Italy With Teen

A good holiday is one spent

among people whose notions of time

are vaguer than yours.

J.B. Priestley

italy-rome-coliseum-sharon-birke

Winter break now and Spring break soon! With Milan offering the best airfare accessible to favorable climes by train, here is a quick week’s itinerary if you can travel light with your teen.

From Milan’s Malpensa airport, take the Malpensa Express train to Milan Centrale and connect with the fast train (Trenitalia.com) to Rome.

In Rome, book a hotel (at least 3 nights) between Piazza Navona and the Pantheon so you’re in a lively area in the evenings near restaurants in any direction.

Some Rome tour options are on my When In Rome Again blog post.

Take a morning train to Florence Santa Maria Novella and before exiting the station, leave your luggage for a small fee at the depot along the wall where you see the sign for Track 16.

Florence in a day: You can’t miss the outdoor sculptures at the Piazza Vecchio, the fantastic embossed door of the Baptistry, museums galore, Pitti Palace, if the weather is lovely, catch the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo for panoramic views of Florence and to say hello to yet another David statue.

Take the evening train to Venice Santa Lucia station and book an overnight stay at one of the hotel’s across the canal so they can hold your bags while you sightsee the next day.

Venice in a day: Catch the vaporetto to St. Mark’s Square and feed the pigeons, admire the golden mosaics of the cathedral, climb up the bell tower, shop a bit, walk to Rialto Bridge and if you’re an early bird, catch the vendors setting up shop at the open air market. If you haven’t had enough of churches and museums yet, there’s the Accademia, the Scuola Grande and the Doge’s Palace. If you’d rather row a gondola than sit in one, check out Row Venice.

Take the evening train to Milan and stay near the Golden Triangle of designer shopping (ie, Via della Spiga, Via Sant’ Andrea and Via Montenapoleone). You’ll be within easy walking distance to the very well preserved Sforza Castle that holds a good collection of museums.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to add your Italy travel tips.

xoxox

Ceiling at the Vatican

italy-rome-vatican-art

Even a very tall man appears to be a midget at the mini-Hall of Mirrors of the Doria Pamphilj mansion in Rome

italy-rome-hall-of-mirrors

Michaelangelo’s David and work in progress at the Accademia in Florence

italy-florence-david-michaelangelo-sharon-birke

Rape of the Sabine Women at the Piazza Vecchio, Florence

italy-florence-sculpture-sharon-birke

Would you rather ride or row?

venice-gondola-sharon-birke

Sunset in Venice

venice-sunset

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Hot As Mercury

I adore Chicago.

It is the pulse 

of America.

Sarah Bernhardt

The-Bean-Chicago-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits

Famous for it’s gigantic drop of liquid mercury, Chicago just won my vote for The Prettiest City in the U.S.!

You’ll love the river that snakes through dazzling skyscrapers, the helpful locals, and the ease of getting around and through the fabulous park set beautifully next to a lake. See the city in different ways:

Inside Chicago Tours Hillary is charming and funny as she takes you on small group walking tours of the city’s best building interiors and sssshhh! secrets.

Architecture River Cruise The Architecture Foundation’s First Lady Cruises will give you all the right facts. For more entertaining versions, try Shoreline and Jim Collins is one of the fun guides of Wendella boats. Choose the sunset cruise to see the lovely change of city lights.

Bobby’s Bike Hike Yes, you can stand on a Segway or sit in a cool limo. I like combining the distraction of interesting sights with a workout and a bike tour on a cool night is just perfect. Wednesday and Saturday evening tours end with spectacular fireworks on the lake.

Other evening entertainment:

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. Chicago is the home of improv comedy so skip Broadway for this town’s longest running show of 30 mini plays in one hour. Mostly funny, sometimes poignant, sad and real. Not 21+ though the material can be.

Upstairs at the Virgin Hotel. I’ll have to come back without a teen chaperone to check out the fun at this naughty venue.

Fun restaurants with the family or not:

Three Arts Cafe Whether it’s your first date or the 100th, you’ll enjoy this romantic courtyard with chandeliers, a fountain and glass ceiling, indulgent service with a rooftop, too.

The Palm Court at The Drake Hotel Old world elegance for glamorous high tea after a day exploring the Gold Coast neighborhood. You can combine your tea reservation with a tour of the hotel on weekdays.

Fulton Market Kitchen Feed your inner artist with this feast for the eyes.

The Terrace Regardless of your politics, the Trump Hotel has the best open air views facing the river and half the Chicago skyline.

And if the kids insist on the Skydeck, mom must stop by the breathtaking atrium of the pink building next door.

The neighborhood you stay in makes all the difference and I suspect I adore Chicago because I chose a central location (between Clark Street Bridge and Millennium Park) for easy access to the city’s attractions, shopping and innumerable dining options.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your best Chicago travel tips here.

xoxox

Chicago-skyline-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits

Blonde-Glamour-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits

Cloud-Gate-Chicago-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits

Pearls-Red-Dress-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

Myanmar Meander (Part II: Mandalay, Kalaw and Inle Lake)

Travel far enough,

you meet yourself.

David Mitchell

Too many fun things keep popping up that kept me from getting to this sequel sooner.  I’m off on another trip this week, always compelled to follow where joy leads me.  This summer has been particularly full of fun firsts. This year literally started on the right elephant’s foot!

P1191547-Myanmar-Burma-Kalaw-Elephant-ride-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

In the mountains of Kalaw, all is green, peace and quiet except for my occasional shrieks while on a  bareback elephant ride at Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp. Green Hill is a sanctuary for retired elephants (even their vet is a retiree) that also promotes reforestation with its tourism program. You get to feed and pet the elephants at their hut then scrub their thick hide as they soak in the river. And don’t you worry, riding them bareback is optional–only for the brave or the reckless. 😉

Selfie or not? Even the monks do it. At the U-Bein Bridge, the longest teakwood bridge in the world built in 1850 and still holding up to foot traffic.

P1171396-Myanmar-Burma-U-Bein-Bridge-Mandalay-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Mandalay, the last royal capital of the former Burma, has a romantic name that sounds infinitely more beautiful than its downtown area. The best parts of it are the hills dotted with stupas and temples and the sight of monks–men in burgundy robes, women in pink, all with shaved heads.

Mandalay is known as Motorcycle City among locals. I’ll remember it more for vans with passenger doors that open to oncoming traffic.

P1151073-Myanmar-Burma-Bagan-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

The Shwenandaw Monastery, a glorious example of traditional 19th century wooden monasteries, is made of intricately carved teak.  Originally part of the Royal Palace in Amarapura, this building is also a fine example of recycling, dismantled and transported to Mandalay as the King’s living quarters when the capital city was moved in 1857, then moved a second time outside the Royal Palace grounds when his son succeeded the throne.

P1161196-Myanmar-Burma-Teak-Monastery-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

In remote villages, life seems to have gone on largely unchanged for the past 2,500 years: peasants, oxcarts, the same kinds of food and clothes. The same pagodas covered in gold in the richer towns or merely painted in the poor ones. Cellphones are quickly becoming ubiquitous though.

P1151063-Myanmar-Burma-Kalaw-Inle-Lake-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

I bought a farmer’s umbrella not quite the size of this red giant, but ingeniously made completely of handmade paper and bamboo moving parts.

P1181485-Myanmar-Burma-Kalaw-Inle-Lake-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

There are 500,000 monks and 150,000 nuns in Myanmar—which is to say that a significant percent of the country aspire to follow the Buddha’s path. Most boys spend some years as monks before returning to their families. I met a couple of women who chose to join an order after they had already finished college and had worked on a career.

Busloads of tourists certainly don’t make studying easy for this little monk.

P1201616-Myanmar-Burma-Kalaw-Inle-Lake-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

As a tourist, you pick up some Buddhism along the way, getting a better understanding of the variety in religious structures. The pagoda or stupa (or zedi) is a solid structure with no interior that often contains a relic. A temple is a hollow square building. A cave serves as a meditation center for monks. The ordination hall is for exactly that. The monastery is the monks’ residence. The library is where scriptures of the Buddha are kept.

P1130684-Myanmar-Burma-Shwedagon-Pagoda-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-2

Mornings in Myanmar often find bewitching mists hovering in the valleys and lakes.

P1222071-Myanmar-Burma-Kalaw-Inle-Lake-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Inle Lake, in central Myanmar, is the region where locals  live on wooden houses on stilts, farm on floating patches of soil, bathe, brush their teeth,, do their laundry, commute, etc… all in the same water.  My fellow travelers asked our guide, “Where does the sewage go?” She doesn’t look us in the eye when she answered, “Septic tanks.”

P1212016-Myanmar-Burma-Kalaw-Inle-Lake-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Aside from farming on floating patches of muck that are held in place by bamboo poles, industry in the lake includes boat making, weaving silk and lotus fiber, tobacco rolling, silver making, iron work, religious traffic, etc. A big gash in the mountainsides for new hotels represents the government’s ambition for a stronger surge of tourism. How will the lake’s ecosystem support such deluge? Beats me!

P1212036-Myanmar-Burma-Kalaw-Inle-Lake-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

P1211926-Myanmar-Burma-Kalaw-Inle-Lake-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

P1211964-Myanmar-Burma-Kalaw-Inle-Lake-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Stay at a lake front room of the Inle Resort or catch the sunset from their boat landing. The spa is absolutely stunning here!

P1201687-Myanmar-Burma-Kalaw-Inle-Lake-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Inle Lake fishermen are an iconic sight standing at one end of their boats, gracefully paddling with just one leg to keep one hand free for the net and the other for the spear.

P1201708-Myanmar-Burma-Inle-Lake-Fisherman-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

The beauty of Myanmar is in considerable part a consequence of its inaccessibility. Get there before it becomes more mainstream and lose its unique charms. Best month to catch a tour group is February.

Moi in their traditional wrap.

P1130654-Myanmar-Burma-Shwedagon-Pagoda-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add your exotic travel tips.

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift of elegant and timeless portraits

with a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

 Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

At the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum

You can’t connect the dots looking forward.

You can only connect them looking backwards.

So trust that your dots will connect in the future.

Steve Jobs

NYC-Cooper-Hewitt-museum-family-poster-Sharon-Birke

Benker & Steiner 1996 poster on the beleaguered patriarch

What museum allows you to photograph and assemble a webpage of your favorites among their exhibits? Encourages interactive fun for design inspiration? Has the stairs of a London Bus wedged into a mansion’s grand staircase?  New York City’s Cooper Hewitt checks “Yes” to all these and more! Even my difficult-to-please teen says he’ll save his ticket stub to remember our visit. Next time the heat gets unbearable this summer, hit this cool destination with your favorite young adults!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your fun family ideas in/around NYC this summer.

xoxox

In the mood to design a hat, a chair, a building? Possibilities can be endless here…

NYC-Cooper-Hewitt-museum-interactive-design-Sharon-Birke

Extrusions 2009 by Heatherwick Design Studios.

A metal bench inspired by the toothpaste you squeeze out of a tube.

NYC-Cooper-Hewitt-museum-extrusion-bench-design-Sharon-Birke

My kind of grand staircase model, but, boy, would I hate forgetting something in my bedroom upstairs!

NYC-Cooper-Hewitt-museum-grand-staircase-design-Sharon-Birke

An artwork from the more glamorous days of luggage airline tags.

NYC-Cooper-Hewitt-museum-travel-poster-design-museum-Sharon-Birke

A functional chair that lets you spin like a top.

NYC-Cooper-Hewitt-museum-spin-chair-design-Sharon-Birke

Next two photos, a dress that folds itself neatly soon as you drop it onto the floor. Every mom’s dream!

NYC-Cooper-Hewitt-museum-folded-square-dress-Sharon-Birke

NYC-Cooper-Hewitt-museum-folding-dress-design-Sharon-Birke

Did I say we love the Cooper Hewitt?

Go on weekdays to enjoy the “Immersion Room” for more than the 5 minutes you’re allowed when there’s a crowd. Draw a single object and the projector will multiply it across two walls. Lucky my teen was game to plaster himself amidst his heart pattern.

I-love-NYC-Cooper-Hewitt-design-museum-Sharon-Birke

See my collection of Cooper Hewitt exhibit favorites at

http://cprhw.tt/v/n42f

Happy Summer!

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift of elegant and timeless portraits

with a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

 Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

 

Marseille: Shade and Shadow

Boy, those French–

They have a different word

for everything!

Steve Martin

South-of-France-Marseille-NYC-NJ-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-4875-2

Mature romance by the water is how I will remember Marseille. With its Mediterranean harbor of clear blue waters coyly inviting you for a dip, sunshine 300 days of the year, a spread of restaurants representing its multicultural population, Marseille has all the good stuff tempered by a rough-edged reputation.  It’s a three hour train ride from Paris and an easy commute from the smaller cities of Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles and Nîmes when you’re in the South of France.

Marseille is both gritty and pretty–full of graffiti and locals who warn tourists not to wander in certain areas after dark or even during the day. Despite this, I had a wonderful time traveling with easygoing photography lovers who had much enthusiasm for the town. Marseille reminds me of the less savory parts of ourselves we’d rather skirt over and the dark corners of our psyche that might prove to be less dangerous  if we embraced them.

South-of-France-Marseille-MUCEM-NYC-NJ-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-7010198

The freshest seafood right off the boat!  At the fish market, this octopus stealthily tried to grab some lunch before he became someone else’s lunch.

South-of-France-Marseille-seafood-NYC-NJ-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-6300211-2

Stay at the Intercontinental or chill on their terrace bar and restaurant with its view of Notre Dame de la Garde. Thanks to Anais, Gerard and Olivier for charming service!

InterContinental Marseille Hotel Dieu, 1 Place Daviel, +33-4-1342-4212

South-of-France-Marseille-Intercontinental-Notre-Dame-NYC-NJ-Sharon-Birke-Portraits-6280188

At the MuCEM (Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée), admire the engineering genius and patchwork shadows of its lace facade made of cement. Check out the sea view from their restaurant “Le Mole Passedat.”

7 Promenade Robert Laffont
Marseille, France
+33 4 84 35 13 13

South-of-France-Marseille-MUCEM-NYC-NJ-Sharon-Birke-Portraits-7010185

Underneath this Cathedral (across the street from the MuCEM) is Les Voûtes Marseille: home to shops, restaurants, bars, etc…

South-of-France-Marseille-NYC-NJ-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-7010131

Open air Tango in the square on Friday evenings by the ferry dock. I loved seeing elderly couples walking hand in hand, dancing tango in the open air, women much older than I am still wearing high heels and above the knee dresses on date night. C’est si bon!

South-of-France-Marseille-tango-NYC-NJ-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-5110

Hop on or off a boat to swim, visit the calanques, the Frioul, and the prison of “The Count of Monte Cristo” (a movie you’ll want to re-watch!)

South-of-France-Marseille-boat-NYC-NJ-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-6300023

Go topless at this most adorable little cove near Le Petit Nice, a Relaix and Chateaux boutique hotel best known for the Marseillaise specialty dish, bouillabaisse.

South-of-France-Marseille-topless-NYC-NJ-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-4903

For casual rooftop dining with sea and marina view among good looking locals:

Rowing Club, 34 Boulevard Charles Livon, 13007 Marseille, France
+33 4 91 90 07 78

Best couscous is at Le Kahena, beside the white church corner of the Vioux Port.

Le Kahena, 2 Rue de la République, 13001 Marseille, France
+33 4 91 90 61 93

Foster and Partners’ Ombriere reflecting steel pavilion at Vioux Port.

South-of-France-Marseille-Ombriere-NYC-NJ-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-6290200

Had the most delicious meal at the casual garden of La Passarelle. Look up when you’re facing their kitchen to find this embroidered artwork.

La Passarelle, 52 Rue Plan Fourmiguier, 13007 Marseille +33 4 9133 0327

South-of-France-Marseille-La-Passarelle-garden-restaurant-NYC-NJ-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-7030605

Limo to/from the airport and anywhere else:

Taxi Perez (Joseph’s phone 0613360991)

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add your South of France travel tips. Vive Le France!

Watch my slideshow on Youtube

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift of elegant and timeless portraits

with a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

 Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Myanmar Meander (Part I: Yangon and Bagan)

This is Burma

and it is unlike any land

you may know about…

Rudyard Kipling

P1130652-Myanmar-Burma-Shwedagon-Pagoda-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Catch a fiery sunset at the golden Shwedagon Pagoda

A place uniquely preserved in culture with people still true to their native traditions, Myanmar (aka Burma) stays mostly untouched by modernity–except for cellphones and the quickly thickening deluge of tourists.  Go see this country sooner than later, while golden arches are still made of wood and gold leaf at sacred pagodas with no McDonald’s in sight! I loved traveling to this country where markets abound with fresh produce and natural herbal remedies, shoppers who carry their own reusable baskets, where people know only to cook and eat real food–a reminder of our almost forgotten connection to nature’s divine wisdom and benevolence.

P1130762-Myanmar-Burma-Bagan-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Helpful and kind despite economic hardships, locals still proudly wear their traditional longhis (i.e., long skirt wraps for men and women) in cotton or silk, as well as their native thanaka skin cream which also doubles as makeup and sunscreen.

As smitten with technology as we are

P1130785-Myanmar-Burma-Shwedagon-Pagoda-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Their legendary political heroine Aung San Suu Kyi

P1120597-Myanmar-Burma-Bagan-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-2

Primarily Buddhist, alms giving is a daily ritual in this country.

P1161261-Myanmar-Burma-Buddhist-Monks-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Monks at work

P1151145-Myanmar-Burma-Buddhist-Monks-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Monks at play

P1151159-Myanmar-Burma-Buddhist-Monks-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Someone’s not too thrilled by this makeup business… His mother’s market basket doubles as baby swing.

P1140984-Myanmar-Burma-children-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

When traveling to exotic locales, I prefer to head out of the big cities to get the real pulse of the country.  Bagan is an hour’s flight Northwest of Yangon. Morning flights make a clockwise circle of Yangon-Bagan-Mandalay-Inle Lake.  It’s always best to take the first flights out in case of delays.

To imagine small town Bagan, picture the entire stretch of Manhattan with nothing but stupas of all sizes. Early bird or not, rise for a ride with Balloons Over Bagan. At the bottom of this photo is the outer edge of one of the prettiest hotels in Bagan, the Aureum Palace.

P1140883-Myanmar-Burma-Hot-Air-Balloon-ride-Bagan-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Grandma in tribal headdress, fierce as the dragon it is supposed to conjure

P1140982-Myanmar-Burma-Bagan-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Horse and buggy ride

P1151082-Myanmar-Burma-Bagan-Carriage-Ride-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

Sunset over Bagan

P1140840-Myanmar-Burma-Bagan-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke-2

Welcome to Myanmar!

P1151105-Myanmar-Burma-Buddhist-Monks-Powerful-Goddess-Portraits-Sharon-Birke

This series is inspired by the revival of “The King and I” on Broadway. While waiting for Part II of this travel guide, click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what you’re curious to learn about other cultures.

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift of elegant and timeless portraits

with a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

 Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Paris Charms With Teen

 A good holiday is one spent

among people whose notions of time

are vaguer than yours.

JB Priestley

Paris-Intercontinental-Le-Grand-Hotel-Sharon-Birke

Have you met a doorman as young as this?

What would you do if you just got back home from too many weeks on the road and your husband dares, “Can you get back on a plane tomorrow?” Do you say, “But this… but that…?” No! No! No! You book tickets the next day, tell your daughter to pack her bags, and get on a flight the day after. This sudden turn of events left my teen in a daze, “I can’t believe this is really happening!”–she thought the upcoming school break meant being glued to her pajamas and iPod. Nah!

This being her very first trip to Europe, our itinerary was designed to please her. “No museums,  no shopping,” she insisted. “No Disney, no queues,” I countered. We walked to and from the Seine, taking in magnificent architecture, pink skies, and painterly scenes at every turn.

At my favorite Pont Alexandre III, I found this scorpion catching the Eiffel. For the best portraits with the Eiffel as background, wake up before the tourists, head to the Trocadero and have that fabulous marble platform all to yourself!

Paris-Eiffel-Scorpion-teen-yoga-Sharon-Birke-Portraits

Stay at the Paris Le Grand Hotel

2 Rue Scribe, 75009

+33 1 4007 3232

Love this elegant atrium where a piano man plays classical or jazz tunes in the early evenings. The Le Grand has large (for Europe) rooms at a most central location. The Opera’s golden facade and the metro are at your doorstep.

Paris-Intercontinental-Le-Grand-Hotel-atrium-Sharon-Birke

Intercontinental-Paris-Le-Grand-Hotel-Sharon-Birke

Bike Tour with Paris Charms and Secrets

Fancy seeing the city like Parisians on bikes? We did! But I must admit these electric bikes saved me from un-chic huffing and puffing!  History buff Xavier (or Paris Charms and Secrets founder, Olivier) takes you around the best sites, sharing little known facts of Paris lore. Make this your first activity upon arrival so you’ll know–among other secrets I’m not telling–which Louvre entrance has less of a queue than underneath that iconic pyramid. Take the afternoon tour and they’ll time a 6pm stop at the foot of the twinkling lights of the Eiffel.  My teen remarked, “If my history teacher told stories like Xavier, learning would be so much easier!” Ah-men!

Paris-Charms-and-Secrets-Birke-Tour-Eiffel-Sharon-Birke

When you’ve had too many macarons and can’t be bothered lining up for the sweets at Angelina, pick an eclair at L’eclair de Genie, 32 Rue Notre Dame des Victoires, 75002, phone +33 1 8479 2340.

Paris-eclair-dessert-Leclair-de-Genie-Sharon-Birke

Find Marie Antoinette’s last handwritten note (among other historical artifacts that belong in a museum) at the restaurant, Le Procope13 Rue de l’Ancienne Comédie, 75006, phone +33 1 40 46 79 00.  We spotted a waiter calling Napoleon, “Will you ever pick up the hat you left here, Sir?”

Paris-Le-Procope-Napoleon-Hat-Sharon-Birke

I did make an exception to our “no museum, no queue” agreement with a day in Versailles. She had zero idea what Versailles was about so she cooed at the palace’s golden gates and lavish decor, walked wide eyed through the sumptuous interiors, and it was only after we finished touring the palace that it finally dawned on her, “You know, this is like a museum!” Aha!!! 😉  Here, I take a moment to commiserate with a statue underdressed for the winter’s cold.

Two-Cold-in-Paris-Versailles-Sharon-Birke-Portraits

Did I say “No ‘Buts'” when opportunity presents itself?

At the Hall of Mirrors, Versailles

FullSizeRender

If this trip weren’t such a whirlwind, I would have introduced my teen to Paris’ great artists before we got there.  She would have enjoyed a scavenger hunt of scenes from Monet’s “The Boathouse on the Seine,” Marc Chagall’s “Paris Through the Window,” Van Gogh’s “Sidewalk Café at Night.”

For walking tours, there is Paris Walks for daily local variety in different neighborhoods. For guides with academic backgrounds specializing in your area of interest, book a private tour with Context Tours. And when your teen can’t walk one more step, take a trip on a bateau-mouche, the glass-enclosed boats that ply the Seine, giving you a graceful overview of the city.

To see earlier Paris travel related posts, enter “Paris” in the search box on the top right of this page.  In the near future, I’ll list my favorite books set in Paris. Until then, click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add your tips for Paris travel with teens. xoxox

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: