Travel Writer & Author

Month: November 2013

A Family Stay In Paris Becomes A Cultural Immersion

Paris has a deserved reputation as a magical destination, especially for the 7-to-17 set who cavort on carousels, stare at sights and consume croissants, crêpes and croques-monsieur (grilled ham and cheese).

Adults lucky enough to have traveled to Paris as children cherish that indelible love of place; those who can travel there en famille experience the City of Light as if for the first time.

An hour-long cruise along the Seine River is the time-honored introduction to Paris and particularly appealing on a jet-lagged first day. Bateaux Parisiens dock in front of the Eiffel Tower and offer children’s luncheon menus and multilingual headphone narration.

The péniches flow past 14 monuments — including France’s smaller version of the Statue of Liberty, which is positioned to face New York harbor — and under 25 bridges. Three of the most famous bridges are the glittering Pont Alexandre III, featured in the film Anastasia; Pont Neuf, which connects to the Île de la Cité; and Pont des Arts, a footbridge where kids run, families picnic and lovers attach padlocks.

Views of the Left Bank, or Rive Gauche, where the Eiffel Tower soars, include the shimmering dome of Les Invalides, above Napoleon’s tomb. Your kids may prefer running around the cannons outside this former military hospital. Read More… 

Global Traveler 2013

Paris gargoyle Irvina Lew



Masterful Marseille

TMASTERFUL-MARSEILLEI rvina Lewhe five-star InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu opened this April in France’s ancient Mediterranean port—the European Culture Capital for 2013.

The 18th-century building long served as the city hospital, and its transformation has retained the original staircases, stone tiles, vaulted passageways, and sections of limestone walls, one dating from the Renaissance.

A skylight over the soaring lobby tops a minimalist path bordered by ceramics that resemble ancient Greco Roman urns.

Of the 194 beautifully appointed rooms, 72 showcase panoramic views overlooking the Vieux Port to the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica.

This dramatic vista fronts the expansive terrace, gastronomic restaurants (where Michelin-starred Ducasse disciple chef Lionel Levy reigns), the 800-square-foot private balcony in the Presidential Suite (about $6,762 a night), private terraces outside 15 Junior Suites and three walls of 15-foot-high windows surrounding the spacious Prestige Suites.


Throughout the hotel, neutral tones enhance the contemporary décor and art reflects the sea theme; one notable work is a triptych of 17th-century Marseille. Shimmering glass tiles repeat the motif in the 3,000-square-foot Clarins Spa, complete with indoor pool, hammam, sauna, and six treatment rooms.

By Irvina Lew
See more at: Elite Traveler

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