Three Romantic Getaways in Europe

Dubrovnik, Croatia. Old Town

Valentine’s Day, a holiday steeped in romance and devotion, has been inspiring lovers to declare their love for centuries. It’s a day for heartfelt gifts, fancy dinners, pretty jewelry and even poems. And for travel lovers who use any excuse to plan a trip (that would be me!), it’s an opportune time to discuss a romantic summer getaway—of course, a European romantic summer getaway! Though ... Read Full Article

A Book of Hours for Paris’s Third Arrondissement

Sidewalk Cafe

If you were to take the third arrondissement of Paris and drop it down in the middle of Iowa, people from all over America would flock to see this marvel. But apart from its hot spots, “le troisieme” (also called Temple) is often overlooked by visitors to Paris. The arrondissement (district) numbering system for the city starts at the area around the Louvre, ground zero for tourism. The ... Read Full Article

Long Nights and Hot Days in Montmartre

Nick below Sacre Coeur after a day of playing for money

I brought the guitar to Paris as a sort of insurance. If and when I ran out of funds I could always play on the street for money, I reasoned. When I initially moved into my eleventh story flat on Avenue Jean Jaures, my landlord—who was named Catherine, as so many women in France are—gave me a pitying look and told me that the guitar would almost certainly be stolen. When I ran into her on the ... Read Full Article

Paris Cemeteries: Strolling Among the Stars

Montparnasse Cemetery

Visiting Paris’ cemeteries may not be your idea of having fun. However, if you are truly in love with the City of Light, you have every reason to walk through the gates of one of the city's 14 intra-muros sites. The Père Lachaise, Montmartre and Montparnasse cemeteries figure among the most prestigious in Paris and France. Each one is a lesson in history told in an open and stunningly beautiful ... Read Full Article

Montmartre, Paris: A Walk With The Artists

Moulin rouge at midnight

The first time I saw Paris, many years ago, my friends and I headed for Montmartre. We’d seen the movies and heard the stories, and we weren’t about to miss this famous neighborhood. It seemed a bit tawdry, but we didn’t care.  We went straight to the Moulin Rouge where we watched women in skimpy outfits dance onstage, while we tasted champagne. No one asked for ID. I had just turned seventeen. ... Read Full Article

Designer Shopping in Paris: Finding the “Upper Underground” Bargains

Designer blouse

Shopping in Paris is the shopping equivalent of finding your soul mate. Paris is seductive; it has an allure and elegance unlike any other city. The problem is, as a shopping soul mate, it tends be slightly more fickle than your new main squeeze. When Shopping in Paris, you'll find that: 1. You romanticize even the everyday, familiar things in life (it's not just a sweater, its a French ... Read Full Article

Seeking Quiet in the Bustling Cities of Europe

salters-garden

  I recently received three books in the 'Quiet City' series by Siobhan Wall for review. Her latest book, Quiet Paris, follows Quiet Amsterdam published in 2012, and Quiet London in 2010. I was intrigued by the idea of seeking out the quiet spots in each of these  beautiful cities because so often when traveling, I become overwhelmed by the urban cacophony, all there is to do and see, and ... Read Full Article

Paris Celebrates: Festivals & Events

Tour de France

Paris celebrates life all year long with a multitude of festivals and events. Here are just a few of the larger festivals, but be sure to look for up-to-date Paris event news in future posts. Springtime Events in Paris Foire du Trône The Foire du Trone originated in the year 975, when merchants and farmers met to trade wine and grain. Now the venue includes a large amusement park and the ... Read Full Article

Paris’s Place de la Bastille: Yesterday and Today

Opera Bastille

If you’ve seen the 2013 film “Les Misérables,” then you are already familiar with Place de la Bastille. It is the setting for much of the second half of the film, marked by the large, decaying plaster elephant. Place de la Bastille is a historic Parisian square that still plays a large role in contemporary French culture. Here is an overview of the history of Place de la Bastille, as well as its ... Read Full Article

Best Paris 3-Star and Budget Hotels – by Arrondissement

Hotel Le Clement

Finding a great 3-star hotel in Paris is a joy. There really are some three-star hotels that are better than 4-star hotels.  Stars many-times are awarded for amenities like larger rooms or restaurants, not on the quality of the hotel experience itself. These are 3-star hotels that we recommend wholeheartedly and hope you love them as much as we ... Read Full Article