I stay at the Balzac, a pretty boutique hotel, a block off the Champs-Elysees and near the Arc de Triomphe. In the morning, I walk down to Laduree for pastry. The best place to sit is at a high-top by the bar — it's where they display all of the pastries. I love to just take in the scent and sip their amazing coffee.

What destination is next on your list?

I haven't been to Austria since I backpacked across Europe in 1985. I would like to go back to Vienna and Salzburg. There's a small mountain range outside of Salzburg [and there is] Halstatt, just a little village where the lakes wrap around the mountains — it looks like the [scenery from] "The Sound of Music." You can also go through the salt mines. Also, I'd love to sample the pastries in Vienna and see the opera.

Is there an item you will not travel without?

My Bose noise-cancellation headphones. It allows me to sleep on an airplane. Also, I have downloaded a translator app on my iPhone.

Do you have any preferred travel guides?

People into food can't be without a Michelin Guide. I'm impressed with the Eyewitness Travel Guides and Pudlo Paris, a different perspective from Michelin. I also really like "The Authentic Bistros of Paris."

If you go

Getting there

Several airlines offer connecting service from Baltimore to Paris. There are daily nonstop flights from Dulles International into Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport. Once you land, taxis are the most direct route into Paris but cost about $70. Travelers can take the Metro/RER (about $12) from inside the airport.


Hotel Balzac, 6 rue Balzac, 01-44-35-18-00, hotelbalzac.com. Cindy Wolf's favorite is a luxurious boutique hotel in Paris' 8th arrondissement. All guest rooms have marble baths, oak floors and cozy sitting areas. Early-bird rates start at about $330 per night for a superior double.

Caron de Beaumarchais, 12 rue Vieille-du-Temple, 4th arrondissemen,t 01-42-72-34-12, carondebeaumarchais.com. The antiques-filled, chandelier-lit guest rooms at the 18th-century Caron de Beaumarchais are one of the best budget secrets in Paris. Guests love the oversized soaking-tub bathrooms, W-Fi and proximity to Notre Dame. Doubles from $200.