Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paris. Show all posts

Sunday, June 4, 2017

France: Bon Jour from Village Marriott ~

We write from the northeastern French countryside where we are making our home for the week in our two-story traditional townhome, surrounded by lush green meadows and golf courses.

Nearby meadowland - France
We could almost believe we  were experiencing true rural life if it weren’t for the fact we are at ‘Village Marriott’. A few miles away – but thankfully not within sight of our ‘village’ -- is Disney’s “Ranch Davy Crockett” (595 cabins in a large wooded area) and “Parc Disneyland”, the theme park better known as Disneyland Paris.

Street signs showing the way to our Marriott Villag

Much more appealing to us is the fact we are smack-dab between two very real French villages – Bailly-Romainvilliers and Magny Le Hongre. Each hamlet is walking distance from our doorstep and offers traditional boulangeries, cafes, grocery stores, fruit and meat markets. 

Our home for the week

Our townhome for the week is on the left side of the building in the photo above. Our neighbors are from Dublin. Ours is one of dozens of two- and three-bedroom townhomes in the Marriott Vacation Club d’lle-de-France. It is, in other words, one of their timeshare or interval ownership properties.
Now before those skeptics among you quit reading because I’ve said those dastardly words: timeshare, let me tell you that timeshares aren’t what they used to be.

This stay, our first here, in fact is proving they really can be quite luxurious.

PicMonkey Collage
Kitchen, living and dining room. French doors open to the patio and lawn.

Our main floor consists of a dining and living room, a fully quipped kitchen, a laundry room off of it, and a half bath off the entryway foyer.The stairway from the foyer leads to two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom.

PicMonkey Collage

What brought us here was one of our favorite features of timeshare life: ability to trade what you own for some new place in the world.  We own at Marriott’s timeshare property at KoOlina on the west side of O’ahu, one of the islands in Hawaii.  Our units there called ‘lock off’ units meaning you can use the large size unit (think 1-bedroom condo) and lock-off the second bedroom (think oversized hotel room with wet bar, microwave and small refrigerator) and basically get a two-week stay for the price of a one-week, two-bedroom purchase.

It was one of our ‘hotel-sized room weeks we traded for this spacious townhome.

Along our route to the lobby

Our timeshare ownership in Hawaii has allowed us to trade time for stays at Marriott Vacation Clubs in Bangkok, Thailand, Spain's Costa del Sol and Phoenix, Arizona as well as here. A highpoint of each property is the amazing landscaping  - but I think this place has raised the bar on landscaping.

Our townhome is in a section of the development called Giverny, and fans of Monet know that many of his paintings were of his Giverny home and gardens. In tribute to him they have created here a replica of them on this part of the development.

PicMonkey Collage
Almost Monet's gardens

So I did the math on this stay and checking rates here for a week-long stay in June as we are doing, we’d be paying about 300-euros a night; 2,100, for the week which equates to about one year’s maintenance fees at our home resort.  The cost of the trade fee was less than $200 and we’ve still got a week left to use in ‘the big side’ of our Hawaiian timeshare. All in all a good travel deal.

Pool area, lobby, bistro restaurant

For those considering a stay here: The resort offers a shuttle service to Disneyland and to the RER train station, about four miles away.   It is about 10 minutes to Disneyland and from the train station Paris is 50-minutes away.  A week-long train pass – Pass Navigo Semaine – allows travel on trains, metro and buses in Paris as well as this rural area for about 27 euros a person. 

That’s it from this side ‘of the pond’ this week.  I know I promised a report on our Greek road to residency but it turns out we haven’t moved any further along it than we were last week.  Perhaps extending our time in Greece until the end of June will result in a conclusion of the journey before we return to the States. .. then again, maybe not. . .

Safe travels to you all and thanks so much for the time you spent with us at 'Village Marriott'. Hope to see you back again next week!

Linking up with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekend Wanderlust: A Taste of Paris

twitter headshot
Thanks to Matt Cabot, Ph.D., a professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University for today’s guest post. 

For the past two years, he has led a group of students to Paris to study international public relations and global leadership. He is planning to take another group of students to Europe next summer to visit France, Belgium and Italy.

This summer, I took 20 students from California’s San Jose State University to Paris, France, for a three-week study abroad program. For most of these students, this was their first trip outside the U.S., and for many of them it was life changing.

This is not surprising for those of us who travel. The experience of leaving one’s home and traveling to a distant land will change the way we see the world. It expands our interests, concerns, and tastes. And, today, that expanded perspective is becoming vital as we live and work in an increasingly globalized world.

For three weeks, my students and I lived on the border between the 11th and 12th arrondissements in Paris. This is a wonderful part of the city – especially if you like food (and who doesn’t!).

One of Paris’ best open markets was just around the corner from my apartment: Marché d'Aligre, located on Square d'Aligre. This market has everything you need to create a fabulous Parisian meal. Although you might want to hold off buying your dessert there because less than a couple of blocks away are two famous patisseries/boulangeries.

Eiffel TowerBoulangerie Jacques Bazin, (85 Bis Rue de Charenton) is famous for its “Bazinette,” Monsieur Bazin’s scrumptious interpretation of a traditional French baguette. The line is usually out the door. The bread and pastries look so amazing you’ll want to take a picture. But don’t. I was told it was “interdit” (forbidden) – oh la la, so French! But worth it.

The other is blé sucré on Trousseau Square, again just a couple of blocks from the open market. Travel writer/chef David Lebovitz calls the madeleines at blé sucré the best in Paris. And, once again, the pastries are exquisite.

A year ago, I would have also recommended having dinner just a few doors down from blé sucré at Square Trousseau, a bistro across from the local park. But while the previous year’s dinner wowed us, we were underwhelmed by this year’s meal. Our experience was not unique. Le mot on the street is that Trousseau has “slipped.”

But if you don’t mind trading the view for better food, the hot ticket apparently is a small Italian restaurant in an alley off Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine called Caffé dei Cioppi. We never got there, but we heard it is excellent.

If You Go:
If you’re taking the metro, stop at Ledru-Rollins on line 8, to access all of these places.

Or, another option is to stop at Bastille (line 1), pay homage to the birthplace of the French Revolution, then walk down Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine and look for the big green tree (pictured here in the background), and you know you’ve found our neighborhood.

Bienvenue and bon appetite!

Thanks for stopping by TravelnWrite today. Hope this will be a regular destination for you in the travel blogosphere or follow along on Facebook at TravelnWrite.  Was your first travel experience as part of a student group? How did it open up the world to you? Hope you'll tell us about it in the comment section below.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

TP Thursday: A Blooming Good Trip!

We had such a blooming good time on our trip last spring to Madrid, London and Paris that I decided to create a bouquet of memories today:


High above us on the side streets of Madrid, flowers cascaded over the railings of even the narrowest of balconies.


Parks were tapestries scattered throughout Madrid; their designs created by endless beds of red roses.


It felt as if we were staying in London’s Chelsea Flower Show each time we entered our Chancery Court Hotel.   The pungent peonies filled the lobby with a springtime aromatherapy.  (As well as providing inspiration:  “Why it’s simply flower stems and candles mixed. . .why couldn’t I do that at home?”)


It seemed all of London was in bloom – even the bench in the hotel’s courtyard.


A cold, blustery wind swirled street dust during our too-brief overnight stay in Paris. Despite the harsh chill that cut through our coats, balcony blooms reminded us that it really was springtime in Paris.



When someone asks, “But, . . .is there anything to see there?”  these are the images that come to mind. What every day images are in your bouquet of memories?

It is Travel Photo Thursday and there’s a lot of places to see in the world by just clicking this link to Budget Travelers Sandbox and see where our fellow travelers are this week. been.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Romance of Travel. . .

It’s February 14th, Valentine’s Day; a perfect time to immerse ourselves in the romance of travel. Romance, both in the cupid-arrow type, and that defined by Webster’s as an ‘emotional attraction or aura belonging to . . .adventure’.

Traveling down memory lane, these are some of our favorite travel romance destinations:

France Vegas Mike G. 2009 0181. Paris, France

It is not a cliché – this is a romantic city. We don’t have any one spot to recommend, but I can tell you that strolling along  the Seine is romantic.

2. Cape Panwa House, Phuket Island, Thailand.

The Cape Panwa House restaurant is where I’d go for a romantic Valentine’s dinner.  This Sino-Portuguese mansion  made such an impression on us 30 years ago that I checked the Internet and was delighted to see it is still offers diners the exotic - and romantic setting - we so fondly recall.

DSCF05863.  Stehekin, head of Lake Chelan, Washington State.

The only way into Stehekin is by boat, float plane or on foot. This remote  hamlet at the head of the 55-mile-long glacier- fed Lake Chelan is the perfect place to picnic with  bread, wine and cheese. (Buy a couple bottles of wine at any of the two dozen wineries in Chelan and don’t forget the picnic blanket.)

4. San Sebastian del Oeste, Mexico

Back when we owned vacation homes outside Puerto Vallarta, we’d break up our working trips with a getaway to the towns  tucked high above us in the nearby Sierra Madres. 

One of our favorite places was the old silver mining town of San Sebastian del Oeste, and our favorite place to stay was in one of the very rustic rooms at Hacienda Jalisco, just outside town.  Back then it was run by a lovable character, Bud Accord.  We’ve not been back to Mexico for several years and San Sebastian now has several accommodation and dining options, a web site and Facebook page! We can tell you there was no better place for star gazing than from our deck at the Hacienda – it felt as if we’d landed in the middle of the Milky Way.

DSCF06775. Palace Hotel. Madrid, Spain

Our vote goes to the lobby bar at the Palace Hotel for the most romantic spot to sip a cava, the Spanish equivalent to champagne.  The dignified, library-like setting is perfect for settling into its comfy chairs and couches and getting lost in its old-world flair. . .or for watching other romantics.

6.  Le Sorelle Restaurant, Rome, Italy

On our last night in Rome a  few years ago we happened upon this small restaurant owned by two sisters (sorelle is sister in Italian) not far from the Spanish Steps at Via Bellsiana, 30. 
The food, wine, atmosphere and the sisters’ warm welcome, made us vow to return any time we found ourselves in this magnificent city.  We’ve manage to keep our pledge – twice. Once when the food was as good as we remembered it being and once when our single-night stay fell on the night they were closed – we were thoroughly disappointed!

0006100-R2-033-157.  On deck a Greek ferry sailing the Aegean or Ionian Seas.

Despite the current economic woes and related unrest in Greece,  we can hardly wait to return to its magical islands. Anyone who loves the romance of travel would find a trip on one of Greece’s cruise-ship-sized ferries to be a magical experience.. .no matter which island you were heading toward.

8. Washington State ferries from Seattle, Washington

We can’t overlook our own backyard, so must make note of the ferries that ply the waters of Puget Sound providing great views of Seattle and wonderful trips to the San Juan Island port cities and as far as Vancouver Island, British Columbia

If you are not into ferries, take a trip up Seattle’s 1962 World’s Fair Space Needle that continues, 50 years later, to be the Emerald City’s icon.  On a clear day (and we do have them sometimes) you can take a 360-degree tour of Puget Sound by walking the outside deck or dining in the restaurant.

DSCF01089.  Ko Olina, O’ahu, Hawaii.

Ko Olina in Hawaiian means ‘place of joy’ and it has been that for us since we began our annual visits there five years ago.  Bird song at sunrise and sunset, swaying palms, gentle ocean waves, lagoons with tropical fish that find you as interesting as you do them, those incredible sea turtles, honus, in Hawaiian. . .ah, yes, a most romantic place.

10.  This one is yours.  What romantic destination – past, present or future - are you thinking of today?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Travel Photo Thursday: New Angle on ‘Paris’

Travel Photo Thursday made me think about how we all can influence a photo by the angle we use to cut out people, signs, graffiti, garbage cans that might otherwise distract from the scene. Sometimes a snippet of the full scene is all it takes to bring back good memories.

Joel and I were celebrating my summer birthday, sitting on the patio at a Parisian café when I looked up and decided this photo would capture that moment:


I should add, we were dining at  Restaurant Mon Ami Gaby ~ right in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, but you wouldn’t know it from the photo, would you?

Travel Photo Thursday was started by Budget Travelers Sandbox, so just click this link to see photos from other travel blogs.  Click the photo above to enlarge it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vegas 'N Demand'

Vegas tourism seems to be on an upswing.  A single convention of broadcasters brought 85,000 people to the city while were there (and there were three other significantly-sized conferences going on at the same time). We arrived albout the same time as contestants in -- and spectators of -- the weekend's International Bull Riding Competitions.

Hotel room rates aren't quite the deals they were last year but can still be found with a bit of research.  Another way to save money and have a great time in this 'adult Disneyland' is to seek out Happy Hours where beverages and/or nibbles are offered at cut-rate prices for an hour or two in the late afternoon or early evening, sometimes longer. Times and deals vary with the establishment. Our recommended spot:

The Paris Hotel and Casino's Napoleon Bar where Friday evening we sipped two tall chilled draught beers for $6; a steal by Vegas prices. And while enjoying our cool ones we were treated to one of the best shows we've seen in a Vegas lounge - and it was free.

Napoleon's is a sprawling French-themed and decorated bar, located between the casino and convention wing of the hotel; a place where we've seen on previous visits two pianists perform 'dueling piano' medleys.  The entertainment line-up on weekends has gone doo-wop and Motown with  'N Demand , a talented four-some who not only had those of us in the audience in the palms of their hands but had folks walking past the bar clustering at its windows to watch.

The group is performing Friday, Saturday and Sundays at 6 and again at 7:30 p.m. Their hour-long performance -- not to mention the Happy Hour drink deals -- is more than a reason to head to Napoleon's. And if you can't make it to a performance, click their name to see a sample of their show.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bon Jour from Paris!

I am sitting just inside the top left hand window writing this post from Paris. We arrived at our hotel at 8 p.m., our delay thanks to the Orly ground-handlers strike was only about three hours. We are in Hotel Cecilia, a charming three star hotel about two blocks from the Arc de Triomphe.
It is a rainy, cloudy day here and the leaves are falling. Definitely a change from the month we have just had in Greece. We put on shoes and socks for the first time since mid-September today; rather a confining feeling but good for jumping rain puddles.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Paris - armchair travel

Researching our trips is half the fun of taking them to our way of thinking. While it does involve cost analysis and scheduling, we've found that a good source of information comes from books other than guide books. These entertaining reads are great for armchair travel as well.

Take Paris.

In Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, a memoir of living in the City of Light in the 1920's, you'll sip wine in his favorite Parisian cafes, stroll along the Seine and meet his contemporaries, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein. My Life in F rance by Julia Child (with Alex Prud'homme) takes you to Paris in the late 1940's. You'll go to street markets with her as she explores her new home and follow the development of her passion for cooking which ultimately led to the creation of her now-famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Fast forward to 1994 with Susan Herrmann Loomis in her, On Rue Tatin, Living and Cooking in a French town, as she takes you from Paris on her journey to Louviers, a small town in Normandy.

Many of these authors' favorite spots still exist. Our travel journal begins before we leave home as we take notes from these books on places that we might want to visit, turning our journal into a customized guidebook.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...