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. 

Downtown Monte Carlo Downtown Monte Carlo While attending the International Luxury Travel Market in Cannes, as part of the invited press, I will be doing some sightseeing, experiencing some one-of-a-kind activities and reviewing some of southern France’s best restaurants. Come along on my visit to Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo.
First Stop Cannes
Take off is from Houston, connecting in Dulles to Zurich with the final destination Cannes. After dropping my bags off at the four-star Hotel Mondial, I will make a beeline for the Tourism Office, Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes, to meet my guide for a quick overview tour of the city. After attending an official briefing about all things luxury at the Market, I will have the privilege of dining at La Palme d’Or, (2Michelin) at Hotel Martinez. In addition to this fantastic culinary delight, another night I will dine at Le Park 45, (1 Michelin) located in the Grand Hotel on La Croisette.

[caption id="attachment_5162" align="alignleft" width="300"]Me and Martine sorting through hundreds of choices! Me and Martine sorting through hundreds of choices![/caption] When in France, you must take time to stop and smell the French perfumes! I am so glad I did at Fragonard in Eze Village. The history of perfume dates back to the Mesopotamian times. As the world travelers brought the craft of creating odorous concoctions west, the Italians brought the chemical formulas to France where chemists hired by the aristocrats spent lifetimes perfecting. Yes, the French had questionable, strange hygienic practices leaving them with strong body odor that perfume was used to attempt to cover up, but now the usage is simply superfluous. Kings Louis' XV and XVI were huge consumers of perfume, as was Napoleon. Gloves were a popular way to distribute the scents to people's hands, which lasted for days, but was reportedly discontinued when evildoers began mixing poisons into the perfume to slowly poison their enemies. It was a genius way to get rid of a dreaded rival without having to "lay a glove on them."