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A mere 1500 rooms and 130 acres of gardens, Château de Fontainebleau astounds and amazes. Check the map. The huge Château is dwarfed by green.

Zoom in an out if you wish. It’s immense. Imagine its “humble beginnings” as a hunting lodge. Imagine the wealth disparity between the French and their royalty that spurred the revolution. Imagine the artists and architects, the best of their times. A visit is a history lesson for the ages.

What’s new? The restoration of the Turkish Boudoir, 7 years of it, has now resulted in an interesting glimpse into the life of Marie Antoinette, for whom it was built in 1777 by the Rousseau brothers.

“All of the originality and preciosity of the so-called Turqueries, together with their modernity, reach their full expression here: with exceptionally harmonious décor and furniture, an extraordinarily rich choice of materials and patterns borrowed from the original repertoire, not to mention the lighting effects created by the moving mirrors and transparent fabrics.”

Travel Toolbox for Château de Fontainebleau

Compare prices on Fontainebleau hotels.

Fontainebleau Official Facebook Page

Top Rated Book: In the Forest of Fontainebleau: Painters and Photographers from Corot to Monet

Find a tour of Fontainebleau

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First, here at Wandering France, we wish for peace, family, friends, and feasts, whatever your holiday of choice.

Second, at our Thanksgiving celebration, someone wondered what the image of American (U.S., specifically – not making that mistake) food might be to the French.

Herewith, the Thanksgiving store and storefront in Paris, Right Bank.

Multi-culturally,

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france size map
France: Size Compared to the Continental United States

Here’s a little map overlay with the country of France placed under a map of the Continental US state boundaries. The total area of France is 211,209 square miles, making France slightly smaller than two Colorados. France is smaller than the state of Texas at 268,820 square miles of area.

The average population density of France is 120.56 people per square kilometer, last measured in 2013. For the same time period, the United States was last measured at 34.56 per square kilometer.

The population of France is currently around 63 million people. For historic population and future population predictions, see Population Pyramid

According to the US Census Bureau’s population clock, the estimated 2015 United States population (July 2015) is over 321.3 million. California has the largest state population of 39 million, almost 2/3 that of France.

Paris, the capital of France, has a population of 2.34 million people, slightly more people than those who occupy Houston, Texas which has the fourth highest population among cities in the United States.

Looking for a folding map of Paris you can buy online? Longitude Maps has a Paris and France map bundle by National Geographic. Artwise Paris, France might also fit the bill.

You may also be interested in comparing prices on Hotels in Paris

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I was just there! I came home so in love, again, and so full of joy and respect for a city and country that epitomizes civilization. I will go back.

Until that day, may peace and strength be with all of France from all of us.

This exhibit gave me such hope. It was only 2 months ago.

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Paris has a tequila bar and restaurant! Who knew? La Perla is in the Marais, of course. It is lovely, warm, welcoming, and extremely popular in the neighborhood.

Look for this:

We were introduced to La Perla by its soft-spoken, but passionate founder, Tomas Estes. Tomas followed a dream from Southern California to Amsterdam, London, Germany, and Paris. He opened his first Mexican restaurant and bar in Amsterdam and discovered that Europe was beyond ready for tequila. Captivated by tequila, but not in the usual way, he spent years researching tequila in Mexico, developing relationships that led to a new tequila brand: Ocho, distributed in the U.S., France, and England. Now, he owns several bar-restaurants, the Ocho brand, and is the formal tequila ambassador to Europe.

Ocho is as far removed from the tequilas of my youth as Southern Comfort is from single-malt scotch. And I do know this from personal experience. Here at Wandering France, we go the extra sip or three to assure that you, the reader, have all the facts.

Ocho is produced in Jalisco, the most highly-regarded agave-growing region of Mexico, like Napa in California or the terroirs of France. Ocho is a slow-food, artisanal product. The agave fields and stills are locally-owned, so Ocho is also a fair-trade product. Ocho is 100% agave, which is the first step toward a good tequila, but not enough by itself. Tomas believes that taking the time to do things the right way, make the right decisions, and doing it most naturally are the essential next steps. Ocho starts with organically-grown agave, which is allowed to ripen in the field. The plants are harvested when super ripe and cooked slowly and at low heat. Next , mineral-rich spring water is added and the liquid ferments slowly in wooden casks, followed by a slow distillation. Perhaps only 2 or 3 tequila producers are doing this now.

Ocho is a slow food product, from cultivation to the final drink in your glass. Unlike mass-produced tequila, each Ocho run is encouraged to become what it is naturally going to be. Ocho sources different tequilas from specific ranches, e.g. Terroir for tequila. Each run is finite; when they’re done, they’re done. A collectable market is developing . . . The different tequilas on the tequila menu are described just like wines, e.g., fruity, citrus, notes of lemon, etc.

The take-away, based on a small sample: this stuff is really good. It has a lovely mouth feel, a delicate, intoxicating aroma, heat and some bite, with a lovely, smooth finish. It is the spirit of the agave, the eau de vie of the cactus.

Check it out at:

http://www.ochotequila.com

The tequila menu:

Tomas generously offered us lunch. La Perla makes its own salsas, sauces, etc. on-site, sourced from local suppliers. We tried two selections from the modern Mexican menu and they were both intriguing and delicious. I had the smoked chicken quesadillas with raspberry jalapeño sauce. The sweet, smoky, and hot flavors blended perfectly. The chef was kind enough to honor my request for no bell peppers. Huzzah! The tuna steak with green curry and carrots and zucchini cooked with agave syrup is another perfect match. Yes, green curry. The head chef is from Sri Lanka and changed things up a notch. The salads are fresh and crisp.

La Perla is warm & welcoming:

My quesadillas:

The coffee is organic and fair trade. We were, alas, too full for dessert (did I mention generous portions?) Next time . . . cheesecake offered with raspberry coulis or with tequila Ocho caramelized with cinnamon.

Tomas is simplifying his business so he can focus on Ocho. The London La Perlas are for sale. Interested? Contact Tomas Estes at:

“Tomas Estes”

La Perla-Paris is just off the rue de Rivoli, on the Hotel de Ville side, between the Hotel de Ville and St. Paul metros. Check the website below for pix, directions, hours, etc.

http://www.laperla-paris.com

Address: 26 rue Francois Miron, 75004 Paris (corner of rue du Pont Louis-Phillippe)
Phone: +33 1 42 77 59 40
Hours: 7 days, noon to midnight and to 2 a.m., Thursday-Saturday.

Note: Any mistakes herein are entirely my responsibility.

Thank you, Tomas Estes, for a lovely and enlightening experience and for bringing fine tequila to Europe and the world.

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