Archive - France RSS Feed

Le Quatorze Juillet

On this day, July 14, 1789, revolutionaries stormed the Bastille prison-fortress in a symbolic rejection of the French monarchy’s authoritarian rule. Though only housing seven inmates at the time, the long-time penitentiary for political prisoners stood in the center of Paris as a constant reminder of the tyranny of the French government. The immediate result of the attack was nearly one hundred deaths, yet in a far more significant corollary, the siege ultimately prompted the French Revolution, and marked the end of the French Monarchy.

Today, the people of France remember Bastille Day, or La Fête Nationale, as the birth of the French First Republic. In Paris, the day begins with Europe’s longest running and largest military parade filing from l’Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Élysées. The French President hosts an exorbitant garden party, and the festivities culminate with fireworks across the Seine.

Different regions in France recognize Le Quatorze Juillet in various ways. Street parties, music and dancing, and even a two-day-long celebration in Marseilles all commemorate the French national holiday as the country takes time to celebrate the rise of their esteemed Republic. Bonne fête du 14 juillet!

A Meal in Provence

Recently Chris Skilling, our Director of Worldwide Product, was inspired by a typical Provencal meal prepared by VBT Trip Leader Vero.  Check out his post below.

france bicycle vacation “Food is my religion!” exclaimed Vero as we discussed the prevalence of processed food. Even in France.  “Never in my home,” she offered up.  We were in her garden, behind her home in Avignon. The heat of the day had passed, and a table for four was being set on the patio. My offer to help was met with instruction in setting a table “the French way” (fork with tines facing down to the left of the plate, knife on the right, spoon at the top of the plate and only with dessert).

We were in for a treat.  Vero is a veteran VBT trip leader, and a trained French chef.  She had prepared dinner for us, using fresh ingredients bought at the local market that very morning.  While her meal preparation certainly differed from my own, I learned that this is how Vero operates whenever she is cooking, even if just for herself.  Food is better than religion, I’m thinking!

The food was chosen for its color on the table.  Each ingredient is included to complement the others.  Wine is selected and attention is paid to what is in-season and fresh.  The result is a meal that appeals to the eye as well as the tongue.

The evening raced by, time passing too quickly, and it was all just so enjoyable.

These wonderful food experiences (they are, after all, so much more than a meal!) took place over and over for me during my four days in Provence.  Sitting down to fresh food, prepared thoughtfully and presented with care, had breathed new life into something that had become all too routine at home.

Meal time in Provence had reminded me of just what taking an active vacation is all about.  Why not join Vero on a VBT biking or walking trip in Provence, and be inspired too!


An aperitif of Pernod & water on ice

A chilled Semillon (white wine)

Locally grown olives

Fig spread and hard cheese

The day’s bread, grilled with olive oil

A local Merlot (red wine)

Roasted red and yellow peppers

Beef Daube (slow cooked Provencal beef stew)

Potato Gratin

Cheese tray, including a local Banon

Apricot compote


Herbal teas/coffee

Page 12 of 14« First...«1011121314»