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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 …

Albert Kahn Museum and Gardens, Paris

Here's one more place that has been on my list  that I managed to squeeze in just before we left Paris. Unfortunately the museum (featuring the ethnographic photographs of  the banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn) was closed as it was in between exhibits but I had a lovely morning strolling around the gardens with my friend  J., whom I met on Paris Walk's Modern Architecture walk.
We were chatting so much that I didn't focus on the photos, so much so that I'm not sure I've done  the place justice. However, it's so lovely that it seems to transcend even quickly taken snaps! This is an amazing garden filled with texture, color and water. The azaleas were spectacular and midweek is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds.
 
The sense of contrasts, color and calm grab you from the moment you arrive. It must be sublime to live in the neighborhood and be free to come here regularly. They even sell a yearly pass for 20 euro. I love it so much that this will be one of my first stops on our next visit to Paris.
The twisting paths take you through a variety of gardens and past a number of different structures including some traditional Japanese pavilions and an elaborate hothouse. 
This is one of those off the beaten track places that you don't make on your first or second visit to Paris, but that when you get here you immediately think. 'why didn't I come sooner and when can I visit next?'
In addition to the Asian inspired gardens with their manicured trees, bridges, water and stone features there are also meadows and fruit gardens.
I loved the formality and restraint of the espalier fruit trees which seem such a contrast to the meadow-like flowers planted below.
The glasshouse, while impressive, was not open when we visited. However, the gardens are quite charming and there are lots of places to sit and take it all in.
Highly recommended and only steps from the Boulogne - Pont de Saint Cloud metro the gardens are well worth your time.

For further details of the current hours and museum exhibitions click here.

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