An Alpine Village With European Flair

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Dreaming of getting away to a winter wonderland and being nestled in the snow-dusted landscape of a charming, remote French village—perhaps in Bourgogne, Alsace, or Annecy—with nothing but the sound of bells going off every hour and the crackling of a fire enticed me.

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Pure bliss. I almost had my husband convinced. If only the price of an airline ticket was not so high, perhaps my fantasy would have come true. Instead, close to home, we found Alpine charm with some European flair in the Adirondack Mountains—Lake Placid. What a delightful little mountain village!

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Lake Placid is well known for hosting the Winter Olympics in both 1932 and 1980. It is a popular destination year round for outdoor enthusiasts, who enjoy skiing, hiking the 46 High Peaks, ice skating, rock climbing, and a host of other activities. The main street of the village is lined with shops and restaurants all along the smaller—yet oh so charming—Mirror Lake.

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The Mirror Lake Inn is the place to enjoy a meal in the most elegant setting with a view of the lake. There are two restaurants, the View and Taste Bistro, as well as an informal place right on the lake called the Cottage, which is a good place to get a snack or a light meal to warm up with after outdoor activities. We loved the elegance of the Taste Bistro and thought our meals were pretty good—not Fournil good of course, but still good. However, the atmosphere was five star.

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The Lake Placid Lodge, which is a member of the Relais and Châteaux association, looks like the place to go for a special meal or occasion. We stopped by for a glass of wine in order to check the place out and get a view of Lake Placid itself, since the lake is more hidden and secluded than Mirror Lake. Quite a special place! We had a peek in the wine cellar, which is used for private dinner parties. We were told that much of the woodwork was salvaged from Burgundy of all places.

We, however, stayed in the inviting Dartbrook Lodge in the scenic Keene Valley, not far from Lake Placid. Designed and furnished by local artisans, the lodge has beautiful, rustic cabins and suites in the style of the Great Camp tradition.

We chose the South Center House, which was very nice and cozy. Since we were the only ones staying at the lodge, it was perfectly quiet. I would probably pick the Halcyon House next time, which is detached and thus more private. The Ausable River runs right along the property, making for dreamy winter walks.

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There truly is much beauty to be found and appreciated in all parts of the world. No blue shutters here. But a lovely Adirondack color!

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À bientôt!

A Discovery at the Top of Bonnieux

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One day while taking a walk up the very steep road behind Bonnieux, I saw signs for la Bastide de Capelongue and Édouard Loubet, Relais and Châteaux. Curious, I kept walking. I continued up past the village and onto a side road. I soon came to the grounds of a gorgeous resort. As I discreetly explored the grounds, I saw across from the bastide a sign for la Bergerie.

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The electronic gates were open, so I made my way in. What I found was a cozy, intimate restaurant set on the beautiful grounds of la Ferme de Capelongue, which is a more informal part of the bastide. La Bergerie restaurant looked outstanding! I excitedly made my way back down the hill below the village of Bonnieux to share my discovery. I made a reservation and back we went.

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Not only are the grounds beautiful but the inside of the restaurant is gorgeous, rustic, and inviting. Arriving at 7:00 p.m., naturally we were the only ones there. This is France of course! The waiter was hysterical as he told us that he still needed to get dressed but to go ahead and have a seat on one of the cozy couches and he would bring us an apéritif shortly.

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While we enjoyed our apéritifs with delicious tapenade and bread, we were brought two chalkboards showing both the menu of the day and suggestions of the day.

At 7:30 we chose a table and ordered a bottle of wine from the domaine of Édouard Loubet, which we thought was wonderful! For our first course, we chose le melon de Bonnieux et jambon and sardinillas de Galice à l’huile. Now, I don’t normally like melon, but this salad was delicious! Provençal melons of course!

I guess I got distracted and forgot to photograph properly our main courses and will spare you the photos of half-eaten plates, but we chose la belle entrecôte Charolaise and pavé de saumon. The salmon rated highly with the dish I had at le Petit Café. Along with our courses, we were served a side of ratatouille and gratin de pommes de terre. While the chefs cooked right in front of us, baskets of freshly baked bread were being brought out from a separate kitchen.

We certainly didn’t need dessert. But with an ambience like this, we were in no rush to leave. So we ended the night with la tarte du jour and tiramisu.

La Bergerie was a highlight of our recent trip, and we hope to return again.

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À bientôt!

The Most Romantic Village of the Luberon

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Here’s a tip! When your husband asks if you would like to be dropped off in the village of Lourmarin for the day, you just say “Yes!” You don’t question it. You just go. You won’t be disappointed.

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Romantic is the best word to describe it. Classified as one of the most beautiful villages of France, Lourmarin is intoxicating. It’s a place that instills a need for one to return to again and again, each time discovering a little more. Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves along with shady plane trees and charming cobblestone streets filled with cafés, restaurants, and boutiques, it is pretty much every female’s dream.

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If you can break away from relaxing and people watching at one of the many enticing cafés spilling out onto the streets to walk up to the Château de Lourmarin, otherwise nicknamed the Villa Medicis de Provence, you will be rewarded with gorgeous views looking back on the village. This picturesque Renaissance château offers tours and has many art exhibitions and concerts in the summer months. Gorgeous olive groves are behind the château and country lanes to meander.

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On the way up to the château, why not stop off at les Caves du Château to taste the wonderful regional wines of the Luberon. The Château Fontvert is also located right nearby for tasting.

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An absolute must is to visit Lourmarin on Friday—market day! This is perhaps the best market in the Vaucluse department of Provence. Live music in the streets and adorable baby goats to pet all add to the excitement as well as gorgeous linen aprons and fabrics and stand after stand of deliciousness.

Visit the village of Lourmarin and experience the intoxication yourself.

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À bientôt!