Category Archives: France

Beaune France – wine and oh, so much more!

Beaune, (pronounced bone), is south of Dijon, Burgundy’s capital city, but it is considered the capital of burgundy wines. If you are interested in wine, food, France, culture and tradition, then consider the river cruise GetAway Travel has planned for November of 2022. It will be a great way to tour and understand all things wine since you will be accompanied by experts from Spring City Wine House. https://getaway.travel/unique-getaways/spring-city-wine-house-burgundy-river-cruise/ 

Sue – ready for wine in Beaune

 Beaune is renowned for wine, but also for food, the architectural excellence and cultural significance of Hospice du Beaune, museums, markets and a family run mustard mill. 

 First, let’s talk wine 

 The vineyards around Beaune produce some of the world’s best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Joseph Drouhin, Louis Jadot, Bouchard Pere et fils, are a few of the well-known vintners that allow tours. An optional city tour is included in your tour package and you can always consult your travel advisor at GetAway Travel for more specific information. Five of the greatest vineyards in the region are in the Beaune area and you can tour on foot, in vehicle, by horse and carriage, on a bike and even on a Segway if you like! 

The original ramparts built to protect Beaune still exist and you can stroll on the ramparts to some of the vineyards. 

There are independent wine shops and cellars throughout the town. 

Wine cellar in Beaune

 Hospice du Beaune 

 You can’t talk about Beaune and wine without mentioning the Hospice du Beaune. Home of an annual wine auction that draws celebrities and cash, the auction which began after 1457, still benefits area charities. 

Hospice du Beaune

Built in 1443, the Hospice du Beaune was established to care for the infirm who could not afford health care. In 1457 a local vineyard owner donated a bottle of wine to be sold to start a fund to care for the infirm in perpetuity. Now, Christies runs the auction each year. 

formerly hanging in the hospital, but now in the museum for Hospice du Beaune

But even if you aren’t attending the auction, the gothic hospital is considered one of the finest monuments in the country and a site that should not be missed. The complex with its bright, mosaic tiled roofs is a glorious sight in the sunlight. 

The pharmacy, chapel, wine cellars and, of course the vineyards, can be toured. More than 20 prestigious winemakers tend the vineyards around the Hospice du Beaune. 

 Food, shopping, museums and more 

 On Saturdays, Beaune is home to two huge markets. In the downtown area, you can find culinary wonders including meat, cheese and produce. The regional cheeses are fabulous, there’s Chaource, Espoisses and Delice de Pommard which is a light, creamy cheese rolled in mustard seeds. A second market a short walk from the town square specializes in antiques including books, glassware, vases and clothing. 

Market day in Beaune – Olives

You likely will experience some of the local cuisine from the river cruise chefs, perhaps Boeuf Bourguignon or Escargots a La Bourguignon. And no doubt the local mushrooms and truffles will find a place in one or two meals. 

Beaune market

In addition to the historical displays at the Hospice du Beaune, there is a wine museum in town, and the Dalineum is a museum dedicated to the works of Salvador Dali. The venerable Theatre de Verdure is now a spectacular public garden and sample a variety of mustards after taking a tour of the Fallot Mustard Mill. It offers an historic perspective on mustard production and the evolution of the condiment. 

Beaune market – a foodies delight

There are a number of public parks suitable for picnics and the Parc de La Bouzaire has its own lake and a small animal farm as well as a cafe. The Cote Plage beach features grassy access to the water and four natural pools. 

One of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture dating back to the 12th Century is the Basilica of Notre Dame in Beaune. Tour the old cloisters and St. Leger Chapel. There are stunning stained-glass windows and five intricate tapestries woven in the 1500s that chronicle the life of the Virgin Mary. 

Wine, food, architecture, culture and ambiance — Beaune has it all and you can experience it first-hand on the GetAway Travel river cruise planned for November 2022.  

As always, we can be reached at:  (262) 538-2140

e-mail: sue@getaway.travel or getaway.travel@outlook.com

 

Did you need a reason to go to Lyon France? OK, well here’s a few.

Lyon, France is one large UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a very large renaissance era old town and Roman ruins.   The city was founded 2,000 years where the Rhône and Saône Rivers meet. 

Lyon built its fortune on the silk trade.  During the 16th century it was estimated that there were at least 180,000 looms in the city.

The Fourvière Basilica is a magnificent church, ever visible on the hill to west of the city.  In December, the famous Fête des Lumières takes place in praise of the Virgin Mary, to whom the Basilica is dedicated, for protecting the city from the bubonic plague in the 17th century.

On the left bank of the Saône is the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, which even after 2000 years is still being used as a performance venue.

At the Lyon Cathedral, many of the stain glassed windows you see are from the 1300’s.  They were taken down and packed away during WWII to save them from bomb damage.  

The word “FUN” is found in Funicular.  This one will take you from the river to the top of the Fourvière hill.

This is really just a small bit of highlights you’ll enjoy in Lyon.  

To see them all – why not join us in November of 2022 on our exclusive Spring City Wine House Burgundy & Provence River Cruise.  Lyon is just one of the many stops during our week that you will enjoy.

See our web page for more details

Here is how accessible the city is from a River Cruise – parked right in the heart of the old town area – amazing!  We look forward to seeing YOU in Lyon.

Virtual Visit Week – Wednesday – One of the most famous Tourist sites in the World

Today we stay in Europe, leaving Amsterdam and her enchanting canals we head to the equally enchanting city of Paris.  However no art museums on this visit as we are here to see the Eiffel tower.

An iconic symbol of Paris and one of the most famous landmarks in the world the tower was built by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel in 1887-1889.  Gustave was born 15 December, 1932 in Côte-d’Or, France (which is a limestone escarpment – the east facing slope being home to some of the greatest wines of Burgundy!)

After graduating engineering college, Eiffel got first big project to manage and install a railway bridge over the Garonne river at Bordeaux.  The work successfully completed on schedule and afterwards he set himself up as an independent consulting engineer.  He was involved in many metal work projects including: the Budapest rail station, a bridge over the river Douro in Portugal, the Exposition Universelle building in Paris and the Garabit Viaduct (a railway arch bridge in central France).  

In 1881 Eiffel was approached by French sculptor August Bartholdi who needed an engineer to help him finish the Statue of Liberty.  The entire statue was erected at the Eiffel works in Paris before being dismantled and shipped to the United States. 

Continue reading

Ever take a cooking class on a River Cruise Ship?

Last September we had the joy of sailing with a small group aboard the Uniworld S.S. Joie de Vivre cruising from Paris to Normandy.  Everyone loved the experience onboard – the service was outstanding and the food was amazing.  One of our (many!) highlights of the trip was a group cooking class in the on board Wine Cave – La Cave des Vins.

group dinner in le cave_1

Being in Normandy, we had a welcome cocktail made with Calvados (local Apple Brandy) followed by a 4 course food and wine pairing.  The whole group assisted with all the food prep and cooking.  Our first course was an amazing sauteed foie gras atop a vanilla apple – which Continue reading

Too many Pictures and not enough time

This happens every time we GetAway.  We take a ton of pictures while we’re travelling and then after we get home we struggle to find time to sort through them, find the best ones and share.  So for today’s post we just grabbed some random ones from our recent Paris to Normandy river cruise that we hope you’ll enjoy.  So, well…enjoy away!

Queens hamlet versailles_2_1

This was our third time to Versailles, but our very first to see the Queen’s hamlet.  It’s a beautiful setting and makes for a great day of touring. You can read more about it here –The Queens Hamlet

ss joie de vivre_11

I think you can tell we love River Cruising.  But it’s not just us (although we are pictured above), our friends and clients love it too.  The Joie de Vivre was an amazing home for 7 days.

Paris France_7

Yup it’s just a picture of cheese in France.  Call us guilty – we are from Wisconsin and we love cheese enough to take pictures of it.

Honfleur France_73

Artwork as seen through a store window in Honfleur, France.  This gorilla looks to need a glass of single malt scotch to go with his cigar.  We didn’t buy this painting as we don’t know where we’d hang this in our house, however if you have a place for it – a trip to Honfleur might be just the thing you need.

Honfleur France_26

Speaking of Honfleur – here it is.  It’s a gorgeous town to visit.

American cemetary normandy_18

The American cemetery in Normandy is a humbling beautiful place to visit.  Words cannot express the gratitude.

Omaha beach normandy_14

This is a view down a stretch of Omaha beach.  The coast line is rugged and looks much the same as it did in 1944

Sainte-Mère-Église normandy france_2

Sainte-Mère-Église is now famous for a true incident portrayed in the movie The Longest Day.  The incident on D-Day involved paratrooper John Steele whose parachute caught on the spire of the town church, and could only observe the fighting going on below. He hung there limply for two hours, pretending to be dead, before the Germans took him prisoner. Steele later escaped from the Germans and rejoined his division when US troops attacked the village.  Look closely and you’ll see a mannequin with a parachute hanging from the church tower today

Giverny_47

Water lillies and France – must be the home of Monet.  Some of Monet’s most famous paintings are of his garden at Giverny.

Domaine Les Crayères hotel reims_25

Random visit to a pop-up market behind the exclusive Domaine Les Crayères hotel in Reims.  Yes we’re in the heart of Champagne and this is a craft beer tent.  It was a very happy moment for Paul!

au piano des chefs cooking class_8

There is a lot of limestone in the soils of Champagne.  Our Wine expert is showing us the ancient sea creature shells embedded in the stone on the Reims Cathedral.  He explained the calcium in the limestone is present in the wine and now that we’ve been drinking Champagne, there is a bit of the region of Champagne in all of us.

notre dame de reims cathedral_18

You should definitely go for the night time light show at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims.  But during the day you get better close up shots of the statues and this one is missing the top of his head.  Perhaps his hat blew off in a strong wind.

hautvillers france

Speaking of hats, this one looked great on Pierre, but we don’t think he actually brought it home.

au 36 restaurant hautvillers_14

Sitting outside in Hautvillers, France for a wine and food tasting.  That’s a lot of glasses! It was all so we could taste some of the individual varietals that go into Champagne.  Hautvillers itself is famous for the Abbey of St. Peter which existed here until the French Revolution.  The Abbey was the home of Dom Perignon, a rather famous Benedictine monk whose work in wine-making helped to develop champagne.  Perhaps you’ve heard of him?

Billecart-Salmon_8

Speaking of Champagne how about a place called Billecart-Salmon?  They create fantastic wine and it was a great Champagne house to visit.  We discovered that in his college years, our host (center of photo above) spent a year in Milwaukee.  You can imagine we quickly bonded over that.  Yes it is a small world!

Ruinart_7

Hmm….you may be wondering…yes it is a foosball table – perhaps the best one ever.  We discovered this one at Ruinart.  Come for the bubbles and stay for the foosball!

Well that’s just a sample of some of our activities and the sites we visited.  These pictures don’t even include our cooking class in Reims – you can see that on youtube here.  Champagne is a quick train trip outside of Paris.  While it was not part of the river cruise – we went there for a few days first prior to the 7 days on the river Seine.  If we can help make your France (or any other location) travel dreams come true – please give us a call or drop us a note.

 

 

The Queens Hamlet

The Hameau de la Reine is a rustic retreat built for Marie Antionette in 1783 within the park which includes the Palace of Versailles.  It served as a private leisure and meeting place for the queen and her closest friends.  In a couple of weeks that will include us as we visit as part of an excursion on our Paris to Normandy River Cruise aboard the S.S Joie de Vivre.

Including the queen’s house there are a total of 10 cottages.  The site was abandoned after the French Revolution and would be completely lost if not for later restoration efforts.  Napoleon ordered a full restoration between 1810 and 1812, which unfortunately included tearing down some of the most dilapidated structures including the barn and the working dairy.  A second restoration campaign funded by John Rockefeller in 1930’s saved the hamlet from certain ruin.  Part of the hamlet was restored once again in the late 20th century, with some buildings including the windmill restored to their original look.  The farm itself almost totally disappeared over the course of the 20th century but was reconstructed in 2006.  It’s now home to a variety of animals.

We are really looking forward to our upcoming visit.  While the cruise is sold out you can still follow along on our Facebook page – we hope to see you there -https://www.facebook.com/getawaytravelllc/

GetAway Travel - you renewed

 

Honfleur, France – Little Surprises

Sometimes the most unknown cities and towns along an itinerary can hold wonderful surprises.  A few years ago, we took a river boat cruise from Paris to Normandy.  We chose it because of the wonderful history associated with the itinerary and of course because it was an easy fly in and out of Paris.  It was so wonderful in fact that we are scheduled to do it again in 2019.

Now prior to that first trip I had never heard of the town of Honfleur and I didn’t research much about it either.  So, when we arrived in port I was understandably   overwhelmed by the quaint beauty of this little port town.  The harbor was filled with boats, the buildings around the port were brightly colored and it just felt homey.  Maybe that sounds a bit corny but the town was something right out of a picture.  As a matter of fact, come to find out Honfleur was painted by many famous artists like Boudin and Monet.  Certainly, this is a photographer’s mecca!

We took a guided tour of the town and the standout thing to see was of course, the church.  I must laugh when I write that because if you knew my husband, you would know that we have been in thousands of churches around the globe.  All I can say is, well, It’s his thing.  I’m pretty sure we have at least 2 zillion (okay maybe not quite) photos of every church wall, gargoyle, crypt, bell tower……etc. in Europe.  So, as I said, of course the highlight for him was…the church.  Sainte Catherine’s church, is a bit different from many we’ve visited, ornate in a simple sort of way and certainly not plastered with oodles of ornate gold.  Nope, it is simply the largest church in France that has been made from wood and it has a separate bell tower just opposite the church entry, above the bell ringers house.  Guests to Honfleur can visit the church for free!  Let’s face it, can’t get better than that.

Now if you were an astute reader you know the church was Paul’s thing….so what flipped my lid in Honfleur?  I already told you the port setting itself was amazing to look at but there was one thing that really caught my eye.  As we were wandering the streets…there it was…in the window of a little shop…. the purse of my dreams.  Now I’m not a girly girl, and I typically buy a purse only when the last one is too embarrassing to carry. But this beauty was something I just had to have…and yes, I paid through the nose for it and I didn’t care.   And lest you think purses are my thing…guess again (hint, look at the purse).  So, there it was, in the window of the little shop in Honfleur, France and I had to have it!

You see, sometimes little stops along the itinerary deliver such wonderful surprises and make the whole trip something you’ll remember.  You just never know until you go…. happy travels!


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: GetAway Travel LLC, W287 N8930 Center Oak Rd, Hartland, WI, 53029, https://www.getaway.travel. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Versailles – Take a Tour or Go it Alone?

02-Uniworld River Baroness Versailles Palace 3-27-2009 4-31-01 AM.JPG

The palace of Versailles, located just outside Paris and listed as a World Heritage Site, was the seat of the government of Louis XIV.  This marvelous palace and gardens should certainly be on your must see list while in France.  The big question however is how to see it?

09-Uniworld River Baroness Versailles Palace 3-27-2009 5-11-00 AM

Well to answer that question, first consider that the Palace contains 2,300 room and more than 3 million people visit annually.  Then consider your motivation for visiting, are you a wanderer who enjoys the sites without too much detail or are you a history buff where the story is important.

04-Uniworld River Baroness Versailles Palace 3-27-2009 4-39-47 AM

There are so many options to choose from – anywhere from going it alone with your audio guide (comes with the admission ticket) to a private guided tour.  When choosing also consider what parts of the palace will be included (Palace, Estate of Trianon, Gardens and Parks, Musical Fountain Show and Musical Gardens and/or the Coach Gallery) in relationship to how much time you want to spend.

07-Uniworld River Baroness Versailles Palace 3-27-2009 4-52-38 AM

Here are a few tips that will make your visit more pleasurable.

  • This place is huge and can’t be done in just one hour.
  • Regardless of what way you wish to tour Versaillas, be sure you have purchased your ticket prior to your arrival otherwise you’ll spend a good part of your allotted time just standing in line for a ticket.
  • Plan a minimum of 4 hrs.
  • Wear good walking shoes.
  • Eat a good breakfast or lunch before you arrive. Just the scores of people are enough irritation you don’t need hangry to rear its ugly head too.
  • Make sure your tour offers headsets, with the crowd it is essential for hearing your guide.

05-Uniworld River Baroness Versailles Palace 3-27-2009 4-41-04 AM

Now for my personal (any travel professional) opinion, take a tour that offers skip the line and a small group format and access to the secret rooms – it will be well worth the money!

Whenever you go, enjoy your visit, it is a marvelous Palace.  Au revior for now.

06-Uniworld River Baroness Versailles Palace 3-27-2009 4-46-23 AM

Europe GetAways in 2017

We have 2 exciting European Group GetAways scheduled for 2017.  They may both be cruises, but they are completely different!


1-Wine_grapes07First up is the Wines of Western Europe which includes Bordeaux (France), Basque (Spain) and Portugal.  Our group will be sailing aboard the luxurious Azamara Journey.  Azamara Club Cruises is at the crossroads of where luxury and destination immersive cruising meet.  This ship only holds 694 passengers and has a wonderful mix of amenities.  She’s a perfect-sized vessel: small enough that it’s never too far from one place to another, yet large enough to provide variety on long itineraries. On our trip we will experience late evening and overnight port stays.  The Journey was completely refurbished in 2016 –  it received new spa suites in the fully renovated Sanctum spa with updated decor in marble, light wood and a cream palate. Every suite and stateroom has new beds with the same decor scheme, and the restaurants also received a modern upgrade.

Our 12 Night GetAway begins in Southampton England on September 4 and ends in Lisbon Portugal on September 16.  Along the way you will experience the worlds foremost wine region in Bordeaux, spend a day at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, wash Tapas down with Rioja wine, and sip port in the Douro Valley – and so much more.  You can find more details at our website.  We hope you can join us.


salzburg2Our second European Group GetAway for 2017 is in December.  Why December?  Christmas MarketsCome with us and celebrate the season as we cruise along the Danube aboard the Uniworld SS Maria Theresa.  We last visited Christmas markets in 2014 and everyone had such a great time that we knew we’d definitely do it again.

If you’re tired of commercialism taking over the holidays, you will be very pleased with the traditions and romance of real Christmas markets where the gifts are not mass-produced but craftwork of real quality.   Our group will begin in Budapest and sail along the Danube while visiting Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany.  Every stop along the way will feature special Christmas Market excursions.  You can find more details on the itinerary at our website.

Every Uniworld ship is as unique as it’s itinerary and the SS Maria Theresa is no exception.  It’s opulent 18th century décor is a floating homage to one of the Habsburg empires most beloved ruler.  The food, drink and service on Uniworld are absolutely outstanding – and everything is included!  Call now as there are limited time promotions where even the air is included!

  As always, we can be reached at 262.538.2140 or send us an email: paul@getaway.travel or sue@getaway.travel


 

Looking Forward – 2016 Year in Travel

European vacations continue to hold great value. The US Dollar remains at historic low levels vs. the Euro. This is good news for travelers to Europe as you definitely get more bang for your buck.  Our best advice for Europe is to plan ahead – this is not a destination that typically rewards the last-minute traveler.   The best way to start planning your European vacation is to schedule a consultation with Sue.

Uniworld River Baroness Honfleur France 3-26-2009 4-32-41 AMRiver Cruising continues to grow and for very good reasons. Our clients absolutely love to take River Cruises. All it takes is to try it once and you will rave about it forever. Be aware however that not all river cruise companies are equal. You can research endlessly on your own, or you can call us to discuss. Our goal is to find out about what you want to do, how adventurous you are, what you like and what you don’t like. What are your travel dreams?  Our recommendations are simply based on you and your needs, that’s it.

iberostar-rose-hall-beach-poolAll Inclusive vacations will remain hot, hot, hot. The industry continues to upgrade old properties and build new ones. There are All-Inclusives for all tastes and budgets. Well we know you want a warm weather, beach destination, but are you looking for a romantic escape or a family/multi-generational getaway? Do you want basic dining choices or a more gourmet experience?   How does a canopy covered bed and open air shower sound? Or a private plunge pool within mere steps of your suite? The choices go on and on.  We can help narrow it down to something you will love.

According to the experts, air ticket prices are down but add-on fees are up.  The simple fact, is you need air tickets to get to many vacation destinations. They are the transportation, not the vacation.

Cheap will remain, well….cheap. While the dictionary defines cheap as inexpensive, it also defines it as something of poor quality or shoddy. Continue to be cautious about anything advertised as cheap, supercheap, ultracheap, etc. A fantastically cheap vacation is not a good value if it is actually craptastic (this is our official industry word for cheap vacations!). Everyone wants good value and that’s where we help – get the best value for your money that actually gets the vacation experience you are looking for. Will it be cheap? We certainly hope not.

The best things in travel continue to come to those who plan ahead. For example, how about planning 2017? You may not be ready yet, but we are. We have 2 special group options worth considering.

Join us in January 2017 for our GetAway on the Getaway.   We will do all the following:  go down the highest water slides at sea, attend award-winning Broadway shows, experience Iron Chef dining, walk the plank and be endlessly entertained and pampered.   Book now and choose between Free unlimited drinks, Free Specialty Dining, Free Shore Excursions or Free WiFi.

In September 2017 we will be hosting a very special Wines of Western Europe group on the Azamara Journey.  Beginning in England, we will sail to France, Spain and Portugal.  Azamara specializes in unique itineraries that include overnight stays in many ports.  Our group will be in Bordeaux, one of the world’s foremost wine regions for 3 days.  But that is not the only World Heritage region we will visit – see our web page for all the details.