Riquewihr, a picturesque village in Alsace

Welcome to Riquewihr, Alsace!

I was recently spending my weekend in Alsace, France.  Recommended by our friends we decided to drive to a little village called Riquewihr.  The Alsace area is famous for its Riesling wines and for no exception you can buy them also in many little shops in Riquewihr.  But that is not the only reason to visit this picturesque village, the old town attracts visitors with its many little shops and restaurants, old tiny streets and beautiful buildings in full colours, everything that you need to nourish your body and mind. When in Alsace, I would recommend visiting Riquewihr, I think these pictures tell why…

Beautiful flowers in Riquewihr, France

At the heart of Riquewihr, France

Rainy day in Riquewihr, Alsace, France

Little interior shop in Riquewihr, France

Buying Riesling in Riquewihr, Alsace

Wine shopping in Riquewihr, Alsace

Riquewihr vineyards

 

Weekend escape to Burgundy

This is chic!

Sometimes we like to do things spontaneously. And this was one of those escapes better not to plan in advance. We saw in a travel magazine an article about Burgundy, the well known French wine region with excellent restaurants and got an idea to try one of the praised restaurants. We called the place on Friday evening and managed to get a table – three stars waiting for us in Joigny, a little village I haven’t even heard before.  A closer look at the map revealed that we have over 500 km ahead of us!

Wine Shop - La Boutique Des Domaines

Wine bottles

In the village

DrinksOn our way on Saturday we visited picturesque Burgundy villages with little wine stores and lovely restaurants offering French specialities.  Closer to evening we reached our final destination, restaurant La Côte Saint Jacques in Joigny. The village was empty, there was almost no-one around. We had our drinks on the hotel’s terrace looking over the quiet river. It was perfect way of relaxing after driving the whole day.

La Côte Saint Jacques in Joigny, France

The food in the restaurant was amazing, as you would expect from tree stars. I had asparagus with morels and snails as a starter and guinea fowl as a main course – both beautifully served. The food was excellent, but the real experience was their five courses surprise desert, as you can see from my pictures.  The restaurant itself may have rather boring interior, but the food was excellent – well worth of driving over 6 hours.

La Côte Saint Jacques in Joigny - starter with aspargus with morrels and snails

La Côte Saint Jacques - main course with guineafowl

La Côte Saint Jacques - little desert

La Côte Saint Jacques - desert 1

La Côte Saint Jacques - desert 2

La Côte Saint Jacques - desert 3

La Côte Saint Jacques - desert 4

La Côte Saint Jacques - desert 5

Before checking out from the hotel – which was also very nice, we had their state-of-art breakfast. With a traditional idea of breakfast in mind, but delivered through an innovative setting this was a great enhancement to our stay.

La Côte Saint Jacques - breakfast

Vosne Romanee, BurgundyOn Sunday morning we decided to visit see some vineyards and drive around Burgundy area before returning back to home. As you may know one of the most famous French wines are from this region and it is also a home for many of the most expensive ones in the world.  The highlight of our visit was a little walk around Vosne-Romanée, a stunning wine village where the region’s most celebrated wines are being produced.

Visiting Chablis Wines

Visiting Burgundy

Wine shopping in Burgundy

Vosne-Romanee vineyard map, Burgundy, France

Rue de la Tache, Vosne-Romanee, Burgundy, France 

Vineyards in Vosne-Romanee

Vineyards in Vosne-Romanee

As I love castles, we needed to make a quick visit to this beautiful castle before driving the other 500 km back to home.

Castle with vineyards

My tips for Burgundy:

Vosne-Romanee little wine shopThe destination restaurant and hotel: 
La Côte Saint Jacques in Joigny

Where to visit:
– Dijon
– Besancon
– Vosne-Romanée
– And any little village in the area…
– The little vineyards selling their own products

Travel year 2011: My top 10 destinations

St. Moritz - skiing in the Swiss Alps

Happy New Year 2012!! For me the year 2011 was a great year of travel. I visited over 20 different destinations, discovered new places and returned to many of my favourite ones. This post is a collection of my top 10 travel destinations in 2011.

1. Travelling around Yunnan province and Tibetan plateau in China
Ringha, China

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2. First time in Hong Kong
Hong Kong by night
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3. A day trip to Macau
Macau

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4. My friends’ wedding in Athens, and first time in Acropolis
Acropolis, Athens

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5. Discovering the Austrian Alps in Lech and St. Anton
Austrian Alps St. Anton, Austria

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6. Wellness holiday in Kamalaya, Koh Samui (despite of eight rainy days)
Kamalay resort, Koh Samui, Thailand

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7. Culinary trip to Paris
L'Ami Louis, Paris

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8. Mini holiday in Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca - Weekend destination

9. Hiking in the Swiss Alps in autumn: Murgtal
Murgsee - walks in Switzerland

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10. Mysterious Grand Hotel Orologio and why it was closed?
Grand hotel Orologio, Abano Terme, Italy

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Where to travel in 2012?
I also started collecting some travel ideas for 2012. There are so many interesting places I would like to visit, but I think these are quite on the top of my list:

Window shopping in Paris

Paris, France: Paris is one of my favourite cities in Europe. I love walking around different areas and watching the shop windows. There are so many beautiful little boutiques and local shops with most fascinating window decorations. I have collected in this post some of the beautiful windows I saw when walking around the city.

 window shopping in Paris

window shopping in Paris

Traditional bakery in Paris

Beautiful candles in Paris

La Maison de Brune, Paris

Jaime Mascaro Shoes, Paris

Culinary weekend in Paris: three excellent restaurants to visit

Lunch at Le Dome, Paris

Paris is famous for a great diversity of fine-dining restaurants offering gastronomic treats and good wines, so it is a perfect destination for a culinary journey. I recently stayed a weekend in Paris and visited three very different, but excellent restaurants, which I would highly recommend.

Lunch at Le Dome, ParisSaturday lunch at Restaurant Le Dome Montparnasse Paris
Le Dome is said to be one of the best seafood restaurants in Paris. Its art-deco-style interior provided cosy and relatively quiet surroundings for a culinary lunch break. The menu was full of all kinds of seafood specialities, so it was difficult to choose the courses as everything sounded so delicious. I had sautéed prawns as a starter and turbot as a main course. Both courses were mouth-watering and very nicely displayed. The service was friendly and quick, even though it was a busy lunch time. Visiting address: Restaurant Le Dome, 108 Boulevard Montparnasse, 75014, Paris

L'Atelier Robuchon, Paris

L'Atelier Joel RobuchonSaturday dinner at L’Atelier Joel Robuchon Champs Elysees
Joel Robuchon knows how to make the world’s best mashed potatoes, but he also knows how to make good food. The L’atelier has two Michelin stars and with a reason. Every course is a little piece of art with delicious taste and it is exciting to explore the menu to try as many courses as one can eat. The interior is trendy and stylish and it is exciting to see how the chefs are preparing the courses before serving them. We were privileged to sit next to someone who was really knowledgeable about the Robuchon’s restaurants and the menu. Thanks for her recommendations we were trying so many good dishes. This kind of experience makes the dinner unforgettable. Visiting address: 133 Avenue des Champs Elysees, 75008 Paris.

L'Ami Louis, Paris

L'Ami Louis giant aspargusSunday lunch at L’Ami Louis
L’Ami Louis opened its doors in 1924, and I am not sure if the place has changed much since then. It is maybe not obvious from outside, but the restaurant is unique with its fascinating atmosphere, dark wooden interior and the little fire place in the middle of the restaurant. – So it is no wonder why so many people love this place. It was entertaining to watch the “show” while the waiters were preparing the food and serving the guests. The food was simple and portions huge, but the taste was absolutely delicious. I ordered some giant snails and asparagus as a starter and the famous chicken as a main course. I am not sure where the restaurant gets the ingredients, but I have never seen as huge snails or asparagus ever before. This is probably one of the most extraordinary places I have visited in Paris, and therefore so enticing! Visiting address: 32 Rue Vertbois, 75003 Paris