Leah Walker of 'Leah Travels' Shares Her "Best of France"
In honor of Best of France, which took over Times Square September 26-27, 2015, we've asked a few of our favorite bloggers to weigh in on their "Best of France!" For a chance to win a stay in Chamonix or a river cruise through Paris and Normandy, click here! #BestofFrance2015
1. What is the best meal you have ever had in France? From which restaurant or French region was it from? Why is it your favorite?
The food in France is pretty diverse, especially when visiting places like Nice, which draws inspiration from Italy, and Paris is an international city, with every cuisine imaginable. I’ve had plenty of Michelin-stared meals throughout the country, but it is Le Lion d’Or in Arcins en Medoc that comes to mind as my favorite meal. The atmosphere is relaxed and the chef is a character. Many of the vineyard owners in Bordeaux have private cabinets containing their favorites wines. The owner of Lynch-Bages, Jean-Michael Cazes, handed his keys over to me.
2. If you are looking for a place to relax while you are in France where is your go to spot? Is it a beautiful beach or a tranquil spa? Where in France is it located and why is it your favorite?
On any given day, you can catch me in the garden of Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild or Parc Monceau, which is just around the corner from my flat. There are few, if any tourists, and you can sit on the grass, which isn’t the case in all of Paris’ parks.
3. Where is your favorite place to shop in France? What are your “must- haves” or a favorite item you have purchased? Where did you get it?
On Sundays, I like to window shop along Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. All the best designers are here, but the stores are closed, so there are hardly any people around, which is a huge contrast to the rest of the week. I also like markets, like Cours Saleya in Nice. On Monday’s it’s a special flea market, the rest of the time it’s filled with flowers and produce. Marché Paul Bert in Saint Ouen is by far my favorite shopping destination. I never know what I’ll find, and I always stop by my friend, Alain. His shop is filled with vintage Louis Vuitton and Hermès. I can’t help but pick up a Hermès scarf from his large collection.
4. What is your favorite site to visit when you are in France? Why? Where in France is it?
From my flat, I can see the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palais, Saint-Augistin, Les Invalides and La Madeleine. I never tire of seeing these spots. I often find myself just staring out the window, thankful that I get to live in such a marvelous place. I really like to visit Sacré-Cœur, but not necessarily inside the basilica. I love the activity on the top of Butte Montmarte, but it’s perfection on an early Sunday morning. Paris is laid out before me, and the once-crowded steps are empty. I loved living in Montmartre last fall.
5. What is your favorite bar/club/music venue in France? Where do you like to go out at night? Why?
With a 360-degree view of Paris, I go to Hotel Raphael’s rooftop terrace for Champagne. When I want a cocktail, I like Copper Bay in the 10th or Moonshiner near Bastille. It’s hidden behind a pizza parlor and serves prohibition-themed drinks. Finally, I love a glass of wine on the terrace at Villa Lys in Palais-Royal. It’s such a tranquil atmosphere.
Leah Walker is a luxury travel and culinary writer, brand consultant and social media influencer who has as many stories as she does shoes. On her award-winning blog, Leah Travels, she documents her experiences, whether in the lap of luxury or gasping for oxygen as she’s hiking the Alps. She freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, Bonjour Paris, The Daily Basics, Luxe Beat Magazine and Forbes Travel Guide. Having split time between Texas and the rest of the world, Leah is now living in Paris after being awarded the three-year Compétences et Talents visa, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet. Connect with Leah on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
BEST OF FRANCE® is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote the image of France abroad, through major events which highlight the expertise and “Savoir-Faire” of France. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience France in a brand new way, through events and programs which explore the diversity of the French world through its Cuisine, Lifestyle, Tourism, Fashion, Culture, Technology and Innovation.