A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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Staying on the Left Bank

March 19th, 2004

Paris is filled with magnificent hotels, and some of the most famous, such as The Ritz, George V (Four Seasons) and The Crillion are on the right bank. But if you want the more relaxed setting of the left bank, there are many smaller hotels, typically 60 rooms or less, that run from very expensive to quite reasonable.

Relais Christine is a gem. Housed in a mansion originally built in 1231, it is set back from the street by a beautiful stone courtyard. A warm and inviting lounge is situated off the lobby with elegant carpets, large comfortable chairs and a roaring fireplace. It is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail before dinner. The rooms are large and comfortable with wonderful linens, antique furniture and marble baths. The biggest suites are duplexes, but since they are on the top floor, the small windows tend to make the rooms rather dark. Service is top-notch and even spa services are available. Rates are very expensive www.relaischristine.com

Hotel Montalembert is a modern hotel; very sleek and stylish. The chic lobby bar is certainly a place to mix with the most fashionable trendsetters, but relaxed enough to be comfortable in jeans. The rooms can be small, but are well designed. The rooms are pure luxury, sumptuous beds, marble bathrooms, and all the latest gadgets. Rates are expensive. www.montalembert.com

Hotel duc de Saint Simon is a charming hotel with 36 rooms located just off the Blvd. St Germain. The hotel gives the feeling of a French country house, but it is downtown Paris. The rooms are comfortable, although not large, with brightly colored fabrics, big pillows and beautiful antiques. A few of the rooms have small terraces with potted flowers, and tables and chairs; a perfect spot to enjoy breakfast. A small courtyard is another ideal breakfast location for those warm days. Prices are moderate.

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