Monday, December 6, 2010

French Christmas Treats

Licking candy canes, building gingerbread houses, and decorating sugar cookies are typical American Christmas traditions. In France, vin chaud, or hot wine, keeps you warm inside and out. During the holidays, chestnuts roasting on an open fire are sold throughout the city. When it's time for Christmas dinner, oysters with petite sausages are often served in France. The traditional dessert is called Bûche de Noël, but you probably know it as a "yule log." Thin pound cake covered with buttercream frosting is rolled up, then frosted to look like a piece of wood. But, this is one tree you won't mind chopping with your teeth.

To celebrate the holidays, The Taunton Press is running a 25 days of Holiday Savings Sweepstakes. The Grand Prize? A 13-day Barcelona to Paris vacation package for 2 including airfare, on-tour accommodations, meals, sightseeing & more.

The French portion of the itinerary begins on the 4th day in Carcassone, where medieval fortifications and fairytale turrets, dating back to the 5th century, provide a storied setting for a guided tour and tales of the crusaders and conquerors who occupied this city. In the evening, cruise along the romantic Canal du Midi aboard a traditional Gabare flat-bottom boat. Dinner with wine and music at a private Languedoc vineyard follows.

Visits to Toulouse, the snow-capped Pyrenees, and the Atlantic coast are included. You'll also get a taste of French Basque country, where Cyrano de Bergerac resided.

Wine tasting in St. Emilion and a cruise along the Dordogne river are just a few of the things you'll experience before taking the TGV to Paris. In the City of Light, a local guide will lead you through the 17th-century Tuileries Gardens to the Musée de L’Orangerie, to see an extensive Impressionist collection. Celebrate your journey with a River Seine cruise and toast the art of French living.

In a holidaze? Escape and enter.

Voilà - the link to the 25 days of Holiday Savings Sweepstakes:

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