Château des Hauts de Loire Hotel Domaine Hauts de Loire near the Loire Valley castles Depending upon your schedule, seeing the Loire Valley castles along the Road to Happiness (Route de Bonheur) can be as short as a few days or as long as a summer escape. My three-night mini excursion brought me, and newest Gal Pal Gail, to the Loire Valley where enchanting castles, charming Relais & Chateaux hotels and the best in food and wine awaited us. The journey began…

  luxembourgOne of my favorite things to do in Paris is stroll through the magnificent Luxembourg Gardens. Every season provides beautiful topography, but it is at its finest during the summer months when the exotic flowers are in full bloom and the enormous hedges provide dramatic cover for a romantic rendez-vous.

rp_lion-dor-1024x683.jpgCharming villages dominate the landscape in the Loire region of France. The boutique hotels of the Relais & Chateaux are among the finest in the area. Grand Hôtel du Lion d’Or (Golden Lion) was the first stop in gal pal Gail and my three night mini “Route de Bonheur” – road to happiness and we were thrilled to find such a wonderful Loire Valley hotel.

DSC_0968It would be hard to find a better place to begin our gal's trip to the Loire region than visiting France's Chambord Castle, the best in France. Feeling regal, we checked into the Grand Hotel du Lion d'Or a Relais & Chateaux property where we were treated like queens. 

  DSC_0250As a brand, The Four Seasons is consistently excellent and the classically French, quintessentially Four Seasons George V is definitely en pointe. Every visit I am pleased to experience a different facet of this awesome property. Whether it is a color scheme and fresh fabric change in the rooms or seasonal flowers brightening up the public spaces, George V is a leader in style and grace.

pierre hermé chocolate tourWhile recent medical reports have proven the health benefits of chocolate, the French do not need validation from scientists. For centuries they have realized the positive effects on mood and how including sweet cocoa treats in festivities adds to the joie de vivre. I had the pleasure of taking Context Travel’s Paris Chocolate and Pastry Tour and experiencing the depth of devotion Parisians have to my favorite food.

DSC_1001Paring wine and cheese is less complicated when broken down by type, region and purpose. Chef Preston Mohr of Cook'n With Class gave me and fellow students an excellent demonstration in a wine and cheese tasting Paris style. We learned the finer art of choosing complimentary products to replicate a palette pleasing experience back home.

Notre dame nightThe lead up to Easter in Paris was phenomenal. I had a wonderful chocolate tour with Context Travel's docent Alisa Morov and I visited several churches in preparation for Holy Week and the finale of Easter Sunday. I am thankful to be back in the U.S. with Mr. Weekend In Paris and our two sons to celebrate together. What a blessing! After all, you are, "no bunny, until some bunny loves you." Please enjoy my Easter tribute to Paris...