The Loire’s Castles and Gardens

Chateau Villandry

Touring in the Loire Valley means you don't have to travel far to see the grand chateaus and pretty villages that dot the landscape. John and I stayed in one place, Chenonceaux, and found a multitude of treasures on short day trips along and over the rivers that wind through this green, broad valley. The farthest we drove was to Fontevraud Abbey. Fontevraud was high on my list because I'm ... Read Full Article

Belgium Tourist Information

In Antwerp, Statue of the giant's hand being thrown into the Scheldt River.

Belgium is one of the smaller countries in continental Europe and the “middle child” of three countries comprising “Benelux” (the others being the Netherlands and Luxembourg). It is an often-overlooked country but many consider it a European gem. Its capital, Brussels, is nicknamed the capital of Europe as it is home to the European Union headquarters. In Brussels one can find a unique blend of ... Read Full Article

Visit Amsterdam’s Zoo for Family-Friendly Fun

Tray Bike Eateries. Courtesy of Artis Zoo

Amsterdam is well known for its history, art, and adult entertainment, but when I found myself wandering the historic canals and streets with a 3-year-old niece on my shoulders, I had to find something a little more family friendly. Enter the Amsterdam Artis Royal Zoo (Natura Artis Magistra). With over 1.2 million visitors each year, the zoo is the second-most visited site in Amsterdam ... Read Full Article

Montmajour, the Oldest Abbey in Provence

Montmajour Abbey

  Vincent Van Gogh visited Montmajour Abbey at least fifty times, he wrote, just to look at the view across the plain.  Today's visitors to Provence, France, are drawn to the abbey for the same reason and to see the impressive old ruin in stone, a French historical monument and the oldest abbey in Provence. It was a significant site from the time construction began in the tenth century, ... Read Full Article

Taking the Waters in Baden-Baden, Germany

Further along “Culture Row” we take a quick walk through the 19th century Kurhaus. The austere white exterior of the Kurhaus—with eight towering Corinthian pillars—belies what lies inside.

  The immaculate little town of Baden-Baden, tucked away in the foothills of S.W. Germany’s Black Forest, is a luxurious cross between Monte Carlo, Paris, a spa, and an English park. Within a few minutes’ walk in Baden-Baden you can see the world’s most beautifully appointed casino, stroll through a verdant green park that is a dead ringer for an English Victorian garden, and sip an ... Read Full Article

One Day in Brussels

Guild houses in the Grand Place

  The “wow” factor is high as you walk through the narrow uneven cobblestone alleys to suddenly emerge on the large square at the Grand Place. It’s the number one sight in Brussels, and one of the finest medieval squares in Europe. The tall Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque facades of the elaborately crafted guild houses tower above you on all four sides of the square. Rebuilt in the 1690’s ... Read Full Article

The Darker Side of Vienna

Unveiled in 2008, this memorial was initiated and researched by local residents.

 Vienna is one of the world’s great cities, even though today she has somewhat the air of a vast museum. But these tourist treasures have stories, some very dark, bitter, and complex. Listen to a native son, Sigmund Freud. “Like you, I have an indomitable affection for Vienna and Austria,” the doctor wrote to a friend. “But unlike you, I know her abyss.” The more you know about ... Read Full Article

Favorite Villages in Provence: Eygalières and Mausanne-les-Alpilles

La Maison Sucrée, a creperie in Eygaliéres, France

  Dozens of  inviting villages are scattered throughout sun-drenched Provence, in southern France. Two of my favorites, perhaps because they're lesser known and have such unpretentious charm, are Eygalières and Mausanne-les-Alpilles,  in the Bouches-de-Rhone region. Both lie near the Chaine des Alpilles, a low east-west range of limestone peaks that rise steeply from the Rhone River ... Read Full Article

Three Romantic Getaways in Europe

Dubrovnik, Croatia. Old Town

Valentine’s Day, a holiday steeped in romance and devotion, has been inspiring lovers to declare their love for centuries. It’s a day for heartfelt gifts, fancy dinners, pretty jewelry and even poems. And for travel lovers who use any excuse to plan a trip (that would be me!), it’s an opportune time to discuss a romantic summer getaway—of course, a European romantic summer getaway! Though ... Read Full Article

Zurich: Switzerland’s Little Big City of Charm and Elegance

Several bridges cross the Sihl River--old Zurich in background

  On a clear day, Zurich  proudly shows off its medieval squares, towering stone churches and spires, and the ever-present Limmat River. Easily explored by foot, Zurich's main sights are clustered for one mile along the banks of the placid, blue Limmat River. With a walking tour, you really get to know the winding, narrow, hilly cobblestone streets and fascinating museums, including the ... Read Full Article