Category Archives: Tips

ROAD TRIPS 101: THE BASICS

A top-notch European road-trip requires less effort than you might think.

A sense of adventure and an open mind certainly help, as does a willingness to try new foods, wines, sights, and smells.  It should not, contrary to what most folks believe, require a tremendous amount of money.

With a little advance planning you too can be tooling around Europe, your next adventure just around the corner.

Airline Tickets:
The first rule of thumb is to try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to your travel dates.  Off-season travel will always be cheaper than in high season.

When booking flights I always start with Kayak.

Why?

Because Kayak displays sample pricing for the entire month, not just a single day.  This allows the savvy traveler to pinpoint the cheapest days of travel for any given month.  Don’t think that’s helpful?  Just try finding the cheapest travel days in the month on your own.  My guess is it will take you, oh…. about 30 to 31 separate searches.

Packing:
This is as easy as it gets but most people just can’t seem to pack lightly.

What does “packing lightly” mean exactly?

Well, I checked with corporate headquarters on this one and according to the Le Stuff International Guidelines For Light Packing Continue reading

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Filed under Accommodations, Driving, Tips

Le Stuff Links

I’ve done my fair share of Internet surfing lately and thought I might let you in on a few of my discoveries.

All of these, of course, are south of France related…. so enjoy.

1) “The 19 Most Complex and Dangerous Roads in the World”
OK, what does this have to do with the south of France?  Well, as any Le Stuff reader should know by now I love driving – so much so that I’ve put together a Mini Cooper Driving Tour featuring the number one road in this article – the awesome col de Turini!

2) I’ve been resourcing Provence & Beyond for years.
Need information on area villages, sports, gastronomy, etc.?
There is not a more comprehensive site covering the south of France on the web.  Check it out and if you’re not impressed, I’ll buy you a beer.

3) Julie Mautner is an American writer who has lived and worked in S.t Remy de Provence since 1999.  Her blog, The Provence Post, is chock full of fun stories, recommendations, and gossip.  Don’t miss her guest post series “The Cocktail Drinkers Guide to Gardening” by good friend James Clay.

4) “How To Make That French Vacation More Affordable”
A good, common sense article by Jerry Lanson over at True/Slant.
I found the link on “The Provence Post”

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French Dining Etiquette: Both Hands on the Table Mister!

When dining in France I try to remember to keep both hands visible.

This, I’ve been told more than once, is very important.

Sometimes I forget because it’s in direct contrast to the way I’ve eaten my entire life. In the States we’re taught to place the non-dominant hand in our lap unless it’s being used to help with cutting meat, buttering bread, etc.

In France, though, it’s considered impolite and even weird to do this.

I once asked a French friend why and was surprised by her response.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Why is it so important to have both hands visible when dining in France?” Continue reading

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Roland Garros: A Guide To The French Open

Today’s guest post by Rick Dominick is all about one of the world’s greatest sporting events, The French Open. Rick attended the tournament in 2007 and gleaned some helpful tips that will make any tennis junkie’s trip to the red clay of Roland Garros easier and more fun.

Go Rick….

Le Stuff’s Definitive Guide to Enjoying the French Open

The 2010 French Open is underway and you, like the rest of us, wish you were there.  And for good reasons; it’s the only major tournament played on clay, the tournament is held in an elegant neighborhood in Paris, and for tennis lovers, the points on “terre battue” are long and hard-fought.  If you are considering making the trip in 2011, here are our suggestions for making it a great adventure.

1) Plan to attend the tournament during the first week of competition.
Week 1 is the best time to see all the top players. The grandstand courts host the premier matches while the grounds courts host everyone else.  You may want to watch Federer or Serena compete on the Phillipe Chartrier or Suzanne Lenglen stadium courts but hardcore tennis lovers will want to scour the grounds courts for their favorite players.  The heavy, red clay makes for long, carefully crafted points and matches. Sit within a couple of feet of the players on the smaller courts and enjoy the fine competition.


Get up close and personal on the grounds courts

2) Book your trip in advance and get tournament tickets through the http://www.rolandgarros.com website.
If you want stadium tickets sign up for tickets in January or February.  You’ll be notified once the lottery for tickets is completed.  Re-seller tickets on the internet and scalped tickets are available closer to tournament time but tend to be expensive.  Grounds tickets can be purchased Continue reading

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4 Fun Things to do in Nice

Nice is an underrated city.

The fifth largest metropolis in France has a reputation for being noisy, crowded, and a place where retirees shuffle off to live out their final days in sun-kissed obscurity.  Dig a little deeper though, and this bustling town reveals a wonderful depth of character with just the right sprinkling of Franco/Italian seasoning.

Here are 4 fun things to do in Nice, France.

1)The Old Town
Don’t miss it.  Yes, the streets are narrow and charming, and the flower market held on the pedestrian-only cours saleya is a must, but the main reason I look forward to visiting this section of Nice is food.  Around every corner, it seems, there’s another opportunity to indulge in excruciatingly delicious Nicoise cuisine.  Think authentic Italian pizza, socca, Ratatouille, pastries, homemade ice cream, and the list goes on and on and on….

2) Colline du Chateau
There’s actually no chateau (it was destroyed in 1706) on this wooded hill overlooking the city , but Continue reading

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Filed under Tips, Villages

5 Ways to Save Money When Traveling To Europe

These are difficult times for anyone accustomed to traveling across the Atlantic in the good old days when the dollar was as strong as an ox.

European travel now requires serious planning if you want to avoid breaking your bank.

Check-out these 5 tips for saving money.

1) Book an apartment instead of a hotel
If you’re going to be in the same area for at least a week consider renting an apartment.  They’re generally cheaper than hotels and can provide a more enriching travel experience.

2) If you do stay in a hotel, skip their breakfast
14 Euros for a croissant and a cup of coffee?  I don’t think so Francois.
Forego breakfast at your hotel and head out to a local bakery.  You’ll have more fun, save money, and eat better food.

3) Pick the right credit card
Almost all banks charge a fee for Continue reading

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Rent A Bike In Nice

Good news for bike enthusiasts.

The city of Nice is offering bikes for rent at 90 different locations around town.  The Velo Bike System, first introduced in Paris, provides visitors with a fun, inexpensive way to see Nice.

The first half hour is free, the second 30min costs €1, and additional hours are €2 each.

Call 00 33 4 30 00 30 or go to http://www.velobleu.org for details.

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