Arc de TriompheFavorite Summer Activities in Paris: Locals and frequent tourists to France usually have firm opinions about what to see and where to go. Trust me when I tell you there are hundreds of wonderful experiences to be had in the City of Light. I say try them all, but of course that would take a lifetime! Let me help you to narrow the gargantuan list down to a few options. National treasures and hidden gems top the list and many involve being outdoors. Of course it does rain every now and then, so some inside time shopping in boutiques or perusing a Picasso will do just fine when the sun fails to shine.

Chateau d'Agassac Chateau d'Agassac The advantages of using a private wine guide in Bordeaux are tremendous. With over 300,000 acres of Bordeaux vineyards to cover, wine enthusiasts will benefit greatly from narrowing down the scope of a visit to France's most prestigious wine country. Private wine guides, like Dominque Garcia of Les Sommeliers et Les Vignerons (The Sommeliers and the Winemakers) customize itineraries to fit the needs of individuals and groups. Here are some of the ways guides make a visit to Bordeaux easier.

Au Petit Sud-OuestA Really Really Short Paris Visit by Contributor Margo Waite
When my step-son called and told us he and his girlfriend were ending their wine tour of France with a short Paris visit I was aghast. What can you do in Paris in such a limited amount of time?   I’m a regular visitor to Paris and there is still so much I haven’t experienced. I should mention he’s the manager of a restaurant in Wilmington, Delaware, so food and wine are important, indeed crucial, to him.

paris velibPicture yourself riding a bike along the Seine on a sunny afternoon scoping out the perfect plot of grass for an impending picnic. A vintage bottle of 2010 Bordeaux and a wedge of soft brie are wrapped tightly into a plaid blanket. A warm baguette hangs out of the wire basket attached to the front and lays against the picnic blanket. All the makings of lovely afternoon in paradise are now in place. I have always thought it's a great idea (riding bike in Paris) in theory, but have been afraid I would get hit by a crazed motorcycle driver. Now, seeing this graphic about how many people are using them, presumably without meeting their demise, I am convinced I must conquer my fears and check out the Velib bike rentals in Paris to make this little vignette come true.

Perrin clutch Perrin clutch I must admit, I have my favorite shops and shopping areas in Paris and tend not to stray too far from them. I could be a guide myself on rue du Bac and rue de Buci or in the Marais, however, with hundreds of stores in the city proper, there are dozens of back alley and private access only boutiques that tourists would never find or be able to pop by without the aid of a personal shopper in Paris. Tourists on a mission to find certain items can streamline the whole process by engaging a private guide to assist them. On my last visit, I decided to see what I had been missing and thus elicited the help of CJ Tours and met the charming private guide Ellie.

Happy Easter! On this Easter Sunday I am reminded of all the beautiful churches and religious symbols I have seen over the 20+ years of traveling to France. Here are some of my favorites... [caption id="attachment_9134" align="aligncenter" width="725"]Chapel of the Miraculous Medal, Paris Chapel of the Miraculous Medal, Paris[/caption]

  castle view cannes abbeyWhat do you think of when I say Cannes? Naturally the Cannes Film Festival comes to mind, but there is so much more to this sleepy little village than meets the eye. People are usually surprised when I tell them that Cannes is quiet for the majority of the year and that only 70,000 people live there year round. I discovered this while attending the 2013 International Luxury Travel Market last December as part of the press corps. What amazed me the most is there are serious winemakers on Saint-Honorat off the coast of Cannes, France.  Award winning wines and liqueurs are being produced by some savvy Cistercian Monks on the pristine island of Saint-Honorat.

Traditional old world feel, with an updated kitchen How to find an apartment in Paris: Picking the perfect apartment in Paris to rent can be a daunting task for first time visitors. There are lots of considerations to think about before settling on the right accommodations for your vacation or extended stay and choosing the right company to help you get situated is one of the most important decisions in the process.  Here are some things to think about before jumping in to the rental pool.