Paris’s Elysee Palace: France’s White House

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Nearly every visitor to the City of Light pays a visit to the Champs Elysees, either to stroll the long, sycamore tree-lined boulevard or to visit the Place de la Concorde or the Arc de Triomphe that anchor the two ends of the elegant thoroughfare. But relatively few walk the two short blocks to visit France’s version of the White House—the Elysee Palace. It’s definitely worth the short detour! Continue Reading →

Saint Honore Pastry: A Classic French Dessert

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An iconic French pastry—and one I always order multiple times when I visit Paris—is the Saint Honore, a decadent dessert made of puff pastry, pate a choux (cream-puff dough), creme chiboust (a thick pastry cream made with stiffened egg whites) and creme Chantilly (the French term for whipped cream). Named after the patron saint of French patissiers this stacked pastry comes in such flavors as caramel (also called the “classic” Saint Honore), pistachio, rose-raspberry, chocolate, vanilla-chocolate, chocolate-strawberry and pistachio-sour cherry. Continue Reading →

Laduree: Pastry Perfection!

Raspberry Saint-Honore

Paris is the pastry capital of the world. And there are scores of patisseries scattered throughout the city’s 20 districts (called arrondissements), from elegant, upscale tea houses to small neighborhood mom-and-pop shops.

But a few have grabbed well-deserved international acclaim. One of my favorites of these exceptional salons is Laduree. Specifically, the Laduree boutique and tea house on the Champs Elysees … Continue Reading →

Le Grand Palais: A Lot More Than Just a Pretty Photo

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Here’s a paradox that is very specific to the City of Light: One of Paris’s buildings that is among the most photographed by sight-seers is also one of the city’s facilities that is least visited by tourists. If you’ve been to Paris, chances are you’ve had a glimpse (and taken multiple photos) from Les Invalides, the Orsay Museum, the Champs Elysees or especially from the ornate Pont Alexandre III. Any guesses what it might be? Continue Reading →

Joyeux Quatorze Juillet! (Happy Bastille Day!)

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Today, France celebrates it’s national independence day, the anniversary of the 1789 storming of the Bastille prison in Paris that marked the start of the French Revolution. If you’re in Paris today (lucky you!) show up early to snag a spot on the Champs de Mars park adjacent to the Eiffel Tower for an unparalleled view of the fireworks show. Many of the city’s bridges also are ideal viewing locations. Aimer! Continue Reading →

It’s No Cliche: Springtime in Paris is Magical

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Ah, springtime in Paris.

Certainly you’ve heard more than one visitor to or resident of the City of Light utter this phrase, usually with a wistful sigh. And while it’s true that equating springtime in Paris with extreme bliss is something of a cliché, there’s actually a very logical reason this adage developed—there is nothing in the world quite like springtime in Paris. Continue Reading →

Joyeux Noel!

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I am — and always have been — a huge Christmas Queen. And the City of Light is a delight during the holiday season. Here’s a peek at some of my experiences from my visit a year ago. There’s lots o’ pics here, so you’ll really get a good sense of what the holiday season is like in Gay Par-ee. For me, it was an absolute thrill and provided me with holiday memories I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Joyeux Noel! Continue Reading →