I recently had the chance to spend an afternoon in Paris, and a night in Nice where Christmas was in full bloom. No apologies are made for celebrating this religious holiday so Christmas in France is a beautiful time of the year to witness the holiday spirit! The energy to light up the Christmas tree above is created by visitors peddling bikes connected to the power source. Green energy at work in the holiday season.
Bordeaux is the perfect place to taste fine wines, but there are more experiences to be had in the land of vineyards. Hotel Saint James Bouliac, a Relais & Chateaux property is situated across the river from the city of Bordeaux and is not only a beautiful hotel but offers unique culinary experiences to enhance the visit to the area. The hotel began as an eighteenth-century farmhouse and in the late 1980's was made into a modern luxury hotel with a gourmet restaurant and first-rate cooking school.
Often when in the City of Light, I long for a great Paris take away food spot where I can quickly pick up something healthy and fresh. Picnics are almost done for the year now, but there are still a few days where it's lovely to sit outside for impromptu dining en plein air. Le Petit Flottes is one stop shopping for a last-minute soiree.
Very soon from now (estimated to be in December, 2014) the restoration of the stained glass windows at France’s National Monument Sainte Chapelle (Sainte-Chapelle or Saint Chapel) will be finished. It has taken thousands of hours and several decades to complete, but the efforts have been well worth it. Once finished, the 1,113 scenes from the Old Testament and the Passion of the Christ will be on full display.
Sophisticated Saint James Library Bar
Impressive Hotel Saint James Paris is both regal and relaxed. Paris' only château hotel, this five-star Relais & Chateaux member is in a gated park-like setting. Close to Victor Hugo and the Arc de Triomphe, the peaceful estate made me feel like I was out in the country in the heart of the city.
First impressions count! When we arrived at the Relais & Chateaux, Hotel Daniel Paris, the bellman opened the door that led us into an impeccably decorated combination lobby and living room reminiscent of a comfortable French country estate. Boutique luxury hotels are plentiful in Paris, but ones that make you feel at home are the best types. Hotel Daniel exceeded our expectations on all fronts, especially the cozy factor.
Château Pavie vines overlooking the château
Super Sommelier and Le Chapon Fin's front of the house manager, Alex Morin joined forces with Bordeaux Saveurs for a fabulous Tuesday. Time for wine tasting in Bordeaux beginning on the right bank in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol.
Personally it ticks me off when I purchase an item abroad, carry it around all day, and spend time packing it carefully into my suitcase, only to find the exact item in the specialty shops or Duty Free section of the airport. Duty Free shopping at CDG Airport is both convenient and efficient. Many of the luxury brands found on Boulevard Saint-Germain and along the Champs-Élysées can be purchased while you wait to board your flight.
Recently, I was wowed by the selections available in Terminal 2 at CDG. Here are my favorites:
Today it's my 50th birthday (I don't feel a day over 49) and I just experienced the best trip in all my trips to Paris and France in my 24 years of traveling to Paris. It may have been my best travel ever, not a small revelation for a journalist who has been all over the world, but I have to admit the best trips ever were the trip down the aisle to marry Mr. Weekend In Paris and the two visits to the hospital to give birth to my wonderful sons Jack and Phil. But today, I want to share with you 50 things I love about Paris and France to commemorate my big birthday.