New Online Magazine – the Good Life France

November 30, 2014 on 11:48 am | In Books Guidebooks, France, Paris | Comments Off

Announcing the official launch of a new and luxurious online magazine and guide to all that’s great in France, The Good Life France Magazine.

The first issue of this digital, glossy magazine was published November 2014 and introduces The Good Life France as well as featuring some irresistible articles about up and coming events and places to visit in France over the next few months. It will be published six times a year (January, March, May, July, September, November) and will be featuring stories from The Good Life France’s own award winning team of journalists and travel writers as well as guest contributors.

The magazine will create a new level of reporting with video clips, photo galleries and other technological advances. The Good Life France will provide an enhanced and inviting experience for global readers and a chance for advertisers to present their services and products in the best possible light.

It is free to subscribers and is also available on iPad, Kindle and other mobile devices.

Every issue will contain travel news and top events (as well as some that are downright quirky). There will be regional guides, destination focus articles, expat interviews, book reviews, destination guides, cultural highlights, a French language lesson, gastronomic features and recipes, celebrity interviews, property updates and a whole lot more.

Janine Marsh, Editor of the popular website will edit The Good Life France magazine which will feature top journalists and writers from the world of travel.

Speaking about The Good Life France, Janine Marsh said “We have a terrific team of writers, photographers and experts on France. Our aim is to produce a magazine that readers will love not only for its excellent stories and wonderful photographs but also because they will be able to experience France through technology such as video clips, music and enhanced photo gallery applications that a digital magazine can offer”.

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The French Ardennes – What’s New For 2015

November 27, 2014 on 10:32 am | In Adventure Travel, France, Paris | Comments Off

The dates for one of Northern Europe’s most colourful festivals of 2015 have been announced – making The French Ardennes one of the ‘must see’ destinations in France, next September.

The World Puppet Festival has grown dramatically since its inception in 1961, and now attracts top acts from all five continents, as well as an audience in excess of 150,000 people.

The French Ardennes will once again offer itself as the backdrop to “Les Petits Comédiens” ( for the 18th World Puppet Festival from September 18th to 27th.

The ideal choice for the biggest gathering of puppets on the planet, Charleville-Mézières is a world-renowned centre for marionettes and puppeteers – boasting a historic association with the art stretching back to 1941.

In the intervening years, Charleville-Mézières has not only established an International Puppet Institute, but also an Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette, which now offers a three-year puppetry course to 15 international students every three years.

In 1991, the town also unveiled what has become one of its most endearing tourist attractions, The Grand Marionettiste – The Great Puppeteer’s Clock. Built into the façade of the Institut de la Marionette, every hour from 10am to 9pm, it presents an episode from the legend of the Four Sons of Aymon…a heroic medieval saga linked to the geography and history of the Ardennes.

Charleville-Mézières is today acknowledged as the puppet capital of the world; and for 10 days in September the whole region will revolve around the festival as 250 companies, 150,000 spectators and 400 programmers come together for one of the world’s most magnificent artistic gatherings.

Other, major developments for The French Ardennes in 2015 include the re-opening during the summer of The Rimbaud Museum in Charleville. A tribute to one of France’s most famous and charismatic poets, the Museum tells about the life and times of Arthur Rimbaud, and one of the most obvious changes to the visitor experience will be the creation of a reflective and atmospheric ‘island garden’.

2016, the 125th anniversary of his death, will be another key year for the poet, whose life is also extraordinarily well-documented by a YouTube video narrated by Joan Baez:

A third major development for The French Ardennes in 2015, meanwhile, is the re-opening of The War & Peace Museum on November 11th.

The new, 2015 Visitor Guide to The French Ardennes will be available in English from the end of the year.

For further information visit

Winner – Best New River Ship‏

November 26, 2014 on 10:14 am | In Adventure Travel, Belgium, Cruise Boats, France, Germany, Netherlands, Paris | Comments Off

Emerald Waterways, Europe’s first new river cruise company in six years, has been awarded the “Best New River Ships” designation in Cruise Critic’s 2014 Editors’ Picks Awards for our Emerald Star and Emerald Sky “Star-Ships.” The Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards are chosen by Cruise Critic’s international team of editors, based on the lines and ships they feel best represent excellence in each of the designated categories.

We think our ships are pretty special too. Click here to see 360 degree views of our ships and see for yourself.
Explore our ships’ fantastic facilities and spectacular innovations, and discover each amazing destination we take you to.

Call our representatives now:  855-222-3214


Eurostar Unveils 200 mph e320 Trains: Bigger, Free Wi-Fi and 15 Minutes Faster to Paris

November 24, 2014 on 10:40 am | In Adventure Travel, Belgium, France, London, Paris, Rail Tours, United Kingdom | Comments Off
When the folks at Eurostar begin to unwrap the gifts they received for their train’s 20th birthday this Nov. 14, the biggest package will contain the new e320 train that promises to revolutionize the still revolutionary practice of riding from Paris to London by rail. They’re unveiling that gift at London’s St. Pancras station today.

In 1994, Eurostar was established as a partnership between three railway companies: SNCF, SNCB and LCR (London and Continental Railways). On Sept. 1, Eurostar became a single, unified corporate entity owned by three shareholders: SNCF, SNCB and LCR. Twenty years after its launch, the Eurostar dominates market share against the airlines for London/Paris traffic and the new train should only accelerate that trend.

The e320 train (see video below) will enter commercial service with ten e320 trains at the end of 2015 and now Eurostar has decided to order a further seven more e320s. With the original order of e320s now in the final stage of completion, this increases the number of new trains to 17 in total.

The e320 trains will entirely broaden Eurostar’s horizons because they are ‘inter-operable’ with the ability to operate across diverse European signaling systems, opening up the potential for a whole range of new direct services between the UK and European city center destinations. Beyond its core routes connecting London to Paris, Brussels and Lille, Eurostar also connects to the French Alps, Swiss Alps and Geneva. In May begins a new year-round direct service to Provence, stopping at Lyon, Avignon and Marseille, followed at the end of 2016 by the launch of a direct route to Amsterdam with stops in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol along the way.

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“With just one year to go until our new e320 train comes into service, passengers will see a complete transformation of our service,” said Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive of Eurostar. “The combination of bold design, chic interiors and Wi-Fi connectivity will raise the bar, providing an unprecedented level of style and comfort for our customers.”

It’s an improvement that may help Eurostar compete against the possibility of a second rail company using the Chunnel. Plans to put another rail line in the Chunnel. The Channel Tunnel issued a ‘Certificate B’ operating license to Deutsche Bahn (DB), the German rail line. DB has for year’s coveted the notion of high-speed service between Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Köln and London.

The e320s can carry 900 passengers, percent. Furthermore the train can reach speeds of 200 mph. The look will beautiful as well with external livery and interiors designed by Pininfarina, an Italian design house, known for car designs. Energy efficiency and enhanced passenger experience are the goals. The Eurostar fleet will feature free Wi-Fi throughout and a broader range of information and entertainment options including live news feeds and weather reports as well as a collection of destination guides. The e320s will also feature more space per seat with each seat equipped with power points and a USB socket as well as a newly designed bar buffet, ergonomically designed reclining seats and increased luggage areas.

To mark its two decades of service, over the next two weeks, Eurostar will be staging celebratory activities on-board its trains and in its stations. This includes surprise golden tickets, giveaways and special events for customers as well as a dedicated birthday promotion running between Nov. 13 and 24 offering return trips in Standard for £59/€69 and in Standard Premier for £149/€179 – for travel between Jan 5 and Feb. 12.

Last year, Eurostar more than doubled its profits, earning £52 million. Currently, the British government is hoping to sell its 40 percent share of the train, as part of its economic austerity plan.

Read more travel news at

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The Bouches-du-Rhône Region Has Something In Store For Family

November 24, 2014 on 9:54 am | In Adventure Travel, France, Paris | Comments Off

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Sun-drenched countryside, towns and cities set the scene for the perfect family holiday in the Bouches-du-Rhône’s combination of Marseille, Camargue and Provence. Keeping the whole family entertained can be quite a challenge but with a variety of arts, cultural, adventure and animal themed activities on offer there’s something for every generation – from the Natural History Museum to the bulls of Camargue, from kids art workshops in Marseille to the ruins of Arles and regional festivals.

France’s oldest city Marseille was founded 2600 years ago and organises children’s workshops, as well as in Aix-en-Provence, where kids can learn about the works of art inspired by the region’s landscapes and palette of natural colours and try their hand at painting (, ). Camargue is a favourite among kids with animals and birds presiding over the wild and unique land. Horse riding, bull parades through the streets of Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer and the flight of the flamingos are just a few of the attractions on offer including Barben Zoo next to Salon-de-Provence with 600 animals in landscaped grounds. (, Moving from the present to the past, animals scoured the land in prehistoric times too as there were six types of dinosaurs that lived in Provence. Children can learn about them all at Aix-en-Provence’s Natural History Museum where there is an exhibition and activity books for younger kids. Continuing with the historical theme, Arles is the world’s 2nd largest hub of Roman remains, so when in Arles, do as the Romans did and take the family to see the Constantine Baths, the Roman Theatre and the Arena.

Great fares to Europe and beyond.
Provence offers a jam-packed programme when it comes to traditions; music, ferias, fiestas and festivals run throughout the year: In late August, see the Roman era come back to life during the Arelate festival in Arles and from April to October, Camargue once again comes into its own with traditional Camargue Races, with “Rasateurs” trying to snatch rosettes and ribbons from between the horns of the local bulls. September plays host to the “Festival du Vent” which welcomes hundreds of kites from all over the world. Marseille’s clear blue skies are dotted with dashes of colour and children can make their own kites at special workshops. Over October to December the Mom’Aix festival takes place with shows and entertainment headlining at 15 prestigious venues throughout town, bringing many young teenagers out for the event.

Enticing the elders and captivating the kids won’t be a problem as the Bouches-du-Rhône region is brimming with ideas. With Marseille only a two hour flight away, pack the suitcases and kids into the car to head for the airport, Bouches-du-Rhone is waiting to welcome all the family.

For more information on tourism in the Bouches-du-Rhône, visit

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The Alpine Club Launches ‘St Martin Uncovered’ A Blog on Life in a Ski Resort

November 24, 2014 on 9:37 am | In France, Paris, Skiing Snowboarding | Comments Off

Boutique chalet operator The Alpine Club, which is based in the charming Trois Vallées resort of St Martin de Belleville, has launched a blog aimed at lifting the lid on life in a ski resort.

‘St Martin Uncovered’ features in-depth interviews with a range of key people who work in St Martin and help it to function as the most sought-after hidden gem resort in the Trois Vallées. These individuals range from ski instructors to massage therapists, ski shop owners to après ski bar managers, estate agents and more.

In the first ‘St Martin Uncovered’ Helen Raemers, the owner of The Alpine Club, which runs a collection of beautiful chalets in the resort, chats to Lucy Chittenden, owner of The Piano Bar in the heart of the village. Find out about a typical day in the life of a bar owner in picture postcard St Martin de Belleville; why Lucy doesn’t get to wear high heels & which of her favorite programs she never sees the final of!

Future blogs will feature Didier Coloma, a private ski instructor for the local ESF school and Sandy Ritter’s who manages Le Montagnard restaurant in the village. Others include Olivier Bertrand who runs the Twinners ski hire shop, Emma Horsfall who works for the local Leggett Immobilier estate agents, realising people’s dreams of buying their very own chalet in the Alps, and even Estelle Roy, the local tourist officer, who keeps visitors informed on local events, furnishes them with piste maps and even directs them to their chalet or hotel.

Helen will also be revealing what it is like to run a leading luxury chalet company in the Alps, in her capacity as owner of The Alpine Club.

“There is a real buzz in St Martin now about the blog,” she says. “Everyone seems to want to appear on it, which is fantastic. We just really wanted to put something back and to thank these brilliant people for the contribution they make to the running of this wonderful, properly local, Savoyard ski resort that lies in the heart of the Trois Vallées.”


The Alpine Club –

tel: +33 (0)7 78 84 57 10

Discover France Wins Prestigious Awards at the 2014 French Affairs Conference

November 16, 2014 on 8:26 am | In France, Paris | Comments Off

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Discover France

The veteran bicycle tour operator was named Best Regional Operator and Most Active Partner

Following their most successful year to date, Discover France, specialists in self-guided cycling trips, won two awards at the French Affairs Conference held in Las Vegas on October 18-20, 2014. The veteran bicycle tour operator was named the “Best Regional Operator” and also “Most Active Partner”.

“We are very pleased to receive these awards and to represent our beautiful region to the rest of the world,” says Discover France CEO Thomas Boutin. “Gradually, our little regional company has taken its place alongside large American agencies. We are inspired by the honor and feel anything is possible!” Boutin was in attendance to accept the awards before returning to celebrate at Discover France headquarters in France’s sun-drenched Languedoc-Roussillon region.

French Affairs is the gold standard for building professional French-American tourism relationships. The two-day conference connects French suppliers with more than 100 U.S. tour operators promoting France as a travel destination. The event also attracts tour operators from Brazil, Canada and Mexico. Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency responsible for promoting France in the U.S. market, plans this annual event to enhance synergy, discuss clientele expectations and encourage dialogue to determine new strategies for the future.

For more information, please visit the following links:

Discover France:

French Affairs:

Atout France:

About Discover France:
This year, Discover France celebrates 20 years offering high-value, self-guided bicycle and multisport itineraries. Discover France is best known for pioneering and perfecting the art of self-guided travel, a truly unique and authentic way to explore a destination. Self-guided bicycle tours offer the same unmatched quality, style, service and comforts as their guided trips, while allowing a high level of flexibility, customization and value for independent travelers. Having specialized in travel throughout France for the last two decades, Discover France branches out this year with 15 new tours in a total of 10 European countries (France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Holland, Belgium) and two new tours in Sonoma Valley, California.\

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Off Peak Savings in Europe Rail

November 14, 2014 on 10:20 am | In Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Europe, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lichtenstein, London, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Paris, Poland, Portugal, Rail Tours, Rome, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Wales | Comments Off

Travel by train for less between London and Paris.
This season, take advantage of the Eurail Off Peak Promotion! Get a Eurail Global Pass or Eurail Select Pass by December 31st, 2014 and save up to 20% off regular prices.

Eurail Passes are an essential part of a traveler’s kit. The Eurail Global Pass lets you to board as many trains as you want in any of the 23 participating countries throughout Europe, helping make possible the most ambitious travel plans.

Travelers with a more focused itinerary can pick 4 bordering countries from a choice of 26 countries and travel by train without worries in those 4 countries using the Eurail Select Pass.

The Eurail Global Pass and the Eurail Select Pass are available in a number of validities. The Eurail Global Consecutive Pass lets you select between 15 days and up to 3 months of continuous access to the railways.

The Eurail Global Flexi Pass offers either 10 or 15 days of travel to be used within a period of  2 months.

The Eurail Select Pass is valid for a period of 5, 6, 8 or 10 travel days to be used within 2 months.

The Eurail Off-Peak Promotion is available for Eurail Global Passes and Eurail Select Passes purchased by December 31st, 2014 for travel up and including March 31st, 2015.

Scenic Cruises introduces new 12-day Bordeaux River Cruise in 2015‏

November 11, 2014 on 4:39 pm | In Austria, Cruise Boats, Denmark, Europe, France, Germany, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Paris | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today Show Scenic Cruises, which operates all-inclusive luxury river cruises throughout Europe, continues to expand its offerings in France by introducing a new 12-day Bordeaux River Cruise to its 2015 itineraries. With seven departures between August and October, pricing for this tour along the Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne rivers start at $5,580 per person, based on double occupancy. Early booking incentives result in free flights to Europe and substantial savings on balcony cabins.

The trip starts with arrival in Paris and an overnight stay in a luxury hotel; on the following day the ultra-fast Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) takes guests to Bordeaux, where they board the Scenic Diamond, their home for the next several days.

At this point, guests unpack their bags just once … but they’ll visit countless fascinating and photogenic locations throughout their journey. Among the stops are Cadillac, originally established in the 13th century; Saint-Émilion, home to underground catacombs at its iconic Monolithic Church; Libourne, the wine-making capital of this part of France; Cognac, where guests have the opportunity to sample brandy at the famed Rémy Martin property; Médoc, where visitors traverse a scenic wine route; and Arcachon, known for its culinary delights.

This itinerary incorporates several special features that are unique to Scenic. In 2015 the company will introduce the concept of “Scenic Sundowners” to its cruises, in which guests toast the end of the day in a spectacular location. On the Bordeaux trip, guests will enjoy an afternoon cocktail in picturesque Saint-Émilion.

Oakley - Free Shipping - Shop OnlineThe journey aboard the TGV – which moves at speeds up to 199 mph – is a new offering in 2015, as well, as Scenic begins its partnership with trains throughout Europe to deliver the ultimate land-to-water experiences on several of its itineraries.

The Bordeaux trip also features a “Scenic Enrich” experience, a once-in-a-lifetime event unique to this cruise line. On this itinerary, guests will enjoy a private dinner and classical concert in the beautiful Château Giscours in the Médoc countryside.

The Scenic Diamond is one of Scenic Cruises’ fleet of “Space Ships,” which have won acclaim as the next generation of river cruising. These ships are five-star floating hotels, with spacious public areas as well as private suites that feature “Scenic slumber beds,” plus bathrobes and slippers, a flat-screen television and Mac mini infotainment system enhanced by the ship’s complimentary Wi-Fi. Scenic is the only brand afloat that offers a “Sun Lounge,” a system through which each suite’s private balcony can be quickly transformed into an indoor lounge, allowing guests to enjoy the passing views regardless of the weather.

The company’s signature all-inclusive luxury means that absolutely everything is included: unlimited beverages including premium wines and spirits; all meals (with six different dining experiences); personal butler service for all guests; all excursions, events and entertainment; the Scenic Riverview personal GPS commentary device, which acts like a personal tour guide for guests while on board the ship; electronically assisted bicycles; Wi-Fi; airport transfers; and all tips and gratuities. On-shore experiences are made exceptional by the included Scenic Tailormade handheld GPS guided tour system that’s provided to every guest in his or her suite. This GPS system works in conjunction with guides on tours and also acts as a navigation system that allows guests to explore destinations on their own without the worry of getting lost or missing important points of interest.

Additional information on these and other cruises, brochures, and reservations can be obtained via travel agents; the company’s visitor-friendly website, ; by phone at 844-788-7985; or by e-mailing

Europe’s Hotels Let You Save Big on Your Holiday Vacation

November 11, 2014 on 1:23 pm | In Europe, France, Golf Resorts, Hotels, Ireland, Italy, London, Paris, Rome, Shopping, United Kingdom | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowOctober’s apples have been picked, its pumpkins carved and the pageant of its fall colored hills have been ogled and oohed over. Now, people are turning their attention to Thanksgiving and the launch of the holiday season that ends in the fallen confetti of New Year’s Day. Though most Americans think of these holidays as hearth and home celebrations, the Advent Season in Europe is an extremely beautiful time to be there.

The Christmas markets, the festivals and the intimacy of towns and cities when most of the tourists are gone give it real advantages over pea- season travel. Hotels across Europe are setting up the milk and cookies hoping that American visitors will follow Santa Claus down the chimney or even hoping they’ll try an exotic Thanksgiving abroad.

Luxury in the city and luxury in the countryside come together in a joint package by two Red Carnation properties, London’s Milestone Hotel and Ireland’s Ashford Castle. The Palace To Castle package features three nights in each hotel. It all begins with a bottle of champagne on arrival at the Milestone with full English breakfast daily, a tour of Kensington Palace followed by Afternoon Tea and private roundtrip transfers from Heathrow or London City Airport.

From there, participants head to Ashford Castle on the West Coast of Ireland. A welcome cocktail awaits them, full Irish breakfast daily, an hour-long full body massage for two, a choice of a one-hour Falconry lesson or golf for two with club rental at Ashford Castle and private roundtrip transfers from Knock Airport or Shannon. The package can also begin in Ireland and end in London. Priced from €5,000 ($6,366) per person double, the package is valid until Dec. 22.

Ireland’s K Club is offering some very merry activities this Christmas.

Golfsmith: Best Brands, Best PricesYou can get a little more Ireland with a package being offered by County Kildare’s K Club and its elegant Straffan House. Straffan House is a 34,000-square foot country manor on the K Club’s grounds. It’s ideal for groups or multigenerational family stays with its 10 ensuite rooms, its crackling fireplaces and Christmas decorations all surrounded by the Irish countryside.

Straffan House guests get the VIP treatment including a private gourmet Christmas dinner; a personal car and driver for shopping in Dublin or nearby Kildare Village designer shopping outlets; a Christmas tree and decorations throughout the residence, and a visit from an Irish Santa Claus on Christmas Morning with gifts for all. Straffan House has its own wine cellar, a cinema and an indoor pool with swim-up bar. Reservations for Straffan House require a five night minimum stay, beginning Dec. 23 at a rate of $20,000 per night.

The K Club hotel is offering a two- or three-night Christmas Experience (interconnecting family rooms are available) with a full Irish breakfast daily, Christmas Eve dinner, Carol Singing with Mulled wine and Mince Pies on Christmas Eve by the fire and a Christmas tree in each guestroom.

Rates begin at $990 per adult. All K Club guests, whether at Straffan House or The K Club, can participate in Afternoon Tea and a Christmas Eve mass in the hotel. Santa Claus comes in a horse-drawn carriage on Christmas morning with gifts for all. A holiday treasure hunt and duck races on the River Liffey follow after. For adults, there are daily wine cellar tours, art and history walks, and expert-led garden walks. After a day of traditional country pursuits such as clay pigeon shooting, horse riding and falconry, guest can warm their bones with an Irish Hot Toddy in the hotel’s cozy Vintage Crop bar.

Roman Holidays

Christmas and New Years on the Spanish Steps in what’s arguably the best hotel in Rome just might get your sleigh bells ringing. The Hotel Hassler Roma has assembled several Christmas and New Years’ packages that feature its Michelin-starred Imágo and Salone Eva restaurants. All packages include Deluxe Double or Grand Deluxe Double room and daily buffet breakfast for two. The three-night Enchanting Christmas Dream Package also features a six-course Christmas Eve dinner for two at Imágo, afternoon Christmas tea for two at Salone Eva with live harp music performance, and a Christmas surprise in room upon arrival. The package is priced from €1,696 to €1,996 ($2,162 to $2,544); the package is valid for arrivals from Dec. 22 to 24.

The three-night Sparking New Year’s in Rome Package features a bottle of the Hassler Roma’s Franciacorta Storica 61 sparkling wine, afternoon tea for two at Salone Eva, a New Year’s Eve gala dinner for two at Imágo and dancing at Salone Medici. The package, valid from Dec. 29 to 31, is priced from €3,330 to €3,630 ($4,244 to $4,627). The three-night New Year’s Celebration Package at Salone Eva features a bottle of the Hassler Roma’s Franciacorta Storica 61 sparkling wine, afternoon tea for two at Salone Eva and a New Year’s Eve dinner at the Salone Eva, followed by dancing at Salone Medici. The package is valid from De. 29 to 31 and is priced from €2,460 to €2,760 ($3,135 to $3,518).

Thanksgiving in France or Italy

Oakley - Free Shipping - Shop OnlineThe first Thanksgiving was a cold and windy affair that observed a Puritan’s sense of simplicity and restraint. Thanksgiving at The BAUERs in Venice will be created by Chef Hiraki Masakazu at De Pisis Restaurant. Forget puritan restraint, this meal is centered by baked glazed ham with apricots and mustard, and roast turkey stuffed with dried fruits, red peppercorn, roasted sweet potatoes, and blueberry sauce. The chestnut soup flavored with brandy is designed to gives it an autumnal touch. Desert comes with a pecan cake served with ginger ice cream and petit fours. The cost is €90 per person (VAT included), beverages excluded.

If given the choice, maybe the pilgrim fathers would have indulged on the menu that will be served on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré at Paris. There’s still time to book some Thanksgiving turkey with the Oetker Collection. Le Bristol Paris’ Thanksgiving package starts at $1,722 and is available throughout November. The offer comes with two connecting rooms with two American breakfasts. Breakfast for children age 12 and younger and all kids’ meals for children under the age of six are complimentary (up to two children). Young guests will be entertained with a special treasure hunt and their very own “Le Bristol” surprise gift.

Thanksgiving dinner at Le Bristol Paris will likely surpass what the pilgrim fathers had in Plymouth.

Le Bristol’s four o’clock menu includes chestnut flavored desserts, pecan and pumpkin pies along with a traditional hot chocolate drink. The menu at $33 per person also includes Chef Laurent Jeannin’s pumpkin-inspired cotton candy which will be offered complimentary to all children.

Le Bristol Paris is just one of the Oetker Collection hotels that are celebrating the holidays. L’Apogee Courchevel in the French Alps is hosting a Christmas Eve party with cocktails, dinner and dancing at Le Comptoir de L’Apogée, the hotel’s gastronomic restaurant with picture windows overlooking the ski slopes.

Santa Claus arrives early the following morning to spread Christmas cheer aboard his horse-drawn sleigh. To ring in the New Year, the resort will have a special menu starting at $1,000 per guest. The evening will commence with cocktails and dinner accompanied by a French jazz band. The party continues into the night with singer G-star and his band.

Spa haven Baden Baden’s Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, another Oetker property, will take guests on an exploration of the Black Forest on Dec. 30’s “winter wonderland stroll.” The group will depart the hotel at 11 a.m., walk along wooded mountain trails and take refreshments at the Scherrhof Woodland Inn. The following day, the hotel hosts the New Year at the Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa Gala Dinner Dance. For $485, attendees are invited for dinner and dancing at the hotel’s Orangerie to ring in the New Year in style. Entertainment for the evening will include music by the band “French Acoustic”, magical tricks by Stephan Kirschbaum and a firework display as the clock strikes midnight.

The Annual Amsterdam Light Festival runs from Nov. 27 to Jan. 18. Light sculptures, projections and installations, designed by artists give the city a roaring holiday look. Amsterdam’s The Dylan is offering a one-night Serendipity Winter package, Dec. 1 through Feb. 25, for €325 ($415) per person double. The package comes with a one night stay in a Serendipity Junior Canal View Suite; a 1.5 hour private morning cruise in a classic wooden salon boat on the canals; customized breakfast plate to be served on board; entrance to the Canal House Museum; and a High Wine experience featuring a selection of wines paired with savory dishes from the kitchen of Executive Chef Dennis Kuipers.

Discounted Dates from Hotels4u

If you’d like to catch the early dates in Europe’s Advent Season, Hotels4u has assembled a range of discounted hotel offers that are connected to notable Christmas Markets. The catch is that the discounts are only available in early to mid-December and in very short windows of availability.

In Edinburgh, for instance, the Scotsman Hotel and the Fountain Court apartments are offering 15 percent off if you stay between Dec. 1 and 3. The Scotsman Hotel resides in the former offices of the Scotsman Newspaper. The 1905 edifice features grand views of Edinburgh Castle, The Firth of Forth, Leith, Princes Street and Calton Hill. In addition, this 5 Star luxury Boutique Hotel offers a range of unique guestrooms with modern amenities, access to the Scotsman SPA and Health Club.

Traveling to London in the first week of December? You can stay at the four-star Cranley Hotel in South Kensington with a 10 percent discount and receive both bed and breakfast. Rome’s four-star Hotel Delle Province, between Dec. 18 and 20 is available with a 20 percent discount and comes with continental breakfast. A 35 percent discount is available at Amsterdam’s Wyndham Apollo Hotel between Dec. 12 and 16.

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