DSC_0334Hotel Saint James Paris is just around the corner from a vibrant city area not much visited by tourists. While staying here, I took a stroll along Avenue Victor Hugo in the Paris 16th arrondissement. The 16th is not as sexy as the Right Bank, or as glitzy as the Place de la Madeleine, nor as trendy as the Marais, but it is definitely a cool neighborhood to hang out and be a global local amongst its wealthy residents.

dessert victoryOne of the more difficult tasks when strolling along Avenue Champs Élysées is to find a low-key restaurant with decent food at reasonable prices. Le Victory, Paris is a local brasserie and bar just off the famous retail mecca. While a far reach from Michelin-star cuisine, Le Victory serves comfort food in a traditional French atmosphere.

Police Paris pompiersWhile I always feel safer in Paris than in most US cities, I am still street smart and pay attention to my surroundings. Paris Safety Tips for women travelers can be different than for their male counterparts, but all travelers to Paris should read the following: Keep documents in a zipper compartment and do not open up in pubic transportation or in crowded shops. Keep a copy of your passport separate in case you lose it and need documentation. Be aware of pick-pockets all over the city. Do not keep wallets in back pockets or in purses that don't have zippers. Do not flash wads of cash in public.

DSC_4371 At the heart of Hotel Napoleon lies a romantic Paris story. According to the history of the hotel, “a rich Russian entrepreneur, Alexander Pavlovich Kliaguine, met a young Parisian girl at a Literary fair in the late 1920’s, and fell head over heels in love.” It would be a terrific story if it ended there,

Cordellian bages hotelOriginally a 17th Century Monastery, and later used as a guesthouse for the spirited wine family Cazes’ visitors. Chateau Cordeillan Bages Pauillac has been a relaxing oasis for the past 30 years. Perfectly situated next to one of my favorite wineries, Lynch-Bages (also owned by the Cazes family), it was a wonderful hotel to chill out in and spend a peaceful couple of days. 

DSC_0157I found it difficult to write anything light and sunny while the hostages were in harm's way and since they are likely still traumatized even though now freed I won't pretend everything is over and happy. Keeping Paris and France in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for the innocents. Know I am glued to the t.v. and feeling solidarity with the French people resolved to stand up to terror and the freedom of the press. #JeSuisCharlie