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Women on the Road Blog

Solo travel tips for women like you - the first Tuesday of every month >>

(and to say thank you I'll send you the 'list of 9' indispensable items I NEVER travel without!)

my rhone-alpes

The Unusual and Not-So-Secret Brotherhoods of France

She wears a leprechaun green hat, her velvet cape wrapped around her body in the cold. Around her neck hangs an olive green ribbon, holding up a bronze medallion. The operative word is olive. Meet Madame Laget, one of the few women in the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Olive Tree, a not-so-secret organization [...]

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Rose and Pepper, Wine and Weather

vineyards of the beaujolais

What do you do in the Beaujolais region if you don't drink wine? You scrub grapes all over your body, that's what. At least that's what Nathalie Jacquet suggests: she manages a French line of grape-based cosmetics and body products, Rose & Pepper. "We were inspired by the vines and roses," she told me. Roses are [...]

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Les Halles in Lyon: Saucisson, Snails and Sea Urchins

Les Halles in Lyon Paul Bocuse

There's a certain thrill about uncovering a new market, new to me at least, a place others rave about so much I'm sure to be disappointed. A shiver of anticipation rushes down my spine when I feel I'm about to discover something truly exquisite, without knowing exactly what lies ahead. Ever since I can remember I've loved great food [...]

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Once Upon a Time with Queen Victoria in Aix-les-Bains

Grand Hotel Aix les Bains

She may not have been the first, but Queen Victoria's presence in the French alpine town of Aix-les-Bains is probably among the best-known and most fondly remembered. Bluntly said, she put Aix (as it's known by those on a first-name basis with the city) on the map. In the latter years of the 19th century, you couldn't walk a [...]

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The Ardeche, France: 7 Things That Surprised Me

Ardeche chestnuts

News Alert 24 June 2014: The Chauvet-Pont d'Arc cavern has just been inscribed on Unesco’s coveted World Heritage list. Time to celebrate! Here's what UNESCO has to say about this complex: "They are of exceptional aesthetic quality, demonstrate a range of techniques, including the skillful use of colour, combinations of paint and engraving, anatomical precision, three-dimensionality and [...]

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How Grenoble, Capital of the Maquis, Holds on to History

Passport making in WWII

Drive half an hour in any direction from my house in Eastern France and you'll come upon a sign of World War II: a tomb, a memorial to deported children, a statue to the fallen, so common as to be almost invisible. My region, the Rhône-Alpes, was at the heart of the French Résistance, the movement [...]

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Bresse Chicken: Posh Bird in Red, White and Blue

Bresse chicken

Proudly French, the Bresse chicken sports the national colors: red (comb), white (feathers) and blue (feet). The ring on its left leg is "like a wedding ring," marrying the chicken to the region; it is stamped with the name of the farmer and of the commune, so it is difficult to fake the authenticity of [...]

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Georges Blanc: Man, Village or Empire?

Georges Blanc's Ancienne Auberge

It isn't just a restaurant - it's an entire gourmet village. Chefs with tall white toques hustle across the narrow streets of Vonnas, a tiny French town famous for one thing only: the empire of world-renowned Chef Georges Blanc. They carry hot trays and fresh produce from one kitchen to another because Chef Blanc has [...]

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Oingt: Village of the One Hundred Mangers

Colorful creche in Oingt, France

Oingt. Don't even try to pronounce it. If you must, try saying 'wham' but stop before the M. It is a tiny French Beaujolais village perched high on a hill in the middle of what is called the Pierres Dorées, or Golden Stones. Here's why: Like many French villages, Oingt has its own particular Christmas [...]

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Christiane Brioude, the Chef Who Wouldn’t Quit

Medieval town of Aubenas

When Christiane Brioude was told she was seriously ill and no longer be able to work, she became so angry she started a new restaurant and wrote a cookbook. This may have saved her life. "After generations of restaurateurs in the family, I wasn't about to quit." It all started with her great-great-grandmother Adeline, back [...]

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Once Upon a Time in the Chateau de Montmelas

Chateau de Montmelas

Once upon a time there was a fairy princess who lived in a castle high up on a hilltop overlooking plains and mountains and vineyards. She wore a long burgundy gown made of satin, with billowing sleeves, her brown hair cascading down her back and a long, magic cape. Well, almost. She does live in [...]

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Lou Pisadou: How Some French Traditions Aren’t Old at All

chestnuts ardeche

When I think of French tradition, I usually think of something ancient, quaint, inherited from past generations. But a tradition that only dates back to 1994? Impossible. Yet that's exactly what happened with Lou Pisadou, a sweet chestnut cake that is now the pride of patissiers all over the Ardèche, that mountainous province of south-central [...]

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