Showing posts sorted by relevance for query paris. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query paris. Sort by date Show all posts
Monday, September 29, 2014

Paris Travel Trips Or How To Meet The Man Of Your Dreams In France

arc de triomphe, paris
Arc de Triomphe
I was standing in front of the Arc de Triomphe on one of those magical Paris November days: cool but not bone-chillingly cold. While crouched on the ground and angling for the perfect shot of the famous monument, I heard a man say "Pardon, madame."

"Oui, monseiur" I said, standing up to fix my eyes on one of the most beautiful human beings I'd ever seen. I'm talking Michael Hutchence at Wembley Stadium hot.

"Would you take my picture?" he asked, obviously noting I was some random tourist.

"Pas problem," I responded, trying to impress this Frenchman with my high school English and wishing this experience was happening to me about five years ago.

I snapped the shot. He asked for my phone number while I was in Paris, jolting me back to reality. That jolt was apparent.

"You are here on holiday?" he asked with a sly smile. "Or with the airlines?" he said assuming I was a flight attendant. This wasn't Mr. Michael Hutchence look-a-like's first rodeo.

"Um, actually," I stammered and looked my left. "I'm here with my husband and daughter", pointing to Jim and Jordan.

"Quelle tragédie," he said.

Yes, it was. On my fifth trip to Paris, my first with my family, I finally had the stereotypical "flirt with a Frenchman" experience. Oh, what could have been.

On The Bright Side
Thing is, it wasn't a tragedy. It was further proof of the city's allure. In Paris, you never know where the day will take you or who you will meet. The struggle of getting there, dealing with potential language barriers and the dollar's weakness in relation to the euro are ALWAYS forgotten when met with the beauty of a city that inspires romance and a sense of adventure.

paris with a baby, paris with a toddler, paris with kids
At the Parc du Forum des Halles, November 2012
I have visited Paris and met neighbors from Dallas, oil barons from Dubai, new friends from Portugal and moguls from Austin. The city is one that breaks down those walls that we construct around us going through our daily existence.

Then there was the Michael Hutchence look-a-like. Damn....

Why Bring This Up Now? 
The husb, the kid and I are heading back to the City of Light this November (a great time to go). It will be the third straight year we've made the trip with Jordan.

It's gotten to the point where I am constantly asked about my favorite Paris stops. Those who take my recommendations are rarely disappointed.

paris with kids, paris with toddler
Paris with Jordan & a new friend at the Trocadero, 2012
I believe that traveling well is a sport. In the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some of my favorite Parisian adventures with you. From where to eat and sleep to secret shops and brocantes, I'll be spilling all my Parisian beans. Pardon, haricots. I'll even tell you how to get to Normandy and Champagne, the latter being a monumentally more difficult affair than it should be.

Heading To Paris Soon? 
I've written about Paris a ton: Here's how to rent a Paris apartment.  Paris avec bebe. And with a baby again. Looking for a great app to keep up to speed with Paris happenings? Hotel Pavillon des Lettres has you covered. Just search "Paris" on my blog and you'll find a bounty of travel treasures.

Explore Some Favorite Parisian Finds

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Paris Travel Tips | VIDEO

paris travel tips, paris hotels, paris restaurants, pont alexander bridge

"Paris is always a good idea."

Audrey Hepburn said that memorable line in the movie Sabrina. It's the truth. 

It's the truth. From the heat of summer to the chill of winter, the French capital consistently offers history, culture, diversity, entertainment and plain old fun. We haven't even talked about the food.

Where should I stay? What museums are worth my time? What stores should I visit? What day trips should I plan? Where should I eat? 
Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How To Rent A Great Apartment In Paris

How to rent a paris apartment, paris apartment rental
Image via Guest Apartment Servies

Renting an apartment in Paris is a smart if you will be there for an extended period of time or want the flexibility of cooking your own meals and doing laundry. You can usually get more space for a better price than you would pay for a hotel room.

Finding a vacation rental apartment in Paris is not easy. I have stayed in gorgeous ones and ones that are great in photos, awful in person. Here are a few questions you should ask an apartment service before committing to a rental:
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Do you charge for electricity? 
  • Do you offer maid services? 
  • Do you have air conditioning?  Many don't.  If it's a hot summer, you will suffer.
  • What time can I get into the apartment?
  • What happens if I lose the keys? 
  • Do you have an emergency service if something breaks?
  • Do you allow children?  Some don't.
  • Will you offer an apartment walk thru to show me how to use the unfamiliar Parisian appliances?
  • Will you provide concierge services: help with side trips, reservations, etc?
  • Are the photos online a fair representation of the apartment? (During our November 2014 stay the photos did not accurately represent the apartment. It was awful).
  • When were the photos taken. 
We decided to go the rental route for our 10-day Paris trip in June 2013.  I am an avowed hotel lover.  I love the romance, nostalgia and luxury of a classic hotel.  That luxury doesn't come cheaply, particularly in Paris, so we opted for the space and practicality of an apartment.

I ask friends who had rented apartments in Paris.  They suggested all the usual suspects: VRBO, AirBNB, Homeaway, Haven in Paris, etc.  I consulted Travel and Leisure magazine's awards issue and saw they suggested Guest Apartment Services for Paris apartments.

After much research, wrangling and debate, we decided to go with Guest Apartment Services. I like the gorgeous and hip options Haven in Paris offered but Guest Apartment Services fit our location and pricing needs better.

We settled on their Narcisse apartment, a classic 700-square foot beauty on the Ile St. Louis. A great location, a gorgeous space at about $250, give or take, a night for a 10-day trip.  Done!

Approximately two weeks before our trip, we received an email from Christophe, one of Guest Apartment Services owners, who informed us that there would be renovation work on the building during our stay.  There would be scaffolding surrounding the structure and noise from 8am until 5pm every day.  Not great if you have a baby.

Paris Apartment Rental, guest apartment services review
View of Snowdrops entry and dining room. It REALLY does look like this!/Image via Guest Apartment Services

He offered us an "upgrade" to Snowdrop, a sleek, contemporary 754-square foot unit right across from Notre Dame, located in an apartment building at 19 Quai de Montebello. We hemmed and hawed.  We didn't know the neighborhood as well and, according to the map, it looked to be right on a busy street overlooking the Seine River.  We worried about the noise keeping us awake at night.

We stuck with it because, as I learned, summertime apartments in Paris are a tough get.

So how was it?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Paris With Toddlers: Tips For Parents and Kids To Enjoy Their Trip

Paris with Toddlers, Things to do in Paris with Toddlers

When anyone asks why I would take my 20-month old daughter to Paris, I counter with "Why not?"

Paris is an outstanding city for babies and kids.  We went for the first time with Jordan when she was 13 months old in November 2012 and again this past June when she was 20-months.

Visiting the city with a child is magical.  The pictures alone make it worthwhile.

More than anything, a well-behaved child speaks a universal language.  That baby's smile can melt any cold-hearted Parisian's heart like butter on a warm baguette.  The French LOVE babies and kids.

Here are a few tips for enjoying the city with your little one:

Paris with Kids Itinerary, Paris with kids blog
Jordan with a new friend at Luxembourg Gardens

Parks parks parks galore. 

The Parisian parks are wonderful.  Families don't have huge yards, so the parks are a big deal. Between 3-4pm is the witching hour when the parks fill up with either families or nannies and their charges.  The parks will be packed.

Luxembourg Gardens, Parc Monceau, the park next to Les Halles, Places des Vosges, the Palais Royal promenade, Parc de Bercy.  Any of them are great. They are also opportunities for your little one to connect with other French kiddos. You will find the language barrier to be nonexistent. Kids have their own language - fun.

The Tuileries is the park in front of the Louvre.  We didn't hit any museums while we were there. Instead, we opted to take in the city itself as one big museum.  The green space in front of the Louvre is outstanding.  It fills with people who like to enjoy the extended summer daylight hours well into the evenings. We ended up running into people we had met a few times.  Be careful, though, some of those street vendors use the labyrinth hedges as urinals.  Keep to the open space.


You must take your little one for a carousel ride while you're in Paris. We ride carousel at the Trocadero (in front of the Eiffel Tower) & Parc Monceau. Here is a complete guide to Paris carousels.

Palais Royal

Palais Royal is a great spot to visit for both parents and kids.  Located in the 1st, it offers a slew of restaurants (we visited Muscade a few times).  It not only has long shopping corridors where you can stroll and let your kids can run, there is also a huge green space.  While you are eating (and drinking) lunch, your kids, again, can play and burn off some energy.


Paris with Kids, Paris With Kids Blog, Paris With Kids Itinerary
Jordan at Maxim's
Make sure they eat well - a breeze in Paris.  Restaurant owners and chefs delight in watching a child eat.  At Maxim's they treated Jordan like a queen.   Sure, we paid the price for it but it was an experience we'll never forget.

Get that bread!  We broke a few of our diet rules while on the trip.  We let Jordan snack and eat a lot of bread.  It worked for us if she was hungry and cranky and couldn't find anything on a menu to eat.

We love Le Poilane and Eric Kayser.  Although, the worst bread in Paris is better than many of the best bakeries in Texas.

RELATED: 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant Review

Visit the farmers markets.  Every neighborhood has one.  Stock up on produce.  You won't be disappointed.

Our standby, kid-approved dining options: Cafe Breizh, L'Eboulliant, the bar at La Duree on the Champs Elysèes and  the food hall at Le Bon Marche (good for picnics items). 

A Few Other Details

The view from our apartment across from Notre Dame!

Consider renting an apartment.  We had a spot across from Notre Dame and it was perfect.  It was less expensive and much larger than any hotel option we could find.  We could eat a quality breakfast in the morning.  Jordan could watch Dora before we went out the door for the day.  We had space for all of our stuff.  It was perfect.  We used Guest Apartment ServicesThey were wonderful.

RELATED: How To Rent A Great Apartment In Paris

The Paris zoo.  My husband took Jordan here while I was exploring Bercy Village.  She loved it. 

If your child is young enough, use that stroller!  We took Jordan everywhere in our stroller.  She was able to sleep in it while we were walking.  It was compact enough to fit in restaurants and nestle under tables.  We would typically arrive to lunch around 1pm while she was sleeping.  We would slip the stroller under the table just like a chair.  It worked in just about every spot.

RELATED: The stroller that saved our lives in Paris.

Practice circus contortionist-like flexibility.  Your itineraries will probably change based on your little one's temperament.  Embrace it.  It's part of the adventure.  You never know who you might meet or where a day in Paris will take you. 

The New York Times recently offered some suggestions for Paris with Kids.  It has solid, highbrow ideas like kid-friendly museums to visit.  It's a good read.

Visit the Paris Section of My Blog

Monday, December 8, 2014

5 Observations About Paris

Paris, Eiffel Tower, Carousel on the Place du Trocadéro
Christmas carousel on the Place du Trocadéro next to the Eiffel  Tower

We're back from 10-plus days in Paris and are already planning a trip for 2015. Friends ask "Why do you continue to go back to a place you have visited so many times?"

Many reasons, really. In a foreign country, no matter what it is, you will always find something new to love and appreciate no matter how many times you visit. We enjoy revisiting favorite experiences like people watching at the George V hotel or visiting the Christmas markets. But we also enjoy discovering new places, like we did on our visit to Château de Fountainebleu.

Regardless, there are some things I distinctly noticed on this trip. Here are my most recent observations. Please tell me what you think in the comments section.

Better Kids Meals

We took our daughter, Jordan, with us for the third straight year. This was the first time she was able to eat pretty much what we did. At many restaurants, there are kid's menus but they're nothing like we have in the States. There isn't a chicken finger or mini pizza to be found. Most kid's menus consist of a steak or hamburger patty and potatoes, guinea fowl (offered everywhere), fish and vegetables or sausage and potatoes.

Kids meals in Paris, Restaurant Astier, French Kids Eat Everything
Jordan eating her steak and potatoes at Restaurant Astier

Jordan, who is going through the fussy eater phase, usually ate the steak and potatoes after filling up on a ton of bread. Interestingly, by the end of the trip she was much more interested in trying what we were eating. I had an epic seafood tower at Bar a Huitres on our last night. She wanted to try my clams as well as my husband's fish soup. I guess there is something to be said about French kids eating everything (I love the book, btw).

It's Not All Three-Course Gourmet Lunches And Wine

Don't be fooled that every French meal is a three course feast with wine. Parisians will eat a grab and go meal faster than you can break a baguette. Because of that, I think there's a real need for more fast-casual spots in Paris.
Fast casual dining Paris
The checkout line at the Monop'

On multiple occasions when I tried to grab a quick lunch while walking the city, I ran into lines 20-30 people deep. At the popular fast-casual London export Pret-A-Manger, there were at least 50 people in line to buy a quick sandwich or soup. At the Monop', something akin to an upscale grocery store, the lunch line was at least 25 people deep.

Tex-Mex in France, Tex-Mex in Paris, Tex-Mex, Old el Paso
This was at our local grocery store.

Other things I saw: diet food and the French version of DIY Mexican food, Old El Paso. I swear I could make a fortune opening up a Tex-Mex joint in Paris.

French Formality is NOT Rudeness

I have blogged about this before but the French get a bad rap for being rude. They are polite and expect more of the same. In the half a dozen times I have been there, on trips of 10 days or more, I have only encountered one rude waiter. One. That's it. For the most part, everyone has been cordial, warm and downright fun. Flirtatious, even.

RELATED: My Paris Travel Tips Video

A simple 'bonjour', 'au revoir', 'merci' and 's'il vous plait' go a long way. Take it a step further and practice your high school French. You will be rewarded with an impromptu French lesson and perhaps a new friend. Every time I spoke (really bad) French, it was appreciated and complimented.

They want politeness, manners and....

Dressing Up Still Counts

Despite how much more casual we seem to be getting as a society, people still dress well in Paris. Tennis shoes are a dead tourist giveaway. I wore Cole Haan and Alexander Wang booties with black denim jeans all over the city and felt fine.

I had an in-depth conversation about this with an Air France flight attendant. Her point was clear: their city is beautiful. They are a formal country and expect our appearance to reflect that. That is just one woman's opinion but her point is well-taken.

Interestingly, I didn't see a lot of makeup. I noticed more women sporting a natural face, not the done-up face I usually wear and see in Texas.

RELATED: 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant Review

Et Finalement, Everyone Smokes.

Yep, they still do. I saw a few e-cigarettes. They might be slowly catching on but the classic Marlborough Light still rules. 

What Do You Think?

Despite what any cynic says, Paris is still one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Being there is an inspiration. While the country is overwrought with exorbitant taxes and bureaucratic red tape, it's a magical place.

Christmas in Paris
Le Village Royal, Paris
What do you think? Am I totally off or spot-on? What have you noticed in your travels abroad? Please share in the comments section!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Parisian Fashion Observations...Men, Pay Attention!

What a treat to be in Paris earlier this June.  Forget the gardens, monuments and Fete de la Musique!  Yes, they were all fabulous.   But perhaps even better than the wine, strolling along the Seine and the soccer was the people watching.  It was just as much of a sport as was exploring the city.

Let me tell you: I've been all over the world and haven't had as much fun checking out the visual eye candy as I did in Paris.  It was fascinating discovering what the Parisians wore.

Surprisingly, the women weren't as uber-chic as I thought they would be.  Many of them wore suits to work or a simple dress.  I did see one young lady dressed entirely in vintage 80's fashions who put together a look that, in concept, might not be so hot but, on her, was amazing.  She had on sort of MC Hammer gypsy pants, a polka dot short-sleeved shirt with an olive-colored vest.  She carried a vintage alligator clutch and looked spectacular.  I know it sounds kind of goofy but it was very now.

What I did notice is that big statements rings were adorning the hands of many women.  Everywhere I looked they were sporting a big, honking cocktail or stone ring.

Anyone who knows me knows I love a statement ring.  My always impeccably dressed colleague, Mr. Laufenberg, constantly gives me crap for wearing big rings.  Big ring wearers are on trend right now but it's one I've always subscribed to and one I don't think I'll ever give up.

What knocked my socks off was how impeccably dressed the men were!  They wore everything from slim, European-cut suits my stylish colleague Steve Pickett wears to colorful and perfectly blended resort shorts and casual looks.  It was the visual equivalent of a good, natural gelato: cool, elegant and something that I could take in all day long.  The men knew how to dress for their bodies and worked it like nothing I've seen in the States.

What really blew me away were the scarves.  French ladies are known for having a flair to wear a scarf that complements and completes a look.  But who knew the French men had such a knack for perfecting them?

I saw a number of men wearing scarves in place of a tie with their jacket-and-pant work ensemble but one man really epitomized Parisian chic.  He was having lunch two tables away from me at Cafe Balzac  in the 8th Arrondissement.  He was probably in his 60's with a full head of white hair and was having lunch with a gorgeous woman on an even more beautiful summer day.  He wore a camel-colored jacket with a slate-blue shirt and an elegant burgundy scarf knotted under his shirt collar.  I should have snapped a picture but I didn't want to look anymore like an American tourist than I already did but WOW.  He wasn't particularly handsome just incredibly put together and that made him stunningly attractive.  And let me say this: every woman who walked by the cafe noticed him.

It was proof that style has no gender rules or age limit.  Anyone can work it and it's amazing how far a little effort and fashion sense can go.

Here's a great link to some shots that GQ photographer Tommy Ton took of real European men on the street.  They may be a little "out there" for many Texans' tastes but they could be a springboard for experimenting with different looks.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Day Trips From Paris: The Champagne Region

How To Visit Champagne From Paris, Visit Champagne Houses, Visit Champagne Vineyards

If you're in Paris and have even the slightest interest in wine, making a day trip to Champagne should be on your list of "Must-Dos". The terrain is gorgeous, the wine and food are magnificent and it's a relatively easy region to access....once you figure out to get there.

The first time we tried to visit Champagne was in June 2013. I consulted a number of my friends who work in the wine industry and represent the likes of Dom Perignon, Moët & Chandon and Ruinart in the states for help. They told me it would be impossible to get into of the Champagne houses for a tasting. Taking that into account, we didn't make any advance reservations. We ended up visiting not one but two houses without any advance reservations on that trip but it cost us. A lot.

On Thanksgiving 2014, we visited Champagne again having learned our lessons: we made tasting reservations in advance for only one house and took the train to get there. It was a much more enjoyable experience and affordable to boot.
Friday, May 31, 2013

Why Traveling to Paris with a Baby is Just Like Getting a Full-Frontal Neck Tattoo

"You're doing what!?!?!"

I imagine that's how my boss would respond if I told her I was shaving my head, getting a full frontal neck tattoo and going on TV sporting the new look.

That's also the response both friends and strangers give me when I tell them my husband and I are taking our 20-month old daughter to Paris on Sunday.  It's actually the second time we have taken her across the pond.  While it's a challenge, the joy of spending time with her far outweighs the stress of the plane ride and unexpected "surprises" we might encounter along the way.

Jordan on the carousel at the Trocadero
There are a few reasons she's going with us:
  • I rarely get to spend time with her so when I am not working, caring for her is fun and actually feels like a holiday. 
  • A cute bébé is a wonderful conversation starter.  Last time we were there Jordan charmed the gruffest Parisians, which is a bit of an unfair stereotype.  (More on that here)
  • She travels for free in our lap until she's two.  Okay, she only travels free domestically, we pay taxes on international travel, but it's still a pretty good deal.  We're taking advantage of this as long as we can. 
All that aside, having THE screaming baby on a plane can be an arse-whip of epic proportions.  Her first flight was to Cabo San Lucas which she handled like a champ.  She's also done LA twice and New Orleans.  Here are a few tips to handle travel with a little one.   

We place a premium on sleep above all else.  Jordan was sleeping through the night at six weeks old and hasn't wavered from that.  A well-rested baby produces a happy baby and sane parents.

Jordan asleep on the plane

When traveling to a different time zone, we start adjusting her sleep schedule about a week prior.  For example, when Jordan went to LA, we started keeping her up about 30 minutes later each night a week out until she was on the Pacific time zone.  Ultimately, two days before we left for LA, she was going to bed at 10pm and waking up at 10am.  This was a tough adjustment for us but saved us during the trip.  Coming back to Dallas, she had an easier time falling asleep at her normal 8pm. 

As we prepare for Paris, which is currently seven hours ahead of us, she is going to sleep earlier.  This week, we have been putting her down between 6:30-8pm.   This is a little more difficult as the sun is still setting but the process of "winding down" earlier is effective.

On the Plane
No real secrets here: plenty of diapers, a change of clothes and a good attitude.  She has been a good flyer in the past but I know she's going to cry.  She is done using a pacifier but we are debating bringing it for the airplane ride.   We will also bring an iPad loaded with plenty of games, Dora the Explorer and Bubble Guppies episodes.  

We also have this little survival kit that includes meals for the plane and lavender oil which we will rub on her feet to help her sleep.

Once There
A good stroller is key.  We like the Joovy Groove Umbrella stroller because it's mobile and easily collapsible.  It's also one in which she can nap when we recline it.  This is huge.  We found out while we were out exploring the city, she would take her naps in the stroller.  We would simply put a rain cover over it and she was good to catch a few ZZZZ's. 

Jordan napping in her stroller at the Louvre
While Jordan pretty much eats when we eat, we were flexible with her meals.  We dreamed of lavish lunches and dinners in bistros and brasseries but we usually ended up eating lunch in the park which was fine.  It was just easier.  Having picnics turned out to be fun and a change from our typical routine. 

Picnic in the park
Most restaurants didn't even high chairs but, again, patience and a smile went a long way.  If she went crazy during a meal, we took her out of the establishment and tried to calm her down.  She's a bit more cantankerous now, so undoubtedly, this will be a test. 

Charming the owner of L'Epigramme on the Left Bank
The Takeaway
It won't be perfect and there will be meltdowns.   Mentally preparing for that is half the battle.
Breaking the perfume bottle!
There is no real formula for success for the unpredictable adventure of traveling with a little one.  Part of the joy is changing diapers in the park, breaking a perfume bottle at Hermes, making new friends at a playground and charming the elderly French nounou who has seen it all.  All things we did, btw.

Making friends at the park
Preparation, flexibility and a good attitude WILL help you and the family enjoy the trip and come away from it with memories that will last a lifetime. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

58 Tour Eiffel Review

Eiffel Tower restaurants

There are certain restaurants in which you need to manage your expectations. Meaning, don't walk in hoping to be wowed, overwhelmed or stunned. The result, I have found, is a better dining experience overall. Paris's 58 Tour Eiffel, the brasserie-style restaurant, on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower is one of those restaurants.

Why We Decided To Eat At 58 Tour Eiffel

We have never climbed any of the platforms at the Eiffel Tower while in Paris because, candidly, we didn't want to fight the tourists or wait in line. On our most recent trip, spanning November and December 2014, we decided to go for it but still didn't want to do the lines so we opted to eat at one of the restaurants, which also grants you access to the Eiffel Tower. We didn't want to do the over-the-top foodie destination that is Jules Verne (especially with a three-year old) nor did we want to do the buffet. Instead we tried 58 Tour Eiffel, knowing full well it would probably be mediocre food and poor service.

We were right about the food. The service? Not that bad.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Paris Refresher for Traveling with a Baby

The Eiffel Tower from Les Ombres restaurant on top of the Musee du Quai Branly
Ah, the sport of travel.  Perhaps my favorite sport of all time.  I don't golf, play tennis or meet friends for bridge.  I save my time and money for traveling.  Nothing refreshes my soul or or energizes my spirit like getting the heck out of Dallas.  We're heading to Paris one week from today.  We're taking Jordan (a challenge itself) but I am looking forward to spending full days with her, something I never get to do in Texas while working.

While I'm good about assimilating into the local practices whenever I travel, I revisited my observations from my last trip to Paris in the summer of 2010.  I learned a valuable lesson from a bartender, that has really stuck with me, in town or out of it.
Harry's American Bar
My crash course in French culture came to life in, of all places, Harry's American Bar.  Cliche spot to drink, I know, but we stumbled across it and were thirsty.  It was dead empty save for the bartender, a Frenchmen named Gerard, and a British man who now lives in Paris.  We gave our customary "Bonjour" to both men and went to the bar.  We waited for Gerard, who was sharing a glass of champagne with the expat Brit, to come to us at the bar to ask for our order.  We ordered our champagne and thanked him. 

A couple of glasses later, the expat Brit left for his family's Sunday dinner and Gerard was deep in conversation with us.  About this time, an American couple walks in wearing jeans, tennis shoes and, yes, dual fanny bags worn tightly around their waists.  Already fitting the stereotype the gentleman barks "two Bloody Mary's!".

"You can always tell the Americans," Gerard whispers to me.  "They never say hello, please or thank you.

A great, yet basic lesson: manners!  Politeness is something every grandmother tells us to practice, yet it's forgotten in our harried world.  While graciousness and manners should be exhibited daily, traveling avec l'enfant is the absolute perfect time to be extra diligent about being polite, particularly when she's screaming.

Here are a few photos I stumbled across from our last hop across the pond.  They can occasionally cure my travel bug.

If you have any fabulous new suggestions, please share!
Arc de Triomphe

Monks at the Louvre

Jean-Michel Othoniel's Metro Station Kiosque des Noctambules (kiosk of the night-walkers)

I love their street signs
Thursday, November 28, 2013

What I Am Thankful for Today and Every Day

We all have different reasons for being thankful this Thanksgiving holiday.  Trolling my social media feeds has been a treat and inspiration as friends are expressing their gratitude for life changes, career moves and more.

In the spirit of the season, here are a few things for which I am thankful.  Not just today but every day.
punta mita, casa de mita
Thanksgiving morning in Punta Mita, Mexico
  • I thankful for every day I wake up and am excited about the opportunities it presents. Having made quite the career change over the last two months, I am challenged and energized by my new endeavor.  I am also overwhelmed by the encouragement and support I receive from strangers, former viewers and friends every single day.  It's humbling.  Seriously, a FedEx driver brought me to tears on Tuesday with her kind words. 
  • I am thankful for my health.  I truly believe if you don't have good health, you don't have anything.  No amount of money or status can compensate for poor health.  I appreciate the fact I take responsibility for it and don't blame anyone else for weight gain, back pain or the like.  It's on me to improve it. Taking responsibility for your health is empowering. 
eiffel tower
June 2013
  • I am thankful for my daughter, her poopy diapers, her laugh, her snoring, her language development and curiosity.  Having a daughter is more fun than I ever thought it would be.  So many parents warned me about the work and drudgery that accompany having a child.  No one told me it would be so much fun. 
  • I am thankful for my husband, his patience with me and the bizarre bodily noises that emanate from him at all hours of the night.  They're not pretty but they're him.  As much as we sometimes want to strangle our spouses, those of us who have the right one are lucky.  He has every reason to strangle me but hasn't.  Yet.  God bless him. 
  • I am thankful for learning new technology.  Learning is fun.  Really.  
hermes les amoureux de paris scarf
Hermes Les Amoureux de Paris 
  • I am thankful for my obsession with Hermes scarves.  Collecting them has developed into a passion that I didn't know would bring me such joy.  Hunting for that vintage find is half the battle.  I am crushing on French-inspired scarves right now. 
  • I am thankful that I am rarely happy with the status quo.  I am someone who is always looking to do better, do more and get more out of life.  Many times it bites me in the ass and I fear my ambition outweighs my talent but when that hard work pays off, it's magnificent. 
  • I am thankful for The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  Genius TV that is still relevant today.  That and Veep make me laugh.  
  • I am thankful for the failures in my life of which there have been many.  They're the best learning experiences.  
casa batllo in barcelona
Casa Batllo, Barcelona
  • I am thankful for my love of travel.  The misery of waiting in long lines at an airport and dealing with a cramped middle seat is alleviated by the magic of discovering a new city or revisiting a favorite one.  I'll never tire of Paris, Barcelona, New Orleans, Montecito or any of the wonderfully remote Mexican towns.  Just thinking about them get that travel bug going.  
Arc de Triomphe circa 1940-something
  • I am thankful for the pictures my grandfather, George Mobley, took while he was stationed in Europe in the 1940's. The picture he took of the Arc de Triomphe is as timeless today as it was nearly a century ago.  I love the feeling of being in the same spot, taking a picture where he did.  He died in 1998.  My grandmother in 2001.  They had the travel bug, too. 
Childhood friends
  • I am thankful for lifelong friends who are the same as they were in second grade and new friends who bring wonderfully fresh perspectives into my life.
  • I am thankful for my wonderful, wacky diverse family.  
  • I am thankful for you: readers on this blog and my social media family.  
Again, thank you.  I hope that whatever your Thanksgiving Day holds it's full of good food, good football, parades, good friends, family and whatever makes you happy.


What are you thankful for in your lives right now?
Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014: Why I Am Thankful For Failure (Among Other Things)

paris, paris with kids, travel with kids
Wednesday at the Trocadero

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday. It is one in which we pause for a moment to celebrate and reflect on what it is we appreciate and love in our lives.

We are spending Thanksgiving week in Paris. I am writing this from a tiny, stereotypically Parisian apartment we rented on the Ile St. Louis. We will be spending the actual holiday in Reims, starting with a 10am champagne tasting at Ruinart. Believe me: I am incredibly thankful for this experience.

On this day of reflection, I am sharing what else I am grateful for this year. I would love for you to share what it is you're grateful for in 2014. Please post in the comments section
Monday, February 3, 2014

A Brilliant App to Help Plan Your Trip to Paris

The New York Times briefly mentioned this app produced by Le Pavillon des Lettres in Sunday's Travel section.  I was immediately interested.  I know the hotel well and thought it would do a good job with a digital offering.

I had no idea how thorough it would be.  I have paid for Parisian guide apps that aren't nearly as extensive.

The app has the obligatory hotel information and the weather.  Let's be honest, at the end of the day, it's a marketing tool.

It also had timely suggestions for events going on in the city.  This past Sunday it featured Chinese New Year's celebrations.

It offers fun itineraries for Paris with children featuring various shows and parks like Le Jardin d'Acclimation.  Here are my two cents on what to do in Paris with children.

It also suggested a Golden Age itinerary that can have you experiencing Parisian life like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald did in the 1920's.

This isn't necessarily groundbreaking stuff but it's packaged well, offers a quality offline map and features stunning photography.

If anything, it's a great diversion for times when you're craving a trip across the pond.  Which for me right now, is about once a day.