A Quick Tour of the Regions of France Outside Paris

France outside of Paris is in many ways a “multiple feast” in much the same way that Ernest Hemingway described his experience living in Paris as a “Moveable Feast.” Each province, each city presents a different look and a different culture. It gave me a chance to get a taste of the life and customs of the locals, market to market, wine to cider, olive oil to apple juice, modest cafe in a tiny village to posh restaurant in Aix-en-Provence.

Alsace or Brittany, Loire Valley or Normandy, Provence or Dordogne, rental villa, bungalow or water view apartment, each had a unique flavor. For a small country, France has amazingly varied scenery: canyons, cliffs, beaches, mountains of all sizes, long fertile valleys and plains, cities small and large. Besides what they had in common, the people I met had been shaped by a long history and the way their forebears adapted to climate and geography.

The borders of France are close to 10 cultural identities, from Annecy to Chamonix, Nice to Brest. Vibrant Marseille sometimes feels like a North African port. Spanish tones shine through accented French from Perpignan to Biarritz and pays Basque. From Biarritz going north to Bordeaux and Cognac, Spanish undercurrents give way to British ones, thanks to common history. From the Atlantic coast, expats moved to North America, pushed by a love of adventure or economic and religious reasons. To me, France is the pulsing heart of Western Europe. Britons share roots with the Welsh and Cornish populations; Normans with southern England; Lille, Arras and Pas de Calais with Londoners as well as Belgians. Over the centuries, back and forth migrations mixed the gene pools leaving only language, French, as the common denominator.

From Belgium let’s move south east to Luxembourg, and Germany. Alsace is living proof of German influence in its architecture, dialect, wine and food, and in 21st century environmental concerns. French Alps and Swiss Alps are sisters, French being one of the three Swiss languages. Italian last names and physical features are ubiquitous in France, from Chamonix to Nice and the eastern half of the French Riviera, along the Mediterranean, from Nice to Eze-sur-Mer, Cannes to St. Tropez.

Rich human resources have thus been pooled into one country, France. The more rural areas of central France and cities like Lyon and Limoges cement and hold together the parts that make up that unified nation.

Private Jet Rental Cost Providing More Time for Business

Have you ever thought about reaching your travel destination feeling energized, relaxed and ready to accomplish your business plans? If this is something that has been coming to mind more often, you need to look into private jet rental cost. While many people feel that the cost of renting a private jet will be prohibitive, you might just find that it is more financially responsible than flying commercial airlines. As you know, going a short distance or to a smaller destination can be very expensive on commercial airlines.

Private jet rental cost can vary according to your flight plan, the specific amount of time you need the plane and what type of jet will benefit the travelers. Your business arrangements can be made with your time frame instead of relying on the big airliners schedule. Private jeplane rentals are also some of the safest aircraft flying today. Instead of sitting next to a complete stranger on your next business trip, you will be accompanied by your fellow associates which allows for longer preparation time for the upcoming meeting.

Generally renting a private jet lets you arrive closer to your destination. What this means to you and your company is that you can eliminate the cost of a rental car. If you want to make an impression on the client you are meeting, arriving on a private plane with accompanying limousine service will set the tone for your discussions. This is another benefit that comes along with private plane rentals. The company that you choose can set up your destination travel, make reservations at a local restaurant and accommodate any last minute changes in your travel plans. The more options you select from your private plane rental provider, however, will increase the cost. Private plane rental cost can run as little as $600 on a one-way trip to thousands of dollars.

While we have discussed using private planes for business purposes, don’t overlook the possibility of renting a private plane for your next family vacation or weekend getaway with friends. When checking prices for individual tickets you might just find that private jet rental cost isn’t prohibitive at all.

Camping Tips And Tricks That Will Make Your Trip Go Smoothly

Are you thinking about camping? If so, are you prepared for the usual challenges that nature can throw your way? Though plenty of what you need to know is basic, you must take the time to educate yourself. Keep reading for smart tips.

It’s imperative that you pitch your tent before the sun goes down. Once it gets dark, it is much harder to find wood for your fire, prepare food, and get your tent ready. Those that live in urban areas find this to be the case even more than those that are used to pitch black darkness. Do not get yourself into this situation, and find your shelter during daylight hours.

Be sure to know the recent conditions of where you will be staying. For example, you will want to know if the area will be dry enough to find suitable firewood. It’s always prudent to bring wood that you have gathered beforehand, and to store it in a location where it will stay dry.

It is important to keep in mind the fact that your person and all of your possessions will get dirty during a camping trip. While baby wipes can be used to help for some level of cleanliness, expect that people will get dirty. Be ready for it and accept it. Have fun in nature and don’t be afraid to get dirty! You can always take a bath back at the house.

Be sure your tent is big enough. This makes it possible for everyone to sleep comfortably, and it also allows for room to move about and exit the tent if nature calls.

Make sure that you know basic first aid before you go out on a camping trip. Should an emergency arise, your knowledge of first aid can prevent further issues until help arrives. Also, do your research. Figure out what wild animals are hanging out there and what kinds of poisonous snakes or bugs are sneaking around.

If you are not prepared for your camping trip, your fun excursion can turn dangerous fast. Only go camping when you have prepared yourself for it. Research the area to learn about the wildlife and the geography and climate.

After having read this article, it is easy to see that there are many things that can be overlooked in planning. While camping isn’t a fancy activity, it still requires preparation. Utilize the information you have learned in this article to ensure a fun, safe camping trip.

Smoky Mountain Cabin Rentals – Questions You Should Ask

One of the most sought after vacations in the U.S. is a stay in the Smoky Mountains. The Smokies are located along the Tennessee and North Carolina border and are home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited park in the country.

The preferred method of vacationing is via cabin rental. Now, when most people think of cabins, the vision of Appalachia comes to mind with one room structures with an outhouse in the back.

However, these are not your typical cabins. Swimming pools, giant flat screen televisions, hot tubs, game rooms and much more are now considered standard fare. Smoky Mountain cabins provide all the amenities of home with a killer view.

And they can be had for less than a hotel room. The competition among rental companies is fierce and encourages competitive rates. However, before paying any of your hard earned cash for a cabin rental, ensure that you ask the following questions.

What kind of amenities is included with my rental?

Listings can be deceiving. Inquire about hot tubs, balconies, game rooms and more. Ensure you get the full details so there are no surprises when you check in.

Is my cabin smoking or non smoking?

If you are a nonsmoker, this could mean the difference between a great vacation and misery!

Are there any added fees?

Check for extra charges such as cleaning, pet, booking and tax. These fees could add as much as two hundred dollars onto your total payment.

What are the sleeping arrangements?

Many companies will advertise that their cabin sleeps six or twelve etc. Decipher exactly how this works. Does this include one person on a couch? Futon? Don’t be surprised when you arrive.

What is the cancellation policy?

If you cancel your reservation, many companies will charge you a cancellation fee. Many will keep your deposit. Read the fine print of the rental contract carefully and verbally ask the rental agency as a double precaution.

What is the property setup?

Is your secluded, rustic cabin surrounded by six others only a few feet away? This can ruin a vacation very quickly.

Is the cabin on city or well water?

There is a possibility that a well could run dry during the hot summer months. Consider cabins with city water when searching.

The Fishing Charter – Finding One For Your Vacation

Not every vacation has to mean relaxing at the beach or finding the best amusement parks. Sometimes it’s nice to get back to nature and a good fishing charter can help you do just that. You’ll find them in every state, everywhere that you can find a good watering hole. Sure, you could take your rod and reel and go fishing by yourself, but where’s the adventure in that? With a good captain, you will be shuttled straight for the fish and taken to those spots only the local sportsmen know about. If you’ve ever thought that a nice string of fish would be the perfect vacation souvenir, then here are some tips on finding a good boat to take you out.

Your first decision will have to be your destination. As stated, you can find a fishing charter in every state in the union. It just depends on what time of year you’re going on vacation and where you want to spend your time. If you’re interested in doing a particular type of fishing or have a particular type of fish you want to catch, you can use that information to narrow your choices. If you know a lot about the sport, check some online forums and see what people recommend. You can do this even if you don’t know much about it.

One of the best ways to save money is to go with a group. Not everyone likes the thought of going on vacation with a group of friends, but if your family or a couple of buddies is interested, you will no doubt find the prices to be a bit more amenable. If you’re going solo, you might wind up on a boat with a bunch of strangers. This can be a lot of fun for some people and a really uncomfortable situation for others. Only you know the degree of social interaction you’re looking for, however.

Make sure you shop around. Any hot spot is going to offer more than one fishing charter boat. Ask around and see who has the best rates and who will take you to the best places. Remember, it doesn’t take much more than a boat to open up a chartering business, so that in and of itself is no proof of quality. Ask others. Look at websites. Just because a certain guy is charging a lot less doesn’t mean you should jump at the chance. They may be cheaper for a reason. The bottom line is you want to have a safe, fun experience, so don’t let price be the end all, be all of your search.

Camping Gas Heaters and Camping Lanterns for the Tent and RV

It’s made me think you know. Over the last two years in particular, the summer weather here in Yorkshire, in the north England, has been very poor indeed. We are however, a hardy breed in our own right, so we will carry on regardless and still go camping. I’m sure it’s true to say that camping gas heaters, and camping lanterns, are even more important than they were before. One thing that has changed is the introduction of the amazingly efficient light emitting diode, or LED. We’re going to cover much of this kit, right now…

In my younger days I used to love ‘roughing it’. You could set off with your backpack and just see where you ended up. Not for me now though, I’m too old. However, for many like me, there is an upside! We can go by car! This means of course that we don’t have to worry about a couple of extra pounds of kit – we’ve got transport! For most families with kids, this is also true. The days of the army surplus five man tent are a distant memory for me and mean nothing at all for my younger readers.

The equipment available today is cheap, and you can buy well and get decent quality too. Lightweight tents of all sizes are very cheap, as are most camping stoves and other equipment.

Back to the weather. As I write this, I am on my boat and about to light the stove. It isn’t particularly cold but it’s raining heavily and the air feels damp. A small stove will drive away the feeling of dampness and make the whole boat more comfortable. Earlier today it was warm and felt uncomfortably humid. It is now evening, the temperature has dropped and that earlier feeling of humidity has turned into a feeling of dampness. Exactly what it can feel like in a tent!

If you arrived at the campsite in a car you have no excuse not to carry a small propane or butane heater, or for that matter, a small gas or electric lamp. I’m sure you’ve got the lamp, but the little heater? I can’t help but think it should be a basic part of your kit.

Please use lots of common sense with this subject – keeping warm is important – but staying alive is much more important! Kids can be very susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide, and both gas and solid fuels produce carbon monoxide – so, by all means use your heater while you are all awake and sober – but turn it OFF before bed. If things turn cold there is a cheap alternative to risking carbon monoxide poisoning – cuddling! Present day heaters and stoves are excellent, but only when they are fully under your control. PLease be careful..

If you have been camping before I’m sure that you’ve seen what others have, the stove, the heater, the lamps, even down to the waterproof clothing! Thing is though, and it is important, that all this gear is available cheaply and you should be looking at it.

The range of gas heaters and lamps is actually quite amazing, and particularly in the case of gas heaters, it is not necessary to carry a large gas bottle around. Many gas heaters run quite happily on the disposable gas bottles that are available everywhere, just like the gas lights do. On a camping holiday you don’t really want to run a generator, though in some instances you certainly could, so electric heaters are not really an option most of the time. In the case of lighting, electricity certainly is an option by using batteries. It used to be the case, of course, that batteries were a bit of a no-no. Incandescent bulbs eat batteries, but again, technology comes to the rescue in the form of LED lighting. These small bits of magic somehow seem to last for ages and can even be recharged by sunlight!

Best Camping Stoves is a website that has been around a few years now. We used to concentrate purely on the stoves but technology moves on and I’ve been requested to extend our range to cover everything camping. Do you know? I’m looking forward to the challenge. Come and see me. I’ve got some great heaters and lighting and I’ll make you very welcome.

Enjoy the Perfect Family Retreat With Lake District Cottages

When the time to book your annual family holiday comes round again, there are so many different options and choices from theme parks, beach holidays and many more. However, if you fancy holidaying on British soil this summer then the perfect break for you and your family has to be with Lake District Cottages. This area of the country is well known for its stunning beauty and the pace of life and the fresh air will leave you feeling truly refreshed at the end of your break.

However, when visiting Cumbria and the lakes there is a wide choice of accommodation available from campsites to bed and breakfasts and rural cottages. If you plan a stay of more than a few days then a break at a rural cottage on a self catering basis could be your ideal choice. When holidaying away with your family you need a home from home and somewhere that your children can run and play, Lake District Cottages providing you with just that.

To really appreciated the tranquility of life offered in this sometimes forgotten corner of the globe, a period property that you can turn into your home for a week offers you the ideal solution. Whether the purpose of your break is to go cycling, mountaineering or to simple idle your days away by the most beautiful lakes in the country, Lake District cottages provide you with the perfect holiday base.

When choosing from Lake District Cottages for your accommodation, the central and northern lakes are always a firm favorite. Bowness on Windermere, Ambleside and Keswick offer you great central locations for your family holiday with well known walks and attractions to hand. If you prefer somewhere slightly less central and even more secluded, try cottages in Buttermere, Cartmel or Threlkeld.

The Lake District is easily accessible by road, the A66 at Penrith taking you away from the motorway and just a short drive away from some of the most popular cottages. If you choose to travel by train then the stations of Windermere and Oxenholme the Lake district are en route. However, in order to explore the vast area that is covered by the Lake District and Cumbria, a car will be a great advantage.

Cottages in the Lake District will be equipped with everything you need for your holiday and range from small studios to larger cottages perfectly suited to families and groups. Many cottages will also accept pets, allowing you to really bring along the whole family. The cottages are all tastefully decorated with period features yet give you the luxury you seek whilst on holiday.

So whether your dream is to wake up every morning with stunning views of lake Bassenthwaite or the screes of Skiddaw, there are Cumbrian cottages waiting just for you. By booking your cottage accommodation online you will be able to take advantage of some superb discounts as well as read up on just what others are saying about Cumbria, its history and people, and why to visit this most northerly part of Great Britain.

I live in the Beautiful Lake District and would like to share my knowledge and passion of this amazing area. The English Lake District and Cumbria is a great place to live, work and play.

Tips To Find The Right And Affordable Apartment For Your Vacation

If you are planning for a short-term trip with your family or alone either for any business or a personal purpose, then you need an apartment for that short period of time. Thus, searching for such an apartment offering services for such a short time will take a part of your time, money and efforts as well. With a little homework and some research, you will be able to find a place that will be perfect for you to stay for the time that you want to stay there. To help you find a better place for your vacation, here are some of the tips, which may prove useful to you.

• Start by browsing the advertisements for the purpose in the area that you are to visit during your vacation.

• Make a list of the apartments that you prefer to rent during your vacation, based on the distance of the apartment from the place of your visit and the price range according to your budget.

• When you are finished making up the list, contact the apartment owners one by one and confirm the availability during the time of your visit. Also, try to find as much as you can about the service that they provide. They may claim for certain qualities of their apartments.

• Do note down the points that they state before you that they will be providing if you are going to stay at their location.

• Try to schedule an appointment with the owner and visit the location prior to your vacation to confirm the claims of the owner.

• Thoroughly inspect the location, area, the quality of the rooms that you are going to stay in and all other necessary details, that may help you to decide, whether it will be comfortable to stay there or not.

• After this little survey, you will have a complete idea of what service you will be able to avail to in the budget of your finances.

• In case, your budget is flexible, you can go to a dealer or a service provider that deals with finding the right accommodation for you. This process needs a little extra investment from your side and maybe beneficial if your employer is going to pay back all of your expenses, while on a business trip.

Beware of Air Ambulance Fraud And Inferior Service

Hiring an air ambulance company is not something you do everyday. As a result, you’re going to want to be extra careful if you want to avoid getting ripped off, or worse — ending up with sub-par care. What you’ll find here is a list of some of the top scams and indications of poor quality that you can watch for when seeking out these services.

Most of the time, evaluating air medical transportation is at the very bottom of people’s priorities. In fact, most people wouldn’t even know when to seek out these services in the first place. However, there are many scenarios where an air evacuation might be the fastest or only way to reach a hospital when you need it most.

Without further ado, here is a list of the top things to watch out for when working with an air ambulance:

  • Pay as you go frauds.
  • Companies that lease their aircraft and/or equipment.
  • Old or outdated aircraft and/or equipment.
  • Not enough qualifications.
  • Too few pilots on board.

Pay as you go deals are not particularly common, but certainly pose a frightening threat for those who are unaware of standard operating procedures in this particular industry. In these situations, companies may take advantage of unsuspecting patients by offering monthly payment plans to cover the cost of the flight. Quite a number of reports have indicated that this type of arrangement opens the door for fraud. A better way to reduce your financial risk is to speak with your insurance carrier prior to signing any legally binding documents.

Brokers are companies that typically lease medical equipment and even aircraft so that they’re able to provide a better rate to consumers. However, there is inherent risk in doing business with such businesses. While it’s certainly not guaranteed, you’ll want to watch out for vendors who are particularly neglectful with respect to safety regulations and regular maintenance schedules. Another thing you have to worry about is how quickly they’re able to put together a flight plan for you. If you must use brokers, make sure to ask about these policies well in advance.

Aging aircraft, or even high-tech medical equipment can represent a considerable expense to medflight vendors. All too often, stories circulate about patient transport vehicles in disrepair simply because there is not enough public funding to support their upkeep. Always make sure to contact private companies during your preliminary research as they are more likely to have access to funds that make their aircraft competitive.

Next, ensuring the flight crew has the appropriate level of necessary medical training is extremely important when choosing an air ambulance. Because each company is only required by federal law to provide a minimum of qualifications, you’ll need to request this information directly. You can ask what sort of training is required prior to take off, as well as a list of state and/or federal certifications.

Finally, the number of pilots required for any flight is subject to the discretion of air medical operators. With over 400,000 patients using these services every year, their safety relies on the ability of the pilots navigating the air space. Studies show that the risk of accidents are dramatically reduced when there are two license and trained pilots on board. For these reasons, it’s advisable to choose vendors who can provide the appropriate number of pilots for any medical flight.

In summary, you’re going to want to be extra careful when hiring an air ambulance if you want to avoid getting ripped off, or worse — ending up with sub-par medical care and/or treatment.

Tips to Keep the Food Cold and Fresh Inside an Ice Chest

Ice chests are staples for a weekend getaway, camp or picnic. You might be contended by the thoughts that you have enough cooler boxes to store your beverages, snacks and other food items for the entire duration. However, if you do not pack them properly or prepare the cooler to retain its properties, there are high chances of the food getting spoilt after a couple of days. Before heading for a picnic or a camping trip, you need to prepare your eskies to retain the freshness of the food and beverages.

Preparing the Food for Storage

It needs a lot of preparation to store your food, even if you are heading out on a one day trip. For longer stays, it is best if you keep separate cooler boxes to store drinks in one and food in another. Chances are, you will have to take out drinks quite frequently which means every time the ice box is opened the temperature inside will drop. This is why it’s better to have food stored in a separate esky because the food esky will be opened less frequently than the drinks esky. Before packing the food, wash fruit, vegetables and other perishable foods thoroughly in clean water. Pat them dry with a clean cloth and pack them inside plastic air tight bags. Well sealed plastic containers will also do the job however; they might take up some extra space that can be better utilized with the use of plastic zipper bags. Pack fruit and vegetables in separate bags. Do not cut the fruit or break them to easily fit them in as they will start rotting faster. Do not take the perishable foods out until the time you are planning to use them.

Preparing Warm Foods

To store hot foods and to retain the warmth of your ice cooler ice boxes, you can use warm packs. The food must be wrapped in aluminium foil and must be surrounded by many warm packs. You can wrap the entire contents in a large tea towel and this can be placed inside the ice chest. Always make sure you leave no empty space for the heat to escape out of the towel. Fill empty spaces with tea towels and warm packs.

Cleaning and Care

Dry gel Ice packs can be used to fill up the cooler. You can store them in between bottles of drink or food containers. Doing so will ensure that they remain properly chilled in all your ice boxes. As an additional tip, you can store a container with salt in it. The clean container should be kept inside the freezer a day or two before your journey. Now, place the container at the bottom of the chest, and place meat, fish and other such items on top of it. Also make sure, you clean the chest with a solution of water and vinegar taken in equal proportions. Spray the solution inside and wipe it off. Let it dry by leaving it opens. If the chest has a removable liner, take off the liner and wash it in warm water.