Dare to Dream of a White Christmas in Courchevel

Dare to Dream of a White Christmas in Courchevel

Imagine waking up to a scene of snowy mountains and pine trees capped with a fresh dusting of snow on Christmas morning. Well, if you book a ski holiday to Courchevel for the festive period, this is exactly what you and your kids can expect!
In addition to enjoying a perfect winter wonderland, you and your family will be able to enjoy many festive activities in the resort, ranging from fantastic French-cooked Christmas dinners to a torch-lit descent for the kids to enjoy when the sun goes down.

 

The best part is that all of this couldn’t be easier to reach from the UK, as there are regular flights to Geneva from most UK airports, as well as excellent transport links from Geneva to Courchevel.

Courchevel for Families

While the exclusive Courchevel resort of 1850 is a perfect destination for many couples and ski enthusiasts, families with young children may prefer the lower resorts of 1550 and 1650, which are smaller and have a more family-friendly and intimate feel.

All of the resorts have their own children’s ski schools (I highly recommend learning with the French ESF – let them know that your children are English, and they will put them in an English-speaking class). What’s more, there are nursery runs, snow playgrounds and beginner slopes in each of the resorts.

When you venture away from the slopes, you’ll find that there is as much to do off as on the snow. For example, why not take the family ice skating, bowling or to the cinema?

What to Expect During the Festive Season

As you make your way from Geneva to Courchevel, you’ll feel the excitement of your children growing when you drive into the heart of a Narnia-esque landscape of snowy mountains and pine forests.

When you reach the resort, you’ll discover that the French embrace the magic of the festive season just as much as we do back home. The high streets in all of the resorts sparkle with Christmas lights, giving the entire area a truly magical feel.

Festive treats are likely to include carols and fireworks, traditional markets, a parade, tons of hot chocolate and live music events, as well as traditional Christmas meals in its many restaurants.

Highlights for 2017 include a torch-lit descent that’s led by ESF instructors and that features Santa as a special guest, as well as a special Boxing Day luge event.

Lastly, don’t forget that you’ll also be able to ski on Christmas Day. All of the resort’s lifts and pistes are open all day. Who knows – you might even discover Santa practicing his carving turns!

How to Get There

The resort is served by four airports during the ski season: Chambery, Lyon, Grenoble and Geneva. For the most regular and stress-free connection, choose a flight to Geneva with providers such as easyJet, British Airways, Swiss International or Air France.

For a completely hassle-free way of getting your family from the airport to your resort, simply book an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you leave home.

Let us know how many of you will be travelling, how many child seats you will need, and what ski equipment you will be carrying, and we’ll meet you at the airport with the perfect transport for you and your family.

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The River Po: a Barger’s Guide

The River Po: a Barger’s Guide

Searching for great river cruises? Italy’s lovely rivers and canals offer tourists a chance to explore the wonders of this beautiful country. When you navigate down the River Po, you can travel through the various Italian natural landscapes, marvelling at unique lagoon islands, gorgeous lakesides flocked with birds and charming Renaissance cities with awe-inspiring architecture.
Length and Route

 

The River Po is a 650-kilometre long stretch of water that will take you from the canal city of Venice to the cultural hotspot of Mantua. Starting in the Venetian Romantic city, you can travel up the river through the Po valley, along the river and the Bianco Canal to San Pietro in Volta, before heading towards Zelo and Governo and finally reaching the lakeside city of Mantua. Along the way, you will encounter both the upper and lower Po plains which are surrounded by the Alps, the Adriatic Sea and the Apennines. You can admire the contrast between the two levels, as the first is a drier landscape with few trees and the second is abundant in water and greenery.

History and Feats of Engineering

The Po River has a very interesting and intricate history. Although it is a bit temperamental, in some places being extremely shallow and in others flooding the landscape, the River Po has enabled centuries of settlers to prosper. It is Italy’s largest waterway and ensured that the region grew into the country’s most important economic area. Its water fed the fields on the bank and led to the flourishing of agriculture. Connecting Turin, Vercelli, Piacenza and Cremona, it was also used as a trade route by the early Mediterranean settlers and later by the Romans too.

This extraordinary river also gave birth to the iconic canals of Venice, as it forms a 100-kilometre long delta which feeds the city’s lagoon. Creating the famous 118 islets, surrounded by 177 canals which host many river cruises, Italy is able to attract many tourists to The Floating City every year. It would not feature its unique architecture of colourful houses built on the ‘submerged forest’ of wooden piles without it. It is also thanks to this legacy that the Po Delta has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Attractions en Route

You can gain brilliant insight into the Roman, Etruscan, Istrian and Byzantine empires by going on Po river cruises. Italy is a treasure trove of culture, with stunning architecture and artworks just waiting to be explored. I’d recommend visiting the beautiful seventeenth-century Villa Ca’Zen. Located on the riverbank, it is a breathtaking stately home where the great Lord Byron courted his muse, Countess Guiccioli, and composed some of his most famous verses. You will also want to explore the city of Mantua, with its neoclassic Palazzo Canossa and the impressive Renaissance dome of the Basilica di Sant’ Andrea. For a bit of musical history, head over to the Teatro Scientifico where the young Mozart first wowed his contemporary with his extraordinary piano skills.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury river cruises and barge holidays throughout Europe. If you’re looking for the most exciting river cruises, Italy is an ideal choice. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

Car insurance bundle How it affects premiums

Car insurance bundle How it affects premiums

Some companies simply do not offer bundling options because this is not a mainstream idea. Your best bet is to look for a big name in the industry, which often offers many options in terms of multi-policy and multi-car insurance. Most online car insurance estimator tools can only calculate the price of one type of insurance only. There are also some of them that calculate multi-car insurance; This means the tool works to calculate only the auto insurance estimates that are both bundled and stand-alone. In other words, such car insurance calculators can not predict the exact price if you plan on incorporating coverage policies for cars and other types of assets such as property. Car insurance bundle How it affects premiums
Official sites of some insurance companies even have a better option that lets you look at auto insurance estimates either as part of a package package or stand-alone policy. This feature, however, is not available from many companies. An independent agent is the best car insurance estimator you can get. This person not only counts, but compares and advises. You can choose to speak with a captive or independent agent to gain a better understanding of how to package car insurance and how it affects premiums.

Car insurance bundle How it affects premiums

In this case, a captive agent may try to persuade you to purchase a package package simply. This agent works for the company and tries to make as many sales as possible. An independent agent is a better choice because this person works for customers and tries to find the best coverage policy for your needs. Both types of agents should be able to tell your car insurance forecasts exactly whether you are bundling it with other coverage policies or not. Another big difference is that independent agents can compare prices between various companies objectively without trying to convince you to buy from a particular company. If you can not find the right car insurance calculator for your needs online, an independent agent is your best choice. In fact, an independent broker is not only a reliable car insurance estimator, but this person can be a consultant for your needs as well.

Discounts for Multi Car Policy Multi-car policy is one of the most common discounts available from all car insurance companies. If you have two or more vehicles, and you have them insured by one insurance company, this discount is automatically applied. That means you bundle car insurance for two or more vehicles. As mentioned above, some online car insurance estimators have such features, so you may not need to ask for help from an independent professional agent to do the calculations. Regardless of the discount, it is unlikely that car insurance estimates for multi-car policies will be cheaper than the one-vehicle tariff. Eligibility requirements depend entirely on company decisions, but cars should normally be owned by the same household.

Multi-Policy Discount The easiest way to get a discount is to move all policies with just one insurance company. This lets you manage your monthly premium bill more efficiently because you only have to deal with one insurance company. Among all the discounts given, multi-policy is probably the biggest and best you can get from an insurance company. Keep in mind that only a few big companies have such features, but you still have to compare the scope and price to get the most out of your circumstances. A simple online car insurance estimate would not be able to predict the amount correctly because this bundle type only involves too many variables in the calculation. The insurance agent can provide accurate car insurance estimates, in this case, so you want to consider working with it.

Conclusions If you combine car insurance with other types of coverage for other assets, you get all the benefits of multi-car or multi-policy discounts and the ease of handling everything handled by a single insurance company. For this particular situation, it might be better if you ask for help from an independent agent rather than an online car insurance calculator to predict the actual premium rate you need to pay. Estimated auto insurance calculated by the representative will be more accurate; Such agents will even compare prices among many companies Car insurance bundle How it affects premiums

Keeping your Winter Holiday Green

Keeping your Winter Holiday Green

We live in a time where people are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, and both cor-porations and individuals are doing more than ever to reduce their carbon footprint. This is fantastic news and very important in a bid to protect our planet and reduce the impact of global warming, but there is still a lot of work to be done. The good news is that even small changes can have a huge impact.
As a rapidly growing industry that’s set in natural surroundings, the skiing community must look for ways to keep winter holidays green without compromising on the quality of stays in catered ski chalets and shredding powder on the mountain. If you have a ski trip coming up and want to do your bit, here are a few simple ways to have an eco-friendly holiday.

 

Public Transportation

One great way to protect the environment is to opt for public transportation instead of taking your own car. The local public transport system is usually free with a lift pass, and offers a good chance to make a few new friends along the way. Using the local train network is also a good option if you want to venture outside of the resort and explore.

Recycling in Your Chalet

There has been a huge push to encourage recycling in ski resorts in recent years. Simply separate your rubbish from what can be recycled and take it down to the recycling point. This only takes a few minutes, but has a very positive impact on the environment.

Gear from Eco-Friendly Companies

There are a growing number of eco-friendly ski and snowboard companies that provide gear that does not harm the environment. This includes using eco-friendly waxes on snowboards and skis that are made from sustainable, reclaimed or recycled materials. For a great and guilt-free experience in the snow, why not consider renting or buying this equipment from a company that is doing its part to save our planet?

Chalet Hire from Reputable Companies

One of the easiest ways to go green is to book your catered ski chalet from a reputable company that has actively taken steps to combat damaging the environment. Take your time to research the company, and keep your eyes peeled for those that adhere to an AITO recognised environmental policy.

Getting There

Transport is always a concern when it comes to green holidays. Flying can produce three times more CO2 emissions per passenger than other forms of public transportation, so avoid this if possible. Good alternatives include driving (car shares are even better) and going by train (there are many stations throughout the Alps).

Offset Carbon

If you do decide to fly, you can still do your bit by offsetting your carbon (certain airlines provide this option at the time of booking). A few options include getting a shared transfer or bus from the airport/train station and using a transfer company that offsets their carbon.

Adhering to Resort Environmental Issues

If you choose a resort that has environmentally friendly practices in place, be sure to ad-here to these during your stay. The staff members know how to best protect the site, and they can make it easy for you to do your bit whilst still enjoying your stay.

Never has it been more important for people to reduce their environmental impact than today. Fortunately, this can be relatively straightforward during a stay in a catered ski chalet, and will allow us all to continue skiing without damaging the beautiful surround-ings.

Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

For wildlife lovers, a vacation in the Galapagos is often an old dream and a real “bucket list” experience. This remote island off the coast of Ecuador is home to some of the most unique wildlife on Earth, and offers the opportunity for some very close encounters. For those who want to take advantage of most opportunities to take animal photos, some specific tips from experts can help.
Tips for Photography at Holiday Galapagos Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

There are many generic tips for photographing wildlife (including the most basic, ie patient), but there are also some specific ones to capture great images of these remote island animals.

Be prepared

This suggestion has a double meaning: You need to be prepared in terms of equipment, but also at a situational level. Taking the right camera and accessories is essential, and SLRs with interchangeable lenses will produce far superior results to the iPhone, however up-to-date the model. The wildlife in the archipelago is unbelievably fearless, so there is no need for long focal length and long fixed lenses, but if you are serious, short and medium lens combinations are recommended. As a guide, consider (at least) the 18mm-70mm lens and the 100mm-400mm. Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

Another aspect of preparation is getting ready to get “money fired” without too much notice. Wild wildlife, however, and animals will not wait for you to focus, change openings and frame the scene perfectly – even though the Giant Tortoise Galapagos may be an exception. Read it every time and frankly, keeping your eyes peeled so you can take advantage of the situation as it appears.

Lighting

Due to the geographical position of the archipelago at the equator, the sun rises and sets rapidly, spends much of its time just above the head. This results in harsh and top-lit conditions that are often less conducive to capturing wildlife images. What you should aim for is low-side lighting, which creates greater interest in texture and shaded contours. Without the benefits of an artificial studio lighting, the only real solution is to get up early before the sun reaches overhead, or later at night when it goes down. An added bonus of this is that you can get some spectacular and dramatic pictures by using sunrise or sunset to give the backlight on your subject. Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

Expose

Even if you set your SLR for automatic exposure, lighting and conditions in the archipelago are often beyond the reach of the most advanced camera metering system. For example, bright white plumage in Nazca Booby perched on black volcanic rocks will cause the camera to glow for darker areas, and then highlight it more deeply. A good tip is to use the +/- function on your camera, which will override the meter and fix one or two stops to expose the bird and not the rocks.

Think laterally

In addition to the technical aspects, the most important advice of the knowing experts is to think out of the box and actually take advantage of the incredible opportunities that you will encounter on Galapagos holidays. Do not just follow the crowd and photograph the animals from a static point of view – go down to the sand with Sally Lightfoot Crabs, ride high on rocks with the Marine Iguana, and cross into shallow rivers with weird Sea Lions (obviously keeping your camera protected). Being creative with angles is one of the surest ways to open up to this once-in-a-lifetime image.

Turned Good to Great

Meanwhile, for some people, the Galapagos holiday is quite a gift in itself, for others, catching amazing photographs is a very important aspect. Wildlife photography can, in essence, be a very challenging quest. And while being in the right place at the right time can reap amazing rewards, following a few tips to take advantage of those “timely, right place” moments can make the difference between good and good photos. Nature on Display: Tips for Shooting the Galapagos Wildlife

Ready for the Road: The World’s Most Epic Motorcycling Routes

Ready for the Road: The World’s Most Epic Motorcycling Routes

Is there anything quite like seeing the world glide by from behind your motorcycle helmet visor? Nothing but you, your buddies and the open road. The unbelievable rush of roaring along Route 66 at a tidy 75 mph beats a lazy beach holiday any day of the week.
For the ultimate rush of a roadtrip with just your bike, backpack and the road, give one of these epic adventure routes a go.

 

Route 66, USA

The mother of all road trips, this 3,939km route starts in Chicago and cuts through the country all the way to LA. Depending on how much time you have and what interests you the most, you could either drive a section of it or go the whole hog (on your hog!) and see the whole thing. It winds through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri, and doing the whole shebang would take 3 to 4 weeks according to seasoned bikers who’ve lived the legend.

With our USA travel insurance, you’ll be covered for as much of the journey as you take. Spend some more time getting to know (and win big in!) Vegas, experiencing Death Valley and admiring the Grand Canyon.

The South Island, New Zealand

This stretch of land is just breath-taking. Expect to see awe-inspiring landscapes, forests, fjords, mountains and beaches along the way. The other-worldliness of the backdrop to much of the Lord of the Rings movies will be amazing to drive along to. Other bonuses of this route include the lightness of the traffic, the smooth tarmac road surfaces, and the incredible scenery really must be mentioned again.

Stop and enjoy the Franz Josef Glacier, revisit civilisation in the city of Nelson, relax on the shores of Lake Mapourika and visit the Aspiring National Park. These are just a few attractions on the 2,100km stretch of road.

The Transalpine Route, France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy

If staying closer to home with the added bonus of bringing you bike without a huge amount of effort, this is the route for you. Starting in Grenoble in France and winding 2,400km all the way through the Alps to end in Venice, Italy, you’ve got a couple of options when it comes to traversing the Alps with more easy routes right up to a couple of more challenging ones. Expect spectacular mountain landscapes, steep gradients and a hell of a lot of tunnels, bridges and viaducts. Don’t forget to bring a load of loose change for the tolls, and don’t miss out on the climb to the Stelvio pass!

Ruta 40, Argentina

At 5,301km this is one of the world’s longest roads. It starts in Cabo Virgenes in Santa Cruz and snakes its way up to Quiaca in Jujuy, with gorgeous views the whole way along the route which runs beside the Andes. This route cuts through or drives by a whopping 20 National Parks! With incredible scenery on offer as well as the chance to ride from the South to the North of this huge country, this route is rightly popular.

Whether you opt for New Zealand, the Alps, Argentina or the USA, travel insurance by Let’s Go Insure gives you the cover you need to make the most of your roadtrip without stress.

Drive carefully and to drive safely, keep to the speed limit. Always have the necessary documentation and safety gear at hand.

Good Auto Insurance Policy

Good Auto Insurance Policy

Although car insurance is a must-have for cars, it does not cost a lot of money. If applicable, you can calculate your car insurance rate with your insurance provider to the minimum possible threshold while ensuring that you are in good coverage. A good car insurance policy will not only protect you as a vehicle owner in the event of an accident but also take into account any damage that may occur to a third party. If you are considering the following budget car insurance plans are a few tips to help keep your insurance interest rates low; Good Auto Insurance Policy
· Insure your home and car with the same company – Insuring your car with the same company that insures your home makes you unreadable with discounts called multi-line discounts. Thus, you pay less than you should if you insure your car and home with a separate company. Even then, you should be sure about the possibility of a discount before making a commitment to get your car insurance from a company that insures your home because not all companies offer multi-line discounts.

Good Auto Insurance Policy

· Meet all your cars in one policy – If you have more than one car, you can make sure everything is in one policy to qualify for multi-vehicle discounts. This lets you enjoy savings on both mobile phones. Just like multi-line discounts, you need to check if a discount is offered before signing up.

· Maintain clean driving records – Your driving record is a factor when calculating your car insurance rate. As a result, your insurance rate is affected by a traffic ticket that covers up to three years and six years for accidents. Having a bad driving record means you pay an extra premium so make your car insurance expensive.

· Go for low-risk cars – Your car insurance premium is determined based on your car history. If your car is very likely to be stolen or involved in an accident then you will pay more for insurance premiums.

· Choosing a Pay-As-You-Drive Policy – It is highly recommended if you do not drive for long distances. Therefore, consider applying for a policy based on your annual or monthly mileage. The pay-as-you-drive policy allows your premium to fluctuate depending on the frequency behind the wheel because your mileage records are stored through monthly and yearly reports shared with policy providers.

· Take precautions against the possibility of theft – Installing an anti-theft device in your car may also contribute to lowering your car insurance premium as it reduces the risk of theft.

· Let insurance companies bid for you – When you shop for your car insurance and deliberately let the insurance company know that you are not done yet, you can get a better deal. That is, you can choose to tell the business what other offers offer so as to give them the opportunity to decline the offer for your benefit.

In conclusion, there are many factors that determine how much you will pay the premium. Thus, perhaps lowering your car insurance premiums still enjoy great service. Good Auto Insurance Policy

Las Vegas Party Ideas and Tip

Las Vegas Party Ideas and Tip

Having your bachelor party in Vegas is always a good plan. Your friends will have an unforgettable experience, may never be duplicated. There are so many choices of activities, the most difficult task is to choose one of the best Las Vegas bachelor party packages to suit your group’s taste. Here are some ideas for a Las Vegas bachelor party to consider. Choose the right party hotel
There is a famous Las Vegas Hotel with their respective parties. If this is of interest to you, consider reserving a room at one of these party hotels until your stay. Las Vegas Party Ideas and Tip

Choose the best time to go

Do you want Vegas to be booming with tourists? Or, do you prefer a little space? Vacation is the busiest time in Vegas. The city is quiet a little bit between these difficult times. Also, if you plan many outdoor activities, autumn or winter may be the best choice for your memorable bachelor party excursion.

Decide what to do when you do not celebrate,

Plan adventures, tours and activities: Shooting range, helicopter tours, land tours and pool parties in Vegas Pool parties in Vegas have always been a popular feature of Vegas’s best bachelor party packages.

Organize a schedule that keeps the group active,

Attend a show or adult entertainment venue: Plan your bachelor party in Vegas with a full schedule of events that keep your group entertained. Vegas offers a full menu of activities, from capturing main entertainers to all forms of adult entertainment.

Have good food,

Along with drinking and partying you make sure to enjoy fabulous Vegas food while (or in between) carousing and partying you.

Decide whether you prefer to mingle with tourists or other locals in bars and clubs:

Several bars and clubs serve Vegas visitors, while others water the holes for occupants. The choice of a drinking place is yours. Las Vegas Party Ideas and Tip

Consider ordering Vegas bottle service

Always include some form of transport, such as a limo or a party bus: In all cases, get a driver who knows Vegas and stay conscious. Reservation service reservations in Las Vegas allow your group to cut the waiting line and surcharges at the best clubs.

Plan your late night activity to keep rockin ‘and rollin’ into the morning

Unless your group is mostly tee-noer, your bachelor party will continue till night, till midnight and far outside. If you want to party all night, it is possible with a number of important parties after work hours that often continues until noon.

This is just an example of the popular Vegas bachelor party idea. If you want something more memorable, you can customize your bachelor party in Vegas to include your specific excitement. Las Vegas Party Ideas and Tip

Blackout Blinds Have Many More Applications Than You Can Think

Blackout Blinds Have Many More Applications Than You Can Think

You may have heard of Blackout Blinds, and wonder how they can have so many benefits that make more sense as a purchase of a more conventional set of roller, Roman or Vertical Blinds. After all, who might need the absence of natural light from one or more in their homes?
The answer, as it happens, is “quite a few people,” although the reasons they might like very much vary. So, at All Shutters and Blinds Kent, we think we’ll guide you through some of them.

Blackout Blinds Have Many More Applications Than You Can Think

They are more than just sleeping well

You are thinking of Blackout Blinds, the more feelings they may have towards you. After all, we live in a stressful era of insomnia-we know more in Kent! If you are sensitive to light work or shift, the opportunity to quake a few winks in a very dark room to convince your body is really effective this is night, should not, may be a blessing aid.

However, a better ability to sleep a good night’s sleep is far from the only reason to invest in an electric worksheet. They are also great for privacy, for example you dress in the bathroom or the feeling is not visible.

Then, there’s a slightly less conventional reason to buy these very effective blinds. Some people buy it to help full ‘sunlight’ on their property – a phenomenon where carpets, coatings and other textiles at home can be damaged by excessive sunlight over time. Oh, and they are also natural insulators, heat resistant during the cold time of year and unwanted heat into your home so summer comes.

Instead, you may have just installed a cinema space in your home, and would like to use a broad blackout curtain to keep the sound and light levels from outside altitudes low, so you can enjoy a cheaper cinema experience.

Is a new blackout curtain installed by us!

There are many good reasons to switch to All Kent Shutters and Blinds for the work and installation of taps if you are a local resident such as Maidstone, Sidcup, Bexley or Bexleyheath. Did you know, for example, that we offer no less than 22 Memphis outages for our roller blinds?

Do not hesitate to see what difference can happen to your everyday life. Call our team now to get a free quote, as we are sure to be beaten with a certain price. Blackout Blinds Have Many More Applications Than You Can Think

Ceramics and Châteaus: Discover Genteel Gien

Ceramics and Châteaus: Discover Genteel Gien

There’s little doubt that an essential element of all barge holidays in France is being able to dock at the myriad towns and villages that line the waterways and entice visitors in with their charms. As part of the itinerary of the hotel barge Renaissance, guests will be able to see the sights of Gien, renowned for its pottery and royal château.
Finding your Bearings

 

Prior to diving into the town, it is well worth disembarking on the south bank to take in the attractions of Gien all at once: from this vantage point, you can savour the spectacle of the river as it passes below the eighteenth-century bridge, under the watchful gaze of the sixteenth-century château.

Not even the loss of much of Gien’s historic buildings during World War II can detract from the pleasant view. Indeed, the painstaking and very convincing post-war reconstruction has done much to bury these ghosts of the past.

Marvel at Gien’s Pottery

Cultural exploration is an integral part of our barge holidays. In France, there are always abundant opportunities for the discerning traveller to discover regional produce, and Gien is no exception. The town has crafted a fine reputation for the calibre of its pottery, in particular for its Faïence pottery. Production began when Thomas Hall, an Englishman from Stoke-on-Trent who was intent on bringing high-quality English earthenware to France, established a factory in 1821.

In deciding to base his enterprise in Gien, Hall chose wisely, capitalising on the town’s physical amenities. The Sologne forest, which is in close proximity to Gien, provided a ready source of wood for the kilns. What’s more, the Loire granted access to markets throughout France (until water travel was superseded by the railways), in addition to providing sand and water for making clay.

While production continues to this day, the factory has also taken on a new guise as a museum dedicated to telling the story of the industry and shedding light on the making of these exquisite ceramics.

A Château Fit for Kings and Queens

There’s one more attraction that certainly merits a visit before you return to the hotel barge. Holidays in France are rarely complete without sojourning for a while at a château, and Gien’s has certainly welcomed its fair share of royal visitors. This elegant edifice was constructed for the use of Anne de Beaujeu, the daughter of Louis XI, in the final years of the fifteenth century. Future guests included Henri II and his wife Catherine de Médici, as well as Louis XIV, the famous ‘Sun King’.

Despite being bombed during World War II, the château was successfully restored. Since 1952, it’s housed a museum, which is dedicated to the most royal of pastimes: hunting. Through paintings, sculptures and an array of weapons and trophies from successful forays, the museum details how hunting and its depiction has developed through the centuries.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holidays in France. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.