Rum baba: Sponge cake, soaked in rum-flavored syrup with strawberries Rum baba: Sponge cake, soaked in rum-flavored syrup with strawberries Approachable and effervescent two-Michelin star chef Jean-Luc Rocha at Hotel Cordeillan Bages in the heart of the Bordeaux wine region in Pauillac makes staying at this Relais & Chateaux property owned by the Cazes' family, a dream come true for foodies like myself. Delicious eye-candy, plate after plate came my way when I dined there on my last visit to area.

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.

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_0514Today's Paris attacks come at a time when the holidays are over and most people are trying to get back into a routine. School kids are having to wake up earlier and parents are headed back to work hyped up on coffee and commuting on public transportation while day dreaming about when the next break will come. A typical normal day in the life of a Parisian and for most people around the world actually. What now? What does it mean? How does this affect the way people think about Paris? For me it means standing in solidarity with the opinion writers everywhere...