World Travel Guides

The information of World Travel Guide For Best Places to Visit.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

France. A voyage to France, Europe.

Welcome to France. A country that seduces travellers with its unfalteringly familiar culture woven around café terraces, village-square markets and lace-curtained bistros with their plat du jour (dish of the day) chalked on the board.
Cultural Savoir-FaireFrance is all about world-class art and architecture, Roman temples and Renaissance châteaux, iconic landmarks known the world over, and rising stars few yet know. Stroll the lily-clad gardens Monet painted and savour un café at the Parisian café where Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir met to philosophise. See glorious pasts blaze forth and imagine the life of a French king at bourgeois Versailles. View tomorrow’s art starts in squats secreted in abandoned 19th-century Haussmann mansions in Paris, or at new headline-grabbing museums up north. Drink cocktails in a shabby-chic Nantes warehouse. Listen to Marseille rap and Parisian jazz. Sense the subtle infusion of language, music and mythology in Brittany, brought by 5th-century Celtic invaders. Yes, French culture offers never-ending possibilities to fill any stay in France.
Gastronomic Art de VivreOr perhaps it is the French feast of fine food and wine that woos so many travellers. (This is, after all, the country that entices more than any other: more than 80 million visitors a year, ranking it the world’s top tourist destination. But know that gastronomic France goes far deeper than Parisian bistro dining, long lunches outside, shopping for fruit and veg at the market and wolfing down croissants hot from the boulangerie (bakery) for breakfast. Learn how to make petits fours with the kids in Paris or flip crêpes in Brittany; taste wine with one of the world’s top sommeliers in Bordeaux; visit an Atlantic Coast oyster farm; drink Champagne in ancient cellars in Reims; tour a Provençal melon farm; harvest olives, peaches and cherries in the hot south… and understand that food is as much an art de vivre (art of living) for the French as an essential to survive.
Lyrical Landscape Then there is the terroir (land) and the startlingly varied journey it weaves from northern France’s cliff s and sand dunes to the bright-blue sea of the French Riviera and Corsica’s green oak forests. Outdoor action is what this lyrical landscape calls for, be it fast-paced and pulse-racing, slow and relaxed, solo or en famille. Walk barefoot across wave-rippled sand to Mont St-Michel; ride the cable car to mind-blowing glacial panoramas above mountaineering mecca Chamonix; cartwheel down Europe’s highest sand dune; surf in Biarritz; ski the Alps; hike from one extinct volcano to another in the Massif Central; float between locks or pedal the towpath along the Canal du Midi. The action is endless and the next adventure just begging to be had.
Ready to go?
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Restaurant Mathias Dahlgren (Matbaren)

Having the usual perfect timing... I visited the restaurant Mathias Dahlgren last week with a friend, just ahead of the announcement of 2014's Michelin Guide. Mathias Dahlgren, the man himself, is one of Sweden's most successful chefs. In fact, he is only Swede to win a gold medal at the prestigious Bocuse d'Or competition (we do have several silver medalists).
Detail from the foyer...
The restaurant is actually two in one... as you enter, to the right you have the Dining Room (Matsalen) and to the left you have the Food Bar (Matbaren). There is also a Chef's Table (Matbordet) which is bookable. The Dining Room has been awarded 2 stars in the Michelin Guide for several years in a row and is considered one of Sweden's best restaurants. Here they offer two tasting menus (5 or 8 courses), available with wine & beverage pairings.
My friend and I, however, opted to dine at the Food Bar. This is Mathias Dahlgren's version of a gourmet bistro and has been awarded 1 star in the Michelin Guide for several years in a row. More casual than the Dining Room, guests order dishes from an a la carte menu (in other words, no set tasting menus). The dishes are all "medium" sized, no starters or entrées, and you are welcome to order just one or more depending on how hungry you are. For example, we each took a medium dish (heart of venison and spare-rib dumplings) followed by a shared cheese dish and then a dessert each. Incredibly delicious and perfect!
Dinner at food bar with show!
The service was impeccable, the wine recommendation perfect and the surroundings beautiful... I really recommend this restaurant if you want to try modern, gourmet, Michelin star, Nordic cuisine without breaking your wallet. At the Food Bar you can either eat at a table or at the actual food bar. Now, sitting at a bar (where you sit next to each other and not across from one another) might not appeal to some... but I have to say that I wish we had chosen that option. It looked quite fun and the bar is u-shaped so your view comprises of the restaurant and the open kitchen. Our waitress commented that sitting at the bar allows you to see what other diners order and can help you decide on what you want to try yourself...
Press image: my amateur pics didn't do the food justice.
Mathias Dahlgren is located on Blasieholmen in downtown area just across the water from the Royal Palace. To get there from the Rival Hotel, it is just a 5-7 minute taxi ride. Closest subway station is Kungsträdgården (blue line). Reserving tables in advance is highly recommended, especially for the Dining Room. You have more of a chance to last minute tables in the Food Bar. They actually do keep a few seats at the bar free for rop in guests. If you are going to be staying at the Rival... contact me in advance for help in reserving a table. Click here for other restaurant reviews/recommendations.
Press image of Matbaren.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stockholm Restaurants in the Michelin Guide 2014

The day that foodies and the culinary world have waited for in nervous anticipation is finally here: the 2014 Michelin Guide has been released. And it is mostly good news for Stockholm restaurants! Two new restaurants have received one star each. Many were hoping that one of our two 2 star restaurants would get a third star or that Esperanto would finally get their second star... but no such luck. One other piece of good news is that it was announced that, in 2015, the Nordic countries will get their own special guide which will include restaurants in smaller cities and towns. Currently Sweden is part of the European city guide which only includes restaurants in major cities.
The Food Bar (Matbaren) at Mathias Dahlgren.
Here is a quick explanation of the Michelin Guide's star system: one star means that it is "a very good restaurant in its category", two stars mean that the restaurant offers "excellent cooking, worth a detour" and three stars are awarded to restaurants with "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey". The Guide also has a special award called Bib Gourmand for restaurants with "good food at moderate prices". Here is the list for Stockholm:

And the Stockholm restaurants on the Bib Gourmand list are: Sjögräs (around the corner from the Rival Hotel), Den Gyldene Freden, Proviant, Brasserie Bonbonne, EAT, Pubologi, Ulla Winbladh, Rolf's Kök and Oaxen Slip (new!). 
Operakällaren- one of the restaurants which received a new star!
Please keep in mind that if you wish to dine at one of the Michelin star restaurants... reserving a table ahead of time is required! Often several weeks in advance. If you are going to be staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me in advance for help in making a reservation. Click here if you wish to see past guides and other restaurant awards. Last week I visited Mathias Dahlgren and will be writing about it soon... so stay tuned! In the meantime you can read my other restaurant reviews/recommendations by clicking here

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Man Ray Exhibition at Millesgården

I had a mini-vacation last week and, as I stayed put in Stockholm, had some time to visit a few museums & restaurants. Top of my list was a visit to Millesgården to see their Man Ray exhibition (last day June 8th, 2014).
Man Ray (1890-1976) was a modernist artist who is probably best known for his photography... especially famous photographs like "Les Larmes" and "Le Violin d'Ingres". But he was also proficient in other media, such as film, sculpture, painting and drawing. Man Ray was one of the early stars of the modern art world and was a contributor to the Cubist, Dada and Surrealism movements throughout his career. This retrospective exhibition is small in size, but it does cover the three main periods of his life/career: New York, Paris and Hollywood. The exhibit also contains examples from all of the above mentioned fields of art, not just his photography.
While I wished that some of his more famous photographs were part of this exhibit, I did enjoy it and it was nice to see his paintings and drawings as well (I have always thought of him as only a photographer). Whether you are a Man Ray fan or not... a visit to Millesgården is highly recommended when visiting Stockholm. I did blog about Millesgården several years ago, but it is always good with a refresher.
Millesgården is both an art museum and a sculpture garden. Originally the home of Swedish sculptor Carl Milles, both his house and art studio are on the property and open for the public. The sculpture garden is filled with the beautiful work of Milles and is a fantstic place to wander around on a sunny day. A great place to take pictures... all photos here taken by me on my visit last week.
Millesgården is located on the island of Lidingö on the outskirts of the city... high up on a bluff with views over Finnhamnen port (where many cruise ships depart from). When describing how to get there from the Rival Hotel, I always have to assure hotel guests that it is much easier to get there than it sounds. It is first a short subway trip to Ropsten (7 stations on the red line). When exiting the subway station, follow signs for the busses... you need to take a bus over the Lidingö bridge to the museum. There are several busses to choose from (201, 202, 204, 205, 206 or the express 207). Sounds a little complicated, but the trip only takes about 35 minutes. There is a tram that you can also take from Ropsten to the museum, however it is currently being renovated and not expected to be in use again until 2015. More info.

AN art, museum