Author: Leah Walker

Leah Travels France–February

Check In Tucked away in the Poitou-Charentes region in the southwest of France is Châteaux de L’Yeuse. This 19th century hotel sits in the outskirts of Cognac, overlooking the Charente Valley and its villages and vineyards. Owned and operated by Céline Desmazières, the property is the perfect base for exploring the underrated Cognac area. A nice combination of comfort and elegance, L’Yeuse feels like a private residence, but with the perks of a four-star hotel. Rooms and suites are large and decorated in classic French style, but it’s the common areas that stand out most. A large, sweeping terrace...

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Leah Travels France–January

Each month, our Editor-at-Large and Paris resident, Leah Walker, is opening her French address book. She’ll share the latest, greatest, little known, classic and up-and-coming finds focused on her adopted home country.  Check In Located in La Celle-en-Provence, a small town west of Marseilles, is L’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle. Owned by the renowned chef and restaurateur, Alain Ducasse, this boutique hotel is a member of Châteaux & Hôtels Collection. L’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle sits next to a 12th century Benedictine abbey and was opened by Ducasse in 1999. Terracotta colored with pretty green shutters, the...

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Leah Travels France—December

Each month, our Editor-at-Large and Paris resident, Leah Walker, opens her French address book. She’ll share the latest, greatest, little known, classic and up-and-coming finds in her adopted home country.  Check In In the Loire-Atlantique department, on the cusp of Brittany, is Domaine de La Bretesche. This 15th century château-turned-resort is on the outskirts of Missillac, near Brière Regional Natural Park. As a Relais & Château property owned by Bessé Signature, Domaine de La Bretesche is a welcomed escape in the French countryside. The massive estate has many outbuildings that have been re-purposed, yet still retain their original charm....

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Leah Travels France–November

Each month, our Editor-at-Large and Paris resident, Leah Walker, is opening her French address book. She’ll share the latest, greatest, little known, classic and up-and-coming finds focused on her adopted home country.  Visit this Museum Not many people visit Musée Nissim de Camondo. I should know, because I live across the street from this mansion-turned-museum on the edge of Parc Monceau.  Count Moïse de Camondo designed his home after the Petit Trianon at Versailles specifically to hold his bulging collection of antiques — and filled it with exquisite and rare 18th century paintings, furniture, and objets d’art, Moïse was from a...

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Leah Travels France–October

Each month, our Editor-at-Large and Paris resident, Leah Walker, is opening her French address book. She’ll share the latest, greatest, little known, classic and up-and-coming finds in her adopted home country. Find more travel tidbits on her website, and get your daily French dose from her Instagram, LeahTravels. Visit this Museum With nearly 1,200 works from artists such as Andy Warhol, Alain Jacquet, David Tremlett and Cesar Arman, the Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) is a must-visit when in Nice. Documenting art from the 1960s until today, the MAMAC is nearly 50,000 square feet of avant-garde...

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Leah Travels France–September

World War II buffs and those simply interested in the history of Paris will appreciate “Lights Out, Paris Under the Occupation” by Context Travel. Led by a modern historian, this walking tour examines the lives of Parisians under Nazi Germany’s rule. Focused on the Right Bank of the city, the tour explores a Jewish residential neighborhood in the 9th arrondissement, Place Vendôme, Place de la Concorde, and other lesser-known sites along the way.

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Vendanges in Bordeaux: Picking with a Purpose

My alarm shakes me from my sleep, and from my king-size bed at Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière, I see the darkened Eiffel Tower. The hundreds of Justin Bieber fans who clogged Fouquet’s entrance and the Avenue George V the day before have disappeared. At 5:30 a.m., Paris is still in a slumber. Haussmann buildings are dark and streets are essentially deserted. Early morning in Paris is special, and something I don’t see nearly enough. The halls at Gare Montparnasse are all but empty, a far cry from the madness that will ensue in a few hours. Coffee and croissant lines...

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Paris Attitude

It’s interesting how quickly we acclimate to new surroundings. What was once foreign soon becomes our new normal. With the apartment window open, I could hear the rise and fall of my building’s small, green dumpsters.

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Town and Country: At Home in Italy

Loaded down with luggage, I made the seven-minute trek from baggage claim through the covered walkway to the pier. With shoulder length blonde hair that would make even Fabio envious, Mario greeted me in his private water taxi with a broad, toothy smile. It was my first trip to Venice, and this scenario wasn’t a bad introduction to the city. I climbed into the back of the boat and made myself comfortable. Before taking the wheel, Mario turned up the music and sang along to Journey in perfect English. How apropos, I thought. The sun was beginning to set,...

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Davos, Switzerland is a Breath of Fresh Alpine Air

Perhaps most well-known as the host city of the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland regularly welcomes some of the world’s most powerful people from politics and business. But before Davos became the epicenter for the world’s economic affairs, people made the pilgrimage to the Graubünden Alps for its healing effects. Since the middle of the 19th century, Davos was best known as a summer spa town, thanks to German, Alexander Spengler, who discovered the healing properties of its climate. As the highest Alpine town at 1, 560 meters above sea level, Davos was filled with sanatoriums, treating those afflicted with...

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Bessé Signature and Anne Jousse Bring a Unique Brand of Luxury to Paris

The idea of a young luxury hotel brand competing in Paris, the world’s #1 tourist destination, seems like a difficult task. However, not only has Bessé Signature competed, they’ve flourished, making a name for themselves in a city filled with luxurious hotel options. What began as a run-down hotel in Brittany has morphed into a Relais & Châteaux property with a Michelin-starred restaurant, and expanded to Paris, where the group currently owns four boutique properties. Located in Paris’ best arrondissements, Bessé Signature hotels are elegant and lavish, but have individual personalities. The five-star Hôtel Bel-Ami is contemporary in style,...

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Luxury Meets the Mountains in St. Moritz, Switzerland

There are few places that are as extraordinarily beautiful under a thick, white veil of winter as Switzerland. Synonymous with mountains and cold-weather sports, Switzerland is a magnet for those seeking refinement and tradition, in addition to a rugged and majestic landscape. Epitomizing these attributes is the historical Swiss resort of St. Moritz, which is part of the prestigious Best of the Alps consortium. In the eastern portion of Switzerland known as Engadin, lies one of the most glamorous destinations, not only in the mountains, but the world. Dating to 1864, St. Moritz is also the world’s oldest winter...

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