Postcard from Paris, Provence and the Cote d'Azur

Postcard from Paris, Provence and the Cote d'Azur

Paris, Provence and the Cote d’Azur. These destinations, though different in feel, bring to mind a kalidescope of colors, textures, flavors and views of this picturesque country. Though it is late March we’re enjoying mostly sunny days and warm breezes on the French Riviera. Rain in Paris only adds to the watercolor effect of shimmering streets.

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Curated Hotels: Our Stay in Tuscan Luxury at Castel Monastero in the Heart of Chianti

Curated Hotels: Our Stay in Tuscan Luxury at Castel Monastero in the Heart of Chianti

It may be just a quick view, or an image, that stays in your mind. I spotted vibrant images of Castel Monastero when they first opened as a boutique resort and I jumped at the chance to visit when offered. Mr. C.T. and I spent two nights immersed in Tuscan luxury at Castel Monastero last fall. Days were spent exploring the dappled beauty of winding roads adorned with vineyards, discovering foodie gems, wine tasting at a local winery and getting acquainted with the locals. Evenings spent enjoying Michelin star dining at Contrada and these glimmering sunsets from the terrace.

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A Sumptuous Stay and Spa Experience at Bagni Di Pisa & Grotta Giusti in Tuscany

A Sumptuous Stay and Spa Experience at Bagni Di Pisa & Grotta Giusti in Tuscany

Our next stop on our spa getaway to Tuscany was the classic Italian spa retreat at Bagni Di Pisa. Here we enjoyed gourmet dining, fine wines with our impressive sommelier and luxurious spa treatments. One of the most interesting elements to this retreat is the history. Our two room suite, loaded with classic Italian charm, was a sumptuous blend of luxury and historic style. Was it the Dalai Lama or Richard Gere that stayed in our suite?

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Our Spa Getaway to Fonteverde in Tuscany with Italian Hospitality Collection

Our Spa Getaway to Fonteverde in Tuscany with Italian Hospitality Collection

Last fall I received an invitation to visit a collection of spa resorts, the Italian Hospitality Collection, in Tuscany. Let’s just say our host, Cristina Morellini, had me at ‘ciao!’ with this invitation. I’m a fan of spa hotels in general and when they are based in Tuscany I’m over the moon. Our first stop on the itinerary was the classically beautiful Fonteverde Spa resort located in San Casciano dei Bagni. A scenic train ride from Rome, a lift from our private driver, and we arrived at this blissful spot with the goal of relaxation and rejuvenation Tuscan style.

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Savour: The Anticipation of Travel

Savour: The Anticipation of Travel

I’m in that lovely space where I’m looking forward to a much anticipated trip to Tuscany but I’m not in the final frenzy of packing just yet. I’m in the phase of researching, exploring, daydreaming about my travel plans. Let’s face it, part of the joy of travel is savouring the anticipation. With travel we look forward to changing up our day to day experience, enjoying new adventures, meeting new people and treating ourselves especially well. Combined with the sensory experience of regional flavors, a cacaphony of languages, a myriad of scents and smells blending into the vibrant color palette that is travel.

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A Sunny Afternoon at the Parisian Flea Market - Porte Vanves

A Sunny Afternoon at the Parisian Flea Market - Porte Vanves

Paris is adorned with a number of colorful flea markets or brocantes as they are often called. On our first trip to Paris, in 2003, Scott and I spent an afternoon at the famed Clignancourt flea market, also known as the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, and thought to be the largest flea market in the world.  We shipped home a small container filled to the brim with chandeliers, sconces, trays, perfume bottles, prints and charms from Paris long ago.

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A Parisian Apartment Style Brunch

A Parisian Apartment Style Brunch

One of the most alluring reasons to stay in a Parisian apartment while visiting Paris is savoring a taste of the French way of life. With a boulangerie, fruit market, grocery, patisserie, butcher and international market on nearly every block, it’s easy to gather the freshest, tastiest ingredients each day to create memorable bites.

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Our Stay in a Romantic Parisian Apartment

Our Stay in a Romantic Parisian Apartment

With sparkling crystal chandeliers, vintage velvet couches, luxurious linens, time-worn books, a pastel collection of vintage plates, whimsical accents like a jaunty top hat, and a touch of animal print, the details of this apartment are charming. The skeleton wall, meticulously restored, is a nod to the early history of this charming space.

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An Afternoon in Picturesque Varenna on the Shores of Lake Como, Italy

An Afternoon in Picturesque Varenna on the Shores of Lake Como, Italy

There are places you stumble upon while traveling that simply need no explanation. On a hazy summer afternoon, we arrived by boat, from Bellagio. Between flashes of sunlight, bursts of showers, and a moody mist that wound around our afternoon, we experienced Varenna, on the shores of Lake Como. These images speak for themselves. Click on the gallery to open a slide show of charming Varenna.

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An Afternoon in Beguiling Bellagio on Lake Como

An Afternoon in Beguiling Bellagio on Lake Como

One afternoon Scott and I pointed our rented Peugeot northeast, from our villa in Lezzeno, to beautiful Bellagio for the afternoon. Known for grand hotels, elegant villas, voluptuous flower boxes and stunning views from the steep staircases of the city center. Bellagio is beguiling.

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Our Lakeside Stay at a Villa in Lezzeno, at Lake Como, Italy

Our Lakeside Stay at a Villa in Lezzeno, at Lake Como, Italy

If the Amalfi Coast is shimmering pastels and Siena is rich, brushstrokes in oils, then Lake Como is bathed in watercolors mingling shadows with light. The views of mountain, sky and water are made chameleon by the microclimates in the Lombardy region of the Italian Alps. From sunny and brilliant to dark and stormy, punctuated with raindrops, no wonder this moody vista is considered magical to those who visit.

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