Viviane’s weekly picks October 12

Paris in Autumn

– With it first renovation in 30 years, the Eiffel Tower’s highlight (literally!) is the glass floor pavilion which offers visitors incredible views of the landscape and people below from 187 feet up in the air. Insider tip: if you lie down on the glass floor, you can take a selfie that looks as if you’re in the air! Also added The Ferrié Pavilion (South/West side) two levels dedicated to restaurants, boutiques, and a museum

– Cutting edge art concept “Chez Moi” is the personal home of a young entrepreneur where everything is for sale. Wander through the rooms of his home-gallery and you can buy a photo or artwork right off his wall. Like the jacket in his closet? It’s for sale! Even cosmetics, the macarons in the kitchen, and the magazines on the coffee table — everything can be purchased, except the man himself! This is a fun, fascinating glimpse into the latest thing in Parisian “art!”

– The highest-profile opening of the year is the Peninsula Hotel on Avenue Kléber in the 16th arrondissement. Originally opened as a grand hotel in in 1908 – the League of Nations, predecessor to the UN, was founded here in 1919, leading to the Treaty of Versailles.

Guaranteed Early Check-in at Rocco Forte Brown’s Hotel in London

We all love the nonstop Austin to London flight on British Airways but its arrival time at 9:25 am may make for a long wait to check-in at the hotel. Departure Lounge clients at Rocco Forte Brown’s Hotel will have a Guaranteed Early Check-In confirmed at the time of booking in addition to Virtuoso perks and amenities. The offer is valid on new bookings only until April 30th 2015. The hotel also offers “Exclusive Experiences” like the Downtown Abbey visit with transfers arranged in the vintage car that was used in the series!

River Cruises

– Experience the most extraordinary safari adventure aboard the Zambezi Queen. Guests enjoy the unique luxury of discovering wildlife from two amazing perspectives – the Chobe River and famous national parks.

– With the number of vegetarians, vegans and other specialty diets growing rapidly, nearly all river cruise lines make an effort to accommodate their guests. Celebrity chef and author Regina Charboneau who designs the menus for the American Queen Steamboat Company, has added vegetarian and vegan-style options to all meals. AmaWaterways has developed a full menu for vegan passengers and vegetarians get an even wider menu selection.

– Demand for river cruises keeps growing and the cruise lines are set to launch more than 20 new ships in 2015, Viking once again leading the way with 12 additional ships. Even with all the extra inventory, I advise my clients to book as soon as possible if their hearts are set on a particular date, destination or ship.

How did you find that place?

That’s a question many of my clients hear from friends and family when they rave about the amazing properties where they stayed in the UK. I have unrivaled knowledge of and access to the most unique and luxurious privately owned properties in the British Isles – rustic hideaways, majestic mansions, even castles. I select properties with personality, privacy and amazing ambiance to ensure an extraordinary travel experience.

Mexico

From colonial treasures, to ancient civilizations, beaches and world-class golf, Mexico offers something for everyone. New nonstop flights from Austin to Cabo and Cancun, and Aeromar’s connections to 21 destinations through its hub in Mexico City (nonstop from Austin) make it easy to get there. Join me and sports writer Michael Hurd (founding USA Today journalist) on a golf junket to Puerto Vallarta in January.

Culinary Experiences

– Learn the art of mustard making in Dijon with the Fallot family, the last of the independent mustard makers in the Burgundy area. Visit the beautiful new boutique/workshop, located in the heart of the city’s historical district, and experience the entire process of making mustard—as this family has been doing it for about 150 years. Enjoy a mustard tasting, complete with culinary advice, and bring an empty jar to fill with the local mustard of your choice.

– Only eat oysters when there’s an “R” in the month goes the saying! Well, we’re in luck then because all the “R” months are on the calendar now. If you’re looking for an unusual experience, consider a tour of England, Scotland, and Ireland exploring the main areas where oysters are grown, harvested and celebrated.

– Highland Haute Cuisine: tour the highlands and islands of Scotland and cook with Michelin starred chefs on a gastro-tour that will delight all the senses

Ski & Snow

Ski resorts across the US and Europe are gearing up to open and I can offer you “countdown to winter” promotions in several locations. There is still some space left for the Christmas holidays and spring break. The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships take place in Vail/Beaver Creek from February 2-15, 2015. Come cheer for the US Ski Team and enjoy the special energy on the slopes!

Destinations: Paris, London, safari, river cruises, UK, Dijon, ski & snow

Departures: January 1 – December 31

Contact me here to help you plan and book your next trip. As a Virtuoso Travel Advisor, I have insider access to special privileges and perks for my clients:

  • complimentary upgrades, daily breakfast, and special amenities in select hotels and resorts
  • complimentary shore excursions, exclusive cocktail receptions and gourmet meals, and dedicated hosts on select cruises
  • special savings or upgrades on business and first-class international airfares
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