’s well-being. People living in the city are more exposed to high levels of radiation as they are constantly tied down to their work phone and home phone. As an escape from the harmful effects of mobile phone radiation, it’s a good idea to take a break in the country and enjoy the beauty of the rural surroundings.

There is no better way to escape the stresses and strains of modern living than to take a break in the countryside. It’s the perfect refuge to clear your head and relax as colours and landscapes provide the tranquillity and serenity of a perfect escape.

There are simply less distractions in the countryside and it is generally quiet and peaceful so you’re sure to have peace and solitude.  Get closer to nature and breathe clean, fresh air while strolling the streets and meeting friendly people.

The countryside offers so much to see and do – from beautiful sceneries, romantic landscapes and exciting activities in the great outdoors, a holiday to the countryside never fails to fascinate.

So turn off your mobile phones, head on to the countryside and enjoy the joys of simple living!

Irish Pub Tours Loire Valley

Irish Pub Tours Loire Valley France: The Pale

Tours (pronounced “Tuurh”) is the largest city in central France located on the river Loire in the Centre-Val de Loire region. Tourine, the region around Tours is known for its wines and for the perfection of its local spoken French. Much of the city is modern, it is a beautiful and lively city at night where you can find lots of places to relax, drink a beer or dance the night away.

An Irish missing home can find Irish camaraderie in The Pale, an authentic Irish Pub Tours Loire Valley is located in the heart of town at 18 Place Street at the corner of Rue Colbert and place Foire-le-Roi. The Pale is open from 2:00pm to 2:00am daily. It’s definitely the pub to go when you are visiting Tours, it’s close to everything. It is a great place to unwind after a day of sightseeing or have a few drinks after dinner. The outdoor seating and plenty of Irish beer make it a prime warm-weather hangout, day and night.

The Pale’s welcoming staff could make you feel at home and comfortable, even thousands of miles away from home. The Pale is popular with visitors of all ages, especially the English speaking ones. A great place to go if you are feeling lost and don’t speak any French as the clientele is about 75% Anglophone and all the staff are Irish.

Personally signed Irish celebrity framed posters, photographs and memorabilia are tastefully hung on the wooden walls, giving the pub a homey appeal. There are also beer tankards inscribed with the regular’s name. The Pale also have numerous wide HD screens and Sky Sports you won’t have to miss an important sporting event back home. The pub is particularly busy on game nights when fans gather to watch rugby and football matches.

There are billiard tables downstairs where they regularly have in-house concerts, invited bands play Irish music and dance nights. The Pale also have an upstairs section for people to play chess, backgammon and darts. The Pale have a wonderful terrace that is heated in the winter where you can chat with friends while drinking coffee or simply watch the people go by.

The Pale is one Irish pub all the way, with Guinness, as well an enviable collection of Irish whiskey alongside the beautifully lit bar. There is always an upbeat crowd here, and the staff makes sure everyone is having a good time. If you visit Tours and don’t go to The Pale, then you have missed out on a guaranteed highlight of your holiday!


Classic French Furniture

The French are famous for their art, fine food, and wines but that’s not all they’re famous for. The French know how to make life pleasantly beautiful and you can see it from their homes where they enjoy decorative arts and furniture that span centuries of great style.

The category of French furniture includes some of the most exquisite and sophisticated furniture that has ever been produced. There are a lot of different pieces of furniture that are classified as French furniture items such as beds, solid wood desks, cabinets, boardroom tables, dining tables and chairs.

The appearance and features of classic French-style furniture are easy to spot. The cabriole chair legs, the simple scalloped carving, the ladderback chairs, the eccentric embellishments and intricate embroidery, the plush silk upholstery with floral needlework, these are characteristics of French furniture.

There are different types of French furniture. The French provincial style of furniture for example follows the design innovations initiated in the luxury trades of Paris. This style has cultural identities distinct from the metropolis and is made in the provincial centres like Blois and Orléans in the Loire Valley. There is also the French country style furniture which was very popular up until the middle of the nineteenth century and has a conservative rural style characteristic. There is also the Parisian style of French furniture which reflects the cosmopolitan French culture and is one of the main designs that come from Paris, the decorative part of Europe. Another type of French furniture is the French Royal furniture which was made in a grand style for the French monarchy, and has the most exuberant designs of decorative furniture the world have known.

Different styles of furniture have been influenced by many different styles in Europe. A lot of modern furniture today are inspired from French-style furniture and are given a twist to create that shabby chic look giving homes that rustic French shabby chic flavour.

French furniture is something considered to be timelessly elegant, intimate and romantic. There will always be that unique difference as French furniture adds that flawless touch of French glamour to any home.


Social Media Agency For Your Business

Are you using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, G+ and other social media platforms to market your business? How much time do you spend online each day reaching and interacting with your customers and potential customers? If you don’t have the time or resources to pull together a creative team within your organization for social media management, it may be time to give a social media agency a call. LOURDES LAPSO answers what Social Media Agency can do for your business.


A Social Media Agency is a team of professionals who specialize in social media marketing to create business opportunities, awareness, online branding, strategy, develop content , generate quality leads and help businesses with its overall growth.

20 Things a Social Media Agency can do for Your Business

1. Social Media Agency will coach you in getting started in developing an Instagram, Facebook, Twitter,  Linkedin, G+ and other social platforms necessary for your business . They will help answer all your questions with different social networks and how to manage them more efficiently with the tools that are available.

2. Doing social media yourself is far from a cost-saving and eats into your productive hours in which you could be doing something else. Paying people for service holds them to account, you can agree and set the terms of what you expect of a social media campaign, and let them deliver against that.

3. Hiring a Social Media Agency gives you savings in the long run. You don’t have to hire a full-time employee with all the benefits to manage your social media marketing campaign.

4. Hiring an Agency is like hiring a team of more than ten people for a price of one. A full social marketing campaign includes, research, planning, design, video production, public relations, analytics, strategy and execution.

5. An Agency can help create buzz for your products through contest and promotions. They will help engage the audience by promoting relevant and interesting content, company insights and news.

6. Social Media Manager will help you realize your business goals and bring return on your investment by providing social media monitoring, growth analysis and the positive effects it has on your business.

7. Hiring a Social Media Agency is a great way to save you time. You don’t have to spend time sitting down everyday making status updates, tweets, uploads and learning new social media tools.

8. Social Media Agency Sydney will help you grow an active social media customer base for new product, service launches and promotions.

9. Help you create a sound social media plan that will increase your customer base and average customer value. It will also increase your company’s social reach and the value it’s bringing to your business.

10. Social Media Manager will help you in content development including video, graphics, photos, memes, contest, giveaways and blog post.

11. Social Media Agency with help you achieve business growth by raising your brand awareness and bringing back customers through social media management.

12. Social Media Agency will drive more customers to your website and get your business prominent placement in search results. So you can target your marketing to the people who are already searching for what you sell or offer in Australia.

13. Social Media Agency has a plan, knows what will work and let you skip the trial and error phase because they have the social media tools and know how to help your business gain success online.

14. They will help you reach your desired target market by displaying ads to customers located or interested in a specific geographical area.

15. You don’t have to spend time to keep up with all the new social media tools for social media management. Social Media Agency’s job is to keep up with this stuff.

16. Social media agency can make an objective assessment of your business and implement a strategy that gives you the greatest chance of success. They can ensure the quickest results because they know what works and what doesn’t.

17. They can use social media software, analytics and other tools to optimize campaigns. The skill set of an agency will help discover a wealth of information over time, which will translate into more followers, more shares, and ultimately, increased sales.

18. You may not have the adequate human resources to effectively run a proper social media marketing campaign, if employees already have their hands full with other tasks. Social Media Agency will take care of it for you.

19. Social Media Agency will help you with social listening. They will help brand to listen, understand and engage effectively with their online communities and help in evaluating underlying sentiment, identifying key influencers then recommending actions to take.

20. An agency has dedicated people who remain up-to-date with technological developments and will be able to accurately predict the next marketing trend.


A SharePoint overview by Catherine Blum.


If you’ve noticed your employees are having trouble meeting deadlines it might be due to a work overload. However it might also be because most of their time is spent answering and forwarding e-mails trying to get their co-workers aware of what’s going on in a project, for example. Or they might waste an awful amount of time looking for files in the intranet only to find out later that someone saved the document in a different folder than the one that was previously established. And the down part is that these scenarios are more common than they should be.

SharePoint is a software that was designed to solve those recurrent situations and simplify everyday tasks. With SharePoint you can file, organise and share documents, projects or others, as well as connect with people.

For instance, filing documents is easier with SharePoint because you can decide whether to use folders or tags to identify a document. Tags are responsible for gathering several documents, even of different formats, under a same subject. For example, a company that offers SharePoint development might choose to file the documents of a project done in Melbourne using tags, such as ‘project’ or ‘Melbourne’, or to place under a folder named ‘SharePoint Melbourne’.

SharePoint also plays a good role in connecting co-workers. The software makes it possible for employees to follow people, projects, documents, sites or even tags so they’re aware of any updates or changes that happen regarding the ones (or things) being followed. With SharePoint it’s also possible to set a general newsfeed or a specific feed for a project or something similar. So no more tracking down documents in the intranet and trying to figure out which is the latest version.

The software allows as well app development for teams. For instance, the Finance department might need a specific application that’s not useful for other groups or that shouldn’t be accessed by others so a custom app can be developed to satisfy the needs of that team. It’s also possible to buy an app in the App Store (Office Store) where there are currently more than 150 apps available to purchase or to download, as some are free.

The features mentioned are just a few offered by SharePoint. And although it’s quite a user-friendly software it’s encouraged to provide training to the company staff. Training everyone involved with the software instead of only one person will ensure the maximum and correct use of the software and make sure SharePoint is well worth the investment.



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linen sheets australia

Linen Sheets

Imagine the following situation: You’ll have guests coming over either to spend just one night, the weekend or for a longer period. Your guest bedroom (assuming you have one and won’t offer them that air mattress you have hidden somewhere in your house) is far from cosy and comfortable. If that situation is already a nightmare for people it’s even worse for companies that depend on their facilities to do business.

There are several other aspects involving the reception of guests at your establishment (providing a good service is one of them!). But if there’s one thing that will make them feel welcome is a nice, clean and inviting room. They will be certainly impressed if they notice you’ve worried in making them comfortable, or as you may, in their home away from home. We’ve put together a list with ten topics that will make your guests never want to leave.

  • Bedding

Is there anything more comfortable than lying on a clean bed with soft linen after a long trip? I doubt so! So make sure you have the right one! The sheets, for instance, can be made of Egyptian cotton, cotton, silk, pure linen or even of a blend of fabrics. Whatever you choose ensure it’s clean and ready for your guests to use when they arrive. Check out more information on pure linen sheets in Australia.

  • Mirror

Whether it’s a full-length or a custom sized, a mirror will give your guests a better experience when getting dressed.

  • Storage

Nobody likes to have to go through their suitcase every time they want something. Provide your guests with plenty of storage for them to unpack and organise their belongings the way that pleases them. Storage can be racks, tallboys or even a closet if there’s enough space.

  • Lighting

Lamps on a bedside table will allow your guests to read or use gadgets in bed and also find their way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

  • Bedside table

Because you need a place to actually put the lamps. Although there are other alternatives to lighting (e.g. lamps hanging from the ceiling or hooked to the wall) this is usually a less expensive way to secure your lamps. And guests can use the bedside table to keep things at a reachable distance, for example, mobiles, alarm clocks, medicine, etc.

  • Flowers

Putting fresh flowers in the room adds a natural scent to the space. Just make sure your guests are not allergic to it!

  • Extra sitting

Whether it’s a daybed or a comfortable chair, extra sitting will give your guests other option to seat other than the bed. They might enjoy reading a book or checking their emails while enjoying the view (assuming the room has windows). If there’s enough space add a floor lamp as well.

  • Snacks

Don’t make your guests stuck with kitchen hours. Make available some snacks they can have between the main meals offered by your establishment. It can include chocolates, crackers, beverages and others you may judge necessary. Offering typical food from the region your premises are located is a nice touch and a good way to introduce the local culture.

  • Toiletries

You don’t have to choose the most expensive toiletries available in the market to impress your guests, especially if you don’t have a luxurious accommodation. Toiletries with a good scent and quality presented in an eye-catching packaging will do the trick.

  • Going an extra mile with….welcoming notes!

A hand written welcoming note placed somewhere they cannot miss will show how you carefully thought about every detail to ensure their stay it’s comfortable and pleasant. It’s a small gesture they’ll remember next time they have to book a place to stay.

And remember: the details will show your guests how delighted you are for having them. Do it well and you’ll have faithful customers for years to come.

Australian Outback Tours

australian outback tours

The Loire Valley is in the heart of Europe and close to many other tourist sites of significant historic and cultural importance. A million miles away from the Australian Outback you may well imagine. But possibly they have more in common than you think.

Although not well recognised for it, Australia has a culture well worth experiencing. The history of Australian Aboriginal culture goes back over possibly 60,000 years and is the oldest surviving culture in the world. The modern Australian Outback culture was forged by pioneers who risked their lives in the harsh conditions of an undeveloped Australia to start a new life.

Both these fascinating cultures can be discovered when you take an Outback tour. Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventure operate their Outback tours from Sydney which take travellers away from the city and into the bush to discover the culture, history and nature of  Australian Outback tours.

The true Australian Outback starts much further from Sydney than it is possible to drive to on a 1 or 2 day tour from Sydney, but the easily accessible bush visited with Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures has the same unique Outback culture as found further inland.

You will have an Outback experience not easy to forget when you travel with Sally from Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures and visit the unique farm “Inglevale” near Eugowra in Central West NSW. This small farm has been cultivated exclusively with horse teams for its entire history. The father of current owner Bill Norris, Wilf, never saw the need to buy a tractor when his horses worked very well, and that’s the way the work has been done ever since.

The Norris’s, who visitors get to meet and spend an afternoon, evening and morning with, are a typical generous and friendly Australian bush family who typify Outback ideals. As well as discovering age old farming techniques of horse work and shearing, visitors enjoy a meal around the campfire and are entertained with performances of traditional and modern Australian country music.

Away from any lights (the farm has no electricity connection) the opportunity to view the brilliant Southern skies stars is not to be missed. It is here that Sally can recount some Aboriginal legends of constellations and explain how the Aboriginal people viewed the sky.

Another outstanding experience of Aboriginal culture is at the Waradah Centre in Katoomba which is visited on her Outback tours. Here the Aboriginal hosts explain Aboriginal lifestyle, customs and artefacts and perform Aboriginal dances and music. This world class facility provides a favourite tour experience.

So although a world away from the culture of Europe, Australia’s Outback has cultures all of its own no less fascinating which Aussie Farmstay and Bush Adventures can reveal to you.

For more info click on this link: Outback Tours

business loans loire valley chateau

Loire Valley Highlights

The Loire Valley lies within the heart of France. The Grand River Loire stream right through the centre of the region and is France’s longest river. The water of the Loire starts its journey on the Massif Central and ends in the Atlantic Ocean.  The Loire is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural landscapes, magnificent castles and regal homes.

This part of France has a superb topography and perhaps less known for the fact that this region also supports a mouth-watering flora and fauna. The Loire Valley region’s river and streams reveal treasures to behold – its scenery, its climate and its untamed nature.

Aside from the majestic castles and the superb wine and food, some of the natural highlights you’ll find in the Loire Valley include sacred sites, rivers, forests, lakes and moors. There are so many fantastic highlights in the Loire Valley and here are some of them:

Stopover the Chartres Cathedral located in the medieval town of Chartres. It is an outstanding model of Gothic style architecture. You’ll be amazed by the 152 beautifully stained glass windows that are noted for their remarkable deep blue colour. Part of the relics found is a tunic believed to be owned by the Virgin Mary herself.

Drop by the Tours Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours). This cathedral has an amazing detailed design and exquisite facade, and the outside is just as impressive as the interior, with its Gothic windows and splendid walls.

Don’t forget to visit the Cathedral of St Etienne of Bourges which was constructed between the late 12th and late 13th centuries. It is considered to be one of the great masterworks of Gothic art because of its proportions and the unity of its design. Besides the magnificent architecture, it affirmed the influence of Christianity in medieval France.

Visit the Abbey of Fontevraud or Fontevraud Abbey which is considered as one of the greatest monastic cities in Europe. The Abbey has a remarkable size and originality. It was transformed into a prison by Napoleon in 1804 and was saved from destruction and became a dreaded penitentiary centre. The Abbey today is a renowned site for concerts, conventions and expositions.

Take some time away from Palaces and Cathedrals to see the charming Berce Forrest. This forest is surrounded by oak trees and there are trails marked by arrows on the trees to follow. It is idyllic, unspoilt, with gigantic oak trees towering 50 meters into the sky before branching out.

Visit the lakes of Brenne which is known as the land of a thousand lakes. This welcoming place is also home to Europe’s biggest population of European pond turtles. In the summer you can observe these little turtles when they sunbathe. You can also find different insect species. This is where two-thirds of France’s dragonfly species can be found.

Would you like to see the domain of rare eagles?  Visit the Orleans Forest, France’s biggest state-owned forest. This forest has very rich soil and has a number of bodies of water which explains the diversity of animal and plant species in the area.

Take some time out and see Sologne nestled in the loop of the Loire River. It is famous for its forests, lakes and moors. Three-quarters of the area is occupied by forestland plus 12,000 hectares of lakes. The moors is the typical Sologne feature. Its rivers are highly populated too and its lakes are home to an impressive array of plant species.

If you want to see wooded hillsides, paths bordered by green hedgerows, ribbons of water running through meadows, and rolling landscapes then Perche is the place for you. Perche is a haven of greenery which any nature lover will enjoy, and nature really prospers in this area.

Another highlight would be the Charters Light Show (Chartres En Lumiere). During this event, colorful lights illuminate historic sites and some principal buildings of the old city of Chartres including the cathedral, media Library, theatre building and many more.


Digital Marketing Agency

20 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Digital Marketing …

By Sydney based social media writer Christine Buhay …

Digital marketing is a powerful force in the marketing landscape. It is such a complex and continually evolving area that is focused on increasing the reach and visibility of your business. It is applied in developing strong marketing objectives to produce great impact on any business. Here are 20 reasons why your business needs digital marketing:

  1. Digital marketing is cost-effective and affordable. It requires only little investment, but you can expect far greater returns. It is also less costly than traditional marketing campaigns as there are no printing, postage and distribution costs, instead, you are left with a cost effective means to offer personalised marketing communications to your audience.
  2. Digital marketing creates your brand image. It can help you establish your brand by simply presenting the strengths of your products or services. Use your strengths to solidify what you are all about and how you can best help your customers.
  3. Digital marketing has real time results and information. It offers actual time information that can be updated at any time and changed accordingly to suit your business needs. With just a click of a button, you can see the numbers of visitors to your site and its subscribers increase, peak trading times and much more. See in real time what is or is not working for your business online and adjust very quickly to improve your results.
  4. Digital marketing monitors your reputation. Many consumers express their grievances and complaints via social media and this can damage your brand. Digital marketing can oversee this for you so that you can resolve the issues right away.
  5. Digital marketing gets you found. Search engine ranking is an important scheme for any business in the digital world. A successful campaign can take your website to the first page ranking bringing you more visitors – the more visitors on your site, the more buyers you’ll have.
  6. Digital marketing is a fast and easy access. With today’s digital age, almost anyone can gain access to the internet. Your advertisements and campaigns can easily be seen anywhere in the world, exposing your content to an enormous potential customer base.
  7. Digital marketing enhances your credibility. It’s not enough that your clients and prospects know and like you. You want them to trust you! Digital marketing lets you share your knowledge and information through a blog post and other social media platforms which provides you instant credibility. Supplying valuable information and communicating your ideas about current news shows that you’re concerned about your audience and you’re constantly updated with current affairs.
  8. Digital marketing can reinvent your website. Your website should be vibrant, helpful and visually engaging, and digital marketing can guarantee your website performs at its finest. It’s good to reinvent your websites to stay fresh and relevant in the marketplace.
  9. Digital marketing can improve consumer relationship. Consumers and clients can easily reach you through social media sites and having them close to you can be rewarding. Developing a bond or friendship with your consumers is a great deal to a lasting connection.
  10. Digital marketing has limitless networking among people. Shout outs and posts can take your business to a wider audience. Digital marketing makes this task so much easier as you can begin new relationships around the globe.
  11. Digital marketing can easily track feedbacks and reviews. Customer feedbacks are important for you to improve your products or services to give customer satisfaction. Positive reviews can also strengthen your credibility to new visitors when they read about it in your site.
  12. Digital marketing is focused and specific. It helps consumers narrow their search for a particular service they are considering. This will more likely lead to attracting the target audience you are looking for.
  13. Digital marketing can reach mass amounts of people in short time. Internet is practically everywhere and can reach as far as it can to endorse your brand.
  14. Digital marketing welcomes interaction from your audience and keeps customers engaged. Keeping your customers interested is important in your business. You can interact effectively with clients and potential customers in a personalised way encouraging them to visit your website, purchase your products or services and provide feedback which is apparent to your market, ultimately creating good publicity as well.
  15. Digital marketing helps you keep up with competitors. By conducting competitive research to see where your top competitors are investing their time and money, you can keep pace and be ahead of the game.
  16. Digital marketing can easily attract the attention of potential customers. It can actually hold the attention of your readers and encourage them to take action like visit your website or social media channel and read about what you can do for them resulting to positive results.
  17. Digital marketing is not intrusive. Receiving emails on products or services that are not a topic of interest to you can be frustrating. Don’t you just hate it when someone calls you at inconvenient times and sells you something you’re not even keen on? Hard selling is not applicable with digital marketing because potential clients are the ones looking for you.
  18. Digital marketing has measurable results. It has the ability to track and scrutinize virtually everything. It can track how and why your prospects find you and is the best way to know what’s working and what isn’t, therefore you can regularly improve your traffic-building and lead-generation strategies.
  19. Digital marketing gives you direct access to your customers. You can use your social networking profiles to gather, compile and analyse as much information about your customers as possible and use this to create relevant marketing campaigns tailored for them.
  20. Digital marketing offers businesses the opportunity to measure and track the effectiveness of each campaign. It allows businesses to test a wide array of strategies allowing them to gauge which produces the best response. Campaigns can be easily adjusted and scaled up or down.

Click on any of these links to find companies who specialise in different aspects of digital marketing such as


social media management

social media training

facebook management

Article by Christine Buhay of Atomic Digital, an SEO Sydney based company, supplied to us for link juice for the term digital marketing agency sydney – for more on our expanding premium links network and our social media community which stretches from Sydney to Paris, London, Marseilles, New York, Tokyo and now into Brazil click on our contact us page.

TGV Rail Train Paris Loire Valley Accommodation France Disneyland

Travelling By Train

Image by Sese Ingolstadt

Early developers of high speed trains – the ‘TGV’ – France now has a well-developed network of rail links between major centres both in France and to neighbouring countries.

Fortunately their booking system is going a lot faster too! gets you to the booking site which gives you the fast trains, or go to if you want a wider choice of trains.

But before you book, look at a map! Seems obvious, but we have had many visitors who think we are in the South of France –or just outside Paris – or anywhere in between!

The TGV site lists TGV destinations, so use the map to find the nearest point of departure and arrival.

Booking on the site is quite easy, although they do show us lots of options, so check very carefully that you have the correct destination and time! There are sometimes special offers such as first class travel at almost the same price as second class, especially at off peak times such as Sunday lunchtime.

Another option is the opportunity to modify or cancel your tickets, free or with a small fee. As this allows you to cancel at any time up to the train departure, it can be quite useful – a little extra insurance against things going wrong! It also means that you can book all your travel then modify if you find that it would be nice to stay on an extra day somewhere to visit a special event – a summer fete, a winter chateau wonderland…

All aboard!

At the station, watch the arrival/departure screens for information on your train. Be sure to check the train number as you would for a flight! The screens will give the platform number. Unfortunately most announcements are in French only. You will need to know the French for a late train –“retard” or “delai” – fortunately near enough to English.

There will be a screen on the platform showing the train make up – carriage or “car” numbers – with an indication that, for example, car 2 can be boarded between zones E and F, which are indicated on its platform.

Note your “car” number and seat number and away you go! 250 km/hr seems not fast at all! As journey times are pretty well standard, trains do not make up time and arrive early. So if you are due to arrive at noon, you probably will!

As there are never many stops, this means that you can be ready to exit at the appointed station without the worry that it may be the wrong one! (Useful as announcements are often only in French again). We set our phone alarms to vibrate 10 minutes before arrival time so we can snooze without worry!

Use the TGV to travel to the Loire Valley – Tours or St Pierre des Corps – from CDG airport (1 hour 40 minutes) or Paris (1 hour) and visit the stunning chateaux.

Find your accommodation at


Villandry Gardens Accommodation Loire Valley France

The Gardens of the Loire

La Ferme du TempleThe longest untamed river in France- La Loire- passes through Touraine, where in the valley and surrounding hills can be found hundreds of chateaux, manoir and other imposing buildings. A classified UNESCO site, the Loire Valley has long attracted kings and queens, artists and writers, poets and plebs.

At the root of the attraction of this area is a mild climate and fertile soil, giving rise to the name “The Garden of France”.

With a mix of soil types – chalk, clay, gravel – short winters and dry summers, almost any non-tropical plant will find an ideal growing location, be they roses or grapes.

There are gardens here for all tastes, from traditional to, well, frankly bizarre (or maybe innovative is better!)

Traditional starts with Villandry a stylised Renaissance formal garden. Low box hedges surround beds of roses, annual flowers and vegetables in a visually stunning geometric layout. There is also the formal lake, the avenue of lime trees, a maze… the whole is a picture of tranquillity where you could imagine princes and princesses strolling.

Another formal garden is at the Chateau of Chenonceau, a stunning building spanning the River Cher. However, the formality is balanced by the forest walks through massive oaks, chestnuts, beech and other trees. Here you will find hidden treasures – the maze, the gazebo – where you can pause and rest awhile.

A similar forest is at the Chateau de Riveau, but carried one stage further, The Chateau itself being quite small, the owners have developed interest in the garden. Taking as their theme things gargantuan (Gargantua was the giant hero of books by the writer Rabelais who lived in this area), you will find giant boots, giant legs striding through  the forest, giant – well, you get the idea! And some elves and fairies, all very delightful.

Even more innovative are the gardens at the Chateux de Courson, where every year from April to October they hold a garden festival.

The chateau is set in a parkland – giant Lebanese cedars, flower and grass meadows, woods; but, adjacent to the old farm buildings, a large area has been set aside to host some 30 show gardens. Unlike temporary garden shows such as Chelsea, the show gardens here have to survive for 6 months – withstanding all the weather has to offer, as well as thousands of visitors passing through.

Here you will find the imaginative, innovative, and, yes, bizarre, but always idea generating, amusing and sometimes stunningly beautiful.

Here at the farm of La Ferme du Temple, we love to share our garden with our visitors. Natural streams, a small lake, meadows grazed and fallow, a rose bed, dahlias and spring bulbs. All enhanced with bridges, old stone buildings and sculptures – a private paradise!

20 Must-Visit Paris Attractions

paris opera 20 best things to do in paris









Paris is one of the world’s most popular city destinations. Known as the “City of Light”, it’s famous for many sites, historical landmarks, museums, churches and war monuments. Whenever  in Paris, do visit some of these great attractions:

Eiffel Tower 
The Eiffel Tower is a world famous structure that rises 300 meters tall (984 ft). You will see its top from all over Paris. This iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel who is known from his revolutionary bridge building techniques.

Basilique du Sacré Coeur
Sacré-Coeur Basilica is a Roman Catholic Church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre which is the highest point in the city. Its interior is bedecked with gold mosaics and towering stained-glass windows, and you can listen for the peal of one of the world’s heaviest bells.

Cathedrale de Notre Dame
Cathedrale de Notre Dame is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world which was built in the Gothic style. Numerous kings were crowned or married here, and it is also where Napoleon was crowned emperor by the pope. It is one of the best-known symbols of the French capital, and the most-visited monument in France. Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe.

Musee du Louvre
The Louvre Museum was originally a royal palace but now is one of the largest, most important and most famous museums in the world. Some of the museum’s most celebrated works of art include DaVinci’s Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo statue.

Musée d’Orsay
The Musée d’Orsay is a museum housed in a grand railway station built in 1900. Home to many sculptures and impressionist paintings, it has become one of Paris’s most popular museums. This is where the Impressionists are exhibited and contains works from Van Gogh, Pisarro, Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Seurat, Millet, sculpture by Rodin and others.

Jardin des Tuileries
This place has a singular history, like everything in this city, created by Catalina de Medicis (wife of Henry II) the Palais des Tuileries was constructed in the place where there was several tiles factories (that’s the reason of the name) demolished to make room for the palace building. The gardens belonged to the palace, now it is a public park.

Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe or the Arch of Triumph is one of the greatest arches in history. It’s the second-largest triumphal arch in the world and anchors the middle of a star of 12 avenues that radiate out from the center of Place Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile. On top of the arc is a viewing platform that provides wonderful views of Champs Elysées and other avenues stretching away from the perch high above the center of the square.

Champs Elysées
This impressive promenade stretches from the Place the la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle, the site of the Arc de Triomphe. It is lined with trees and is perfect for a stroll down the avenue. There is so much to see here at any time of the day or night.

Montmartre is most famous for the Sacre-Coeur Basilica on the top and the wonderful view of Paris. Montmartre is most famous for the Sacre-Cœur Basilica on the top and the wonderful view of Paris. It is also home to the legendary Moulin Rouge. This great hilltop neighborhood was an artist’s community in the late 1800s to early 1900s and was home to some of the great artists such as Salvador Dalí, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent van Gogh.

Chateau de Versailles
The magnificent Chateau de Versailles is a testimony of the Sun King’s extravaganza. The Palace and its magnificent formal garden became the quintessential model for palaces in Europe. With more than 700 rooms the Chateau de Versailles is one of the largest castles in the world. A visit to Versailles to view all the rooms and grounds will take you a full day.

Jardins du Luxembourg
The Jardins du Luxembourg is probably the most popular park in Paris. It is Paris’ second largest but arguably its most lively park. Like the Tuileries, much of it was originally the gardens of a royal palace but unlike that largest of the city’s green spaces, the Luxembourg’s palais is still here. This park is a green oasis in central Paris with many statues and fountains.

Bateaux Mouches
No visit to Paris would be complete without taking a boat cruise down the Seine. View the city from the heart and soul of Paris, the Seine River. Take one of the river cruises from Bateaux Mouches which takes you along areas of the oldest and most majestic historic monuments.

If you are at Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle is very close and definitely worth a visit. It is the finest royal chapel to be built in France and was built to house the relics of the Passion of Christ. It also features a truly exceptional collection of absolutely breath-taking stained-glass windows.

Centre Georges Pompidou
Pompidou’s center was constructed in 1977 as the big cultural center for every possible exhibition. The building is often called as “city machine”. It seems to be an unfinished construction because the woods and the pipelines are exposed. The pipes and ducts are all color-coded: blue for air, green for water, red for elevators, yellow for electricity, grey for corridors and white for the building itself.

Cimetière du Père Lachaise
Cimetière du Père Lachaise is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. The search for the tombs of celebrities becomes a recreational part of the visit to this cemetery because of the many famous people buried here, among them the novelist Oscar Wilde, the artist Delacroix, the composer Chopin, and Jim Morrison.

The Conciergerie is a former palace turned into prison. The Conciergerie’s most famous prisoner was Marie Antoinette and you can see a reconstruction of her prison cell. The place where her cell was located is now the Marie Antoinette chapel.

Tour Montparnasse
At 210 meters, the Montparnasse Tower is the tallest skyscraper in Paris and affords an uninterrupted 360° view from the rooftop. The views are stunning from the top. The advantage is you can take a photo of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the shot.

Pont Neuf
The Pont Neuf is the oldest and best known bridge in Paris and together with the Pont Alexander III, one of its most beautiful. With its superb design and decoration, it was the central feature of the grand royal architecture to be found along the Seine.

The Panthéon was first designed as a church, but later turned into a civil temple. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve but after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. Among those buried in the Panthéon’s necropolis are Voltaire, Rousseau, Honoré Mirabeau, Marat, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Jean Moulin, Marie Curie, René Descartes, Louis Braille and Soufflot, its architect.

Canal Saint-Martin
This striking canal is an extension of the River Seine. It is a pleasant place for a boat ride or a summer stroll. With its swinging footbridges, the Canal Saint-Martin is yet another example of how alluring Paris is. The canal offers plenty of opportunities for biking, sightseeing, and enjoying Parisian life at its most relaxed.

Paul Keung

The lovely city of Christchurch in New Zealand is known as the Garden City because of its many parks and gardens. It is also called the “Gateway” to the amazing South Island. There is a wide range of accommodation to choose from when you are in Christchurch and there is something available for every level of comfort and budget. Take your pick on these options.

ABBELLA LODGE MOTEL offers a spacious and modern motel accommodation. It is centrally located within ten minutes’ drive of Christchurch International Airport, the city centre and within easy distance of Christchurch’s many attractions.

ABBOTT HOUSE SUMNER BED AND BREAKFAST is a comfortable modern accommodation at the seaside with renovated 1870s historic villa close to Sumner beach. Relax and take an easy stroll along the beach to the many cafes and restaurants in Sumner Village.

ADDINGTON COURT MOTEL is a warm, modern, accommodation that is centrally located. It is easy access to rail, CBS Arena, Addington Raceway and many major attractions. They have luxurious accommodation and spacious self-contained quality units at very competitive rates.

AIRPORT PALMS MOTEL is newly opened in November 2011 and is offering a stylish and affordable accommodation to suit everyone visiting Christchurch. Only three minutes’ drive from Christchurch International Airport in the lovely tree lined street of Roydvale Avenue, Burnside, Christchurch.

AMROSS COURT MOTOR LODGE is a recently refurnished motel that offers a family-friendly accommodation. Only ten minutes’ walk to Christchurch city centre (Cathedral Square). Easy walk to major city attractions, casino, museum, restart city mall, hospitals, good restaurants, punting and Hagley Park.

A warm welcome awaits you at APOLLO MOTEL. This Qualmark four-star-plus rated complex is conveniently located and just five minutes’ walk to Canterbury University, Bush Inn and Westfield Shopping Centres and Deans Bush. The city centre, art galleries, Botanic Gardens, Westpac Stadium and raceways is within a short drive. Apollo Motel is proud to have gained an Environmental Award and is keen on protecting our environment.

CAMELOT MOTOR LODGE is a unique and spacious castle-like motel complex in the heart of Christchurch. This Qualmark 4 star and Enviro Silver award property is just walking distance to the city centre, shopping malls and restaurants.

CEDAR PARK GARDENS is a stunning and delightful B&B set in 1.5-acres of trees, perennials, shrubs and bulbs in a private setting at Rolleston, on the southern outskirts of Christchurch. It is the perfect setting for a restful getaway or base for Christchurch/Canterbury adventures.

CITY CENTRE MOTEL is a reserved, quality Qualmark four-star-plus Christchurch accommodation in centre of the city. Wake to peaceful birdsong and cicadas when you stay here. It is also conveniently located to attractions and activities to the east and west of the city including the International Antarctic Centre, wildlife reserves, cruises, hiking, markets and the mountains.

CLASSIC VILLA is an Italian-style boutique hotel in the heart of Christchurch’s central-city visitor area. This tastefully refurbished 5 star hotel is situated on the quiet Worcester Boulevard and is only steps away from the Art Gallery, Museum, Botanical Gardens, public hospital, punting on the Avon River and golf course.

DESIGNER COTTAGE BED AND BREAKFAST is a charming place located in peaceful surroundings just off Colombo Street near the shops and opposite Sydenham Park. The walk to the city centre from the beautiful cottages will give you the chance to admire many listed heritage buildings on Colombo Street.

FINLAY BANKS BOUTIQUE BED & BREAKFAST is an architecturally designed family home where you can experience the kiwi hospitality. They are members of the Bed & Breakfast Association New Zealand, which assures you of quality assessed accommodation. It is close to airport, restaurants, cafes and shopping.

GARDEN VIEW BED AND BREAKFAST is an award-winning Bed and Breakfast ideally located in one of the world’s finest wine regions. Set in a peaceful 1.5 acres of land with native trees and rose gardens and is just ten minutes south of Christchurch, and 20 minutes from Christchurch International Airport.

MERIVALE MANOR a luxurious fully-renovated 1880’s Manor. Self-contained, architecturally designed and is a great location that’s about 500 metres to Merivale Mall shopping, restaurants, bars & cafes.

ONUKU BED AND BREAKFAST commands a magnificent site on the north facing slopes of the Cashmere hills. Stay at this quiet place and enjoy splendid views across the city to the Southern Alps. Situated close to public transport, it is only five minutes’ walk to the airport bus and local buses.

PEPPERS CLEARWATER RESORTis a striking waterfront resort set within beautiful grounds. The hotel is located just a 15-minute drive from the beautiful city of Christchurch. The sophisticated accommodation is positioned around the clear sparkling lakes and waterways from which Peppers Clearwater Resort gets its name. The modern suites and villas offer guests privacy and comfort.

STONELEIGH LODGE is a French chateau-style lodge standing on twenty acres of landscaped grounds, complete with three lakes. It is situated in the heart of Canterbury’s prestigious lifestyle belt. Soak up the beautiful surroundings in this lavish B&B and set foot on an adventure as this estate has ready access to the city.

SUDIMA HOTEL CHRISTCHURCH AIRPORT is less than ten minutes’ drive from the central business district. It has a stylish lobby and elegant restaurant and is an ideal place to rest and rejuvenate before commencing a holiday in the stunning South Island.

THE GEORGE is an award-winning luxury boutique hotel, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World and tops the list of Christchurch Hotels. It is centrally located but peacefully positioned in the heart of Christchurch overlooking the scenic Hagley Park and river Avon. It is renowned for offering a personalised stay and attentive staff.

THE LILAC ROSE is a charming 100 year old villa that has been completely restored to offer luxury bed and breakfast accommodation. Enjoy generous hospitality and spacious rooms with stylish decor, antiques and fresh flowers. It is conveniently located 7 minutes from both Christchurch Airport and the Christchurch city centre so you can stroll to cafes, restaurants, shopping and cinemas. It’s also easy access to the main routes to the South Island’s most popular tourist destinations.

For more articles by Paul Keung click on: Paul Keung

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Accommodation Loire Valley

accommodation loire valley B&B bed & breakfast

La Ferme du Temple Bed & Breakfast …

The Loire Valley is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. It is referred to as the Cradle of the French Language, and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards and artichoke and asparagus fields that line the banks of the river. It is also known for its historic towns, architecture and wines.

La Ferme du Temple is a farmhouse Bed & Breakfast in the Loire Valley that has been exquisitely renovated and modernised. It is located in the lovely South Touraine in the charming village of Nouatre, just 100 metres or so from the baker, grocer, bars and restaurant, and the River Vienne. It sits on 6-acre grounds that warrant tranquility and pleasure, featuring a lake, streams and waterfalls and plenty of wildlife. It is overlooking the courtyard in the south and the village to the north. It is ideally situated for seeing the famous chateaux of the Loire Valley as well as the Vienne region to the south – Poitiers, La RochePosay and more.

Imagine staying in a very charming and cozy house overlooking some of the best sights, and then stepping out to enter the welcoming view of the garden, lake and meadow that are adjacent to the house. An outdoor living patio offers shade and shelter for you to unwind while enjoying the views. There is also a fishing barn next to the lake. For a bit of solitude, listen to the romantic songs of the nightingales while sitting in the shade of the old walnut tree by the stream.

Meet the locals at the centre of the village and visit Madame Estelle the Boulanger. They offer an array of sumptuous baked delights like croissants, pastries and bread, and other delicacies like ham, cheese and wine for a perfect picnic takeaway which you can enjoy at the table alongside the River Vienne.

See magnificent castles like Chinon, Loches and Chateau Azay le Rideau just by driving on roads that are uncluttered by traffic, or draw inspiration from the river, village and lakes all around the area.

Experience all of this and benefit from the stress-free and peaceful ambiance La Ferme du Temple has to offer.

For more info on this B&B accommodation in the Loire Valley call Roger Dawes on +33 (0) 2 4765 3238 or email

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Families Welcome

Aussie brother and sister Jack and Olivia loved their stay in the Loire Valley.

Even though only 2 and 3 years old, they were thrilled by the majesty of the castles and chateaux.

Their parents Paul and Jo had long wanted a trip to France, and the Loire Valley is very convenient by fast train to both Disneyland and Paris – it’s on the same train line so no changeovers required.

The trips between highlights within the Loire Valley are short which meant the kids weren’t prone to getting grumpy and fighting in the back seat – well, we won’t say never!

Of course travelling tips for parents nowadays involve the benefits of iPads and DS equipment, making for a much more tranquil travel experience.

In fact Jack and Olivia really bonded on this trip. As the photo shows, they were mutually enthralled by the sights both natural and historically man-made.

Topping it off with accommodation in Disneyland and watching the Disney spectacular at night, this was a trip they may forget through the prism of youthfulness, but their enjoyment will never be forgotten by mum and dad, who took plenty of photos to treasure for a lifetime.