Marais Marais, Paris Childhood memories of running towards a merry-go-round to try to be the first to select a favorite horse to ride upon come flooding back whenever I am in France. It seems that every city I visit has at least one of these nostalgic rides. You need not look far in Paris for one of the brightly colored carousels. Most are strategically located in high tourist traffic areas, others are smaller and tucked away in petit pocket parks in residential neighborhoods. No matter where you come across one of these gems, finding a carousel in France is always fun.

Navigating Paris by bus, metro and foot Navigating Paris by bus, metro and foot by Contributor Margo Waite Often I get calls from friends, or friends of friends, asking me about my travel experiences in Paris. They want to know what French guidebooks are the best, how to get around in the city of light, and what pre-trip reading they should do. While many Weekend in Paris readers are experienced travelers, I hope you find these suggestions of interest. And of course I’d love to hear your tricks that make your travel less stressful.

Tim D. from United Airlines Tim D. from United Airlines Last month one of my sisters had her bag delayed from Boston to Paris when her original flight was cancelled and she was rerouted on another airline carrier. While sometimes understandable when weather delays wreak havoc with airlines, it was extra stressful for her because the gate agent failed to give her the baggage claim ticket to more easily track her missing suitcase. Today, I received a helpful tip from a Tim D. at United’s Providence Airport for tracking lost luggage that I think will help us all avoid anxiety in the future.

The annual International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) in Cannes, France is an amazing event where we, as press, are able to discover the latest trends in luxury travel that not only apply to the expensive brands, but also to more affordable hotel markets everywhere. This year a noticeable trend in sustainable tourism, family-friendly and experience based travel came through loud and clear in our press briefings. I hope you will forgive that this piece is not about Paris or France in particular, but I thought you would like to know a bit about the overall trends in travel which are not exclusive to the luxury market. All brands are beginning to take notice of these important pieces of the travel market.

cresh mentonThe third of my Christmas markets in France, Menton was a place I had never heard of until my Parisian friends Michael and Marlys announced they were moving there. I was in Monte Carlo and could not pass up the chance to visit this adorable couple in nearby Menton. They met me in Monaco and we traveled together by astonishingly cheap bus (1.50€) for an afternoon of Christmas market shopping and local sight-seeing.
Best Christmas Nativity Scene
The best, most wonderful Christmas Creche on display was in Menton, close to the markets. Its simplicity, combined with the gorgeous colorful architecture surrounding it, made this peaceful corner in Menton one of my favorite stops in the Côte d'Azur. I loved that the Creche was placed next to a replica of the village of Menton and that the entire scene was modest and beautiful like the locals themselves.

Giant ornament sculpture in Grimaldi Square   Giant ornament sculpture in Grimaldi Square The Nice Christmas Markets were in full force last weekend as I made my way through the carnival atmosphere in Grimaldi Square to the shopping area. Along the way to the markets I encountered such magnificent sights as the new pavilion which is a vast open green space with playgrounds for the children, gardens for the horticulturists and benches for the aged and the young in love.

priscilla kate andy mom del papaBucket List
Multigenerational travel to Paris is easier than most people think, as long as you follow a few simple tips. The usual trip to Paris for me, for over 20 years, has been with girl friends (my Gal Pals) and/or with Mr. Weekend In Paris. This past summer it was about time that fellow Francophile's - my mother-in-law and two sister-in-laws accompanied me as the latest Gal Pals. The rule was that each person had to pick one thing that was on their "bucket list" to accomplish. First priority, of course, went to my mother-in-law, Maryann, as the Matriarch of the group for our multigenerational travel to Paris.

The famous Moulin Rouge The famous Moulin Rouge There's more to Montmartre than meets the eye. It is usual for most tourists (myself included) to pop out of the Métro at Abbesses and head straight up the hill to Sacre Coeur to the highest point in Paris to check out the spectacular views of the city. On a very clear day you can see for miles and appreciate just how large a city Paris has become. We took a walk with Context Travel Paris docent Marie Dessaillen on our History Walking Tour of Montmartre and were quite surprised at the many things we saw and learned in the course of just three short hours.

Strategies of how to travel with friends and keep the friendship at the end of the trip vary as much as the personalities that accompany me on my journeys. Here are a few tips on how to have fun, keep the peace and come back home feeling excited about your next trip with your favorite Gal Pals:
Selfie Venus LouvreKnow Your Pals: Museum Person Vs. Foodie Person
It is pure Nirvana if you travel with people who enjoy the same types of activities and at the same pace. It can be hell if the majority of the group loves to try a new museum and one person hates them. Love to shop, but the rest of the group avoids it like the plague? Examine everyone's needs, do your homework before the vacation to assess compatability. If you know one of your pals won't appreciate what the rest of the group likes, then give them options. During the times when you visit museums they can either do their own thing and meet up with the group later, chill at the hotel or opt out altogether and wait for another trip when the group is more aligned with their goals for sightseeing destinations. Sometimes the best option is not traveling together at all.

[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: