Skip directly to content
nickfortunatus's picture

Québec City: More than just the (amazing) Château Frontenac

on Tue, 03/06/2012 - 10:46
Untours Quebec City

From its beginnings as the capital of New France (back in the early 1600s), to its current day sobriquet of the National Capital (to the Québecois), Quebec City is a wonder to behold and a dream to vacation in. Its remarkable history has made Vieux-Québec (Old Québec) a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. There are many reason for this, however one of the most interesting is that Vieux-Québec is the only North American fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist.

mtaussig's picture

Untourists of the Week: Don & Deby Elliott

on Sun, 03/04/2012 - 20:34
Deby tooling around Quebec on a bike.

Don and Deby Elliott  took their very first Untour,  to Quebec, in 2011.  How did it go?  We think Don's quote, when he sent us the pictures from his Iphone,  says it best: "It’s tough looking at the pictures and not being there.  That’s when you know you had a good vacation!'

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

Instead of telling this time, we'll show...via the Elliott's photgraphs, using our slideshow widget in Untours Cafe.  To read their captions of this fantastic trip,  lick the small "i" at the bottom right of the slideshow frame or information.

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Meet Mary LeFever!

on Fri, 03/02/2012 - 09:34
Untours Foundation Board Member Mary LeFever with Untours Founder Hal Taussig.

All of our foundation board members are amazing, of course, and that includes Mary LeFever, who first met Hal and Norma when her husband, Harry, taught with Hal at Springfield High School in southeastern Pennsylvania. When Hal and Norma formed the Untours Foundation in 1993, they asked Mary to be a founding board member. Mary appreciates how the foundation provides low-interest loans to entrepreneurial individuals or groups, who would not otherwise qualify for loans.

Here’s more on Mary……..

Most unusual gift received:  $1,500 from Norma & Hal Taussig to found The Walden School which is 45 years old this year!

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