Denver Colorado may seem like an unlikely place to visit if you don’t have family or friends there. However there are lots of fun things to do in the “Mile High City”. The downtown Denver area offers many hotel options that are conveniently located near many restaurants, bars and museums.
One of my personal favorites is the Magnolia Hotel. The Magnolia offers rooms with a warm fireplace, large soaking tub and large windows with city views. Another great amenity of the Magnolia hotel is their nightly complimentary happy hour, fresh baked cookies from 8-10 pm and a decent complimentary breakfast downstairs. You will also pool tables and several areas to lounge with friends in the lower level of the hotel. http://www.magnoliahotels.com/denver/hotel-photos.php
Denver ranks 1st in the nation in terms of beer production per capita, and second overall in terms of number of breweries. It has been dubbed “The Napa of Beer”. If you enjoy drinking beer, one great tour to consider is The Denver Microbrew Tour, which is a 1.5 mile walking tour through Denver’s “LODO” district (Lower Downtown) and Ballpark neighborhoods. Participants will enjoy beer samples at several microbreweries and a pint at the last stop. Tour prices are $25-29 per person. Keep in mind that the effects of alcohol have a different effect at higher elevations, so you may find yourself feeling inebriated quicker than you would at lower elevations. http://www.denvermicrobrewtour.com/tour-info/
If you enjoy Jazz music, Dazzle restaurant and lounge has nightly Jazz shows and great food. If you are lucky enough to sit in Monique’s section I would suggest ordering a martini, she takes the phrase “shaken not stirred” to a whole new level with her delivery of your drink. The food is “great American traditional cuisine with a twist”. A couple of my favorites are the fried green tomatoes and the mac and four cheese. 930 Lincoln Street, Denver. http://www.dazzlejazz.com/index.php
A tasty breakfast spot is “Dozens”. Located in an old house Dozens has been around for over 20 years and offers a large selection of breakfast comfort foods. Some of the menu items include: Biscuits and Gravy, Belgium waffles, French toast, omelets and a pretty decent Bloody Mary also. href=”http://www.dozensdenver.com
Larimer Square is a nice place to shop and eat. Located on Larimer Street between 14th and 15th. The quaint street is lined with shops and restaurants and a couple galleries. A few notable restaurants are Rioja, Lime and Osteria Marco. http://www.larimersquare.com/
Denver also has a pretty active gay scene; some of the local bars include the Wrangler, which offers an inexpensive beer bust on Sundays, Hamburger Mary’s on East 17th Street. Other options include Tracks on Walnut Street or Charlie’s. http://denver.gaycities.com/bars/
Whatever your preference Denver has much to offer from Sports, fine dining, the arts and even a theme park!
If you have any specific questions I would be happy to answer them!
Finding an affordable room in Paris
Finding an affordable hotel room in Paris can be difficult. Especially difficult if you are not into hostels, or 1 star hotels. We spent a lot of time searching for rooms for our trip to Paris. The best sites we found were venere.com and airbnb.com. We were looking for a place that was centrally located with easy access to public transportation around the city and to and from the airport. We decided that “le Marais” in the 4th arrondissement was the area that we wanted to stay in. Le Marais is in the center of the city and easily accessible from the RER B line from Charles de Gualle airport.
We booked a room at Hotel Paris Rivoli through venere.com. The hotel was clean and the front desk staff was friendly. Hotel Rivoli’s location on Rue de Rivoli made it convenient to walk to several restaurants, Notre Dame, Hôtel de Ville and about a 10-15 minute walk to the Latin Quarter and the Louvre. A couple things that I wasn’t totally thrilled with are the very small size of the room and the amount of noise in the hallways. Another surprise was the “included breakfast” was not included in the price as listed on the venere.com website. http://www.hotel-parisrivoli.com/
On the second portion of the trip we decided to try http://www.airbnb.com/ a website in which you can rent an apartment for your stay. Airbnb allows users to select the area, price, and if you are open to a shared house with the owner or tenant or if you want the full house. We chose to look for options in which we had the full apartment. I think this is by far the best way to book! The studio apartment we rented was in the best neighborhood just half a block from many cafes and restaurants. The apartment was larger than the hotel room we rented and it had all the amenities we needed. It was convenient to book and cost less than the hotel stay. We were even surprised to find a note from the owner wishing us a pleasant stay and a bottle of French wine. The booking system was safe and secure. I would definitely use this site again and recommend it to anyone looking for a room.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to post them as a comment and I will do my best to answer them.
New pictures of Paris and Rome posted
Click on the link for the Rome and Paris pics http://www.facebook.com/media/set/? set=a.334029159948715.85839.265673736784258&type=3&l=b12914fd6b
Paris arrondissements 17-20
In this post, I’ll give you a bit of information on arrondissements 17 through 20. If you missed the previous posts, you can find information on arrondissements 1-16 below.
Arrondissement 17 – Batignolles-Monceau
The 17th Arrondissement is directly north of the Arc de Triomphe and is slightly off the beaten path. In this arrondissement, you will find The Palais des Congrès, a large convention center located in the western part of the arrondissement.
The north-eastern end, known as Batignolles has a bit more grungy bohemian feel and lots of bars and bistros which are popular with “BoBos” (short for bohemian-bourgeois aka “hipsters”). If you head up the Avenue de Clichy, you will find an area where artists such as Pissarro, Renoir, and Degas (known today as the Impressionists) used to live and socialize.
Arrondissement 18 – Butte-Montmartre
The 18th arrondissement has a village-like feel but is often inundated with tourists. Popular sites to visit in this arrondissement are the Sacré-Coeur basilica http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/us/index.html and the Moulin Rouge, which is near the border of the 9th arrondissement. http://www.moulinrouge.fr/ Just a short walk from the Sacré-Coeur you will find Place du Tertre, this plaza was the centre of the flourishing artist community of the early 1900’s. Today you will still find many artists sketching portraits of tourists.
The closest Metro stop to the Sacre Coeur is “Abbesses” off of the 12 line.
The closest Metro stop to the Moulin Rouge is “Blanche” off of the #2 line.
Arrondissement 19 – Buttes-Chaumont
In the 19th arrondissement you will find the Buttes-Chaumont, a lush green oasis away from the crowds. The park features several cliffs and bridges, a grotto that includes a man made waterfall, a lake, and several Chinese & English gardens. You will also find the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, the largest science museum in Europe, the museum draws millions of visitors annually. http://www.cite-sciences.fr/en/cite-des-sciences
Arrondissement 20 – Ménilmontant
In the 20th arrondissement, you will find a variety of nightclubs and cafes, from punk rock to world music. You will find lots of little cafés to have a beer priced far less than nightclubs in the area. The Bagnolet is the area south of the Père Lachaise Cemetery and the Ménilmontant is the area north of the cemetery. The Père Lachaise Cemetery is the final resting place of several famous people, including Jim Morrison of the Doors, Édith Piaf, artist Camille Pissarro, composers Frédéric Chopin and Gioacchino Rossini and Oscar Wilde to name a few. The cemetery has a virtual tour you can take if you want more info http://www.pere-lachaise.com/perelachaise.php?lang=en
The closest Metro stop to the Père Lachaise Cemetery is the Père Lachaise stop off of the 2 or 3 train, or the Philippe Auguste off of line #2.
Each of the twenty arrondissements have their own special places. For more information on all the arrondissements of Paris please read the other blog posts below. Also be sure to check back for more on Paris and Rome after our next trip in late December.
A great site to book rooms in Paris or around the world is Airbnb.com http://www.airbnb.com/tell-a-friend?airef=xvvoz18e89zz5
I hope you have been inspired to plan a trip! Thanks for reading.
South Beach, Miami
On my first visit to Miami Beach, I had no idea that I would soon love it as much as I do. I had heard so many things about South Beach- how great it was, the nightlife, the people, the shopping, but I was skeptical. I had the opportunity to take a last minute trip in 2004, so I decided to see what all the hype was about. I was completely blown away by the beauty of Miami! I had been to Daytona Beach and Orlando, but Miami was completely different. It was nothing like I’d imagined it to be. Since then I have been back many times.
There are several hotels along the picturesque white sandy beaches. The aqua blue water temperature is usually warm enough to swim year-round. However, I would personally avoid visiting during hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 through November 30. The summer months also tend to be fairly humid. So, if you dont like humidity, that is something to consider.
There are many great hotel options depending on your taste. A few well-known hotels on the beach are the Colony, which you will see in many pictures and postcards of South Beach, the Sagamore, and the Delano. My personal favorite is the Mondrian South Beach on Biscayne Bay. The pool and the West facing rooms have amazing views of the Bay and Downtown Miami, and the best sunset views. Recently, I have seen several package deals advertised for this hotel on different travel sites. I usually recommend checking out jetsetter.com to browse their current hotel deals in Miami. http://www.jetsetter.com/search? source=linkbin&type=linkbin&q=Miami
Just as there are many hotel options, there are just as many nightlife options. Some of the larger well-known clubs are Nikki Beach and Mansion. If you are looking for a more relaxed lounge vibe, check out Vue Terrace at the Hotel Victor where you can grab a bed and enjoy two-for-one cocktails and complimentary hors d’oeuvres or head over to Lapidus Lounge at the Ritz Carlton for live Jazz in a 1950’s style club.
If you have access to a vehicle, the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables is definitely worth a drive. Created from a rock quarry in 1923 and filled with natural spring water and surrounded by waterfalls. You can spend an afternoon at the pools for about $11. www.coralgablesvenetianpool.com The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is another beautiful site to visit. The home was John Deering’s winter home from 1916-1925. Entry is $15 for adults and $6 for children 6-12. http://www.vizcayamuseum.org/knowus-intro.asp
Also, you can stay local and grab a bike from Decobike- Miami Beach’s Bike Sharing & Rental program. For a few dollars a day, you have access to several bikes at one of the many bike-docking stations. For more info, check out their website at www.decobike.com
I would suggest checking livingsocial.comwww.livingsocial.com or groupon for local deals in Miami on spas, restaurants, and hotels.
Arrondissements of Paris 13-16
As promised here is part four of our series on the arrondissements of Paris. I’ll give you a bit of information on arrondissements 13-16 in this post. If you missed the previous post you can find information on arrondissements 1-12 below.
13th Arrondissement- Gobelins
The 13th arrondissement is home to Paris’ Chinatown, which is located in the southeast area of the arrondissement. This area is locally called la petite Asie. Here you will find “Les frères Tang” on avenue de Choisy. The Tang brothers have the biggest Chinese grocery in Paris, occupying several multi-story barrack-like buildings tucked into the Olympic housing project. This arrondissement is also home to the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. This National Library holds collections of historic documents of French and International origin including 5,000 Greek manuscripts. Visitors can buy a day pass to explore the library.
14th Arrondissement- Observatoire
The 14th arrondissement is where you will find most of the Montparnasse district. Montparnasse became famous at the beginning of the 20th century as Paris’ artistic circles migrated to this district. A few of the artists who gathered in Montparnasse were Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Ernest Miller Hemingway, Diego Rivera, and Salvador Dalí. Today, it is best known for its skyscraper, the Tour Montparnasse. You will find a shopping area and observation deck on the 56th floor with some of the best views of Paris. In this arrondissement you will also find The Catacombs of Paris, an underground ossuary that holds the remains of about 6 million people and fills a renovated section of caverns and tunnels. http://www.carrieres.explographies.com/indexus.htm
15th Arrondissement- Vaugirard
The 15th arrondissement is the largest arrondissement of central Paris. The area remains heavily residential. This area isn’t home to a great deal of tourist attractions. A couple areas of interest are Tapovan Paris . This ayurvedic centre offers both treatment and professional training in various ayurvedic-healing arts such as, yoga, reiki, ayurvedic massage, and reflexology. Or if you are looking for family fun you can check out Europe’s largest water park “Aqua Boulevard” http://www.aquaboulevard.fr/aquaboulevard.html#/parcAquatique
16th Arrondissement- Passy
The 16th arrondissement includes several museums between the Place du Trocadero and the Place d’Iéna. The Palais de Chaillot, also named Trocadero, houses many interesting museums, and a walk from here to the Eiffel tower across the Seine river is one of the best sightseeing walking tours in Paris. This arrondissement is home to a large number of diplomatic embassies and is also the location of the famous Avenue Foch, the widest street in Paris and home to many of the City’s wealthy foreign residents. This arrondissement has long been known as one of French high society’s favorite places of residence, comparable to New York’s Upper East Side or London’s Kensington. This arrondissement along with the 8th, 7th, and 6th arrondissements are collectively referred to as Paris Ouest.
I will have the final part of the series on arrondissements 17-20 posted soon. Thanks again for reading the blog! IF you have specific questions please feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer them. You can also share this post or any on our site by using the share buttons below.
Arrondissements of Paris 9 – 12
As promised here is part three of our series on the arrondissements of Paris. I’ll give you a bit of information on arrondissements 9-12 in this post. If you missed the previous post you can find the info on the right side of this page under “Recent Posts”.
The 9th Arrondissement- Opéra
The 9th arrondissement is well-known for its Belle-Époque department stores and elegant shopping galleries, such as the Galerie Lafayette, which is a must see for fashion enthusiasts. If you’re in Paris around the Holidays don’t miss the Holiday lights and window displays at the Galeries. In this arrondissement you will find the Palais Garnier Paris’ Opera house, which was the largest theater when it opened in 1875. http://www.operadeparis.fr/cns11/live/onp/L_Opera/Palais_Garnier/visite_virtuelle.php?lang=en also the Les Folies Bergère. The Southern part of this arrondissement is near the Opera and a bit more refined than the Northern part where you will find the fading red light district and cheap of Pigalle.
The 10th Arrondissement- Enclos-St-Laurent
The 10th Arrondissement centers on the Canal St. Martin. The streets around the canal become car-free Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday and you will see many people strolling, biking or skating near the Canal. This arrondissement is a multi-cultural area where you will find Indian and Pakistani restaurants, Turkish cafés and brightly colored storefronts. You will also find two or Paris’ busiest train stations the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l’Est. From these two stations you can take a train to Belgium, the Netherlands, North Germany, United Kingdom, Eastern France and Austria to name a few.
The 11th Arrondissement- Popincourt
The 11th Arrondissement offers a large number of Paris’ hottest bars and nightclubs in two very different areas. The area Northwest of Place de Bastille is full of small bars that attract a mix of young suburban Parisians and foreigners. While the area around Rue Oberkampf in the North attract a more urban crowd perhaps closer to something traditionally Parisian with a somewhat grungy bar scene feel. Places of interest in the 11th arrondissement are the Musée Edith Piaf, located at 5 rue Crespin du Gast and the Cirque d’hiver (“Winter Circus”), located at 110 rue Amelot that was opened in 1852 as the Cirque Napoléon.
The 12th Arrondissement- Reuilly
The 12th arrondissement is one of the largest of the city’s districts. With over 6 square miles including the 2,458 acre park The Bois de Vincennes. Which is almost three times larger than Central Park in New York. In this arrondissement you will find L’Opéra Bastille, a modern opera house with over 2,700 seats. This arrondissement is the location of the Gare de Lyon, from this station you can catch trains to the French Riviera, Italy and connecting trains to Spain.
I will have part 4 of the series on the arrondissements of Paris later this week so be sure to check back for the final two. Thanks for reading the blog! IF you have any specific questions please feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer them. You can also share this post or any on our site by using the share buttons below.
Arrondissements of Paris 5-8
As promised here is part two of our series on the arrondissements of Paris. I’ll give you a bit of information on arrondissements 5-8 in this post. If you missed the previous post you can find the info here
5th Arrondissement- Pantheon
The 5th arrondissement is the location of the Latin Quarter- a district dominated by jazz clubs, bookshops, universities and prestigious high schools giving this arrondissement a significant student presence. It is also one of the liveliest arrondissements in the city. The 5th arrondissement is also one of the oldest districts of the city, dating back to ancient times. Traces of the area’s past survive in such sites as the Arènes de Lutèce- a Roman amphitheatre, the Pantheon, and the Thermes de Cluny- an ancient Gallo-Roman ruin lying in the heart of the district, which is believed to have been constructed around the beginning of the 3rd century. It is the traditional center of what was called “bohemian Paris”. An interesting bit of information is that it formed the setting for Puccini’s opera, La Boheme.
6th Arrondissement– Luxembourg
This central arrondissement includes the historic districts of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Luxembourg. Luxembourg is home to the French Senate and Jardin du Luxembourg, which is the second largest public park in Paris. The 6th arrondissement along with the 7th, 8th, and 16th comprise “Paris Ouest” (West Paris). Paris Ouest is often used in reference to the wealthiest and most prestigious residential areas of France; however, the 6th arrondissement has a much more bohemian and intellectual reputation than the others. In this area you will find many great cafes, art galleries, and boutiques.
7th Arrondissement– Palais-Bourbon
The 7th arrondissement is home to several of Paris’ major tourist attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower and the final resting place of Napoleon – L’Hôtel national des Invalides http://www.invalides.org/pages/anglais/visite_a.html”. There are also several world famous museums such as the Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin one of Paris’ most peaceful and romantic museums. The Musée Rodin is located in the 18th century mansion and private gardens where the artist August Rodin lived and worked. http://www.musee-rodin.fr
The 7th arrondissement is also part of “Paris Oest”. This arrondissement has been home to the French upper class since the 17th century, when it became the new residence of the French highest nobility. This arrondissement is also home to many foreign diplomatic embassies.
Quick Tip: You can rent an iPad at the Eiffel Tower for 7 Euro an hour, which is pre-loaded with a visitor’s guide, maps, photos, and behind-the-scenes historical information on how the structure was built. There is also a separate App, “La Tour Eiffel”, that can be downloaded onto your own iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad device via iTunes for free.
8th Arrondissement– Élysée
The 8th arrondissement is home to many Parisian monuments. Some of these include the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées – one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world, and the Élysée Palace– home to the President of France. One site worth mentioning is the Luxor Obelisk a 75-foot high Egyptian obelisk standing at the center of the Place de la Concorde. This 3,300-year-old obelisk once marked the entrance to the Luxor Temple.
The 8th arrondissement is also known as a bustling center of commerce including famous fashion houses such as Valentino, Christian Dior & Chanel to name a few. You will also find elegant hotels and upscale restaurants. If you are looking for well-priced, authentic French cuisine steer clear of the restaurants on Champs- Élysée. These restaurants tend to target tourist and are usually more expensive than the places you will find on the winding side streets off of the Champs-Élysée.
As always, if you have any questions or need some help booking your trip please feel free to leave a comment and we will do our best to answer. Also, if you like our blog please “like” or Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/LetsJetSetcom/265673736784258
Arrondissements of Paris 1-4
Wow, who knew there were so many different areas to choose from in Paris? When I started to plan our trip, I had no idea that finding the right neighborhood would be such a project. Paris is divided into 20 administrative districts, more commonly referred to as “arrondissements”. Each of these areas has it’s own unique feel.
Since there are so many arrondissements, I will write a series of 5 separate posts describing each arrondissement. I’ll try to give you a bit of information on each arrondissement, which I hope will make choosing an area easier for you. The arrondissements are arranged in a clockwise spiral with 1 being the center of Paris.
1st Arrondissement – Louvre
Once the stomping grounds of France’s kings and emperors, the 1st arrondissement is the “royal heart of Paris”. Today, you will find the Louvre Museum, Jardin des Tuileries, and the Palais Royal. Museums and monuments occupy much of this area, so you will not find many budget hotels to choose from. However if you prefer 5 star hotels, you are in luck. Some of the options here are the Hotel Ritz, Hotel de Vendôme, & Hotel du Louvre.
2nd Arrondissement – Bourse
The 2nd arrondissement is one of the financial centers of Europe, being home to the Bourse (Stock exchange). Since sometime in the early renaissance this area has also been home to Paris’ red-light district and “Les Galeries”- covered upscale shopping centers that date back to the 19th Century. One in particular that is nice to see is Galerie Vivienne, which has a glass cover above. The 2nd is the smallest arrondissement in Paris with about 0.383 sq. miles.
3rd Arrondissement – Temple
This area includes the Northern quieter part of le Marais. Many artists and celebrities stay here to enjoy both the residential quietness but also the chic shopping aspect of the 3rd arrondissement. As a result of this, the number of luxury brands and fashion boutiques opened in this district has increased over the past few years. The 3rd arrondissement is also home to the oldest surviving private house in Paris, built in 1407 along the rue de Montmorency.
4th Arrondissement – Hôtel-de-Ville
Situated on the Right Bank of the River Seine, the 4th arrondissement is a large piece of what used to be medieval Paris. At night, the area has the most active bar scene most travelers will have ever seen. This includes the lower Marais district which is sometimes known as gay Paris; although, there are no shortage of bars catering to straight crowds. The 4th arrondissement is known for its little streets, cafés, and shops but is sometimes regarded as expensive and congested. This area is desirable for those insisting on old buildings and multi-cultural exposure. Here you will find Notre Dame de Paris & Hôtel de Ville, Paris’ city hall. Many feel that this is one of the loveliest buildings in Paris.
As always, if you have any specific questions about any area, please feel free to post a comment, and I will do my best to answer it.