Paris, My Why

Paris, My Why

Paris is one of the places in the world where all things cultural are present. It is the mecca of arts, music, architecture, history, food, drink, fashion, languages, religion, design, inspiration. As a gold standard it can be the bar that every city may aspire. That is not to say every city should or could be the same, it is to say…be inspired.                                For better or worse this is a place of many faces, many challenges and many opportunities. Like all cities is has its share of drama. Like a Great City, it has always persevered and remained strong. The identity of Paris is part of our heritage…that’s right everyone’s heritage. JOE chooses to travel and share The Paris Journey because this experience will provide cultural growth, inspiration, knowledge and delight. It really does not matter if the river swells, or terrorists strike. The fact is that can and will happen, sadly in many places in the world. If you stop your growth, your “joie de vivre” ends. Never stop growing, never stop being inspired, never stop doing the things you...
April in Paris…May, even better

April in Paris…May, even better

  April is unpredictable; the weather in Paris can be lovely; cool and sunny one minute, snowing the next. While we do love the early blossoms of spring, the fact is that many of the blubs and trees are still big in bloom in early – mid May. If we had to pick our favorite time for Paris, when a likely chance of sun, cool night air, not too much rain, will bless our journey…it would be to arrive in early to mid May. The only slight challenge with May is the sheer number of French Holidays…several, and this means closers and prices go up. The French take holidays seriously and observance means that you never know what will be running, open or having a party. May 1 is Labor Day and May Day, a National holiday and some things are closed! Never fear for sightseeing the center of the tourist districts of Paris are bustling. May 5 is Ascension Day, church goers will be in services throughout Paris and many families fill the parks and museums; taking in the spring and often free entry. This is however, a wonderful time to find yourself outside the city! We like to leave the night before a holiday weekend (Wednesday or Thursday) to avoid traffic and drive to the Loire Valley. Exploring the area around le Lion d’Angers is wonderful this time of year!! Chateau des Briottieres http://www.briottieres.com is by far our favorite place to stay. This is a family owned Chateau. The Broittieres family; (all six children) are reviving the property which has been in the family for over six generations and dates back to 1485. If...
Warm Hearts, Cold Days…Paris Perfection!

Warm Hearts, Cold Days…Paris Perfection!

Paris in the winter is a treasure of perfection. Just when the cold outside numbs fingers and toes the performing arts; music, ballet and opera are prime and sensational. Something about being inside warmed by soft light or intimate crowds is cozy and feel so personal. A concert in February at Eglise de la Madeleine. Vivaldi sounds so great in this space…enjoy! The Parisians are very community oriented and in the winter months everything feels warmer, smiles are bigger, crowds smaller and everyone a little more friendly. A long sit in a cafe by a fire is a welcome respite from long walks under grey skies. Hearty rich foods with plenty of red wine will keep your spirit warm and comforted. Try Dining at Le Coupe-Chou in the 5th. Warm fireplace and a cozy meal. This charming ivy covered restaurant is wonderful and charming. Paris is in her winter grey and this is when the light can change to a pale purple hue. Photography is moody and spectacular. If snow falls its white magic mingling with all the golden illuminated street lamps. Visit Versailles on a winter day. The gardens are open and quiet, even free entry at times during the winter…check for scheduled openings. This is the time of year when costs are lowest and travel on a budget reasonable. It is also the time to see Paris as a local, spending plenty of time inside with new friends who effortlessly make you feel welcome like family. Try Eating with Locals in Paris. Cookening the new web based foodie network similar to airbnb will connect you to a...
Expressions of affection à la France

Expressions of affection à la France

Many would argue that the art of love has only been perfected by one culture…the French. There is a reason the capital is nick named “The City of Love”, non? It is no surprise that the holiday of “Saint Valentin” or “Valentine’s Day” is often expressed best with the help of the French!! There is something about receiving gifts from Paris that always will be ridiculously romantic. Get ready to swoon… 1) Parisian Chocolates Whose heart would not skip a beat to be handed a box of chocolate labeled “Paris”. There is no better place to buy bonbons’ than from Debauve & Gallais’ Chocolat, a Parisian confectioneries that date back several generations of perfection in hand made chocolate treats. To make your heart beat just a little faster these chocolates laid out in the official trademark blue, gray, and gold embossed box were handmade exclusively for royalty until finally becoming available to the public in 1913. 2) French Lingerie (That won’t break the bank) Ladies all love a special set of lingerie…it just makes us feel better about the feminine mystique…however, $500 on underwear can be a little much. Fear not… Adoreme.com is here to save the day! Seek out that special something to feel as if you stepped out of a Paris lingerie boutique but not pay the price of one. I promise that whoever sees you in these little beauties won’t know the difference. For the gentleman reading this… shame on you, go get your woman something very expensive and beautiful! I promise you she deserves it!!! 3) Milk Chocolate Tea from Paris For those of you...
Art Collecting Dreams

Art Collecting Dreams

Such a lovely French Actress captured by Édouard Manet. As detailed in the New York Times the impressionist works has sold for a very large some and surprisingly trumped the previous weeks trend of surrealism being the big ticket wave! Wow..what a bidding war and the selling price staggering! In some ways to see this impressionist work leave the private sector bound for a lovely museum on the west coast is bitter sweet. While all of us can soon travel out to the Getty for the future showing of this beauty, the fact that paintings like these are no longer hanging mysteriously in the old salons and apartments of collectors around the world somehow seems sad. Imagine works of art like this appearing from the private hands that have treasured them for generations; it’s like a curtain parting, allowing us to peek into a world far away from our meager day to day lives. How exciting and wondrous to think about the homes and people who can say “yes, we have a small Manet in the hall, it’s been there as long as I can remember”. Makes me feel like this gracious lofty world is still magically intact and even if it’s only in my dreams, I may fantasize being part of it! I would love to have a Monet, a Renoir, a Caillebotte and or even a Pissarro to hang in my home some day. Perhaps if I ever come into wealth I will buy my apartment in Paris and go to the auctions at Christie’s… out bid those dealers representing the great museums and purchase that rare gem...
Wine with Wonder; the Bistro a Vin

Wine with Wonder; the Bistro a Vin

I think at some point walking around Paris everyone starts to day dream about a life in the City of Light. As I stroll through the familiar warmth of a special bistro a vin, my dreams turn to thoughts of sipping wine with locals. Since my first visit to France, I have known that in my fantasy I would own a bistro a vin. It would be a casual place, a second home for its habitués, with a limited menu and lots of tasty country wines served by the glass. It would be wine with wonder it would be just like, Taverne Henri IV.  Enviably situated on the Pont Neuf, a bridge connecting the le de la Cite with both the Right and Left Banks, the Taverne Henri IV sits on the edge of the Place Dauphine, an enchanting triangular square with the Palais de Justice at one end and the Quai des Orfevres not far beyond. Each time I journey to Paris, this is my first stop after dropping off my bags. A stroll through the shady square followed by lunch at Henri IV consisting of a glass or two of a cool red Chinon from the Loire and a ham sandwich (on sourdough bread) taking the edge off jet lag. Comfortable wonderful warmth, Henri IV is a no-frills room with a long bar and a dozen or so tables. The place hasn’t been redecorated since the 1970s, except for the curtains that run the entire length of a wall, just above the booth seating, appearing bright, clean and crisp. Looking at the wooden bar cluttered with memorabilia,...