General Travel Archives - Weekend In Paris
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(photo above taken by Goncalo of FlytographerIn the wake of the latest terror attack in Europe in Brussels, Belgium I have elicited the advice of a private security firm in Houston, 360 Worldwide Security, to access the potential threat to travelers abroad. What does it mean for travel to Paris, the city that holds my heart?

  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.

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_0215Staying at Le Bristol Hotel Paris is like staying in a country estate on the outskirts of Paris, but with all the modern conveniences in place. Each space has been decorated beautifully in a traditional French style, but there is nothing typical about this charming boutique hotel in the heart of Paris.

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_0330While not a New Year's Eve destination this year, the Best of 2014 travel for me included multiple trips to Paris. Speaking from experience, nothing beats a New Year or Bonne Année in the City of Light. My first time seeing the Eiffel Tower at night was on New Year's Eve, 1990 with Mr. Weekend In Paris. It was the 100th anniversary of the tower and the excitement of the occasion was palpable. Of course the evening was all the more special since Mr. Weekend In Paris' birthday is at midnight! I instantly fell in love with the iron lady of Paris and my grandmother's heritage. France, you are in my blood!

tuilleriesOften when in the City of Light, I long for a great Paris take away food spot where I can quickly pick up something healthy and fresh. Picnics are almost done for the year now, but there are still a few days where it's lovely to sit outside for impromptu dining en plein air. Le Petit Flottes is one stop shopping for a last-minute soiree.

cdg shopping ladureePersonally it ticks me off when I purchase an item abroad, carry it around all day, and spend time packing it carefully into my suitcase, only to find the exact item in the specialty shops or Duty Free section of the airport. Duty Free shopping at CDG Airport is both convenient and efficient. Many of the luxury brands found on Boulevard Saint-Germain and along the Champs-Élysées can be purchased while you wait to board your flight. Recently, I was wowed by the selections available in Terminal 2 at CDG. Here are my favorites:

Last in a group of hikers about to descend from the Aiguille du Midi Last in a group of hikers about to descend from the Aiguille du Midi On my recent trip I learned of the dangers that hikers experience when trying to conquer one of the many summits on and surrounding Mont Blanc. Just last week tragedy struck again on Mont Blanc in Chamonix, France when six climbers fell 250 metres to their death on another peak, the Aiguille d'Argentiere. Our guide from the local tourism office explained that there are on average 60 deaths on Mont Blanc per year and many occur in the summer time when the snow melts and avalanches occur and crevices swell open. 

Although the sign said private, we snuck in for a quick peek. Although the sign said private, we snuck in for a quick peek. When it comes to being a rule follower, sign me up. I believe in rules and I abhor getting in trouble, but when it comes to Paris all bets are off. Sometimes it's good to be an "Ugly American" and bend the rules just a bit. How do you know which ones to break? Here's my gals guide to breaking rules in Paris and having fun while doing it.

Photo courtesy of Le Fer á Cheval Photo courtesy of Le Fer à Cheval I just had the BEST massage of my life at Hotel Le Fer à Cheval in Megève, France! My therapist Alice applied the perfect amount of pressure to my aching back, legs, neck and feet which took away the tightness that sometimes comes with my busy travel. Lugging heavy bags and carrying a camera around all day tends to leave me with knots the size of Texas in my neck and shoulders. Not to mention that action-packed press tours where hiking in the rain and pounding the pavement in search of the best souvenirs can also bring on tension headaches.

20140101-154000.jpg Bonne Année! Happy New Year! I began 2014 with French champagne in the British Virgin Islands. Very relaxing and interesting to hear Christmas Carols playing on New Year's Eve while sitting at the beach. Champagne is always French you know. If it doesn't come from the Champagne region, it must be called sparkling wine. If you have never known this fact before, look at the labels on your bottle for proof!