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.

mini grand prix MCYou can dress the kids up in designer clothes, coif their hair and try to turn them into “mini-me(s)” by teaching them the proper dining etiquette but it is not nearly as much fun as letting them drip ice-cream down the front of their jerseys as they enjoy a cone filled with their favorite flavor at a carnival. Working on their attention span to sit through a long fine dining experience is admirable and thoughtful for the guests around you, but they will eventually break out into a temper tantrum if they don’t get to run free at some point during the day. Let the kids burn off some steam and act their age while vacationing with these kid friendly family activities in Monte Carlo.

three statues in the LouvreThis week's Twitter Friday Fotos "FriFotos" theme is "Three" - any which way you can, play on the word three. Three little pigs, the three wise men, the three stooges. But alas, my mind always goes to Paris and so today I found an archive photo of three of the Four Captives at the Louvre by Desjardins in my Paris file to fit the theme. These larger than life bronze figures captivate the room with their presence.

[caption id="attachment_7303" align="alignleft" width="300"]luxembourg gardens Summer in the gardens[/caption] Some tourist attractions and areas of cities can get stale. The "been there, done that" thought can creep up when I am in Paris and someone asks to see the Mona Lisa, but never will I say that about Luxembourg Gardens (Jardins du Luxembourg). It never gets old strolling through the vast landscape even in the winter time when the tropical plants and trees disappear behind the bundling bags that keep them warm during the harsh cold and  dark months. There is life year 'round in this park with school children taking their mandatory walkabout at lunchtime, folks jogging, tennis players serving things up, and chess champions queueing up for a match. The ducks remain all year poodeling around in the various fountains and pond. They seem to validate that life in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris in the winter is better than summer in other places.

[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.

DSCN0347Green space is at a premium in the City of Light so it is always a pleasant surprise when you turn a corner and find a little pocket park on a town square (or triangle since the city is infamous for trisecting streets) with lovely shaded benches in the summer months and areas in the sun for winter warmth perfect for a picnic in Paris.  One lovely summer morning I encountered a woman playing an Australian didjeridoo, a petit French cowboy, a merry-go-round and some lovely gardens in the Square Boucicaut across from the fabulous Hotel Lutetia and in front of the famous Le Bon Marché shopping mall.