fairmont mc water facadeToday, the Fairmont Monte Carlo unveils a new restaurant by legendary Chef Nobu which was formerly a pop-up concept but is now a permanent part of the hotel. It will occupy the space previously taken by their formal dining room. The hotel added a narrow terrace space providing a bit of outdoor seating where diners will experience the serene views and sounds of the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, Nobu restaurant added a spectacular bar and two private meeting lounges.

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.

[caption id="attachment_7712" align="alignleft" width="225"]Cour du Commerce Saint-André off rue Buci Cour du Commerce Saint-André off rue Buci[/caption] You've dreamed of Paris your whole life - walking along the River Seine, the views from the Eiffel Tower, or having a picnic in the Jardins du Luxembourg only to arrive to a nightmare cold and wet City of Light. What is there to do in Paris in the rain? Plenty! Do not be discouraged; a rainy day in Paris is better than a dry day in most of the rest of the world. Button up your overcoat, throw on a scarf, muster up a positive attitude and you very well just might have one of the best days of your life, rain and all. Here are a few suggestions of what to do when faced with less than stellar weather:

IMG_0174Another fabulous Guest Post from writer Margo Waite… Unlike Priscilla, when we head for Paris we rent an apartment and stay for a few weeks, settling into a studio in the seventh.  Just around the corner from our temporary home is the Rue Cler market, proffering a fine selection of the best Paris food markets have to offer.   Even if you’re in staying in a hotel, you’ll find it fun to explore.  We  purchased a small rolling suitcase at one of the shops to take home our excess purchases.  There’s something for everyone on this busy street.

Chateau Eza walkwayGal Pal Elizabeth and I were dropped off at the bottom of the famous village Eze near Monaco, by taxi for an epic vertical journey in heels for the meal of a lifetime. Something special is how restaurant Château Eza was described, and the town of Eze was pitched as being charming and old-world. “Get there early” and check out the little shops along the way up to the restaurant, was the advice. “Stop at the church near the top for a sweet treat to see a peaceful retreat” another enthusiast chimed in. It was peaceful all right – it was dead quiet. I would put the emphasis on dead because we were nearly dead by the time we arrived at the church and discovered we were only half way to the restaurant.

IMG_4186Souvenir - means "memory" literally in French. The best souvenirs stimulate your trip memories and remind you of the places you visited while giving you a warm and fuzzy feeling. Sometimes a French souvenir can be edible and therefore fleeting, but powerful at the time of tasting. Buying souvenirs for family and friends back home can prove challenging, but if you keep in mind that it is the thought that counts, then souvenir hunting won't be too taxing. See my favs for this year here:

Cave de l'originale interiorWhen I asked Elénor, the concierge at the Palais de la Méditerranée, for a recommendation for a local restaurant that cooked dishes of the region with fresh ingredients, she did not hesitate for a second. She responded, "Where to eat in Nice? Why of course, Cave de l’Origine is the best for local cuisine" so Gal Pal Elizabeth and I made prompt reservations for a casual and excellent dinner that did not disappoint. The cuisine in southern France differs quite a bit from its northern counterparts. Heavily influenced by its Italian neighbors and Greek descendants, Nice’s local dishes contain fresh ingredients from the soil. Olives, tomatoes, shallots and garlic play heavily into the makeup of the famous local favorite “Niçoise stew.”

[caption id="attachment_7278" align="alignleft" width="300"]pastries for kids Bouchee's for the kids[/caption] Of all the pastry shops in Paris, La Pâtisserie des Rêves (the pastry of my dreams) is definitely one of my favorites! Some women dream about shoes, purses or the perfect home. Me? I dream about chocolate éclairs (and champagne) in Paris. I am an éclair connoisseur of sorts. Heck, what I really am is a bona fide, certified, raging éclairoholic. I have been off the wagon several times but thought I had finally kicked the habit for good until I took the Baguette to Bistro tour with Context Travel and relapsed big time.

[caption id="attachment_6963" align="alignleft" width="300"]Know for its fresh seafood, Le Procope served Benjamin Franklin & famous Paris authors/actors and politicians throughout history Known for its fresh seafood, Le Procope served Benjamin Franklin & Voltaire[/caption] A recent poor dining experience in Paris at one of the city's most historic cafés led one of my readers (Paul) to write a scathing review of one of my favorite restaurants. After reading what he had to say about Le Procope I began to wonder if the place was too far gone for me to recommend to anyone else (its been one of my favs for 20 years). After contacting Paul directly to see what happened - he had cold, bad food and very poor service, I asked if he spoken up at the time about his unsatisfactory situation to which he replied in the affirmative. It appeared that the waiter and the maître d' for the evening in question were both indifferent to his plight. Paul was understandably furious over the ruined evening which he had planned especially for guests himself and the bad taste lingered on for him long after the indigestion.