Travel with Karen

Small group tours to Europe with Culinary Instructor Karen Gros

The bay of Mont St. Michel & its treasures

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Normandy & Brittany, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

The bay of Mont St. Michel & its treasures

The picturesque rural setting of the Mont St. Michel Bay consists of meadows, poppy fields, windmills and one-lane country roads meandering toward the coastline, where the Mont St. Michel abbey rises proudly from a wide expanse of sand.   At left:  The Moidrey windmill (Le Moulin à Vent Moidrey en Normandie) seen when approaching Mont St. Michel The route to the Mont St. Michel is every bit as serene and quaint as other parts of Normandy. Poppy fields stretch nearly to the coast in the bay of Mont St. Michel. Poppies of Mont St. Michel bay Approaching the Mont St. Michel, we see “salt...

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The marvel of the Mont St. Michel Abbey

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in Normandy & Brittany, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

The marvel of the Mont St. Michel Abbey

The Gothic-style Benedictine Abbey dedicated to Archangel Saint Michael, and the village that grew up in the shadow of its great walls stand perched on a rocky islet in the midst of vast sandbanks exposed to powerful tides between Normandy and Brittany. Designated a world heritage site by UNESCO, the remarkable abbey is one of the most extraordinary examples of medieval religious and military architecture, and was one of Christianity’s most important pilgrimage sites from the 8th to the 18th century.  Still drawing a crowd, today over 3 million visitors annually come to the mount (of the...

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Along the Cider Route in Normandy

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in Normandy & Brittany, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Along the Cider Route in Normandy

I welcome my travelers at the St. Lazare train station in Paris, the gateway to Normandy painted a number of times by Impressionist Claude Monet.  From there, we head out to Caen, the prefecture of the Calvados department, and the capital of the Lower Normandy region.  We collect our rental van, and set out to discover the quaint Norman countryside along the Route du Cidre. Our first stop is lunch at an authentic Norman restaurant, Au P’tit Normand, in the picturesque village of Cambremer, situated in the heart of Calvados.   Read more about this delightful lunch of exceptional local...

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Norman lunch in the heart of Calvados

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in Normandy & Brittany, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Norman lunch in the heart of Calvados

I have to say that this outstanding little restaurant, Au P’tit Normand, was one of many highlights of my Normandy Brittany tour, and an excellent introduction to Norman cuisine and culture.  Delicious ‘cuisine du terroir’* prepared from scratch by “mom”, Madame Huguette Besnard, in a warm and inviting space.  Memorable dishes served with a smile and ample patience by her charming daughter (8 Americans trying to decide what to order can be a disarming task for some), the restaurant has a cheerful, genuine family-style feel. * terroir:  A combination of land specificity and human...

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The search for the perfect Greek isle

Posted by on Jun 27, 2013 in Greece: Athens & the Greek isles | 0 comments

The search for the perfect Greek isle

I am prospecting in Greece for a future tour – an adventure considering that I don’t speak the language. After much research, found the ideal island tucked away in the Cyclades, far less obvious than the three most visited (Mykonos, Santorini, Ios), but every bit the paradise.  There are literally thousands of islands to choose from, but since I was searching for an island with the typical white-washed villages, I chose among the Cyclades.  The island of Sifnos offers picturesque white villages of varying sorts – a quaint harbor, charming perched village above the sea,...

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Exclusive dinner in Parisian home with a French chef

Posted by on Jun 26, 2013 in Paris, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Exclusive dinner in Parisian home with a French chef

The icing on the cake, so to speak, the grand finale on my Paris tour is a private dinner party in the home of native Parisians with a French chef preparing our dinner. Our hostess, born and raised in the neighborhood of Saint Germain des Près, opens her door to welcome us into her chic home in the elegant 7th arrondissement.  She shares with us her talent for table decoration and provides insight into the Parisian lifestyle. Our hostess Véronique in her home with guests Carolyn and Fran Pat, Dana, and Cindy ~ life-long friends create beautiful memories in Paris Chef Laurent dressing the...

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