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La Pitchoune: “Toujours Bon Appétit!”

If you have an appetite for life, you’ll love a stay at Julia Child’s summer home in France. A House Built on Friendship Nestled in the idyllic landscape of Provence, France, the quaint village of Plascassier holds a gem of a place, La Pitchoune. The modest stucco cottage was built in the early 1960s by Julia Child and her husband, Paul. It was constructed on the property known as Bramafam belonging to her culinary friend, Simca Beck, and husband, Jean Fischbacher. The deal was sealed with a handshake and an understanding that the red tile-roofed cottage would be turned over to the Fischbachers after they were done staying there. La Pitchoune means “the Little One” and Child often used her shortened nickname for it, La Peetch. Summers were spent at La Pitchoune as a serene getaway amidst olive trees and lavender bushes for nearly 30 years. The Childs loved to entertain, often hosting the most influential culinary chefs such as James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, and Richard Olney. In later years, Paul’s health was failing and her long-time friend Simca had

Start 2020 With a Botswana or Tanzania African Safari

What better way to begin the new year than on safari? Consider a journey to Botswana or Tanzania to experience the best safari in January or February. Both safari hot-spots are crowd-free and wild as can be.Pair Kanana and Dinaka New for safari-goers in 2020, Kanana and Dinaka will stay open year-round giving travelers more opportunities to get their fill of outdoor adventure. These two camps pair perfectly, with varied experiences in two of Botswana’s very different environments: the Okavango Delta and Central Kalahari. If The Lion King has you inspired to see a safari for yourself, Botswana is a great place to start. Kanana and Dinaka are among the safari properties that contribute to Bana Ba Letsatsi, a project based in Maun focused on supporting at-risk youths through education and meeting their social needs. When you travel with Ker & Downey to these camps, and on our Botswana Family Safari suggested itinerary, you are directly impacting the lives of these children and ensuring their positive future. Contact our experts to learn more about giving back in Botswana, and to

Visit Europe in 2020 – Our Top Picks

With 44 countries in Europe, travelers have plenty of choices. You want mountains? Check. Chic beaches that meet sparkling seas? Check. Delicious food? Check. Vast varieties of culture and history? Check. Since there’s so much to see, we are helping you visit Europe in 2020 with confidence. Keep reading to narrow in on where to go in Europe 2020. Greenland Iceland’s much bigger neighbor is having a moment in the well-deserved spotlight. Go in search of polar bears and the vivid Northern Lights as you circumnavigate the large island. Discover old settlements dating back more than 4,500 years as you hike through the UNESCO-listed Sermermiut Valley. Glide through the ice fjords by kayak or take flight above the Isua Glacier, spotting whales down below. And when your weary feet need a break, settle in for an Arctic sauna experience or chit chat with locals over coffee and cakes in their home. Albania Long left under the radar and in the shadows of Greece, many travelers are surprised to learn of Albania’s equally beautiful beaches. But what makes Albania different is

“Glamping” Safaris in Africa

The allure of wild African safaris beckon visitors to experience unforgettable adventures and unique personal experiences. Having grown up in Africa, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have spent many a night on safari, and my fondest memories in life are those derived from being immersed in such a pristine natural environment. As a result, I often yearn to be back driving across the endless plains of the Serengeti, dotted with wildebeest and zebra on their annual migration in search of greener pastures. I also have rich memories of gliding silently across the crystal clear waters of Botswana’s Okavango Delta in a mokoro (dugout canoe) through papyrus fringed channels listening to the nearby grunt of a hippo and the unmistakable cry of an African Fish Eagle. Experiencing Nature’s Wonderland The word “safari” is derived from the Swahili language and roughly translates to “a journey.” Traditionally this would have involved a small tent pitched deep in the wilds with little or no infrastructure surrounding it. Today many safaris are offered with a distinct air of sophistication, and often with super luxurious

A Gift for Two: Ker & Downey’s Romantic Getaways

Whether planning for an upcoming honeymoon or treating someone you love to a memorable gift, let these romantic getaways serve as your inspiration. Our favorite amorous getaways from around the world feature private experiences and amenities with lovers in mind. Is your heart racing yet?  Foodie Love | Dar Ahlam, Morocco If the way to your heart is your stomach, head to the Skoura Oasis to get your fill. Incredible private dining awaits in secret spaces on the manicured grounds, and on a drive into the Atlas Mountains for an indulgent evening under the stars. The Creative Heart | Ellerman House, South Africa Pair fine wines and fine art at the celebrated Ellerman House consistently ranked as one of the top hotels in the world by top travel publications like Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler. With the recent addition of a custom-crafted wine cellar guests can now sample 7,500 vintages in an inspiring, intimate environment. For the Love of Nature | Hotel Paracas, Peru Peru’s southern coast is alive with history and outdoor encounters. Soar over the mysterious Nazca

Castle Hotels: Experience Grandiose Getaways

Bursting with opulence and enchantment, castle hotels are the perfect sanctuaries for the luxury traveler. During many of my trips overseas, I often structured our itinerary around visiting some of the world’s finest castles, including Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany, Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania, Romania, and Mont Saint-Michel near Normandy, France. However, I never took advantage of the opportunity to spend a night in one of these magnificent places. Have you ever dreamed of staying overnight in a real-life castle?  Did you know that this “bucket list” item is even a possibility?  Well, believe it or not, it is, and there are quite a few choices.  In this article, we will highlight some of the classics around the world. ASHFORD CASTLE – CONG, IRELAND Ashford Castle, originally built in 1228 on a 350-acre estate, is an incredible five-star resort that allows you to fantasize about medieval times.  It had been owned by the Guinness family since 1852, expanded to more than 26,000 acres, and was donated to the Irish government in 1915. In 1939, it was turned into a hotel and has

Ker & Downey: Stunning Frozen Locations to Visit

Baby, it’s cold outside… but that’s not stopping us from wanting to travel to some frozen locations inspired by Disney’s Frozen 2. Let Ker & Downey whisk you off to these magical, snow-dusted destinations with adventure and natural beauty aplenty. Iceland If you find Anna and Kristoff’s Frozen romance inspiring, grab your partner and snuggle up on our romantic Iceland journey. Designed as a honeymoon for two Ker & Downey clients, this trip is perfect for any occasion and a great balance of adventure and relaxation for couples. Snowmobile across glaciers and hike to remote waterfalls. Chill out in the relaxing, milky-hued waters of the Blue Lagoon. Cap off the trip by warming up in an Icelandic wool sweater made just for you. Greenland Iceland’s much larger neighbor is rightfully getting more attention, including an appearance on our Where To Go 2020 list. What is Greenland really like? We answer that question with a cruise to one of its most isolated places, where you will only encounter two towns and five settlements. The friendly Inuit locals still use traditional methods

Ker & Downey: Plan Your 2019 Christmas Vacation

Plan your family Christmas vacation 2019 before it’s too late, since the holidays are fast approaching. Ditch the usual presents and give the gift of travel this year instead. With options fit for the whole family, designing your journey with us will open a magical world of travel to your loved ones. Get inspired to make this a holiday your family will cherish forever. Private Colorado Ranch Say howdy to the holidays at a cozy ranch in Colorado. This is a Rocky Mountain wilderness experience that amps up the luxury. Picture this: 10,000 acres of pure nature and pristine trails for you to explore. Bring the whole gang; there’s plenty of space for up to 20 with 11 rooms and nine bathrooms. The home embraces a cabin-chic design with views of the snow-dusted landscape. Your kids will keep their eyes fixed to the starry sky looking out for Santa’s sleigh. A private chef takes care of your meals, leaving you to kick back and relax in front of a crackling fire. Beyond the ranch, Colorado’s winter wonderland awaits. Go with

Russia: A Visitor’s Dive into Cultural Dynamics

From the grandeur of imperial Russia to the stark soviet era, Russia has a rich mix of heritage and culture to explore. We had the opportunity to visit Russia a couple years ago, spending four nights in Moscow, two nights in a small town named Suzdal, and another four nights in St. Petersburg.  Our trip was arranged through Exeter International which, in my opinion, is the best way to travel to Russia if you are seeking private or small group tours. The special touches added by Exeter throughout the trip illustrates their existing relationships and experience in this part of the world. Red Square After settling into our lovely hotel, the St. Regis, which is literally a couple NYC blocks from Krispy Kreme …  and, oh yeah, the Kremlin … we met the first of our two extraordinary guides, a gentleman named Genaddy, a history professor and former member of the military.  A fabulous guide adds so much to a trip and we were incredibly fortunate to have been accompanied by two special professionals throughout our trip. Unforgettable Moscow Our stay

10 Travel Essentials: Top Travel Gear for Your Next Trip

We’ve listed 10 convenient accessories to make your travel less stressful and more enjoyable. Oh, the joy of travel! We’ve listed some of this year’s top travel accessories that are truly useful, convenient, compact, and lightweight. We’ve picked travel accessories that have high customer ratings and they’re all available on Amazon. No bulky, too technical, or silly travel “must-haves” here, just functional gear you can really use. Tile Pro with Replaceable Battery No more lost luggage! Place this little device on your luggage, keys, wallet, camera, handbag, and they’ll be quickly located using Bluetooth-enabled tracking. Easy peasy! Use your smartphone to ring your Tile Pro to locate items within 300 ft. Can’t find your phone? Double click the tile to make your phone ring. You can even tap into the world’s largest lost and found community to help you locate your lost stuff. The long-life battery is guaranteed for one year and you can replace the battery yourself. Rugged and stylish, this little tracker will give you peace of mind. Check out the details on the Tile website or Amazon.