Category Archives: Travel

Merci Monaco

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for such a wonderful immersion into Dali’s artistic journey at Grimaldi Forum

for the wonders of jewelry making by Chaumet

for the new turtles nursery for Samy and Avril at the Oceanographic Museum, which we always enjoy visiting

for our first visit to the zoo, which only got 3/10 from my kid, who knows everything about how enclosures should look like and she is serious about it. Some enclosures are beautiful nonetheless. The zoo is home to 250 animals and all of them were donated, which makes it unique

for the return of the unhindered view on the Casino in all its green splendor

for the best tarte au chocolat at Costa. The lady there also vows to the excellency of chocolate éclaire. Something to try next time 🙂

for an excuisite chocolate ice cream by Marcolini, enjoyed in a true schoolgirl spirit on the stairs of the Opera. It brought back a dear childhood rebelion memory: to eat ice cream in the middle of winter and on the stairs of the bus station

for the discovery of Gaia, an ode to Greek cuisine in the heart of Monaco. I loved the food’s magic power to take you to the Hellen land and then bring you back to Cote d’Azur. We enjoyed the watermelon and feta salad, the cheese pie with truffles and the fish in salt crust. Wine lovers will find there a fine selection of Greek and French wines (to the extent I can judge). Service is personalised and well syncronised on a very busy night

for an amazing view from Le Meridien, which was very generous with us and exceeded our expectations

for the mind-blowing taste of Munegu – a cake born from a blend of panettone and fougasse – from Mada One by Marcel Ravin, to share and enjoy with the loved ones upon return

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Tips for city-breaks with kids

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The last city break we took inspired me to put together some tips for trips with kids. These might be valid sometimes for the “big babies” of the family (we all know who they are 🙂 ).

So, here are my tips:

– limit the number of visits per day and plan breaks every 2-3 hours, depending on the age of the child;

– look for sensorial-friendly activities. Luckily, museums these days integrate in their displays lots of interactive features for a more fulfilling experience.

– alternate landmarks with visits to zoos, amusement parks or public parks, where local kids play.

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Paris, Trocadero Gardens

– with some commitment, you can find nature spots even in busiest of cities. Your urban kid and your urban self will be thankful for a day spent among trees and other creatures.

– let the kid sleep longer in the morning. They will be rested and eager to explore through the day. That’s also the perfect time to plan for the day.

– consider whether you need to book a hotel room with breakfast or rent an apartment with a kitchenette. Choose what serves better your own morning rhythm.

– book hotels with pools for a “chillaxing” (my kid’s favourite word from “chill” and “relax”) experience in the evening, after long walks. It will also serve you well in rainy weather.

– allow some TV time, if you have no TV at home (which is our case) or stick to your usual TV time-allowed at home.

– complete each day by asking the kid what she enjoyed most during the day. She is your most valuable customer, so – ask for feedback.

– enjoy every moment and look at places through your kid’s eyes. You might be surprised by what you experience even in familiar places.

Seen in Paris

Merci Paris for

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Merci Paris for

my kid’s first encounter with you and your generosity with architecture and entertainment for her age (and mine).

her amazement when the Eiffel Tower suddenly appeared in front of us at Trocadero (if you want such an effect on your kid, do not tell her/him what’s next 😉 )

the lovely Acquarium and for her first fish feeding&touching experience.

the Batobus and its unique hop-on hop-off feature, which takes you to 8 points of attractions.

the small zoo at the Jardin des Plantes of the Museum of Nature, which has quite a variety of animals, including the cuttest red panda, snow leopard cubs and baby orangutans.

the superbly done zoo in Vencenne forest, home to 2000 animals. It is our absolutly nr 1 and we have seen quite a few so far in Europe.

the Museum of the Humans – Musee de l’Homme – and its interactive displays to learn or revisit some of the stages of human development. Displays also raise awareness of the human impact on nature. It was fun to listen to different spoken languages and learn for example that Mand was spoken by 8 people (!) in 2015.

the magic of the four-hand baking for tea time with chef Antonio Cortez at the school of Alain Ducasse.

the best breakfasts at Carette and Stohrer, the 300 years old bakery in Paris.

and a silent promise to come back and explore more of you.

Thank you Bucharest

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Thank you Bucharest

for the funniest pilot on my flights so far: “Ladies and gentlemen, in a few moments we will land in Bucharest. The weather is not as nice as in Frankfurt. Yet, as they say “A nice drink a day, keeps the bad weather away”. Ask my co-pilot for tips on bars in Bucharest. He knows quite a few”. Laughter erupted.

for the glimpse of sun on a cloudy day from my hotel room window. Just make sure you’ll deliver on the promise I made to the lady visiting from Los Angeles. She longed to still meet the sunny you.

for new and renewed partnerships with committed professionals

for your urban garden and very nice time spent in a gorgeous company

your lively street art, which cohabitates with formal art places

an ephemeral ode to bearded men

Lido Hotel’s eclectic deco

the politest and fastest waiter at 5 in the morning in an airport cafe

and last but not least, for my third excellent lady taxi driver, after similar experiences in Paris and Vilnius. “So, there are ladies driving taxis in other countries as well” she was curious to know. She shared in return her experience with a passenger who dared to touch her shoulder and knee. “I was 5 seconds close to test my electroshock device on him and dump him in the forest. In 5 years I am driving, nothing of this sort happened to me. And he seemed a respectable foreigner and interested to know if I am married and have kids!”

That was appalling. I asked her if she can notify the dispatching centers when things like this happen. She should not deal alone with such a situation. “Yes, I can.” she confirmed. Would the passenger have done it if the driver was a male? Highly unlikely.

Upon arrival at the destination, it was gratifying to see her face lit up with unfettered enthusiasm and passion for her work.

Merci Hoerdt

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Merci Hoerdt

for your Celebration of Asparagus

150 years ago a priest had the idea of celebrating the plant.

Since then, each year farmers open their farm gates to visitors in May in the Alsatian village of Hoerdt, north of Strasbourg.

Local cafes and restaurants offer all sorts of dishes inspired by asparagus. We tried asparagus velouté, quiche and salads at Cafe Creme, a family- run and family-welcoming business.

The celebration culminated with a procession headed by Miss and Mister Asparagus, the villagers elect the night before.

Hoerdt is a charming village to spend an afternoon, when touring Alsace and the region.

Thank you, Vilnius

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for a sunny and warm summer-like weather

your shades of blue

your hidden architectural jewels

for the promotion of local designers

Ruta chocolate for my kid’s taste and my taste of dark chocolate

new and renewed partnerships sealed over a good traditional meal of the Lithuanian cuisine, where I am told pork is the default meat. I still managed to find a few vegetarian options for my lent week before Orthodox Easter, and for that I am double grateful.