On a recent trip to Provence, in the south of France, I started noticing bees etched and embossed on everyday items like drinking glasses, tablecloths, cutlery, stationery and even buildings. Once I started paying attention to them, I found them everywhere, sort of like the "hidden Mickeys" at Walt Disney World. This got me wondering about the meaning behind this bee symbol as well as other symbols commonly found throughout France.
Do you know what bio-dynamic wine farming is? I came across that term recently while I was traveling in France. I'm from California and tend to think myself rather savvy about wineries and winemaking, but I'd never heard of bio dynamic wine production. I bet you haven't either.
What is bio-dynamic wine production?
Bio-dynamic wine production takes organic farming one step further (or maybe a couple of steps.) "Food and Wine" magazine calls it the next big trend in wine-making. In addition to growing grapes without pesticides or other chemicals, bio-dynamic farming seeks to respect and follow the natural symmetry between the land and the plants. The theory is that the plants and the soil are one intertwined eco-system. This is similar to the French concept of "terroir," which maintains that wine grapes take on different tastes and qualities depending on the soil conditions and climate in which they are grown.
A host of food and beverage products have originated in France. There's roquefort cheese, Champagne and truffles, just to name a few. Another of these French exports is cognac, the distilled brandy that comes from the region of the same name in southwestern France.
One of the best things about visiting France is the abundance of festivals and annual events that pepper the calendar in places all over the country. France has a lot to celebrate. The nation is known for its food, wine, fine art and that elegant style that's difficult to define, but very easy to spot. If you're planning a trip to France this season, you'll want to be sure to add a few of these French festivals to your travel itinerary:
Food and Wine Festivals
Food and wine are synonymous with France, so it's just natural that the country have a full schedule of festivals to celebrate these delicious natural resources.
Located in northeastern France along the Marne-Rhine Canal, the Arzviller Barge Lift is a unique feat of engineering that allows barges to easily cross the Vosges Mountain range that bisects the canal. This intriguing and scenic transportation system is a highlight of any barge trip to this part of France.