Despite frequent trips to Paris, I had always taken the Eiffel Tower for granted. Both awesome and flamboyant, it's always in the distant background in the City of Light. But during this trip the Eiffel Tower was a friendly a good neighbor just a few blocks away -- always in sight out the window, glowing warmly at night and shimmering each hour on the hour after dark with stunning drama and poise. The 7th Arrondissement along and around Rue Saint-Dominique was a perfect home base for a week with the girlfriends, an upscale but not pretentious neighborhood, where one of the girlfriends found a well-appointed apartment, fittingly, from Paris Perfect.
When three lifelong girlfriends rendezvous in Paris, the energy is so high that you just have to get out and shop. Always start with the eye candy that is totally out of sight -- along Avenue Montaigne where wealth and chic prevail in the windows of Versace, Dior, Lacroix and more.
Terrance Gelenter is a passionate marketer with a generous spirit, who has turned his love affair with Paris into an experience accessible to everyone through his website, speakers programs and travel planning business, Paris Through Expatriate Eyes. Most recently I ran into Terrance in Mill Valley, California, where he was signing his new book, From Bagels to Brioches: Paris Par Hasard, a semi-memoir, semi-travelogue tale of how and why he made Paris his own.
Eat, pray, love your hearts out, Julia and Elizabeth. Undistracted by men -- though we love them -- the girlfriends are off to Paris for a week. As the wise yogi once told me (actually I think she was a buyer in the Eileen Fisher department at Macy's), a good scarf, purposeful flair and proper enthusiasm for food and wine are what it takes to have des vacances incroyable in the City of Light with the gals. Expect the unexpected! That is the theme for the Womantraveler.
For San Francisco dining, add these to your palate/palette of the best but exceptional and affordable San Francisco dining. Let's face it, the embarrassment of riches in San Francisco makes it easy to settle for less. Here are some of our recent top pix where from an insider's view you'll do far better than the ordinary.
Carmel, California, is not what it used to be -- but it is still Carmel (or its proper name, Carmel-by-the-Sea). After all, Clint Eastwood was mayor for a while and he is nothing if Mr. Integrity. Just because I knew it one way (back when) doesn't mean that you can't make it your own now.
Pleasanton, California, is perfectly named and its Rose Hotel is a womantraveler's blend of luxury, ease and convenience.
Cooking classes at Napa Valley's Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (the other CIA) are a terrific way to enjoy food -- and wine -- in Napa Valley wine country.
Spotted by Locals is a smart new website by European locals dishing out insider tips on their home cities. It's well worth a view.
Downtown Sonoma's Cottage Inn and Spa is my home away from home. Great for romance, relaxation and rejuvenation, it's architecturally inspired beauty is a special find in California's wine country. And it's a convenient location to venture out to next-door Napa Valley's Mustard Festival through March.