Sunday Q&A - Answering Your Questions
A while back I offered to do a Q&A session here on the blog, talking about favorite travel spots in France and England, things to do and see, etc. Despite not being able to go anywhere at the moment, I think we all need to keep our dreams alive and see past the current situation, into a future where we will, once again, indulge our wanderlust, enjoy great food, and find new places that will touch our hearts.
Where do you stay when you travel? Hotels or Airbnb?
I usually mix it up. I like the convenience of having a washing machine in an Airbnb apartment, it really helps with packing light (a carry-on is all I bring with me for 2-3 weeks of travel). That being said, I greatly enjoy the comfort and carefree atmosphere of a hotel.
Please advise the best “neighborhood” café/pub where one actually dines with the locals, and of course, the food is good, too!
When in London, I frequently end up staying in Kensington. I have really enjoyed The Devonshire Arms for pub fare, Dishoom for amazing Indian food (I dream of their ruby chicken curry!), and W8 Kitchen - an upscale, Michelin-starred restaurant that serves incredibly delicious dishes.
In Paris, I recently discovered Can Alegria, a hip place right off Place Pigalle. You can read my review for Urbansider Paris on their website. Another place I enjoy is Brasserie Vaudeville, where many locals used to gather after work, sharing a plate of oysters and a bottle of wine. Now with all the COVID restrictions in place, who knows anymore. I sure hope they're navigating this crisis well and they'll still be there when we all return.
What are your top three small French villages?
Ah, that's a tough one, as I have yet to see a multitude of them. Of the ones I've visited, I would choose:
charming Tourrettes-sur-Loup, up in the Alpes-Maritimes, less than an hour north of Nice
medieval La Turbie (just a few minutes away from ritzy Monaco), which will always have my heart.
Do you travel alone? And if you don't, does your companion mind all the photography? (Or maybe you treat your trips as photographic assignments?)
I prefer solo travel for the great flexibility that it offers, but I do meet up with friends almost everywhere I go. I’ve connected with lovely people from all over the world, all the way from Latvia to Indonesia, from South Africa to Australia, and of course with France and England locals, as we all share a passion for London, Paris, or the South of France. I refrain from taking a lot of photos when with friends, but I do go on photo walks with fellow photographers as well. A special shoutout to my cousin N., who has an incredible amount of patience when we’re roaming the streets of Paris and I compulsively photograph everything in sight.
What is your favorite hotel in Paris?
I’d rather try different ones every time, but I have to say I really enjoyed my repeat stays at the Britannique, a cozy and elegant boutique hotel in the Châtelet area.
What was the best meal you’ve had on your travels?
Aside from the above-mentioned ruby chicken at Dishoom, I loved the Raisukaree curry at Wagamama Tower of London, the risotto piémontais I had at a small restaurant called Au Vieux Four in Gourdon (in France’s Alpes-Maritimes), the prawn and squid black pasta at Le Petit Café in Lisbon, and the mouthwatering anchovy toast at The Oystermen, in London.
Anchovy toast at The Oystermen, London Prawns and sepia pasta, Le Petit Café, Lisbon
Where would you choose to go first when you feel it’s safe to travel again?
Out of convenience, my first European touchdown is always London. I've come to love the city above all others, so I will surely spend a few days there. Later on, I am planning on returning to Italy. It's been too long!