Monday, February 16, 2009

Paris: Haute Cuisine (hotels)

Since my last stop was Paris I think it’s appropriate to start by righting about that lovely Ville.

There are just too many things I love about Paris, but one of my favorites is the food. I often say that recommending the top and most expensive restaurants in town is not much of a tip since they are all very famous. On the other hand the risk of going wrong is really small. But as soon as I feed the blog with the “basics” I’ll start posting more specific tips and more “secret” places. Besides, I had to start somewhere, why not from the top?

Many of the greatest restaurants in the world are concentrated in a rather small piece of land. That spiral-shaped joint of neighborhoods contains most of the world's best chefs and chefs to be.

I consider ambiance a very important aspect of a venue on the final balance of a perfect experience. Some of these top rated restaurants are very traditional and classic and some really clean and modern but I find them all amazingly beautiful and they all offer an outstanding service. Obviously, the food served in all of them is impeccable.

Le “Cinq” (, Le Meurice ( ) and Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée ( ) are located in three of the best and most luxurious hotels in town. Well, Monsieur Ducasse deserves his own post. Restaurant Le Meurice has been renovated, looks better then ever, and has gotten a Starck decorated new neighbor, Restaurant Le Dali. Le “Cinq” has the most beautiful flower arrangements, which, by the way, I used as inspiration for my wedding party decoration, so it’s hard for me not to love the place. All three have great “next door” bars, worth having a cocktail before or after dinner, especially Le Bar du Plaza Athénée, which is quite modern and hype.

Another great hotel restaurant is Les Ambassadeur ( in Hôtel de Crillon, facing the gorgeous Place de la Concorde, one of Paris' best locations. Besides lunch and dinner they serve a marvelous Brunch du Monde on Sunday mornings! Don’t miss it!

I’ll place some more haute cuisine Parisian restaurants on the a post.

Boa Viagem!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

General Travel Tips

I wanted my first post to be generic, to tell a little about how I plan my trips and in which spirit I like to travel.

First of all, I’m always really happy and excited about every thing that concerns travelling. All my vacations start at home, in front of my computer and sometimes of a book or two. I like to study the place I’m visiting so I’m prepared to make the very best out of it.

If I’ll be visiting a new place I start with basic research: main attractions, hotels, where to eat, drink, shop… When I’m a little familiar with my destiny I refine my research, taking a look at its map, getting aware of the best parts of the city to stay in and the hot spots in town. That can be a really special part of your vacation if you have fun with it, besides the fact that just makes your trip “last” so much longer. You don’t need to plan a rigid schedule but I believe that having an idea of what’s waiting for you is always safe and might maximize your time and enjoyment. If you do not have the patience for it, just check the basics like weather, hotels, attractions’ opening days and hours so you don’t risk loosing a ride, or even a trip, in vain.

In case I’m heading to a familiar place I look for new and hot venues and what’s going on at the time I’ll be visiting, as exhibitions, concerts, sports events… With the fear of sounding to cliché I have to say my favorites and most frequent destinies are Paris and New York, so they will certainly be regular on my posts.

Keep in mind that when you’re in a good mood things tend to work better. Enjoy each small moment and situation of your vacation, such as walking around holding hands with your loved one, laughing with friend, or simply stopping at a café for coffee or wine in the middle of the day. These small pleasures together may sum up to be further more then the bigger ones.
Now a hard one, try being and efficient packer. Not too little, not too much. I try to separate clothes per day so I won’t take too much. Beside, especially us girls, we always buy a few things.
What Luv and I always do, that is more a tradition then a tip, but that is easy enough to be done by anyone, is every time the plane takes off, the car hits the highway or the boat launches somewhere I take his hand and we wish each other Boa Viagem or “Have a nice trip”. It seems really simple but it feels amazing and, somehow, does make our vacations even better.

Well, Boa Viageml!