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nickfortunatus's picture

The Brains Behind French (and French Canadian) Untours

on Thu, 03/01/2012 - 10:33
Untours Canada and Untours France Staff Members, Dodge Amaral and Mia Lehmann

As we March ahead with 2012, I feel it is important to introduce you to the terrific two that make Untours France and Untours Quebec City so incroyable and filled with that, how do you say?, je ne sais quoi. Meet Dodge Amaral and Mia Lehmann!

If you're even entertaining the thought of going to France or Quebec City, it is essential that you talk to these two.

mtaussig's picture

Adam Gopnik, and other love-hate phenomena related to France.

on Wed, 02/29/2012 - 10:43

You probably know if you are one of those travelers infected with a permanent case of wanderlust. It starts with an infatuation with the place when you first arrive, and continues as you find yourself fantasizing how marvelous life would be if only you could stay. The unspoken question lurking is: could I live here?. Some of us never stop asking this question, but we're probably the exceptions. I think many people love travel but would never consider uprooting their whole lives to go live in a foreign country. However, nearly all the published travel essays are the product of people who did just that: dropped everything and moved to a place they'd fallen in love with. We reviewed some of our favorites here last week. But we left one out: Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon (2001)

Fair warning: you either love Gopnik or your don't. I am one of the lovers. The basic premise is that Gopnik, a writer for The New Yorker, flees to Paris with his family to save his young son from the insidious influence of Barney the dinosaur. He had me at " I hate Barney".

nickfortunatus's picture

A Unique Paris Hotel: Hotel de la Bretonnerie

on Tue, 02/28/2012 - 10:37
Place des Vosges, Marais, Paris

There is no end to the splendor of Paris. The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the Louvre...the list goes on and on. One place that we love to visit, and that may not get as much press as those other sites, is the Place des Vosges. One of the most amazing aspects of the Place des Vosges is that its symmetrical design - nine red brick & stone houses over arcades on all four sides - has remained unchanged since its construction in 1609 under Henri IV!

What better way to experience Place des Vosges than to stay right next door? We love the Hotel de la Bretonnerie not only because of its proximity to Place des Vosges, Centre Pompidou, La Bastille and Notre Dame, but also because of its cozy appeal.

mtaussig's picture

Untourist of the Week: Barbara Cheesman aka Francophile & Co.

on Mon, 02/27/2012 - 10:33
Picture of Barbara Cheesman with classic old French car.

1."Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour."

It was back to Provence yet another time!  Having explored much of France over the years, my husband Jerry and I,or my two Francophile friends, Lorraine, Marcia, and I, have returned to Provence to the same apartment (Gamet 2) in St. Didier annually since 2005 where we enjoy settling into village life, practicing our French a bit and taking in all this beautiful region has to offer.  No secret that this has become our favorite area of France--that is, as long as we can spend a few days in Paris from time to time. 

This most recent trip

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Hal and a young boy's terror.............

on Fri, 02/24/2012 - 10:35
Hal Taussig, Untours founder, as a young boy with his brother, Warren, father of Untours' General Manager Brian Taussig-Lux

Hal grew up in an evangelical Christian family that believed in "the Rapture." He tried hard to share his family's beliefs, but couldn't. When he was about 13 years old and found himself alone milking the cows, he thought the Rapture had happened and that he was indeed left behind. Terror struck him. He ran faster then he ever had back to his house and found his family at the kitchen table. All was least for the moment.

Dear friend Dee Dee Risher reflected on this experience of Hal's, and wrote him the following poem 7 years ago.

nickfortunatus's picture

A Fabulous Escape by Larry Kueneman, Untourist

on Thu, 02/23/2012 - 09:17
Larry Kueneman, Untourist, in Ribeauville on Untours to Alsace and the Rhine

We had very little problems in communicating with the locals. There are enough people who speak enough English to make the trip free of stress. The villages of Southern Alsace often have a street named after the date the allies drove the Germans out, although the animosity is almost extinct. And one Frenchman actually kissed my hand because I was an American.

mtaussig's picture

A Year in the Merde...and other books to help you figure out the French

on Tue, 02/21/2012 - 15:00
Covers for the books reviewed

Anyone who's been to France knows fairly quickly...they are definitely not in Kansas anymore. There's a pretty hefty bibliography of books that can help you bridge this culture gap you're bound to hit when you visit France. We'd like to help you get from "what the heck?!" to "vive la difference!" in as short a time as possible. ...Essentially, in a good travel essay, you get a great writer writing about their personal travel. There are varieties on that theme, of course: the good trip, the terrible trip, the "rules of etiquette" once you've reached your destination, etc. It's probably no surprise that, with the volatile mixture that occurs when French and English-speaking cultures come together, there are many books chronicling the efforts of English speakers to fit in to French life. Here are a few of our favorites: A Year in Provence

nickfortunatus's picture

Eating Out in Provence: Our Favorite Restaurant in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

on Tue, 02/21/2012 - 10:06
Best Restaurant in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Provence, France

When you head out on your next (or first, which, in that case, will definitely not be your last) vacation in Provence, after you make sure your bags are packed, your plane is on time, and all your cares in the world are placed neatly in the corner of your closet, remember to make reservations at one of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue's greatest little restaurants, La Prévôté (roughly pronounced la pray-vo-tay).

Why La Prévôté in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue? That's easy. Too easy.

mtaussig's picture

Untourist of the week: Steve Savel

on Mon, 02/20/2012 - 09:56

Just an excerpt of the adventures Steve and Karen Savel have had on their 20 Untours!: The minute the local priest heard my story and last name, he sent for Erzsebet who lived just down the street from the priest. In fact, that street is where most of my Savel relatives live. Erzsebet knew that her great Uncle, my grandfather, had gone to the US but knew nothing about his life there. My grandfather had never told anyone about having left an older brother in Hungary....

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Let the River Run..........

on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 09:41

Lots of our work at the Untours Foundation is about clean water.  And what about those of us in the Global North, who have plenty of water? (I do realize that more and more of us in the North don't in fact have enough!) What can we do to help the problem in addition to using less water and giving money toward clean water projects? Harvest our rain water.