Category Archives: FRANCE


It’s chic and cheap by Paris standards, but those aren’t the only draws. Celebrity chef Christian Constant’s newish baby bistro, Les Cocottes de Christian Constant, serves casual and creative casseroles popular with locals as well as tourists from around the world.


Making a list? Checking it twice? Want to give something much better than nice for Christmas or Valentine’s day or that special birthday or anniversary? Then consider that the most splendid, all-occasion, glory gift that one can give is a trip on the S.S. Catherine. Not a nautical term, S.S. in front of Catherine stands […]


As a native of landlocked Chicago, Ellen Sack developed wanderlust early in life. She started traveling to Europe at 19 and has been at it happily every after, developing a love for Europe, particularly Europe by barge.She took her first barge cruise in 1984, and shortly thereafter decided she wanted to help others discover the […]


They are like fraternal twins with features in common, but totally different looks.As to similarities, both hotels sit in the spiffy Eighth Arrondissement of Paris, a short stroll to the Champs Elysées. Both are relatively new or newly recreated and boast five star designations. Both offer comfortable, luxurious stays at rates less than “palace” hotels […]

D’Chez Eux and Perfect Roast Chicken

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,”  an epigram coined in 1849 by French journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, has traveled through time, been translated into different languages (English: the more things change, the more they stay the same) and morphed into a proverb. Used by a variety of people around the world, including statesmen, writers, moms […]

Paris Wine Bars

Noël Balen grew up sure of two things: what he wanted to do with his life—music and writing books—and what he didn’t want to do—all the rest. He has certainly achieved his goals. Noël is not only a musician, music critic, director and producer, but also a well-known author. His writing career began with a whodunit, […]

Mandarin Oriental Paris

Today is my birthday. I wish I were in Paris. More precisely, I wish I were in Paris staying at the Mandarin Oriental Paris—a celebration hotel if ever there was one. Unlike other Paris five stars, which can be elegant to the point of stuffy, the Mandarin creates an atmosphere of luxury gift wrapped with […]


We all have favorite books about favorite places. I happen to love Paris and my three favorite books illuminating the city are Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast, Gertrude Stein’s “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” and David Downie’s “Paris, Paris Journey into the City of Light.” Although it is possible (and totally pleasurable) to explore […]

Château de Cîteaux La Cueillette and Pure French Magic

The address alone, on the Route de Grands Crus, in Meursault, France, is enough to please gourmets and oenophiles. The gracious chateau, sitting in the midst of Burgundy’s most historic vineyards, will charm lovers of both history and style. Add a contemporary spa based on magical (as in beautifying, anti-ageing and anti-stress) “Fruititherapy,” and Château de […]


We floated with the grace of a swan, paced considerably slower than a stroll. We dined for hours. We lingered and lounged and watched the ever-changing countryside. We visited sites and we biked and hiked, but whatever we did, and wherever we were didn’t really matter, for a European barge cruise is not about reaching […]