We booked a long weekend in Paris with Erin's bro and his friend, Pete, neither of whom had visited Paris before. With limited time and keeping a college budget in mind, we put together an itinerary that would provide a good introduction to the "la Ville Lumière".
For our first official trip of autumn, we decided to spend a long weekend in the Bordeaux region of France during its annual harvest, or vendanges. After pushing through a gruelling weekend of work meetings and presentations in London (balanced out by a luxe, zen-like stay at the new Nobu hotel in Shoreditch), we jetted out of Gatwick at dinner time Thursday, landing in Bordeaux two and a half hours later.
After spending consecutive weekends exploring the markets and rooftops of Madrid and discovering Gaudi's timeless works Barcelona, we decided to keep it closer to home for a short weekend trip to Strasbourg, France. We headed out early on a frosty Saturday morning and drove south, cutting through Germany on our way down to the Alsace region.
One of our favorite movies is Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief", which features Grace Kelly and Cary Grant traveling through the French Riviera. Since we first watched it together in a Cleveland basement at least 10 years ago, it was always one of our goals to take in the glamour, old-Hollywood history and beautiful scenery of the Cote d'Azur in the south of France. Now that we are based in Lux, it is only an hour flight into the heart of Nice. We woke up at dawn, drove to a local airport in Strasbourg, jetted over the snow-capped Alps and landed by lunchtime.
After spending the last couple weekends in Luxembourg, we decided to escape the cold, grey fall weather and take a road trip to Paris for the weekend. We headed out of town Friday afternoon and drove straight to the City of Light in just under four hours. After dropping our bags at our left bank hotel, we sprinted through the streets to the Champ de Mars to take in the sparklight light show at the Effiel Tower that takes place for a few minutes at the top of every hour. As the blinking lights dazzled all onlookers in the park, we soaked in the moment and took time to appreciate how lucky we are to be able to be in Paris without transatlantic flights and months of planning.
After the whirlwind of travel we've been on lately, we decided to take the month of July to explore our immediate surroundings in the Netherlands, France and Germany. Fortunately, because Luxembourg is centrally located within Europe, these countries are just a scenic road trip away.
We headed out of Luxembourg City Friday afternoon and drove 2 hours to the southwest into Champagne, which is about 60 miles from Paris. We started our weekend by staying in a 17th century chateau, complete with a fully functional moat, landscaped gardens, an orangerie and a very angry swan (more on that later). We chose Chateau D'Etoges for our first night because of its proximity to two of the most important towns in Champagne: Hautvilliers, the tiny hilltop town where Dom Perignon revolutionized champagne, and Epernay, the center of Champagne where all of the major players bottle and age the bubbly.
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