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.

  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.

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. 

DSC_0270When I began the morning with a fresh cup of ripen strawberries, a warm croissant and a view of hot air balloons in the background, I knew it was going to be a terrific day. Although I hated to leave our outstanding Hotel Saint James Paris for a minute, Sunday in Paris, for me, obliges a visit to church and a mandatory stroll of Montmartre hidden gems. For others in our party, who shall remain nameless, my stroll was more like a forced death march up the stairs, down the hill and back up again. C’est la vie…

One of the best rosettas I have ever seen One of the best rosettas I have ever seen This morning began with an obscene amount of amazing freshly baked goodies and rich roasted coffee from the kitchen at Hotel Daniel. Crumbs galore fell from bites of buttery pastries onto my lap, but I didn't care. Carb-low diet be damned, this place serves sinfully great croissants and pain au chocolat. If we were headed off the beaten path Paris then I was going to be completely off the carb wagon. 

Our sword ceremony outside the chapel after our wedding Our sword ceremony outside the chapel after our wedding The first time I visited the City of Light, I was with Mr. Weekend In Paris for a little romance and now I am thrilled to report that we will also celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in Paris for more romance and some prayers of thanksgiving for our amazing life together. An added bonus is that we will be wine tasting in Bordeaux for a few days too!  The ultimate best part is that our plan includes bringing some friends along. The only regret is that our boys cannot join us. They are working and studying hard back home.