One more holiday weekend in Paris before returning to LA for Christmas with the family.

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After a few days in Los Angeles for work and to get my Christmas tree together, it’s off to Paris again for one last weekend before coming back to LA for Christmas Eve with the family. Paris has recently gone though one of the worst terrorist attacks in their history, it has shaken them to the core and I feel that it is imperative to support them by doing exactly what the perpetrators of such evil want from you: to live in fear and hide at home, disrupting an entire city’s economy and lifestyle. So now more than ever, it is crucial to go to Paris and support them by being there and doing all the things that you would do at any other time whilst visiting this magical city. It’s a small contribution, but worthy of my efforts!

The moment I arrive at LAX airport, I immediately notice the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks; it’s one of the busiest times of the year at LAX, but you won’t know by entering the Tom Bradley International Terminal today…It’s a ghost town! The State Department just issued a travel alert for all Americans traveling abroad and you can definitely see the impact it has had on travelers. That’s why I firmly believe, it’s now more important than ever to travel and show these terrorists that we shall not change our way of life and give in to fear and intimidation. Finally, it’s time to board my Swiss flight to Paris in my very comfortable business class seat for the 12-hour flight.

 

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Arriving at LAX

 

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The incredibly empty International Terminal at LAX

 

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Not a soul in the Duty Free shopping area at LAX

 

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I’m the only pine at the Business Class lounge…so spooky!

 

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My home for the next 12 hours

 

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My comfortable cubical on Swiss Airlines

 

I’m meeting my dear friend Luc Cartier, who is flying in from Montreal with a few friends of his to support the Parisian as well. We are staying at a lovely apartment in Avenue Montaigne, one of the best neighborhoods in Paris and where all the best shopping, eating and drinking happens daily in great style. The flat is literally 2 doors up from one of my favorite restaurants: L’Avenue, 2 blocks away from the George V Hotel and across the street from Louis Vuitton…perfection! Once I arrive at the Paris airport, I immediately notice the high security presence all around and a chilling sadness on people’s faces; it’s gut wrenching to see my favorite city going through such heartache. I leave politics and acts of war and terrorism out of my blog, but I can’t help feeling so sad about what’s happening here. On the way to the center of Paris you can’t ignore how empty the streets are and when I finally arrive at my destination, you immediately see all the empty streets, cafes and shops…it’s a tragedy! All I can think about is to go out there with my band of friends and eat and drink in as many cafes and restaurants as possible, go to more museums (even though I’ve seen them all) and go shopping for Christmas presents. I will be out there defiant and undeterred and in due time, so will all the Parisians who will always rise from the ashes to shine once again!

All right, let’s do this! First thing is the Christmas village down the Champs Élisée, where every holiday season, a bunch of street vendors build their little Christmas themed huts and sell just about anything wintery or touristy. Luc and I start the late morning with a Vin Brulée to get the internal temperature up from the frosty 45-Fahrenheit Parisian weather. My favorite part is the Michael Jackson’s Thriller ride with black mannequins of Michael Jackson dressed as Santa…to funny! We are making our way to Place de La Concorde where the enormous Farris Wheel stands in the middle of the square; I have serious fear of heights, but as I said, we must show our support by going on these very public rides in order to make a point…that’s of course if I don’t throw up in the little gondola on the way up; that would make a different kind of point all together! Sadly, there is no one in line, so we make our way to the scary gondola in no time; the climb to the top is beyond scary but the fear is quickly repaved by the shear beauty of this city from high up! Everywhere you look is spectacular and gives you a real understanding of the size and beauty of this City of Lights. All right, photos taken…get me off this thing!!!! We are meeting my darling friend Vincent Simonet, the Opera Singer, at Chez George, a charming, super French bistro in the Marais area; though my food was not terribly good, the place is simply fabulous; don’t order the Veal Brains…No Bueno! The server was hilarious trying to pick up my friend Vincent during the entire lunch with no shame whatsoever…Got to love these French! It’s back at Avenue Montaigne for a siesta before our marathon night with Luc’s Canadian friends followed by my international posse.

 

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Walking by the Super Chic Plaza Athenée on Avenue Montaigne

 

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The charming Christmas market on the Champs Élisée

 

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My favorite…Roasted Chestnuts

 

IMG_6780Vin Brulée to warm the soul


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More Vin Brulée…got to keep warm possums!

 

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The hilarious Michael Jackson Thriller ride with the scary black mannequins dressed as Santa

 

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The giant Ferris Wheel in Place de La Concorde

 

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Scared to death!!!

 

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The amazing views from high-up on the Farris Wheel: Arc de Triomphe

 

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Tulleries

 

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Eiffel Tower

 

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The Louvre

 

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Rue Rivoli


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The quirky Chez George

 

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Dining Room at Chez George

 

First order of things is drinks at out favorite bar at the George V Hotel…again!!!! It’s a great way to start the evening with my usual Lychee Martini. When you walk in the hotel you are immediately mesmerized by Jeff Leatham’s extraordinary new 10′ tall blue-mirrored penguins that sit in the center of the lobby along with the most beautiful flower arrangements that only Jeff can produce. When you make your way to the Bar…another gasping surprise: a 14′ glass freezer enclosure with a 10′ tall Ice sculpture of a few penguins inside it; never have I seen such originality and “Wow” factor for a Christmas display.

 

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View from our balcony on Avenue Montaigne

 

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Walking over to George V Hotel

 

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The Dior store CHristmas decoration

 

IMG_6754Jeff Leatham’s incredible mirror Penguins at George V Hotel


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With Vincent Simonet

 

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The mirror Bear in the Couryard at George V Hotel

 

IMG_6757My favorite Martini in the world

 

Luc and I are meeting a whole bunch of Canadian actors and producers friends of his from Montreal at this darling restaurant: La Rotisserie on the Rive Gauche                             (www.larotisseriedelatour.com), owned by the legendary La Tour D’Argent                           (www.tourdargent.com), which happens to be just next door. My dear friend Vincent Simonet is join us for what will surely turn out to be a messy evening…you know those Canadians! The Duck Confit is beyond amazing, which is their specialty, and the company is hilarious with a very drunk Diane who keeps singing Donna Summer’s hits and our fabulous friend from Montreal Annie Delisle, who owns the best male stripper club in Montreal!!!

 

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The legendary La Tour d’Argent Restaurant

 

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La Rôtisserie Menu

 

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La Rôtisserie dining room

 

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And kitchen…

 

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My canadians: Luc, Annie Delisle and Diane

 

Finally it’s time for the glamorous segment of this evening; a uber-chic party at Ginger Restaurant, that my jet-setter friend Carol Asscher is having for her usual group of fabulous people…just because she can! There, I’m meeting my beautiful friend Kasia and a fellow Angelino and realtor Barry Peele. This is the part where we all get slaushed and messy, so I will kindly take my leave and say goodnight now and see you all back in LA by Christmas Eve where I will meet with my family for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner.

 

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With the super chic Carol Asscher and friend

 

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With the stunning Kasia and Barry Peele


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IMG_6763The Symbol of French endurance and perseverance…Vive la France!!!

TBT “Photo of the Week”: “Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams”

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Robert Kass with the one and only Robin Leach of “Lifestyle of the rich and famous”, circa 1989

Off to a Castle in Lucerne, Switzerland for 24 hours for work…we do that every now and then!

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The flight from Paris to Lucerne is only 35 minutes, so before you have a chance to drink your cup of coffee, you’re already landing in Zurich. I rent my favorite Italian car: Alfa Romeo, for the 1-hour drive to Lucerne. Lucerne is located in central Switzerland; amid snowcapped mountains on the north end of Lake Lucerne…imagine that! With its enchanting, colorful old town, its 14th-century Museggmauer city walls, the turreted buildings, this place is truly the storybook image of a Swiss town. But the most famous landmark in Lucerne is the The Kapellbrücke Bridge.

Translated, the Chapel Bridge is a covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss River in the city of Lucerne in central Switzerland. Named after the nearby St. Peter’s Chapel, the bridge is unique since it contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with most of the centuries-old bridge in a 1993 fire. Subsequently restored, the Kapellbrücke is the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe, as well as the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge. It serves as the city’s symbol and as one of Switzerland’s main tourist attractions.

I am her to meet my dear friend Javier Millership’s father for some Service Industry consulting work; we’re meeting at his company’s latest acquisition: the iconic 1888 Château Gütsch, a palatial hotel in a 19th-century, belle époque-style castle on top of a mountain peak overlooking the entire city. When you arrive at this property you really gasp at the beauty of this dramatic building and most of all, the incredible view from practically everywhere you look. Mr. Millership has arranged a stunning balcony room in the main castle with the best view in the house. After making myself comfortable and taking 100 photos of the view, I decide to go to town for the afternoon before my dinner meeting with Mr. Milleship. I haven’t been in Lucerne for many years; I think the last time must have been one of those school trips we used to take so often at my school. Tough it’s a splendid city, it’s just not on my radar, far to tranquil for little old me, furthermore, German is not my best language so I tend to avoid. I always feel like I’m walking into a Swiss version of Disneyland when I walk around the streets of Lucerne; its just so damn cute and charming with it’s steeples and bridges and the most beautiful golden hanging signs from building I have ever seen. You’re just waiting for Heidi to pop out of nowhere and make you hot Swiss chocolate.

It’s time to go back to the Castle and get ready for my meeting. We are having dinner at the hotel tonight on the terrace overlooking all of Lucerne; I’m exited to try the food and get to know Mr. Milleship, considering I adore his son! The rest is pretty much all business and probably not to interesting for my spoiled readers; so I’ll make this a short post and reconnect with you after I arrive in Los Angeles…Yes, tomorrow I’m off again to Lala Land to get ready for the Christmas season…my favorite season of all!!!!

Ho Ho Ho…

 

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The Chateau Gutsch on top of its mountain peak

 

IMG_4108Arriving at Chateau Gutsch


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Front facade of Chateau Gutsch and my balcony suite right at the middle

 

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The first photo of many to come of the spectacular view from my bedroom balcony

 

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The torrets of Chateau Gutsch

 

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Another breathtaking view from my balcony

 

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My cute bedroom


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The main Salon

 

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The Bar lounge

 

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The Bar

 

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The City’s landmark: Kapellbrücke Bridge

 

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Kapellbrücke Bridge

 

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A feathered visitor

 

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The 17th century paintings on the Kapellbrücke Bridge

 

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The beautiful tower at Kapellbrücke Bridge

 

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17th century Germanic style architecture on this old town church

 

IMG_4167The stunning Hanging Signs all over the Old Town

 

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The Reuss River with its beautiful buildings

 

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Robert Kass and Mr. Millership having an after dinner drink at the Bar

Ralph Lauren, Picasso and George V…that’s my idea of a perfect day!

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Bonjour Paris!!!!!

Just so exited to be here! Today I am going to all my favorite foodie places to buy presents for my friends and family back home. First stop: Maille, the best Dijon Mustard in the world since 1747… I guess It must be good if they’ve been around for so long. This shop is soooooo charming with it’s old fashion store front in the corner of Place La Madeleine and the renovated interiors showcasing the biggest selection of flavored mustards I have ever seen. You have the choice of the classic pre-bottled jars or you can get the fresh mustard right off the “Gun”; just like a draft beer, mustard comes out of the spout and into a porcelain Maille Jar, sealed with a cork and ready for travel; amazingly, good mustard stays good for 1 year if refrigerated. I buy 1 large, medium heat Chardonnay Mustard Jar and one large Hot Mama, Chablis Mustard Jar as well for those randy days in LA…I have no clue what I mean by that! Mustard…Check!

 

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The stunning store front of Maille

 

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The many flavors of Maille’s mustards

 

P1060027The mustard Bar

 

It’s Macaroon time and where else but Ladurée around the corner from Maille on 18 Rue Royal. Ladurée is a French luxury bakery and sweets maker house created in 1862; it is one of the top premier sellers of the double-decker macaron, fifteen thousand of which are sold every day in the many new locations around Paris and the world. Once you walk inside you can’t help being mesmerized by the many colors and flavors of Macaroons, so beautifully displayed, calling your name! They are not cheap but worth every penny and every calorie. It’s fun filling the old fashion, 8 piece boxes with all different flavors; my favorite: Chocolate and Pistachio. Needless to say, by the time I make it out of there, I’ve ingested at least 6 macaroons myself…well how would I know what to buy if I don’t try them and find out which ones I love? Macaroons…Check!

 

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The delicious Ladurée boutique on Rue Royal

 

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Ladurée’s famous macaroons

 

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The Ladurée macaroon selection chart

 

2014-01-31-19-43-49Ladurée’s beautiful macaroon gift boxes

 

Finally, it’s off to Fauchon on the other corner of Place La Madeleine. Founded in 1886 in Paris, Fauchon is a Parisian institution and an international gourmet food company, which sells a wide range of own-brand products including delicatessen, cakes and pastry, breads, confectionery. The packaging and fabulous selection make it a must when visiting Paris, even though it’s quite touristy…oh well. I stock up on their amazing Fois Gras de Canard, some exotic teas for Mom, a few Éclairs down my throat and…Check!

 

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Fauchon at the Place de Madeleine

 

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The amazing Fauchon store

 

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A mouthwatering display of Eclairs

 

Time flies when you’re having fun! It’s 1PM and I’m ready for an American lunch at Ralph Lauren’s new restaurant on 173 Boulevard Saint Germain in the Latin Quarter of Paris. I know it’s a scandal to be eating American food when in Paris, but you got to take a little breather from French rich food every now and then with a light and fluffy Cobb Salad…Just let me believe that! I am meeting my lovely friends: Vincent Simonet, Luc Cartier and Diane for the usual boozy, LOL kind of luncheon. The beautiful new Ralph Lauren’s restaurant is inside the courtyard of the impressive new clothing store in Paris; it’s decorated as only Ralph would, totally chic outdoors veranda surrounded by flowers and RL pillows and fabrics. The menu is definitely American fair and well executed, I must say; the waiter was a laugh and a half…or maybe it was us…I don’t remember. This place is red, hot, popular and apparently, very difficult to get a reservation, though I walked up to the hostess stand with no reservation and talked my way into a beautiful table in 10 minutes…experience darling, experience!


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Entrance to Ralph Lauren’s new St. Germain restaurant


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The beautiful courtyard at Ralph Lauren

 

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Our pretty table at Ralph Lauren

 

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Leather Menu

 

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My delicious Cobb Salad

 

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Vincent’s Chicken Paillard

 

Though I could spend the entire day with this lot, laughing and drinking away, I can’t get to loopy because I am going to visit one of my favorite artists in the universe: Pablo Picasso’s newly re-furbished Museum. “Give me a museum and I’ll fill it,” Pablo Picasso reportedly said; and the city of Paris did just that! The renovated Picasso Museum closed since 2009 for renovation, finally reopened in 2015 in the Hôtel Salé, a spectacular Baroque 17th-century mansion in the Marais district. What can you say about Picasso that hasn’t already been said; he’s the MASTER, he’s the one who changed art forever and brought it to the new century; he’s a genius and a great inspiration in my life! The new museum does him justice; it’s so beautiful and grand with it’s dramatic staircase in the middle of it; I’m sure Picasso would be proud. After spending 4 hours in the museum with a very bored Raphael, who was done at 1 hour; we finally make our way home for a siesta before dinner at another landmark restaurant in Paris: L’Avenue on Rue Montaigne.

 

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Picasso Museum

 

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Picasso Museum entrance

 

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The stunning staircase at the Picasso Museum

 

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Robert Kass contemplating Picasso’s work

 

IMG_5343Picasso’s work

 

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Picasso’s work

Tonight I’m meeting Luc Cartier and Diane again for a night of laugher and lots of booze, because that’s the way we roll with this group. L’Avenue restaurant is a staple in Paris’s high-society and a favorite amongst the who’s who of rich and famous Americans…usually not my kind of place: too trendy and way to snobby! But I do make an exception for L’Avenue because of its amazing Steak Tartare and sublime Potato Purée and believe me, I don’t say this lightly! Definitely worth dealing with the thick layer of attitude and snobbery that this place delivers with no apology day after day! I always enjoy letting out an occasional burp in here just to see the expression of disgust on the faces of these “Larger than life” characters…”Oh mon Dieu”. Dinner is amazing and after 3 bottles of Burgundy the three musketeers are ready to wabble over to our favorite Bar in Paris: the Uber Chic Bar at the George V Hotel, just a few blocks away from L’Avenue.

 

IMG_6846L’Avenue restaurant on Avenue Montaigne


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One needs a cocktail before choosing what to have for dinner…

 

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The best Steak Tartare in Paris along with the best Mashed Potatoes in the universe

 

The George V is yet another institution in Paris and one of the best Hotels in the city for a century! I’ve been visiting this hotel since childhood; it was my Mom and Dad’s favorite in Paris in the old days and it continued to dazzle me to present day. An added bonus is my friend Jeff Leatham’s spectacular flower arrangements that have adorned this Hotel for many years now, setting it aside form the rest. It’s really expensive here, but if you can afford it, it’s really worth the experience it delivers to its guests. If you’re looking for a great drink, nothing beats the Lychee Martini that is shaken, not stirred, at your table by a young, beautiful bartender. Impossible to get  table here too, but thankfully, Mr. Cartier has been boozing it up in here for many years, so we were immediately greeted with great fanfare and seated at the best table in the house! Morale of the story? It helps to have boozy friends…

 

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One of Jeff Leatham’s beautiful arrangements at George V Hotel in Paris

 

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More Jeff Leatham genius at George V Hotel

 

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George V courtyard dripping in orchids

 

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George V super chic bar

 

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My favorite seat at George V’s Bar

 

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My favorite cocktail: Lychee Martini

 

Now we are seriously tipsy and it’s probably a good idea to wabble back home before we start swinging from chandeliers and get kicked out. That’s the great thing about Paris; you can always drink a little too much and then shake it off with a nice walk back home, while looking at the most beautiful city sights humanity has ever created.

 

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Amazing view of the eiffel Tower on the way home

 

One thing I know, If I make it to my old age, this is the city I will live in; I can’t imagine anywhere more inspiring and fulfilling than Paris. Good night possums…

 

 

TBT “Photo of the week”

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Robert Kass with Tina Sinatra and Bianca Jagger, circa 1988