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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

A Great Sunday Stroll

I admit I'm obsessed with the weather and it was so beautiful this Sunday, bright, sunny and clear.  My friend S.  is visiting from Montreal and I took her out on my ideal Sunday stroll. It's a great loop starting out at  the Richard Lenoir market, walking north to the Canal St. Martin and then heading south, through the trendy neighborhoods around  the Place de la République, to Les Marché des Enfants Rouges and  the National Archives. 
I love walking to the market from our flat because you pass the Musée Carnavalet, housed in a fabulous Hôtel Particulier, and the stunning  Place du Voges on the way. What great incidental stops to admire, and/or point out to visitors! My landlord keep recommending lunch at Carette on the Place du Voges as the perfect start to any Sunday, but I thought the veggie omelet I cooked at home could hold its own, though I must concede the view was not quite as elegant!

After our quick stroll  to the market we spent lots of time browsing the fruit, veggies, fish, cheese and flowers. This is a great market and reasonably priced though it's packed on Sunday, so if you want to avoid the crowds come on Thursday. Everything looked much better than it does in my pictures above. There's wonderful sense of abundance of everything here. I never get the photos I'd like at the market because I feel self conscious taking them when the stall holders would prefer  you to buy the stuff rather than photograph it! After our shopping we headed north following the boulevard  all the way to the Canal St. Martin. On a sunny day this is such a lovely place to stop by the waterside and there are lots of hip Parisians with the same idea. Sometimes you pass a flea market but it isn't on every Sunday.

Afterwards we walked down to Les Marché des Enfant Rouges which is one of the few organic or "bio" markets in Paris.  It's predominantly given over to pre-prepared foods with lots of vegetarian options including Japanese and Moroccan food stands among others. Again this is very crowded on Sunday so pick a different day if you don't want to wait in line, though the buzzing atmosphere can be fun. The area around here (including the Rue Charlot) is almost painfully hip with galleries, cafes and organic restaurants. We stayed near here a few years ago and  it looks even more like Nolita today! 

One of the joys of the Marais are the beautiful Hôtel Particuleur and their lovely gardens. Walking south on  Rue Charlot until it ends, turn right at Rue de 4 Fils where almost immediately there is a small metal gate on your left, a back entrance into the National Archive gardens. It's a lovely spot and you'll walk through a series of small gardens until you come out at the main entrance and the spectacular facade of Hôtel  de Soubise, I really must stop by to see one of their exhibits while I'm here.

After our walk we met up with D. for a falafel on Rue Rosier a requirement for all our guests in Paris. This is not a good place to go on Sunday, so go late or not at all. Everyone recommends L'As du Falaffel as the line outside the door attests, but I found it too salty and I like to put my own Tahini on the pita. I recommend  the place across the street Mi Va Mi which is were we go at least once a week. 
Here's hoping that we get lots more sunny Sundays here in Paris.


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