Hotel St. James – Urban Oasis in Paris

Hotel St. James – Urban Oasis in Paris

One of the best parts of our last two days in Paris was staying at the historic St. James Hotel, a grand chateau in the heart of the city. From the moment our cab drove through the iron gates and dropped us off in front of the large front entrance, I knew we had made the right choice. Although we Continue reading

A Little App of Paris Surprises

A Little App of Paris Surprises

(Photo Source) A few months ago, I came across an awesome Website for Francophiles like me. My Little Paris delights readers with what's new and hot in Parisian shopping, dining, and culture. The quick, magazine-like updates give you access to cool new bistros, hip brunch spots, local boutique Continue reading

Experiencing Champs Elysees

Experiencing Champs Elysees

We left Avignon early in the morning, taking the 2.5 hour train ride back to Paris where we spent our last two nights in France. We made our way to our final hotel of the trip, the historic grand chateau - the St. James Hotel. What an amazing place to stay the night in Paris! More to follow on our Continue reading

Royal Tour of Versailles

Royal Tour of Versailles

On our second day in Paris, we ventured out in the St. Germain area for a quick, early morning run in Luxembourg Gardens. Whoever said the French do not run for exercise is mistaken. We saw many runners, men and women, throughout Paris (day and night) but especially throughout the garden, albeit Continue reading

Royal Ascot: High Stakes and Style

Royal Ascot: High Stakes and Style

(photo source) Tomorrow begins Royal Ascot - the 5-day British spectacle, known as much for its top racehorses as it is for its sophisticated, and sometimes over-the-top, fashion. A mainstay in the British Royal calendar, Royal Ascot represents one of the most well-known sporting events in the Continue reading

Mother’s Day Macarons

Mother’s Day Macarons

While in downtown Chicago this weekend celebrating Mother's Day, I happened upon one of my favorite French pastry shops outside of France - Vanille Patisserie. (By the way, this charming little shop is a MUST if you enjoy a little taste of French heaven in the Windy City.) While I debated the Continue reading

Big Bites in the ‘Burbs

Big Bites in the ‘Burbs

Whenever I travel, I look for smaller, locally owned and sometimes out-of-the-ordinary places to dine, avoiding chain restaurants whenever possible. This had led me to some amazing meals here in the US, Canada, Europe, and beyond. At home in Chicago, I try to follow this more European style of Continue reading

Christmas Traditions from Around the World

Christmas Traditions from Around the World

(photo source) For the last three years, my family and I have ventured into the downtown area of Chicago to experience the wonder of Christmas in the Windy City. This year, we visited such Chicago holiday favorites as the Christkindlmarket, the window displays at Macy's on State, and the Continue reading

Traditional European Christmas Cookies

Traditional European Christmas Cookies

(Linzer cookie: Photo Source) Bonjour! Throughout the winter holidays, sweets are plentiful at gatherings around the world, and many of these treats represent food traditions of years and cultures past. Even in the United States, Thanksgiving and Christmas get togethers are often celebrated with Continue reading

Fast Food, French Style

Fast Food, French Style

(photo source) In the last decade, Americans have been outdone by the French in weight loss, relationships, style, and child-rearing. Now, the one thing that Americans seemed to do better than the French (and most countries), may be slipping to second-best. Fast food, once shunned by the Continue reading

Rules of Mushroom Engagement

Rules of Mushroom Engagement

  (photo source) In late August through the end of September, the French take to the country in search of the elusive truffle and its sister the mushroom. It is also during this time that Americans take to the country searching for their own culinary treasure - orchards full of apples Continue reading

Germany Voted Most Popular Country

Germany Voted Most Popular Country

(photo source) In a survey of over 26,000 people around the world, Germany was seen as the most popular country. When asked to rank 16 countries (excluding their own country), 59% of respondents ranked Germany positively. Some analysts believe the positive rating is due to Germany's strong Continue reading