DSC_0951My first day in Paris on assignment with Upscale Living Magazine is at Paris luxury Hotel Le Bristol. Its location is highly sought after, with its proximity to upmarket fashion houses and a close walk to both the Palais Royal and the famous Champs-Élysées. The 8th arrondissement has so much to offer visitors...

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.

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.

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_0306Bordeaux is the perfect place to taste fine wines, but there are more experiences to be had in the land of vineyards. Hotel Saint James Bouliac, a Relais & Chateaux property is situated across the river from the city of Bordeaux and is not only a beautiful hotel but offers unique culinary experiences to enhance the visit to the area. The hotel began as an eighteenth-century farmhouse and in the late 1980's was made into a modern luxury hotel with a gourmet restaurant and first-rate cooking school.

  Sophisticated Library Bar Sophisticated Saint James Library Bar Impressive Hotel Saint James Paris is both regal and relaxed. Paris' only château hotel, this five-star Relais & Chateaux member is in a gated park-like setting. Close to Victor Hugo and the Arc de Triomphe, the peaceful estate made me feel like I was out in the country in the heart of the city.

Château Pavie vines overlooking the château Château Pavie vines overlooking the château Super Sommelier and Le Chapon Fin's front of the house manager, Alex Morin joined forces with Bordeaux Saveurs for a fabulous Tuesday. Time for wine tasting in Bordeaux beginning on the right bank in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol.

DSCN2073Today it's my 50th birthday (I don't feel a day over 49) and I just experienced the best trip in all my trips to Paris and France in my 24 years of traveling to Paris. It may have been my best travel ever, not a small revelation for a journalist who has been all over the world, but I have to admit the best trips ever were the trip down the aisle to marry Mr. Weekend In Paris and the two visits to the hospital to give birth to my wonderful sons Jack and Phil. But today, I want to share with you 50 things I love about Paris and France to commemorate my big birthday.