It may be hard to imagine feeling the necessity to skip town when the capital has so much to offer. But to really understand France - its people, culture, values and storied past - you'll need to reach beyond the well-heeled streets of Paris. Some of these spots make ideal day trips from the city while others deserve your undivided attention. All are picture- perfect so keep your cameras handy.
The Brittany region on France’s northwest coast is known for its oysters, cotriade (a fish and potato stew), hard ciders, crepes, and galettes. During private, customized trips with Paris-based Purple Truffle, local chefs welcome you into their kitchens to learn how to prepare the region’s specialties.
WHAT YOU’LL MAKE: Dishes include Breton-style clams with garlic; tomatoes, artichokes, and goat cheese with marjoram; Breton galettes, which are savory pancakes made with buckwheat flour, filled with ham, cheese, and a fried egg; far Breton, a custardlike cake containing brandy-soaked prunes.
HIGHLIGHTS: Tour an oyster farm with the owner as your guide; then, with the help of a local wine expert, pair mollusks and muscadet. Taste homemade goat cheese, cider, and regional pastries at a Brittany farm. Stay in an 18th-century manor overlooking the pink granite coast.
Purple Truffle, 33/(0) 6-23-91-81-65, seven-day trip for two for $8,890, including lodging and some meals. This appeared in the March/April 2010 issue.
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