Interview: Monique Allan

Interview: Monique Allan

Today's interview is with Monique Allan, an insurance agent and financial advisor that I got to know while handling her company's incentive travel programs. I helped Monique plan her recent trip to Paris, including a three-day excursion to London and a day trip to a town called Voiron, south of Paris. Monique travelled with her partner Lonnie and two daughters.

Read More

A few favorite photos from Paris

A few favorite photos from Paris

I finally edited my photos from my three weeks in Paris in April 2013. I had to have some distance from them because I had so many and had to make tough decisions about which to delete and which to keep. 

If you'd like to see more, please visit my Flickr page

Read More

A work day in Paris

A work day in Paris

Today is my 9th day in Paris, and I finally feel like I've adjusted. My body has caught up with the time difference, we've become friendly with all the staff we are working with from the hotel and the DMC, and the first wave of the program is half over. Wave two is always easier because we've figured everything already, maps and documents have been designed and printed, restaurants located and booked, amenities prepared, etc

Read More

Paris - Day 7 (Le Marais, Jewish Museum and BHV Dept Store)

Paris - Day 7 (Le Marais, Jewish Museum and BHV Dept Store)

Today was our last day in Paris, and we really enjoyed it. I was thinking all day about why today feels different for me than the other days of the trip, and I've identified a few reasons:

• We have seen all the big things on our list that we wanted to do here, so there's no feeling of pressure to figure out the schedule, remember to do something, find a place to buy something, etc. We left the last day completely empty and just enjoyed being in Paris.

Read More

Paris - Day 6 (Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Dept Stores)

Paris - Day 6 (Louvre, Eiffel Tower and Dept Stores)

Today was a fun, long, tiring day. We got up super early to be at the Louvre before they open. Tickets are not available in advance and we didn't want to be standing in line forever. We arrived at 8:40 AM and when they opened at 9:00, we were in quickly. They have self-service ticket kiosks where you can buy your tickets once inside, and by 9:10 or so we were in the museum. 10 or 15 minutes later we had been to the Mona Lisa... it was really amusing getting caught up in the rush of people rushing to the Mona Lisa before the crowds got there. The painting is beautiful but I was honestly more interested in the people taking photos of the painting and the security.

Read More

Paris - Day 5 (Giverny and an Evening Walk to the Eiffel Tower)

Paris - Day 5 (Giverny and an Evening Walk to the Eiffel Tower)

Today was a wonderful day. (Warning - there are lots of pictures today. I probably took about 400 photos today and it's hard to choose which ones to include. The pictures tell the story better than I do anyway.)

After a quick coffee meeting with our DMC at the cafe near our hotel, we headed to Giverny, Monet's home in the country, in a private car (yes, we're getting spoiled). It was about an hour drive, and we first made a quick stop in the town of Vernon so I could take a quick look around. We poked our head into the town church and continued to Giverny.

Read More

Paris - Day 4 (Notre Dame, Latin Quarter, Musee d'Orsay and Seine River Cruise)

Paris - Day 4 (Notre Dame, Latin Quarter, Musee d'Orsay and Seine River Cruise)

This is our 6th day of the trip but our 4th day in Paris. We slept in a little bit this morning (until 9 or so) and then had a quick European style breakfast at the cafe near our closest Metro stop... croissants and coffee, standing up at the counter. So good. We took the Metro to Notre Dame (which is located on an island in the middle of Paris) and since the line wasn't too long, we went in. Pretty magnificent (not as impressive as St. Peter's at the Vatican but still pretty amazing).

Read More

Paris - Day 3 (Versailles)

Paris - Day 3 (Versailles)

Today was a looong but fascinating day. After breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we were picked up by our guide for the day, Christine, and Alex, a driver. Our goals for the day were to see some areas and attractions we will be using for our group in May.

We started off with a quick stop at one of the two bistros we will be using for a big group lunch in May. Unfortunately, they had just had a fire a day or two ago and were going to be closed for a few weeks. They had just finished a big renovation and re-opened in November and the restaurant manager was standing outside looking like he was about to cry. He and Christine knew each other and spoke briefly.

Read More

Paris - Day 2 (Champs Elysees and falafel)

Paris - Day 2 (Champs Elysees and falafel)

We started the day with a wonderful breakfast buffet in the hotel... lox, fresh bread, croissants, and a very odd hard boiled egg that couldn't possibly have been from a chicken. We took the Metro to the Arc de Triumph and took the elevator to the top for a great view of Paris, the Champs Elysees and the Eiffel Tower.

Read More

Paris - Day 1

Paris - Day 1

We've arrived in Paris. After a long flight where Rachel slept and I played videogames and watched the Avengers, we arrived to a VIP arrival and transfer to the hotel. The Westin is beautiful, especially the open courtyard where they have a little restaurant. We went to a cafe for a little lunch... Rachel had salmon on toast and I had a sandwich with chicken, cheese and tomato.  (Other choices were escargot, ham and cheese, hamburger, omelettes or salads)

Read More