Wednesday Postcard: Vittel, France

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features views of Parc Thermal in Vittel, a commune in the Grand Est region (Vosges department) in northeastern France.

Top left: main entrance to Parc Thermal

Top right: the old casino of Vittel

Bottom left: the pool at Parc Thermal

Bottom right: dome of la Grande Source and the gardens

  • Vittel is a spa town famous for its mineral water, hydrotherapy treatments, and thermal baths
  • Charles Garnier, the architect of the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris, contributed to the design of the thermal baths and the casino
  • The bottled natural mineral water called Vittel comes from the Vosges region

For more information:

Office of Tourism – Vittel

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

A Touch of France in Yountville, California

The town of Yountville is located along California Highway 29 about 56 miles/ 90 km north of San Francisco. With Calistoga to the north and Napa to the south, Yountville is truly in the heart of Wine Country.

The town was named after George Calvert Yount in 1867, two years after his death. In the 1830s, Yount was considered one of the first settlers in the area to plant wine grapes in Napa Valley.

Public Art Walk Along Washington Street

“Chaos Pamplona” by Jedd Novatt

“48” Orange Sphere” by Ivan McLean

“Rock Mushroom Garden” by Rich Botto

“Marigold” by Troy Pillow

“Phoenix” by Andrew Carson

Award-winning Restaurants

Chef Philippe Jeanty of Epernay, France opened Bistro Jeanty in 1998:

Signs on the windows indicate they serve cassoulet, saumon fumé, bouillabaisse, paté de lapin…

soupe de poissons, crème brûlée, steak frites, moules au pastis!

Chef Thomas Keller opened The French Laundry in 1994. Since 2007, it has been a Michelin 3-star restaurant:

Can you see the restaurant sign? I can’t, so let’s zoom in:

Its unassuming exterior means that you could miss the award-winning restaurant if you blink or drive past it too quickly. Which is exactly what we did…

That’s The French Laundry to the right:

Chef Thomas Keller opened Bouchon Bistro in 1998:

V Marketplace

The Groezinger Winery was built in 1870 and operated as a winery through 1955. In 1968, it was converted into an upscale retail location. There are tasting rooms, restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques surrounded by a picnic garden. A popular hot air balloon company launches from an adjacent lot near V Marketplace.

Two restaurants owned by Chef Michael Chiarello, Bottega and Ottimo:

Keep walking through the courtyard (above) and you’ll arrive at the beautiful picnic garden. Here’s my favorite flower, the white rose:

Pioneer Yount School Bell

This bell hung from Pioneer Yount School from 1890 to 1947. Today, it is in front of Yountville’s City Hall.

If you need to send someone a postcard, you can drop it off here:

For more information:

Yountville Welcome Center

These photos were taken by my older daughter and me during our family’s day trip to Napa Valley on New Year’s Day 2017. 🍇

Wednesday Postcard: San Luis Obispo, California

Photo by N. Reed

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale features the Mission Gardens of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, located in the Central Coast of California. It’s about 230 miles/ 370 km south of San Francisco.

July 2012

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded by Father Junipero Serra on September 1, 1772. Named after Saint Louis (1274-1297), the Bishop of Toulouse, France, it was the fifth mission (out of 21) founded along El Camino Real. 

Key facts:

  • It was the first mission founded on the land of the Chumash people
  • Mission San Luis Obispo still stands on its original site
  • The three bells in the garden have names: Joy, Gloria, Sorrow

My most recent visit to San Luis Obispo was in 2012. My family and I had lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant, Vieni Vai Trattoria. (It closed briefly in 2015, but re-opened and re-named “Flour House” by the owner’s daughter). 

Vieni Vai Trattoria’s tiramisu was featured on the Rachael Ray Show

The Pride in the Plaza event is held in Mission Plaza each year:

July 2012

July 2012

For more information:

California Missions

Mission Gardens 

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa – Visit California 

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!

Salesforce Park: San Francisco’s Newest Rooftop Park Reopens

In August 2018, a four-block long rooftop park above the Salesforce Transit Center in downtown San Francisco welcomed its first visitors, but had to close several weeks later when they found some structural damage. After about nine months of repair work, Salesforce Park reopened on July 1, 2019.

You can ride the gondola UP to the park:

…But to go DOWN, take the elevator or escalator:

Here are some plants and flowers at the Park:

Manzanita

Agave: the source plant of tequila

Alstroemerias

Dragon tree at Salesforce Park in San Francisco

Fun for the family:

It’s actually a Starbucks!

Free yoga, guided meditation, and cardio exercise classes are held on the grass in front of the amphitheater:

Building segments are connected by seismic separation joints like this one, which will move during an earthquake

What kind of bird is this?

This cute bird was near the aloe plants:

If you know what kind of bird this is, please let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday Postcard: Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Bonjour! This week’s carte postale shows the casino gardens in Monte-Carlo, Monaco!

Located in the French Riviera, Monaco is the second smallest country after Vatican City.

When I hear Monte-Carlo, I think of glamour, James Bond movies, the Grand Prix, and the American actress, Grace Kelly, who became Princess of Monaco in 1956 when she married Prince Rainier.

For more information:

Monaco At a Glance – VisitACity website

Until the next Wednesday Postcard, à bientôt!