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BellaOnline's French Culture Editor

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The Gorges du Verdon - Weekends Away
Rugged canyon roads wind through dozens of sleepy towns along the way in, but the view from the top is the reason most visit Europe's largest canyon. Families picnic and paddleboat around reservoirs and sports like canyoning and hydrospeed are practiced where the river runs freely.

Surrealism in Houston's Menil Collection
Those that find museums overwhelming will appreciate the diversity and accessibility of Houston's Menil Collection, an unlikely hodgepodge of Surrealist art and its more primal influences.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Book Review
The novel, historical fiction set in 1930’s Paris, is delivered by 12 year old Hugo who lives within the train station walls and spends his days winding the clocks and pouring through his journal in an attempt to mend a robot that may carry his father’s last words.

France’s Most Picturesque Cities
A list of my favorite places in France with advice on what to do and where to stay once you get there.

From France with Love – Gift Ideas
A list of my favorite gifts from France and where you can find them.

Christmas in Paris
December is a wander through the chalets of a Marche de Noel and a peek into the department store windows on Boulevard Haussmann. Here are the ways we get in the Christmas spirit.

The Story Behind Julia Child’s French Cookbook
Julia Child’s autobiographical book, My Life in France, focuses on the food that she loved enough to devote her life to sharing. It follows her arrival in France, to becoming a fledgling chef and the long road to producing her first cookbook.

Where Paris meets Marrakech - At the Hammam
The Mosquee de Paris’ hammam lies just outside one of the oldest gardens in Paris, le Jardin des Plantes. You can spend the afternoon in a heat-induced trance which includes exfoliation, massage, and dessert for less than 50 euros, though some may find the experience too authentic.

Les Journees du Patrimoine
During the space of a weekend in September the public is invited to share in France’s patrimonial richness for les Journees du Patrimoine. Given an open sesame to access secret gardens and hotels particuliers in Paris, I opted to visit the Palais d l’Elysee and Palais Royal.

Fete de Ganesh
To honor the elephant-headed god Ganesh, devotees chant and dance in the streets carrying flags, wearing totems of fruit and feather, and balancing candles atop heads. Shopkeepers prepare alters and swathe the parade route in garlands of flowers.

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