(Paris) — One of Paris’ booming neighborhoods is the Canal Saint-Martin. You can’t miss it on the map, it’s the big gash right over there on the right. Go for a mid-day stroll, up and down the foot bridges. I was there in November, but I hear it’s jammed with sunbathers and walkers during the summer. Stop for lunch at the Hotel du Nord, extra cool little boutique hotel and restaurant. Some great small shops and cafes. Or pack a lunch, sit and watch the scruffy world go. Here’s a great article in Conde Nast Traveler. Last visited: November 2011
(Paris) — You can go in the day and watch all the walkers, kids and dogs. But I like to sneak into the Jardin des Tuileries at night and walk wide-eyed and watch the silhouettes that change every 50 meters and bring statues to life. Hardly anybody else around but some runners and the occasional dog that scares the heck out of you when he comes up to you out of nowhere.
(Paris) — My Francophile friend Rex turned me onto this great little hip place on Rue Christine, just blocks south of the Seine. Small, casual, affordable. Cool fork. Cool spoon. And some awesome bottles of wine-smoked sea salt on the tables. Simply named Le Christine. Very nice and patient service. Check out this amazing smoked salt, Sel de Chateau.
(Paris) — Most Paris hotel rooms are teeny, most noisy. But my buddy Rex turned me onto Relais Christine. On the Left Bank, but not in it, it is on a quiet street just blocks south of the Seine, the perfect central location to explore the city. Rue Christine extremely quiet, with several great restaurants, on the street — embarrassingly, so, as I hate to ever say “let’s just eat here.” But they are great. The staff is extremely gracious. Great cellar breakfast room. Huge king bed and soundproof windows that, almost like a sitcom, I opened up once and there was a jackhammer below that I didn’t even know was there. Open: jackhammer. Close: Quiet. Comical. Lots of Americans as guests,which is often a turnoff
(25,000 ft) — Not a big story here, just a nice ride along the edge of the Swiss and French Alps on the way to BCN. On a crystal-clear morning, it felt like you could just reach out and touch ’em.
(Bagnols, France) — Chateau Bagnols website, TripAdvisor reviews, View Larger Map
(Eze, France) — Chateau Chèvre d’Or View Larger Map
(Porto Vecchio, Corsica) — Just above the lower tip of Corsica is an excellent, in the big broad bay around Porto Vecchio is the romantic hotel Grand Hotel Cala Rossa, one of the most famous and fanciest hotels on Corsica. Quiet beaches, swanky atmosphere, nice staff. And because it’s a Relais & Chateaux, you know they have an incredible restaurant, which is Michelin starred. Cala Rossa has been around for decade, ruling the roost of southern Corsica. I don’t have a ton of pictures because the last time I was there, digital cameras hadn’t been invented, so these are scans of my old print film. But, you can get an idea of how beautiful this place is. When you first pull up, the outsides of
(Menton, France) — Nice is nice, but it has grown to be loud, clanging city choked with tourists and pickpockets. Why not relax and go a couple of stops on the local train to the quaint little town of Menton? My Swedish friends Bror-Erik and Irene turned me onto this place after they bought their retirement flat to escape the cold and dark Stockholm winters. Hard on the water, it is literally the last stop on the train before hitting Italy and the town of Ventimiglia. In fact, if you want a contrast, check out the difference in countries and cultures as you ride the train across the border. France: clean, cheery colors, pristine houses and flowing bougainvillea hanging over the rails. Instantly as you