Ramapo Rally

Ramapo Rally, VBT Bike ToursThe 34th Annual Ramapo Rally took place in a soggy Mahwah, NJ last Sunday, August 14. Though the day could have been overshadowed by the rainy conditions, many riders still made it out to participate in one of Northern New Jersey’s favorite cycling events.

Also in attendance, braving the elements, was VBT’s Director of Marketing, Paul Williams. Paul spent most of his day staying dry in the VBT tent, chatting with experienced VBT travelers, and answering questions from prospective guests.

Sponsored by the Bicycle Touring Club of North Jersey, the event’s activities culminated with afternoon raffle drawings. Though many prizes were won, the grand prize, awarded to one lucky winner, was a Tuscan vacation provided by VBT. Thanks to all the travelers and riders who made the day a success and a lot of fun. We hope to see you next year!

Autumn Jazz

France has so much to offer travelers from exquisite wine and cuisine, to rich art and entertainment.  Since the early 20th century, one of the most impactful features of French culture has been jazz.  Providing inspiration for artists, writers and poets alike, the art form has blossomed into a well-respected and even revered form of musical expression.  While summers in France are known for celebrating jazz, and its culture, with hosts of festivals, the onset of fall doesn’t mean that the music cools down a bit.  In fact, some of the most unique jazz festivals inFrance take place after August comes to a close.

One of the country’s most diverse music festivals, Jazz à la Villette kicks off in Paris on August 31 and will run through September 11.  The festival presents an array of genre-bending acts, infusing the tenets of hip-hop, funk, and jazz into their performances.  This year’s lineup includes a breadth of performers ranging from jazz and funk mainstays Archie Shepp and Maceo Parker to modern jazz pioneers Martin, Medeski, and Wood and hip-hop soul infusion, Questlove’s Afro Picks, featuring Questlove and Macy Gray.

Moving south, the Burgundy region hosts the 11th edition of Jazz à Beaune.  The events will take place in two parts, beginning with performances en plein air on the 17th and 18th of September, and closing with club sets on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of October.  Jazz à Beaune will feature some of the best up and coming jazz acts alongside notable international performers, and, of course wine tastings will coincide with each of the performances.

With the first edition having wrapped up in June, this year’s second installment of Quai Jazz brings us back to Paris as the city hosts some of the best young talents in France.  From September 20 to October 1 the festival brings performances to jazz bars and clubs throughout Paris and even some outdoor sets along the Seine.  Featuring Cataclysm Box, Leila Olives Quintet, and Samy Thiebault, Quai Jazz has an offering to suit any modern jazz lover.

The summer may be coming to a close, but all across France the music continues in full swing.  Complement your travels in France by taking in some of the world’s best live jazz and celebrate one of France’s most notable traditions as it continues to grow.