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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.

nickfortunatus's picture

Untours Featured Property: Riesling

on Thu, 02/16/2012 - 09:34

With its award-winning cuisine and fairy tale villages, Alsace is probably the best place you've never been to in France. Staying in Alsace keeps Strasbourg (official seat of the European Parliament) and Germany's Black Forest only an hour's drive away, while you're also in close proximity to Mulhouse, the town in France with the second highest concentration of museums.

mtaussig's picture

Culture clue: "esprit de l'escalier" and other untranslatable moments.

on Wed, 02/15/2012 - 09:41

Esprit de l'escalier: literally translated, it means 'the spirit of the staircase'. Rheingold translates its fuller meaning as 'the clever remark that comes to mind when it is too late to utter it.' And haven't we all had one of those moments?! "Oh, man!" we say, "If I'd only thought of that then!"

nickfortunatus's picture

How to Get Around Paris by Bus

on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:26

When planning today's blog post about getting around Paris by bus, Dodge Amaral (our resident Paris Expert) shared this piece he received a few years ago from longtime Untourist Judith Wagner. She writes of a trip to Paris with her mother and how taking the buses gave her a much more Parisian experience. Enjoy!

When my mother and I returned to Paris, we knew we needed an alternate local transportation system because the Metro steps were impossible for her to navigate and we both disliked the often-crowded environment and constant need to look out for pickpockets we had experienced on previous trips.  What we didn’t anticipate was how much richer the experience would be because we used the buses.  This was largely due to the fact that tourists rarely ride the buses, and therefore you sit with your Parisian neighbors on the bus.

mtaussig's picture

Untourist of the week: Ron Redman

on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 10:48

Albert came by several times during our stay in the Riesling apartment, and brought wine and fresh produce from his garden. Then one morning he asked if we would like to go with him to his farm nearby. It was a beautiful sunny morning and he hitched a wagon to the back of his tractor and arranged a couple of chairs in there and off we went. The route to his farm took us through the middle of Bergheim over cobblestone streets. The locals seemed to enjoy seeing us on the wagon and waved to us enthusiastically!

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: A Fan Club Member Speaks Up

on Fri, 02/10/2012 - 09:50

When I joined Hal at the Untours Foundation a number of years ago, I read my way through the filing cabinets as part of my personal orientation program. One of the surprises was the following letter from a friend and fan of Hal's.

"Dear Hal,

I am writing to let you know that you now rank in my 'Top Ten Most Influential People of My Life' list. Along with the notoriety of this dubious distinction comes a substantial cash grant (enclosed), which can be used for anything you see fit. This recognition is non-transferable. So you're stuck with it.

Others on the list are: 1.) My mother, 2.) father, 3.) wife, 4.) stepdaughter, 5) daughter, 6.) Cheri Honkala of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, 7.) Harvey Finkle 8.) Malcolm X, and 9.) Daniel Ellsberg (Richard M. Nixon was bumped to make room for you)."

nickfortunatus's picture

Untours Featured Property: Gamet

on Thu, 02/09/2012 - 10:46

If you've ever wondered what all the fuss was about with Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence, well, you just need to go to Provence. Of course, there's the renowned wine, the beautiful lavender and the ancient terracotta walls. To get a more in-depth view of Provence, head to the Pernes-Les-Fontaines section and stay in our Gamet apartment.

As you may have guessed from its name, Pernes-Les-Fontaines is filled with fountains