Family-tastic Fun in Courchevel

Family-tastic Fun in Courchevel

Courchevel is a great destination for family fun. As the largest linked ski area in Europe, the resort offers plenty of fun on and off the slopes, as well as great restaurants and accommodation. If you and the kids are up for battling the elements and getting into some sporting adventures, here are a few essential activities to make the most of your holiday.
On the Slopes

 

Snowshoeing – Interested in nature and bored of the beaten track? Grab a pair of snow shoes and wander into ancient icy forests and across quiet powdery slopes. Snowshoeing is accessible for everyone – all you need is the hunger to explore.

Sledging – Courchevel offers tourists the opportunity to enjoy themselves on a 2km sledging slope between the skiing area and the village. The tobogganing slope is designed with kids in mind, and is open in the evenings for some fun under the floodlights.

Snow Cat Driving – My children love trucks and diggers. If yours do too, snow cat driving is the perfect afternoon activity. Families can take a back-seat ride in impressive snow machines, but if a hands-on approach is more your thing, you can even steer one of the monsters around a specially designed track. Children must be aged 6 years and above, and all driving is overseen by a trained instructor.

Adventure Camp – If you have children in the scouts, the adventure camp provides all the fun you can expect. Campers enjoy activities such and snowshoeing and sledging, while eating good food and making plenty of friends.

Out of the Snow

Paragliding – Out of the snow and into the air! For a change from the icy ground, the daring among us can take to the skies. With the help of an instructor pilot, you can glide through valleys and over slopes, getting some of the best views on your holiday.

Climbing – Even on the coldest and windiest winter days, you and the kids can enjoy Courchevel’s climbing walls. The Forum boasts a large indoor climbing wall with seven routes to the top, all of which are different from each other and accommodate mixed abilities. Whether you are climbing for the first time or are a veteran, there will be plenty of opportunities for some adrenaline-fuelled fun.

Bowling – For chilling out in the evening or on your day off skiing, bowling is a great option. The Courchevel Bowling Centre offers all of the bowling goodness you could want, providing rails for the children and pool tables next door.

Getting There

As one of the most popular skiing destinations in Europe, getting to Courchevel is easy. Flight times are only 1 ½ hours from London airports, and major airliners such as British Airways, easyJet, and Jet2 all fly directly to Geneva. Upon arriving, opting for one of Shuttle Direct’s Geneva Airport taxis is the quickest and best way to start your holiday, whisking you away to the resort in around 2 ½ hours. Shuttle Direct charge a low-cost fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about prices when you are out here. If you let us know in advance, our Geneva Airport taxi drivers will even transport your skiing and sporting equipment for free.

Cruising the Highlands in Style: The Caledonian Canal

Cruising the Highlands in Style: The Caledonian Canal

There’s no beauty in the world quite like that of the Scottish Highlands. The rugged landscape will take your breath away and make you eager to see more. One of the best ways to explore the wild side of Scotland is by water, and the Caledonian Canal is the finest route of all.
At 60 miles long, this waterway features 29 lochs, 10 bridges, 4 aqueducts and more incredible scenes of nature than you can count. The route connects the south-east of the country to the north-west, reaching from the charming town of Fort William all the way to Inverness. There’s plenty to do and see when you cruise Scotland: the awe-inspiring castles and famous whisky distilleries are sure to catch your attention.

 

You can sail in the shadow of royalty here. In 1873, Queen Victoria travelled on the canal, which has been extremely popular ever since. The canal’s stunning route makes it easy to see why Queen Victoria loved to cruise Scotland so much!

Thanks to James Watt, the inventor of the Watt steam engine, the idea of constructing the Caledonian Canal first surfaced in 1773. It aimed to connect the eastern and western sides of Scotland, providing work for locals and reducing the need to make a dangerous journey around the coast. The canal would enable all key lochs of the Great Glen could be connected, including Loch Ness, Loch Lochy and Loch Oich.

30 years later, the project was approved by the Scottish government and was led by Thomas Telford, a Scottish engineer. It was designed to run in an incredibly straight line along a geographical fault, and was supposedly a master class in engineering. However, the project missed its deadline by 12 years, taking 19 years to build in total, and also exceeded its budget.

This caused problems for ships that were previously designed to navigate the canal: by the time that it was finished, the ships’ designs were outdated and unsuitable. Although steamer ships with iron hulls were capable of sailing around the Scottish coast, these were too big for the waterway. As a result, while the project was visually impressive, it wasn’t quite the huge success that designers had hoped for.

Despite this, cruising along the Caledonian Canal is an amazing experience from start to finish. Among its many highlights is Neptune’s Staircase: as the longest stair lock in the UK, it takes an impressive 90 minutes for a barge to travel the distance of 500 yards, passing through 8 different locks and rising 70 feet in the process.

If rugged natural beauty, astounding industrial skill and authentic local history sounds like your idea of the perfect cruise, Scotland is the destination for you.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury canal holidays across Europe. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge holiday, whether you’re looking to cruise Scotland, France or Italy.

Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

For children of all ages, the opportunity to enter the fantasy world filled with the fun of the “happiest places on earth” is fascinating. The Disneyland® Paris school trip offers a hard-to-match experience of fun, but for teachers charged with the organization, it can be influenced by the logistical challenges of a passionate 30 youngsters at one of the busiest amusement parks in the world. Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth
Make Most of the magic moments

As one of the most visited tourist parks on the planet, this is not just a matter of counting the heads of students, transporting them across the Straits and directing them toward attractions. Disneyland® Paris school trips require planning and thought when things go well and every member of the group has time in their lives.

Understand the Group as Individual

Along with the standard information collected on the consent form, understanding the child as an individual is very important. This includes not only medical data on epilepsy, asthma or motion sickness, but also causes problems such as fear of darkness or altitude, and vertigo. With this knowledge, it is easier to identify rides or attractions that do not fit. Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

Planning is Paramount

One of the most valuable tools for those responsible for planning schedules is the interactive map, which can be downloaded from Park’s website. Its functionality allows the bird’s eye view from the layout to determine the location of the facility, and filters to narrow the attractions of age and interests accordingly to save time.

Know the layout

Understanding the basic thematic layout of the Park is very important. Each of the five areas has unique nuances, and how long is allocated to each will depend entirely on the needs and desires of the group.

• Main Street: The first meeting through a revolving door takes visitors and drops them straight to the United States of the nineteenth century. This is where the Disney Magic parade takes place and that is also the point of departure of the steam train.

• Frontierland: Wild West lives in Frontierland; from a trip of Thunder Mountain that stops by heart, to the gentle sensation of paddling around a large man-made lake.

• Adventureland: Is there a living child who is not fascinated by stories of pirates and adventurers in and off the high shore? Adventureland wait!

• Fantasyland: For the younger group, the miracle of the Princess Bedroom is the beginning of all these fantasy fantasies.

• Discoveryland: As for older pupils, discovering the world of lasers and futuristic space travels is exciting and even thrilling!

Visiting Walt Disney Studios® Park is another highlight for the group. It houses not only for the many cinematographic and animation technologies that are fascinating, but also for the fastest and most thrilling ride in the National Park: Rock-n-Roller Coaster.

The perfect accommodation is Vital

When children are involved, choosing the right accommodation is essential. Important points to look for are accessibility to this site (with a free shuttle bus to take the kids to and from the Park), and interesting themes to ensure the magic survives even after the end of the day.

There are several more popular visits than the Disneyland® Paris school trip. Committing to an early-focused action plan within the organization will ensure that the experience is the same as teacher fulfillment as well. Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

John Gardiner is Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specializing in Disneyland Paris school trips and educational tours for school and youth groups to England, Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveler, John is keen to provide students with a valuable and exciting learning experience outside the classroom. By sharing expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and continue their studies into life. Introduce Students to the Most Beautiful Places on Earth

Should you fix or change your driveway?

Should you fix or change your driveway?

Your asphalt road can contribute or reduce the attractiveness of your goods.

When the driveway is in top condition, the overall appearance of your property increases, and driving on it is smooth and pleasant.

On the downside, a damaged or old road will devalue your property, and a large gap may serve as a hiding place for insects and lizards.

So, your asphalt road continues to experience loopholes and holes, have you contacted a professional repairman to patch it or it’s time to replace it all?

In this post, we share tips on how to find out when to change or fix your entrance.

Let’s go inside.

You Make More Repairs Often than You Want
The asphalt entrance is not built to last forever.

Over time, wear shake, so the entrance begins to collapse or develop cracks here and there. In this case, there is no harm in calling a technician to fix the problem.

However, when you find that you frequently make repairs and the associated costs are out of control, it’s time to tear the entire entryway and install a new one.

The Highway You Have Spend The Life Expectancy
The average length of time that can be entered depends on a number of factors, including building materials, installation quality and climate.

For example, while a brick entrance can last up to 50 years or more, the life of the asphalt road is limited to about 20 years.

If your asphalt road has been around for two decades, you will definitely be tired or run out of money to fix it every time a crack occurs.

After at least 20 years of faithful service, say goodbye to the driveway of your old house and start preparing to replace the asphalt.

You Prepare to Sell Your Property
When selling a home, every homeowner focuses on taking the maximum value in the market.

To increase the visual appeal of the property and increase your chances of getting the best deal, you must make the necessary improvements.

The driveway, which usually occupies an empty area, should be somewhere between your first target.

But, if you already have some loopholes that are patched, then it is in your best interests to replace instead of making improvements.

A patched driveway will frighten potential buyers and make an appraiser to drop a few thousand dollars from the value of the property.

Professional Professional Asphalt Replacement Says It Has Been Going
If you are not an asphalt coating specialist and asphalt replacement, it may be difficult to determine whether your drives need to be repaired or replaced.

So when you call the contractor to check the driveway and say that the condition is irreparable, you have no choice but to prepare to replace the asphalt.

Underwater Shipwrecks: The Most Dramatic of Dive Sites

Underwater Shipwrecks: The Most Dramatic of Dive Sites

Whether you’re a seasoned diver or just starting out, there’s an undeniable romanticism and sense of adventure around wreck dives that you won’t be able to get elsewhere. The excitement builds while you’re in a speedboat zipping through the immense expanse of blue, wind whipping your hair and you into a frenzy. Often you’ll not spot any signs of civilisation as far as the eye can see and then, suddenly, with all your gear securely in place, it’s overboard and underwater into a magical world where ghostly ship remains loom as if from nowhere, waiting to be explored…
If this sounds tempting, the reality is much better. Do these thrilling historical sites offering spectacular dives, stunning reefs and enchanting folklore call to you? Great: here are three of the best this fine planet has to offer.

 

Townsville, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is the a fabulous dive site any diver worth their salt has explored, and this British-built luxury passenger ship which fell victim to a cyclone back in 1911 is arguably its crowning jewel. Teeming with marine life and a spectacular ship in itself, if you’re only ever going to take the plunge with one wreck dive ever then this should be a strong contender.

Grand Anse, Grenada

The Bianca C has become known as the Titanic of the Caribbean after it sank in 1961 due to a boiler room explosion and consequent fire which lasted several days. At 180 metres (600 feet) long, this is the largest shipwreck you can dive in the Caribbean. If you have your full wreck dive insurance certifications then you’re in for even more fun as you’ll have multiple chances to enter the wreck.

Chuuk Lagoon, Federated States of Micronesia

Are you on the hunt for a travel destination which boasts a true wealth of wreck diving options? Then look no further than Micronesia. This little section of paradise in Oceania is undoubtedly the place for you. In years gone by it was thought to be the most formidable of Japanese strongholds in the whole of the Pacific during WWII, and Chuuk Lagoon was completely devastated after an American attack on the base back in 1944. 249 aircraft, 32 merchant ships and 12 warships sank, with over 20 wrecks having been discovered since. You’ll be like a kid in a sweetshop deciding which dives to do — some of the most popular include the 500 foot (153 metre) Shikoku Maru and the 440 foot (134 metre) Fujikawa Maru.

Mayday Mayday!

Not every travel insurance covers you for wreck diving, and some dive insurance won’t cover you below 18 metres. Let’s Go Insure’s dive insurance provides cover for up to 50 metres as long as you have the necessary qualifications. Get in touch with our team today to make sure your once in a lifetime dive insurance needs are met.

Have a Go at Heli-skiing! A Novice’s Guide

Have a Go at Heli-skiing! A Novice’s Guide

If you’re an adrenaline junkie and skiing pro looking for a new, invigorating energy boost, then you need to get yourself booked onto a heli-skiing break. Being dropped by helicopter to tackle untouched powder runs offers an unadulterated and unforgettable thrill, and a totally immersive experience that will have you hooked! Skip the chairlifts and crowded pistes, and enjoy a vertical drop like never before.
What to Expect From Heli-Skiing

 

You might think heli-skiing is only for top athletes, but this is not so – as long as you’re willing to save up a bit of cash and have several seasons experience of skiing behind you, then you’re ready to go. Nonetheless, it does pay to do some fitness preparation beforehand, and that does involve working up some long runs down at a resort. Set yourself a tough 6-8 week plan to get yourself in the best shape possible – when heli-skiing you’re carving your own path, so getting yourself comfortable covering over 12,000 vertical feet in a day will serve you well. In particular, work on your muscle development and cardio exercise before you go – you’ll thank yourself for it when the fresh powder fights back at the end of a long day!

Another good way to prepare is to choose wisely when to go: January has great powder skiing, as the colder weather preserves the snow, but you may prefer the spring season when the lighter days allows for more time to explore. The going may also depend on where you choose to get dropped off – the grand national parks of Alaska and Canada are particular favourites among aficionados for the higher vertical drops.

Wherever and whenever you go, pack light, layer up and make sure you’re well fuelled before the trip – get in a lot of carbs at breakfast and fully hydrate yourself, as you will have a long and rewarding day ahead of you!

Precautions and Safety Tips

Make sure to check your provider closely before booking a trip. Instructors are often among the very best, but it’s always good to make sure they have proper qualifications and certification from official organisations before embarking on a trip. In particular, it pays dividends to go with an instructor who can advise you of terrain, and who can properly prepare you with avalanche safety information and how to use it. Having more than one guide in a group is also a good idea, so that one of them can act as a tail guide in case you need to slow down.

It’s worth noting that when you get dropped off by helicopter, you’re not actually jumping out, stuntman-style – you’ll dock first before you get out. Nevertheless, that’s not to say the ride itself won’t be the most intense part; many heli-skiers find it calmer when they’re out on the snow!

Of course, one of the best precautions you can take is get yourself decked out with some foolproof skiing travel insurance. Part of the thrill of heli-skiing is in the challenge, but there’s no point in facing new challenges if you don’t allow yourself to get picked back up when you don’t quite make it the first time, particularly when you’re a rookie. With comprehensive skiing travel insurance cover, you can give yourself that extra peace of mind to keep you covered for any eventuality. For the best heli-skiing travel insurance you can find, our guys at InsureMore will have the answer.

The Finest Vineyards in France: The Wine of Saint-Émilion

The Finest Vineyards in France: The Wine of Saint-Émilion

Part of experiencing of the culture and heritage of any place to is to taste it. In Bordeaux, this means sampling the area’s many rich wines from one of the oldest and largest growing regions. For connoisseurs, Bordeaux is a paradise for enjoying wine tours.
Saint-Émilion is a must-see region for any traveller in search of the finest wine, which is bound to exceed your highest expectations. On board Rosa, you’ll experience a wide range of luxurious flavours, whether it’s a rich and full-bodied red, or a light and aromatic white.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 1999, Saint-Émilion was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s easy to see why. The history of grape-growing in the region is like no other, as the taste proves. Saint-Émilion, the oldest and largest appellation in Bordeaux, dictates over 5,500 hectares of land to growing grapes.

On board Rosa, you’ll cruise along the Dordogne River, soaking up the sights, smells and tastes of Bordeaux. Learn all about the varieties of wines produced here, from Médoc to the left to the vast selection found on the right bank of the river.

Types of Grape

Two of the most widely grown grapes in Saint-Émilion are the Merlot and the Cabernet Franc. Differing in taste and structure, these varieties have something for every connoisseur’s palate.

Merlot is composed of a rich, full-bodied combination of flavours with hints of plum, blackberries, dark cherries and chocolate, while Cabernet Franc is lighter and floral. The latter has become increasingly popular in recent years, due to its ability to thrive in spite of changes in climate.

Saint-Émilion Soil

Wines vary greatly in this region, which is due in large part to the differences in soil from vineyard to vineyard. For the most part, Grand Cru wines that are produced in this area are grown in soils that are rich in limestone, which can be found in the hills that surround Saint-Émilion. This greatly benefits the grapes, as the soil has vital minerals, such as calcium, that are needed to help vines grow. What’s more, its consistency provides excellent drainage.

Alternatively, the soil around Canon-La-Graffeliére boasts a sandy texture, which produces widely enjoyed and lighter-bodied tipples. When you join one of the many wine tours on offer, you can discover even more about the growing conditions and flavours of the region.

Itinerary Imperatives

When travelling through France, wine tours must be on any itinerary. You’ll be able to wow friends and family back home with your extensive knowledge at dinner parties and events. While on board Rosa, you’ll experience the process of wine-making from the very first grapes harvested to the first sip of a freshly uncorked bottle. You won’t find a more authentic or delicious taste of France anywhere.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holidays. Offering holidays to France and other great destinations, itineraries include wine tours and other cultural and themed activities. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

How to Pack your Backpack like a Pro

How to Pack your Backpack like a Pro

Your adventure is fast approaching and you’re buzzing to get out there to conquer immense peaks and discover as many remote mountaintops, monuments and markets (which are normally seen only by local eyes!) as you can. You’ll only be able to make it there on your own two feet, with everything you need strapped to your back. Therefore the planning is crucial. Here are a few tops tips to bear in mind.
The Backpack is your Turtle Shell

 

This huge bulky beast will become your home and wardrobe on your journey, and so you need to make sure you get one that meets your purposes. Pop into any decent mountain or outdoors shop and there are always friendly and enthusiastic staff on-hand to help you pick out the best bag for you.

Before you Begin Packing

Before you even think about trying to master Tetris by jamming everything in, make sure you have all the essential gear. Make sure to grab a good backpacking checklist off the internet and then lay everything out in the following categories…

1) Most frequently used 2) Least frequently used 3) Heaviest gear 4) Lightest gear

Once you’ve got it all laid out it will be easier to start slotting things away in an order that makes sense. We find this method the most useful:

1) Frequently used stuff on the top (easy to reach) 2) Less frequently used stuff on the bottom (not in the way during the day) 3) Heavier gear closer to your back (you won’t feel it so much here) 4) Lighter gear away from your back (it doesn’t require as much support)

Compartments are your Friend

The Bottom is the perfect spot for bulkier items you won’t need until you camp. Think sleeping bag, sleeping mat, cold weather layers and your dry boots or shoes.

The Core Part is where you’ll want to keep heavier gear that you won’t need during your hike. This will include your tent and cooking kits, water and food.

Top Part of the pack is where you should stow things you’re going to need a lot during the day, including a fleece, your water filter, a first aid kit and loo supplies.

Accessory Pockets are where you keep the bits and pieces you need at a moment’s notice. This is the home for your sun cream, SPF lip balm, sunglasses, water bottle, bug spray, compass, the all-important snacks, ID and cash.

Loops and Lash-ons are key for those items which are easier strapped on than stuffed into your bag such as tent poles, hiking poles, rope and camping stools.

Just a Guideline!

Your exact needs will vary on the region you’re exploring and the time of year you’ll be there. Make sure to read up on what you’ll need and be prepared. Remember that for any backpacker, travel insurance should be the first item you organise. There are many types of backpacker travel insurance, and our team at Let’s Go Insure can help you find the one to suit your needs.

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The Culinary Charm of Chamonix

The Culinary Charm of Chamonix

Renowned for its superb skiing and breath-taking scenery, Chamonix also has some truly divine places to dine. Here are a few of the best restaurants this charming ski resort has on offer all year round.
Le Cap Horn

 

This well-known and highly-regarded restaurant offers up both French and Asian-inspired plates. Dishes include a delicious honey and soy sauce pan-seared duck breast, their sumptuous fisherman’s stew and the lighter-than-air souffle au Grand Marnier.

The restaurant is situated in a beautifully rustic chalet which is decorated with little model sail boats. Make sure you reserve your table in advance at the weekend during summer and winter to avoid disappointment.

Les Vieilles Luges

Reachable only by 20-minute hike or on skis, you will certainly have earned your supper at this delightful 250-year-old farmhouse when you make it there. Sit by a crackling fire and soak up the atmosphere underneath the low wooden beams, all the while enjoying rich dishes including their signature grand-mère’s bœuf bourguignon. Wash it down with some of their very tasty mulled wine.

Crèmerie du Glacier

For all fromage fanatics among you, this cheese-lover’s paradise is a must-visit when in Chamonix. A forest chalet is the setting for Chef Claudy’s world-renowned croûte aux fromages: bread, soaked in a secret recipe white wine sauce, topped with a healthy layer of some of the best cheese in the country and baked until golden and delicious.

Auberge du Bois Prin

It’s well worth the effort heading to Les Moussoux to dine at Auberge du Bois Prin if only for the stunning views of Mont Blanc it boasts. The views, as spectacular as they are, certainly won’t be the most memorable aspect of your time here. Sample modern and traditional French plates from duck foie gras to mousseline, and don’t skip the cheese course, which is simply delectable! For those of you concerned about food miles, you will be delighted to learn that all of the vegetables and herbs used in the menu are grown in the hotel grounds, which you can look over should you choose to dine on the terrace – well worth braving the winter temperatures for!

How to Get There

Is your mouth already watering? Don’t worry – you can be in Chamonix in a jiffy! With several flights taking only 90 minutes leaving daily from the UK to Geneva, part one of your journey is simple. For part two, to get from Geneva to Chamonix you simply need to book a Shuttle Direct transfer online to bring you directly to the resort. Choose from group or private transfers and receive the same professional and friendly service every time. With journey times from Geneva to Chamonix taking approximately one hour, you could be there in time for dinner.

Sacred art meets sophisticated technology!

Sacred art meets sophisticated technology!

Multi-media entertainment studio Moment Factory creates a multi-sensory experience within Montreal’s grandiose Notre-Dame Basilica using sound, light and video projection-mapping.
Designed by Irish-American architect James O’Donnell in 1824, the Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal is a picture of divinity. Now, as part of the city’s 375th anniversary celebrations, the iconic heritage landmark has been given a new, and luminous, lease of life. Montreal-based multimedia entertainment studio Moment Factory has created AURA, a transformative experience that propels visitors on a sacred journey using layers of augmented reality and spatial orchestral scoring within the walls of the Gothic Revival cathedral.

 

Since its opening in March 2017, AURA, which seats 600 people at a time, has been performed over 400 times. The 45-minute experience, presented in two acts, unfolds beneath the grandiose Basilica’s lofty rood screens. Before being seated, visitors are encouraged to discover and connect with sublime artworks highlighted by multimedia-enhanced installations on a self-led tour.

The second act, when the Basilica’s interior is bathed in a series of animated projections, is just as, if not more, breathtaking. Coupled with an orchestral composition interpreted by 30 musicians, 20 chorists and the Basilica’s resonant organ, the experience is soul-stirring.

Conceived in 2015 by the Moment Factory team and the cathedral’s managers, Fabrique de la Paroisse Notre-Dame, the project was produced by over 100 people. Bringing this vision to reality required an intensive year of musical composition and recording, four months of visual content production, 90 days of installation and a month of content integration and testing.

The technical rig of a total of 21 projectors — seven for the exploratory introduction and 14 for the second act — and 140 lights, four lasers and 20 mirrors is but one of the cogs in the machine.

To fully utilize the cathedral’s intricate architecture as a complex digital canvas, in a seamless manner, Moment Factory developed X-Agora, a specialized projection-mapping software that permits the creation of complex 3D maps of concave surfaces and ornate carvings. The video projections were also tuned to match the cathedral’s vibrant chromatic palette so as to enrich the existing details.