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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

Villa Aimée, Vals-les-Bains (Ardèche, France)

Villa Aimee

There's nothing like a private en suite jacuzzi to make you fall in love with a bathroom. At the Villa Aimée in the French spa town of Vals-les-Bains, it was love at first sight. Vals-les-Bains is a small town in the Ardèche, in the heart of a hilly regional park. It's wild and rugged and has a [...]

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Belle Epoque Evian: Has It Really Changed?

Street art Evian Lake Geneva

For those of us who are drawn to nostalgia and enjoy imagining life in the past, a visit to Belle Epoque Evian is the perfect antidote to high-tech, fast cars and the pace of modern life. Here and there, you might almost feel you've escaped the 21st century. The Belle Epoque is that heady, happy [...]

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Les Cygnes, Evian (France)

View from room in Les Cygnes

There's an evocative phrase in French - les pieds dans l'eau. It means literally 'feet in the water' and is used to describe a property or place that is right up along the shore. The Hotel Les Cygnes, in the renowned resort of Evian on Lake Geneva, has its pieds dans l'eau. You can't get [...]

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Loire 42: Three Hidden Gems of the ‘Other Loire’

Ceiling of Batie d'Urfe, Loire

You could be forgiven for not knowing the Loire 42, the irresistible home to some of the loveliest villages you’ll find in France. They've just hidden it well so you'll have to earn your visit. I'll give you a clue: it's south of Burgundy, and barely an hour from Lyon. I don't live far from [...]

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Lake Geneva Fera, or the Fish With No (English) Name

Hotel Les Cygnes Evian view

It’s called féra in France and lavaret in Switzerland, which vaguely translates into whitefish. But in English? No idea, so here's what it looks like. On the French shore (the lake is two-thirds Swiss, one-third French) of Lake Geneva féra, along with perch and trout, are mainstays, providing a livelihood to the 48 professional fishermen who still [...]

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The Best Bottled Water? Just Ask a Water Taster

Choosing the best bottled water means tasting them all first - a professional water taster can help

I’ve been busy tasting the water equivalent of grand crus (the highest wine classification). I’m not a drinker so I miss out on the perpetual wine tastings my friends enjoy - pouring the liquid gently, swirling it in a glass, checking the film on top, smelling it, examining its clarity and transparency, running it across [...]

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Two Artists of Montbrison, France

"A piece of jewelry is the most useless thing." These surprising words come from master jeweler and artist Philippe Tournaire. They're highly unexpected from someone who makes an excellent living from precious metals and gems. He presses the point, not giving up. "Think about it. Jewelry provides no heat, no protection, it's expensive... What it [...]

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Four Irresistible Museums of the Loire

Musee de la Soierie, Charlieu

One of the things I love about France is its tradition of unusual museums; just down my own road is a cow museum and a bell museum. On a recent visit to the Loire (not the Loire of chateaux but a different, hidden, green Loire, the Loire département) I found four offbeat museums that might provide [...]

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Le Chateau d’Origny, Ouches (Loire, France)

Every once in a while, a girl's got to stay in a castle. And her room has to be the size of a small restaurant, with a jacuzzi in the bathroom. And that pretty much describes the Chateau d'Origny. It's a labor of love by former butcher turned chef turned hotelier Werner de Clippel and [...]

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women's corset

In many ways the history of women’s lingerie parallels the status of women. In Roman times our curves were hidden under lengths of drapery and our modesty during the Middle Ages shielded us even more. The birth of 20th century freedoms finally liberated our bodies, gradually eliminating most things that tightened, bound or otherwise oppressed [...]

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Drome Traditions: Past, Present and… Future?

round mats called scourtins are now made of coconut fiber

It takes a lot to kill tradition in rural France. Despite the four-lane highways, nuclear power plants and increasingly popular fast foods, it clings to its way of doing things with admirable tenacity. Here in the Drôme Provençale it's not rare to meet people who have followed in their great-grandparents' footsteps. Of four small businesses I [...]

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Gold, Pearls, and the Enamels of Bresse

As machines take over crafts once fashioned by people, a backlash is causing revived interest in hand-made crafts that require skill, patience and centuries of savoir-faire. Not to mention that I'm partial to affordable jewelry made by hand. The enamels of Bresse, or émaux bressans, first appeared in the 14th century but in their present form have [...]

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