Monday, November 30, 2015

Consider Paris or Istanbul for the Holidays

Both Paris and Istanbul are excellent cities to explore and enjoy in the Christmas-New Years week.  In Paris the stores are beautifully decorated, their are Christmas lights galore, the markets are full of festive and delicious French food.   There are even special 'Christmas Markets'.  Other than Christmas Day and New Years Day the museums are all open and the cultural season is in full swing.  Definitely a good time to visit Paris and show our support and love for this great city!

Istanbul is another wonderful get away for the holidays.  Of course, Christmas is not front and center in Turkish culture, but the abundant riches of the museums, galleries, historic sites and the fabulous shopping (and eating) are all great reasons to celebrate.

Talk with us about planning a great trip.  We can help with guides, foodie and cultural suggestions, accommodation suggestions, you name it.  Have festive holidays!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Glorious renovation of the Rodin Museum is complete

The beloved Rodin Museum, housed in the Hotel Biron mansion, has been closed for three years. It reopens on November 12 and word is that the renovation is beautiful.  Rooms have been repainted that lovely deep grey that Rodin loved, the sculptures and paintings are lit with great care to help guests appreciate each object.

Once again, you enter the grounds through the great gates.  The outdoor grounds which are parklike and full of scale model sculptures invite meandering.  The cafe, tucked in a leafy corner, is still a very good choice for a light lunch or tea/coffee and patisserie.

The Rodin Museum has always been a favorite of many Paris visitors for its manageable size, fascinating collections, and its beauty.  Put this one on your list for your next visit to Paris.

Near Invalides and not hard to combine with the Orsay or the Eiffel Tower and things you want to do and see in the 7th.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A 400th Birthday for the Marché des Enfants Rouges!

The upper Marais is a hip, happening neighborhood.  Lot's of new things to enjoy.  And, lot's of venerable things to enjoy.  In an incredible milestone the charming, covered Marché des Infants Rouges just celebrated its 400th birthday!

The oldest covered market in Paris is in the Haut Marais (3rd district). Located where the rue de Bretagne meets rue Charlot, it is named for the former hospice des Enfant-Rouges, which closed its doors in 1777. The hospice, established for the orphans of the area by Marguerite de Navarre was named for the red color of the children's uniforms.  The efforts of nearby residents and the local council of the 3rd district presciently saved this lovely market from demolition 20 years ago. Today, with its emblematic history, its small restaurants and quality food vendors, it has gained cult status.  Today, the markets is a vibrant center for socializing, shopping, eating and enjoying wine.
A great market in the Haut Marais!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pilates in magical Andalucia next spring? And great food and wine too!

Check out my colleague Teresa Parker's spring Pilates Retreat in a secluded, luxury 'cortijo' in magical Andalucia.  Limited to 12 lucky women, this retreat will include serious Pilates sessions with a noted instructor from NYC plus hiking in the glorious mountains in southern Andalucia near seaside Malaga.  But, after all that exercise, visits to superb food artisans and winemakers, meals of delicious local cuisine from a private chef, and more will surely make this the best blend of exercise and indulgence!  

Please do tell Teresa you learned about this opportunity from Your Great Days in Paris.  She is a fantastic Spain expert and crafter of memorable private tours.  We collaborated on a tour in Catalonia for Hamilton College Alumni in 2014 and it was a great experience start to finish.  She will also be leading a walking journey along the Camino de Santiago in fall of 2016.  to view the pdf announcement for the Pilates Retreat, or, email me and I'll send it to you.  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Istanbul is as dynamic as ever!

During my recent stay in Istanbul I was fortunate to be visiting during the Istanbul Bienal and had the opportunity to see loads of contemporary art that was provocative, interesting, and quite apart from the image that seems to be prevalent of Turkey being a culture at war with itself.  Istanbul was as dynamic as ever.

I took the opportunity to explore some historic sites and neighborhoods on the Asian side during my stay in Kadikoy and also made it a point to visit several smaller museums and galleries.  One of my favorites is Salt Istanbul on Istiklal Caddessi, a four story gallery with free admission that hosts a variety of exhibitions that are always cutting-edge.  Salt Istanbul also shows films, check the schedules on line or when you visit.  Right in the heart of Beyoglu, Salt Istanbul is a fine place to visit in the midst of this energized shopping, dining and yes, drinking, hub.

Salt is just about directly across the street from the Koc University exhibition space, within the Koc University building.  This is another very worthwhile stop that offers historic/cultural exhibitions exploring Turkey's history.  Also free, always worth a visit for 20-30 minutes.  Good bookstore in the lobby area adjacent to the exhibition space as well.  And a very nice (pricey, modern Turkish restaurant on the top floor.

Good Food and Art: Two in the 7th Arrondisement

We'll be posting a short series on excellent options for dining in notable Paris museums.  To start off, two great choices in the 7th arrondissement.  The Jean Nouvel designed Quai Branly Museum is an architectural gem.  The collections highlight 'premier peoples' ranging from meso American to Australian aborigines to Cambodian, African and much more.  The museum is located very near the Eiffel Tower and one of the best views of the tower in Paris is a bonus if you dine or have a drink at Les Ombres, the lovely restaurant on the museum's rooftop.  Les Ombres features cuisines that reference the collections but with a French twist.  There is a prix fixe lunch for 32 Euros, dinner ranges from 65 to 95 E plus a la carte menus.  The terrace bar is open from 2:30 to 11 p.m. Seven days a week. Quai Branly, near the Bir Hakeim metro.  There is also a less pricey cafe at the museum, a good option for a meal but minus the fabulous views and simpler food.

Our second 7th arrondisement restaurant is actually a lovely cafe and terrace within the lush grounds of the beloved Rodin Museum.  The cafe is an oasis of quiet and greenery, serving sandwiches, salads, soups, quiches, a daily hot dish and delicious desserts along with views of Les Invalides golden dome.  Average tab is around 15 euros.  Closed Mondays.  This is a good spot for lunch with children who can play on the lawns amid the Rodin sculptures while parents relax over a meal.