thanksgivingWith everything left to do before we sit down to eat our feast today, I am taking a minute to pause and give thanks this Thanksgiving for the blessings that come from all of you! Fact: Without the support of my family, none of this would be possible. Thank you Mr. Weekend In Paris for the 20 plus years of research that went into the making of The Weekend In Paris. He supported my yearly, now turned multiple times a year, habit of meeting the original Gal Pal Lisa in Paris and now me bringing others along too. He believed in me when I might not have believed in myself. He held down the fort with the kids when they were young despite his own grueling schedule and is simply the best man I have ever known. When people ask who the heroes in life are, I point to him. Honest, hard-working, loyal and loves me and the kids first and foremost. Not perfect, mind you, he is still looking for that open spot in the hamper in the bathroom to deposit his socks and underwear, but I'll keep him!

priscilla kate andy mom del papaBucket List
Multigenerational travel to Paris is easier than most people think, as long as you follow a few simple tips. The usual trip to Paris for me, for over 20 years, has been with girl friends (my Gal Pals) and/or with Mr. Weekend In Paris. This past summer it was about time that fellow Francophile's - my mother-in-law and two sister-in-laws accompanied me as the latest Gal Pals. The rule was that each person had to pick one thing that was on their "bucket list" to accomplish. First priority, of course, went to my mother-in-law, Maryann, as the Matriarch of the group for our multigenerational travel to Paris.

The famous Moulin Rouge The famous Moulin Rouge There's more to Montmartre than meets the eye. It is usual for most tourists (myself included) to pop out of the Métro at Abbesses and head straight up the hill to Sacre Coeur to the highest point in Paris to check out the spectacular views of the city. On a very clear day you can see for miles and appreciate just how large a city Paris has become. We took a walk with Context Travel Paris docent Marie Dessaillen on our History Walking Tour of Montmartre and were quite surprised at the many things we saw and learned in the course of just three short hours.

IMG_3028While I am usually a fan of shopping at independent boutiques in Paris, I do love to check out what's new and hot at the luxury fashion chains like Chanel and Dior. Luckily, shopping in Paris at Le Village Royal makes you feel as though each shop is an independent boutique. The petit village is accessed through an archway off rue Royal and leads you into the interior of a mansion block courtyard that connects to the opposite mansion block of rue Boissy-d'Anglas. Shopping in Paris at Le Village Royal at any time of year is quite a treat, but at Christmas time it is pure joy. The decorations last year where whimsical and cheery.

saint sulpice windowA remarkable amount of stained glass windows have survived the test of time, wars and natural disasters in France. Picking the best stained glass windows in Paris and France is an impossible task. I have seen but a mere slice of the possible choices. There are hundreds of them in Paris and thousands upon thousands France-wide in large and small villages. At first glance, many appear similar, however to the trained eye they are quite different and reflect the artistic styles of those who created them over multiple centuries. The rosettas in the Cathedrals of Notre Dame Paris and Reims are magnificent and among the best examples stained glass windows in Europe.

The windows below represent a small sample of my favorites so far in France. I look forward to sharing more with you from my future travels. What are your favorites?

radishes au verger d'aliceFarm to Table Paris
Shopping for fruits and vegetables in Paris can be stressful, unless you know who has the best, most organic produce grown locally. Many Parisians travel far to attend the great outdoor markets in pursuit of the freshest ingredients to cook with, but those living in or near the border of the 6th and 7th arrondissements can rejoice, because Au Verger d'Alice is just a short walk away. Finding farm to table Paris options can be as close as your neighborhood corner.

saint sulpiceAlthough Saint-Sulpice seems diminutive compared to Notre Dame, it is only slightly smaller. It is actually Paris’ second largest church. Its Roman roots date back to the 13th Century but the bulk of the construction and renovations were done much later in the early 1600’s.  A new sanctuary, ambulatory, transept, portal and chapels were added on in the latter part of the 17th Century and into the 18th. Often overlooked for the more popular churches like Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, its claim to fame is that Saint-Sulpice is home to the best organ music in Paris. People flock from all over to see and hear the organ that is one of the greatest in all of Europe.

Oberammergau 1991 Oberammergau 1991 Each Veterans Day I look back at our time living in Europe (stationed there for three years) where I was seriously bitten by the travel bug. It was all due to the military that we were able to afford our first trip to Paris. I also had the privilege of seeing the most beautiful vista in the world in Oberammergau, Germany. I ate the best food of my life while working at the NATO HQ for the Southern Region in Naples, Italy and my first child was born a Brit while working and living in London. The military was good to us. It was not without stress, however. We endured a long six month deployment BEFORE email, cell phones and Skype. The Commanding Officer of the USS Capadanno FF1093 had his car blown up during deployment and five people were killed in the

karine dupontKeeping up with the ever-changing fashion world of accessories can be overwhelming and very costly if you have teenage girls. Where can you find adorable, affordable accessories in Paris? I’ve got you covered. Karine Dupont Paris is the place to stay atop of the latest trends without breaking the bank. The brightly colored aqua façade of the stores set the fun tone of the Karine Dupont shops. While shopping here is fun any time of year, the soldes (sales) times are particularly enjoyable where picking up already inexpensive pieces become major league steals when 50% or more off!

Strategies of how to travel with friends and keep the friendship at the end of the trip vary as much as the personalities that accompany me on my journeys. Here are a few tips on how to have fun, keep the peace and come back home feeling excited about your next trip with your favorite Gal Pals:
Selfie Venus LouvreKnow Your Pals: Museum Person Vs. Foodie Person
It is pure Nirvana if you travel with people who enjoy the same types of activities and at the same pace. It can be hell if the majority of the group loves to try a new museum and one person hates them. Love to shop, but the rest of the group avoids it like the plague? Examine everyone's needs, do your homework before the vacation to assess compatability. If you know one of your pals won't appreciate what the rest of the group likes, then give them options. During the times when you visit museums they can either do their own thing and meet up with the group later, chill at the hotel or opt out altogether and wait for another trip when the group is more aligned with their goals for sightseeing destinations. Sometimes the best option is not traveling together at all.