Paris skyline view
Epic view of the Eiffel Tower from the Chaillot Suite at the Shangri-La hotel, Paris

Make no mistake, France is one of my favorite countries in the world to visit. The mix of history, natural beauty, culture and a sheer love of life and everything delicious makes it the perfect travel destination. I am excited to be headed back again, for a luxury / foodie adventure to include Paris, Provence and Marseille.

 


To get there, I’ll be flying in Norwegian’s Premium cabin, did you know they have two direct flights per week from LAX to CDG? They also have seriously low prices and comfortable, new 787 Dreamliners, which are much better for passengers than other aircraft (lower cabin altitude, higher cabin humidity, quieter, better air filtration). Norwegian also has direct flights from LAX to London and I flew them earlier this year for my London adventure.

Norwegian Premium
Norwegian Premium, better than Premium Economy, a bit less than Business Class

In Paris, my home away from home will be the one, the only, Le Meurice. This true palace hotel (a part of the Dorchester Collection) has been the standard of luxury accommodations and service in Paris for 200 years. It was opened across the street from the Louvre when the Louvre was a royal palace and the hotel would host visiting foreign royalty who would call on the French court. I last had the pleasure of staying in the hotel in 2014 and had a fabulous, amazing, beautiful, fantastic suite, the best I’ve ever stayed in. The suite had two large princess balconies with sweeping views of the Tuileries, from the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower. The service was what I would call royal and I even had a chance to have lunch with Chef Alain Ducasse, who oversees all the food at the hotel.

Le Meurice
A bathroom can never have too much marble, this was mine in Suite 301

 


 

Le Meurice
Living the suite life, the entry hall to Suite 301
Alain Ducasse
A foodie selfie with Chef Alain Ducasse, during a tasting of his new menu at Le Dali, at Le Meurice

In Paris, I will be checking out some of the city’s best new restaurants, and visiting some of my favorite monuments and museums. I love to climb the Eiffel Tower (you can climb the stairs up to the first level for a seriously up-close and personal experience) and I hope to get up to the top of Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe. I’ll visit the Louvre and my other favorite museum the Musee de l’Orangerie.

Musee de l'Orangerie
A couple admire a Monet at the Musee de l’Orangerie

 


 

After Paris, I will take the fast TGV train (easily booked from the US via Rail Europe) to Avignon, in the heart of Provence. I will spend a few days at a friend’s country house in the small village of Les Gaps, near Carpentras, under the shadow of Mount Ventoux. After drinking great local wine and eating copious amounts of homemade food (and visiting the Palais des Papes), I will head to Marseille.

Provence
My view of the small country lane in Provence from my friend’s guest room
Hotel Dieu
The beautiful facade of the InterContinental Marseille Hotel Dieu, facing the port


InterContinental Marseille Hotel Dieu
A view of the port and the Notre-Dame de la Garde church on the hill from my room

I’ve visited Marseille before and instantly fell in love with the “real-ness” of this French city. My home in Marseille will be the city’s best hotel, the InterContinental Marseille Hotel Dieu, created from a historic 18th century building in the center of the old city. I’ve stayed here before too, the hotel’s beautiful rooms and suites are luxurious, with a true Provencal feel. The food here is also amazing, especially Alycone, one of France’s best restaurants. Led by Chef Lionel Levy, the team serves only five dinner services a week (Tuesday through Saturday nights), focusing on making each one perfect for the lucky 40 diners.

 


 


 

After Marseille, I will head back to Paris again via the fast TGV train (again easily booked from the US via Rail Europe) and thought it was great that I could book a ticket from Marseille right to CDG (transfering in Lyon) on the Rail Europe site. I will then catch my Norwegian flight back to Los Angeles, my mind surely filled with a new set of beautiful memories of France.