Get out of Lyon city and live the unique experience of sleeping into a real igloo !!
From departure of Massif des Bauges in Savoy, from 1h30 of Lyon, the Inuit’s home is waiting for you in this polar excursion, not far away from Lyon.
From departure of the Massif des Bauges, around 1h30 from Lyon, the most sportive of you will have the pleasure to take snow rackets to hike and build an igloo campsite !
After a small briefing, the bag check up and the necessary materals distribution for this igloo expedition by night, Ben, your guide, will leave with you and show you all the fantastic mountains. After an hour hiking with rackets on a course with a descending profile, you will store your bags, and activate yourselves for the igloo building! A few basic technics allow to pass a night under an igloo. It depends of the snow quality. Surviving is the main word for this igloo excursion, so you will have to be really good at igloo manufacturing ! Of course our qualified instructor will (just a little) help you.
Afterwards, the igloo building is finished, and you have deserved a typical aperitif from Savoy and a fondue taken in the bag at 1500 meters height. A good reason to appreciate your night under an igloo ! The next day, from your High Cold bag, you will also love your breakfast alone in wild nature before you tranquilly go back to the cars.
A real excursion to live a night under an igloo near to Lyon !!
Week-end process :
Departure Saturday at 14h
– 1h of snow racket hiking to join the campsite
– 2h of igloo building
– for the evening : fondue and aperitif savoyard
– Your night dreaming under your igloo.
– Breakfast : coffee, brioches
– 2h of snow racket hiking
– Activity finishes Sunday at 11h
This acitivity is possible in January, February and March
You will always be framed by a qualified instructor for your safety and the good progress of your Igloo Excursion.
Café Procope And The Birth Of French Coffee Culture
by Hattie Ditton
Café Procope is the oldest and among the most famous Parisian restaurant/cafés. It was the original European ‘Literary Café’ prototype. Located in the 6th arrondissement on Paris’ Left Bank, and steps from Boulevard Saint-Germain, it retains its former glory and original charm. This café’s rich backstory represents an enormous part of the socio-cultural history of café culture in Paris.
Inaugurated in 1686 by Italian Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli, it did not take long for it to develop something of a reputation for being the meeting spot for intellectuals and coteries of distinguished people. In a time where who frequented an establishment was a determining factor in success, an esteemed clientele was the mark of a good café. Undoubtedly, this had something to do with Café Procope’s lauded reputation. With a relatively close proximity to the Comédie-Française, it was the obvious stop-off point for the artists and intellectuals that this area would attract.
Gravure of Café Procope © Goldner/WikiCommons
If you were to step foot inside the building around 300 years ago, you would be surrounded by well-to-do men engrossed in liberal and profound discussion, sipping an at-the-time revolutionary liquid: coffee. While quite different from today, this centuries old scene still resembles contemporary Parisian cafés, and is a practice intrinsically linked to Parisian café culture.
In fact, it is largely thanks to Café Procope that coffee ever became popular, as it was the first authentic adaptation of the ‘oriental coffee house’ and one of the few establishments that had success in selling it. For years, coffee had only been sold on the street. However, the moment that influential people began to enjoy coffee here, it soon (unsurprisingly) became the drink of choice for many. In a short time, the image that surrounded it became more important than the drink itself. Since then, café culture has become a focal point for literature, art and film. It all began at Café Procope.Café Procope did not have a shortage of influential customers. Rousseau, Denis Diderot and Voltaire are just a few of the great figures who frequented the café and heightened its image, making it a cultural and political hotspot. Some of the most progressive philosophies of the time, which would go on to change the French nation forever, were potentially mulled over at this café. It became the space where the most advanced ideals of the Enlightenment would become asserted and the intellectual upheaval of the time would be stirred up. In time, it would also attract the likes of Americans Benjam Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, who spent time in Paris and contributed to these discussions.
Voltaire and Diderot at the Procope © Jean Huber/WikiCommons
Rumours have since circulated that Voltaire used to drink up to a hundred espressos a day here, mixed with chocolate to take off the edge. His desk is preserved for public viewing on the second level of the restaurant. The ‘chocolat chaud’, for which he can be viewed as a trend-setter, is a house speciality.
Of course many of the ideals that emerged from the Enlightenment – such as tolerance, fraternity, the wish for a constitutional government and anger towards the abuses of the church and the state – would go on to inspire the French Revolution and are now prominent in French society today. During the time of the Revolution, Napoléon himself would become a patron of the café, joining many others who would continue to congregate here. It was used as a space from which to deliberate the most pertinent on-going issues over a game of chess and a petit noir. It is said that he once left his hat as payment for his coffee. If only we could use this technique today.
In post revolution Paris, Café Procope lost something of its status as a ‘literary café.’ However, this did not last for long. The famous poet Paul Verlaine named it his stomping ground and it soon experienced a revival in popularity.
Verlaine at Procope, 1938 © Jobjoby/WikiCommons
The building underwent a substantial refurbishment in 1988. Its new design sought to recapture the 18th century style. Today, evidence of its enormous history is preserved in its décor. The crimson walls are adorned with portraits in ornate gold frames, which tell a story of Paris’ history. From the ceilings hang elaborate crystal chandeliers, illuminating the mahogany furniture. Plaques commemorating the famous greats, who once drank, dined, discussed and created here, feature prominently. Each room is named after one of these significant figures, including Chopin and Franklin. The unfathomable grandeur of the interior is consistent throughout the two floors and the music that can be heard playing softly in the background further adds to the romantic, Parisian ambience.
With increasing gentrification in the neighborhood, the café has become an ever greater attraction for tourists. The menu is faithful to French tradition, featuring favorites such as coq au vin, escargots, tartare du boeuf and crème brûlée. The food may not be revolutionary, but the overall ambiance and insight into Parisian history is reason enough to pay a visit.
You can enjoy a coffee and be left to browse the building, picturing yourself here among the great names, during the periods where the most monumental ideas and changes were underway in France.
Despite the constant emergence of new and modern ways of dining, here in Paris there will always still be a place for Café Procope and cafés like it.
Food at this Famous Paris Restaurant
Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer and songwriter known for her deep expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul (sometimes labelled as blue-eyed soul and neo soul), rhythm and blues, and jazz. Winehouse’s debut album, Frank (2003), was a critical success in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her follow-up album, Back to Black (2006), led to five 2008 Grammy Awards, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made her the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the general field “Big Four” awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Winehouse won three Ivor Novello Awards: in 2004, Best Contemporary Song for “Stronger Than Me”; in 2007, Best Contemporary Song again, this time for “Rehab”; and in 2008, Best Song Musically and Lyrically for “Love Is a Losing Game.” She also won the 2007 Brit Award for Best British Female Artist, having been nominated for Best British Album, with Back to Black.
Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011, aged 27. Her album Back to Black posthumously became, for a time, the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century. In 2012, Winehouse was ranked 26th on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women In Music. The BBC has called her “the pre-eminent vocal talent of her generation.”
Amy Winehouse was born in Chase Farm Hospital in north London, to Jewish parents. Her father, Mitchell “Mitch” Winehouse, was a window panel installer then a taxi driver; her mother, Janis Winehouse (née Seaton), a pharmacist. The Winehouse ancestors were Russian and Polish immigrants to London. Amy had an older brother, Alex (born 1979), and the family lived in London’s Southgate area, where she attended Osidge Primary School.
Many of Winehouse’s maternal uncles were professional jazz musicians. Amy’s paternal grandmother, Cynthia, was a singer and dated the English jazz saxophonist Ronnie Scott. She and Amy’s parents influenced Amy’s interest in jazz. Her father Mitch often sang Frank Sinatra songs to her, and whenever she got chastised at school she would sing “Fly Me to the Moon” before going up to the headmistress to be told off. Winehouse’s parents separated when she was nine, and she lived with her mother and stayed with her father and his girlfriend in Hatfield Heath, Essex on weekends.
In 1992 her grandmother Cynthia suggested she attend the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School, where she went on Saturdays to further her vocal education and to learn to tap dance. She attended the school for four years and founded a short-lived rap group called Sweet ‘n’ Sour with Juliette Ashby, her childhood friend before seeking full-time training at Sylvia Young Theatre School. Winehouse was allegedly expelled at 14 for “not applying herself” and also for piercing her nose. Sylvia Young has denied this—”She changed schools at 15—I’ve heard it said she was expelled; she wasn’t. I’d never have expelled Amy”—as has Mitch Winehouse. She also appeared in an episode of The Fast Show, 1997, with other children from the Sylvia Young School and later attended the Mount School, Mill Hill; the BRIT School in Selhurst, Croydon; Osidge JMI School and then Ashmole School.
Musical career/Early career
After toying around with her brother Alex’s guitar, Winehouse bought her own when she was 14 and began writing music a year later. Soon after, she began working for a living, including, at one time, as an entertainment journalist for the World Entertainment News Network, in addition to singing with local group the Bolsha Band. In July 2000, she became the featured female vocalist with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra; her influences were to include Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, the latter whom she was already listening to at home. Amy’s best friend, soul singer Tyler James, sent her demo tape to an A&R person. Winehouse signed to Simon Fuller’s 19 Management in 2002 and was paid £250 a week against future earnings. While being developed by the management company, she was kept as a recording industry secret although she was a regular jazz standards singer at the Cobden Club. Her future A&R representative at Island (Universal), Darcus Beese, heard of her by accident when the manager of The Lewinson Brothers showed him some productions of his clients, which featured Winehouse as key vocalist. When he asked who the singer was, the manager told him he was not allowed to say. Having decided that he wanted to sign her, it took several months of asking around for Beese to eventually discover who the singer was. However, Winehouse had already recorded a number of songs and signed a publishing deal with EMI by this time. Incidentally, she formed a working relationship with producer Salaam Remi through these record publishers.
Beese introduced Winehouse to his boss, Nick Gatfield, and the Island head shared his enthusiasm in signing the young artist. Winehouse was signed to Island, as rival interest in Winehouse had started to build to include representatives of EMI and Virgin starting to make moves. Beese told HitQuarters that he felt the reason behind the excitement, over an artist who was an atypical pop star for the time, was due to a backlash against reality TV music shows, which included audiences starved for fresh, genuine young talent.
“AT LAST” + Lyrics ETTA JAMES – Original Version:
Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as “The Wallflower”, “At Last”, “Tell Mama”, “Something’s Got a Hold on Me”, and “I’d Rather Go Blind” for which she wrote the lyrics. She faced a number of personal problems, including drug addiction, before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album Seven Year Itch.
James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and was the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.
Image source: Pinterest
My crampons crunch into old snow softened by the morning sun. It’s November 2012, and my rope team is traversing the glaciated Vallée Blanche in the Mont Blanc Massif of Chamonix, France. The white blanket stretches in every direction, meeting a craggy granite ridgeline to the right. This serrated spine connects Mont Blanc, Grandes Jorasses, Les Droites, Les Drus, Aiguille du Grépon, and a host of other storied summits. With recorded ascents dating back to 1786, many made during the Golden Age of Alpinism, this terrain is a living museum.
Perfect rock towers, snow-covered ridges, and steep couloirs of néve cover the landscape—it’s an alpinist’s playground. From low-angle snow on Mont Blanc’s Goûter Couloir to the Petit Dru’s 3,000 feet of steep granite, the thousands of routes in this section of the French Alps can be as easy or as hard as you want. Plodding along the slight undulations of this glaciated valley feels like a waste of time when there’s so much vertical terrain to be scaled. Twelve of us arrived the day before, invited on a press trip by a large shoe brand. Most of the other attendees work at shoe-trade and general outdoor publications, and I was the only one interested in alpine climbing, so glacier travel was the most technical activity on the agenda. I’m bored, I think. A frantic desire to run up every peak in sight makes this plodding tour of what is essentially the approach seem dull.
The person in front of me makes a joke, and the others laugh a little too hard, buzzed from the thin air. I watch a trio of Skittles-colored skiers skin past, think about the frozen gravel field they’re sliding on, and realize my horizontal fate might not be so bad.
Skiers and climbers kit up in a snow cave high in the Mont Blanc Massif.
There are no to-go coffee cups, but everyone here drinks six coffees a day. This thought crosses my mind while I sit outside one of the three cafés that line this section of Quai d’Arve. It’s June 2014, my second trip to Cham, and the pink, purple, and yellow flowers filling planters on the streets and under windows are in full bloom. This cobblestone street runs on top of the river Arve, a cloudy gray vein that cuts through town.
On both sides of the water, pastel buildings with slate roofs give way to steep green hillsides and snow-topped peaks.
With a milky coffee and a buttery croissant in front of me, I watch climbers, clad in boots and harnesses, pass high-heeled women headed out for a day of shopping. In France, coffee is meant to be enjoyed all day—French press in the morning, espresso at night—as long as you’re sitting.
I finish breakfast and walk to the cable-car station in downtown Cham. Starting from there, the Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi goes up 2,800 meters (9,186 feet), ending at the Aiguille du Midi, a 12,605-foot granite spire with a cable-car station, restaurant, gift shop, viewing platforms, and a glass skywalk. This station acts as the main entrance point for mountaineers in the region. At 60 Euros (about US $67) for a round-trip ticket, the price is as steep as the terrain, but it turns a half-day slog into a 20-minute ride. In America, you wake up at 1 a.m. and eat gloopy oatmeal by headlamp to summit Colorado’s Petit Grepon, returning to the car at dusk. In Chamonix, you roll out of bed at 7 a.m. to enjoy pastries in the sun, then summit the 11,854-foot Pointe Lachenal, returning to town by mid-afternoon.
I meet my partners in line, where the oranges, reds, and greens of the climbers’ and skiers’ technical gear contrast with the grays, blacks, and beiges of the tourists’ street clothes. Each time a gondola comes down, 40 people cram in. As we head up, the gondola bounces with each sway of the cable, but we’re packed in so tight I could pass out and still be held upright. Packs sit on the floor balanced between unsteady legs so an errant crampon or ice axe won’t do serious damage.
It’s in these very mountains where the ice axe originated, along with mountaineering. In August 1786, Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard completed the first ascent of Mont Blanc (15,781 feet), the “White Mountain,” via the Montagne de la Côte summit and the Grand Plateau. Balmat, a hunter and crystal collector from Chamonix, reportedly carried two separate tools, an alpenstock (walking stick) and an axe, later merged into the single ice axe.
Another Chamonix resident, Marie Paradis, made the first female ascent of the white mountain in 1808, and 10 years after that, the Aiguille du Midi was conquered. In 1864 and ‘65, English explorer Edward Whymper (along with various other partners) summited Aiguilles d’Argentière, Grandes Jorasses, and Aiguille Verte. These ascents marked the tail end of the Golden Age of Alpinism, a decade-long siege of the Alps that resulted in first ascents of most of the prominent peaks, including the 14,692-foot Matterhorn.
The Midi cable car started operating in 1955, the same year Walter Bonatti took six days to solo the 3,000-foot Bonatti Pillaron the Dru, the legendary granite spire across the Mer de Glace from the Midi. Rated ED+ (extremement difficile, or extremely difficult), the line remained a testpiece until it was destroyed by rockfall 50 years later. The region has one of the Alps’ hardest high-elevation rock routes, a 1,500-foot 5.13d called Voie Petit on the Grand Capucin, which has seen several ascents since the first free ascent by Alexander Huber in 2005. Now, upward of 30,000 climbing parties attempt Mont Blanc every year.
Pyramide du Tacul, from the Vallée Blanche. This 11,378-foot spire is known for its moderate rock routes.
Two hours later and 400 feet up a ridge climb above the Col du Midi, I cinch my rain shell around my face. Forty-mile-an-hour gusts threaten to shove me off the two-foot-wide ridge, and the sideways snow melds with the white at my feet, making it impossible to follow my partner’s footsteps. As the cloudbank descends, I question my partner’s and my logic in selecting this random ridge—I’m pretty sure it’s not an established climb.
When we reach a small snow platform, the low-hanging clouds thin enough to spot a dozen parties on the zigzagging ridge in front of us. OK, so maybe this is an established route, I think as frustration bubbles up—if I saw more than one other party on an alpine route back in the States, I’d turn around. But this is the price you pay for effortless access to big mountains in densely populated Europe. There are no long, hard approaches to determine your spot in line, and no one gets a head start by sleeping at the trailhead. The first cable car leaves at the same time each day—6:30 to 8:10 a.m. depending on the season—for everyone.
Crowds are just one of the downsides of easy access. By removing the approach, you gain a lot of elevation quickly, creating more potential for altitude sickness and related problems. Then there’s the fact that anyone can pay the money, step onto the cable car, and be delivered to the toe of a host of technical, and potentially lethal, peaks in an area known for crevassed glaciers, epic storms, and fast-changing weather. The result is tons of climbers and skiers getting in over their heads. With more than 1,000 rescues per year, Chamonix’s Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne is known as the busiest SAR team in the world. Yosemite Search and Rescue sees 200 to 250 rescue calls annually; Rocky Mountain Rescue in the Front Range of Colorado averages about 200.
In 2014, the year of my second trip to Cham, more than 12 climbers will die in the Mont Blanc range.
I return to Chamonix again in 2016. Climbing iron stairs bolted directly into the rock up to the Aiguille des Grands Montets hut, accessed by the Grands Montets gondola, I marvel at the French commitment to grand feats of transportation engineering in the Alps. This tram leaves from the hamlet of Argentière, just north of Cham, and travels more than 6,600 feet up to Grands Montets peak to access the northern summits of the range, like the Verte, the Dru, and Les Droites. By railway, there’s the Montenvers–Mer de Glace train that climbs almost 3,000 feet from Cham over three miles to the Mer de Glace. By air, the Vallée Blanche Cable Car travels 3.1 miles from the Aiguille du Midi to Pointe Helbronner, an 11,358-foot peak on the border between Italy and France. And by road, the ambitious 7.2-mile Tunnel du Mont Blanc burrows through the massif to connect Chamonix to its sister city of Courmayer, Italy.
We reach the door, drop our packs, and head inside the Montets hut. Looking around at the cozy wooden room with a few tables and an old woman puttering around in a tiny kitchen, I decide the huts are my favorite part of human encroachment into the Alps. Refuges are perched on ridgelines and summits all over this cirque. I’ve used these shelters to fuel up mid-climb with candy bars and hot chocolate served in a bowl, or stepped inside for a few minutes of respite from the cold and wind. Some also serve as overnight basecamps so climbers can wake up at the foot of their objective—a real alpine start. I order a beer and a croque monsieur, a ham and cheese sandwich fried in butter, while waiting for the next gondola back to Argentière.
A few hours later in Cham, we sit in a cellar where massive wooden beams arch overhead, and white linen tablecloths are faintly illuminated by gas lamps on the stone walls. I sip red wine while steam rises off a plate of potatoes, bacon, onions, and cheese, a hearty casserole called tartiflette that combines all the staples of the Savoyard diet.
At the head of our huge wooden table, a half wheel of cheese melts underneath a heat lamp for a dish called raclette. The waiter suggests that we keep drinking red wine. Apparently, the wine’s acidity will help our stomachs break down the massive amounts of cheese we plan to consume. The gothic décor—leather saddlery, heavy metal rivets, and fur rugs—already makes it feel like a scene from Game of Thrones, so we might as well enjoy some gluttony.
Earlier in the day, we summited the Petite Aiguille Verte (11,522 feet) via the Couloir Chevalier(AD: assez difficile, or quite difficult), swimming through chest-deep snow with a few pitches of ice and mixed climbing. In the mountains of the Haute-Savoie, your caloric intake must match your expenditure, but the objective at dinner is two-sided: refill depleted energy stores and get ahead for the next day. Tomorrow’s goal is Arête des Cosmiques, probably the area’s most classic alpine route, akin to Owen-Spalding on the Grand Teton.
Kathryn Dawn Lang, OC (born November 2, 1961), known by her stage name k.d. lang, is a Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter and occasional actress.
Lang has won both Juno Awards and Grammy Awards for her musical performances; hits include “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine”. She has contributed songs to movie soundtracks and has collaborated with musicians such as Roy Orbison, Tony Bennett, Elton John, Anne Murray, Ann Wilson, and Jane Siberry.
Lang first earned international recognition in 1988 when she performed, as “The Alberta Rose”, at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.
Lang’s career received a huge boost when Roy Orbison chose her to record a duet of his standard, “Crying, ” a collaboration that won them the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 1989. The song was used in the Jon Cryer film Hiding Out released in 1987. Due to the success of the song, Lang received the Entertainer of the Year award from the Canadian Country Music Association. Lang would win the same award for the next three years, in addition to two Female Vocalist of the Year awards in 1988 and 1989.
1988 marked the release of Shadowland, an album of torch country produced by Owen Bradley. In late 1988, Shadowland was named Album of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association. That year she also performed “Turn Me Round” at the closing ceremonies of the XV Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, and sang background vocals with Jennifer Warnes and Bonnie Raitt for Orbison’s acclaimed television special, Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night.