Finding F. Scott Fitzgerald at the Hotel Belles Rives

“With our being back in a nice villa on my beloved Riviera (between Cannes and Nice) I’m happier than I’ve been for years. It’s one of those strange, precious and all too transitory moments when everything in one’s live seems to be going well.” So reads the quotation engraved in marble in the lobby of the Hotel Belles Rives in the Riviera town of Juan-Les-Pins. Its author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, rented the hotel when it was still a private villa in the summer of 1925. His time in this part of France served as inspiration for both my favourite novel…

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Paris’ cool corner: Canal St-Martin

The story of Paris in the years post 2010 should not be left to nostalgists to tell. For a start, Woody Allen has been there and done that with a bigger budget and a better soundtrack than anyone else could bring to the table. Besides, it would be doing the city a huge disservice to suggest its charms had not grown or evolved, but remained static across the years. I’m of the belief that there is as much fresh stuff to be excited about it in 2015 Paris as there was a century or more ago; you might just have to…

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Hipster places to eat and drink in Paris

Whenever I discover I’m going somewhere — anywhere — the first thing I do is work out where I’m going to eat. I read travel articles, guidebooks, local food blogs, listicles… pretty much anything that will point me in the direction of a city/town/country’s super foods. The weekend before last I was in Paris for my birthday and I ate and drank so much seriously good stuff, I thought I’d share it with you here. Just please don’t judge me for how much I ate. Cafe de Flore Perfect for: people watching; lunch Cafe de Flore in Saint Germain is every…

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Magical Morzine and silly snaps from the slopes

In my last post I wrote about how I booked an amazing ski holiday in France for myself and my friends for mere pennies (well… almost). What I didn’t tell you (although you might have guessed from the photos) was how much fun the trip was. It’s been a few years since I last skied and it felt so good to be back on the slopes, and with some of my best friends too. Not only did we tear down the pistes until we thought our legs would fall off… We also posed… And postured… And were super-silly. We apres-skied… And…

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How I bagged an awesome budget ski holiday in the Alps

I’ve been skiing since I was about nine years old, and so I know by now that’s there no way around it completely: skiing just ain’t cheap. That said, if you’re wily, there are ways you can book an awesome ski holiday on a more limited budget. If you’re a family and you’re careful, you can self cater in an apartment with the kids of a sofa bed, for example — but this isn’t always feasible if you’re travelling in a non-family group. In January, six of us decided we were really determined to book a skiing holiday this year.…

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