About PJ

Meandering Trail Media is a multimedia company focusing on world-wide travel, publishing, and psychology. PJ Adams, Meandering Trail Media's primary author, is a psychotherapist and best selling author who splits her time between California and Europe. Follow her on Twitter @PJAdams10Facebook, and YouTube.

For more information on Meandering Trail Media OR to schedule an interview or book signing, contact: Info@pjadamsbooks.com OR John Birkhead, PR Director, john.birkhead@pjadamsbooks.com,  +1 (760) 707-2577, Fax +1 949-258-8693.

See our professional photographs on Shutterstock: 

See our France books trailer HERE.

See the Intoxicating Greater Paris: Loire book trailer HERE. 

 

See the Intoxicating Southern France book trailer HERE 

See the Intoxicating Paris book trailer HERE     

         

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    PJ Adams

    PJ Adams is a psychotherapist and author in California.

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    Thursday
    Dec172015

    France & England Christmas Markets Dazzle for the Holidays

    France and England are captivating locales for enjoying the holidays. Both countries mount fabulous Christmas extravaganzas perfect for family-friendly fun.

    You'll find skating rinks, sleigh rides, curb-side holiday stalls overflowing with toys, gifts, warm wine, and seasonal edibles while carolers harmonize to the melodies of the season. Along the way you'll meet friendly people more than happy to share the joys of Christmas with you. 

    On London's Regent Street for example, glittering holiday displays and bedazzling Christmas lights span the avenue for blocks. The result? A sparkling fantasyland of holiday eye candy.

    In London's famous Harrods department store, the food halls are festooned with decorations while the smell of roasting chestnuts fills the air. Here you'll find Christmas mince pies, sumptuous chocolates, buttery Christmas cookies, puddings for Christmas dinner, a plethora of holiday ornaments, PLUS an entire room devoted to royal paraphernalia you can purchase as the Queen, in her elegant white fur, looks on! 

    Over in Hyde Park, a multi-acre fun park called Winter Wonderland beckons. There are bright holiday rides galore plus Christmas stalls selling favorites like candy floss, duck fat chips, and plenty of British brew. One of my favs is this Pub Carousel where you can spin and sip a pint at the same time!

    Over in France, Paris notches up the glamour wattage even further for the holidays. Along the Champs-Elysées the Christmas stalls are filled with santons (Christmas figurines) for the family crèche, crêpes sizzle on the griddle, and all the Grands Magasins department store front windows draw crowds with their fetching holiday displays. Inside, magnificent Christmas trees like the one pictured in Galeries Lafayette greet all who enter.  

    But the finest holiday venue of all in my opinion is Strasbourg France, the Capital of Christmas. Only two hours or so by train from Paris, Strasbourg is probably where Santa gets HIS goodies since this is the biggest and oldest Christmas Market in Europe.

    Begun in 1570, Strasbourg, located in the Alsace region of France near Germany, is the center of all things Christmas. It has 11 separate holiday markets brimming with treasures and edibles. I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in this Christmasland of all Christmaslands.

    The entire town becomes a Holiday Wonderland this time of year. Individual markets fan out in multiple directions for miles. As I wandered through this extraordinary spectacle in the crisp winter air, I stuffed my shopping bags with handmade Alsatian ornaments, French candle holders, and handknit scarves (to name a few)--all the while sipping a yummy concotion called gluhwein (mulled wine with spices). And of course I couldn't resist the French food favorites: bredele (mouth-watering butter cookies), kougelhopf (iced bunt cakes of all sizes), gigantic pretzels, roasted nuts, nougat the size of bowling balls, succulent gingerbread, and of course plenty of sauerkraut, sausages, and Alsatian beer. 

    I dined at some wonderful Alsatian-style restaurants, took a fantastic ride on a segway through Strasbourg, sailed down the Lille River on a barge, and got to attend the opening of the Strasbourg Christmas Markets--one of the most memorable nights of my life. AND I think I spied a certain jolly gentleman dressed all in red with a ginormous pack over his shoulder disappearing around the Cathedral! (Or perhaps I only dreamed it; in this fairyland of Christmas, anything is possible!)

    I highly recommend spending the holidays in either England or France at least once in a lifetime. You'll meet joyful people and discover magical ways to share the holiday spirit.

    One final note: ship your goodies home or bring an extra suitcase! (I confess I shipped home 12 pounds of gingerbread! And we are still munching this heavenly stuff as I write this post.)

    Joyeux Noël and Happy Holidays to you and yours. And have an equally sugarplum-filled New Year! Cheers!

     

    Monday
    Dec072015

    France On Your Own Loves PJ Adams' France Books: A Review

    "If you are looking for two perfect cultural guides to Paris and Southern France, look no further.  PJ Adams, a licensed family therapist, best-selling author, and a former publishing executive living in Southern California has written them both.  Intoxicating Paris is the first of two books that gives great insight into French life from her perspective.  The author gets 'personal', as she duly notes, delving into femininity of Parisian women, virility of Parisian men, the passion of both, verve (especially how to dress and how not to dress), the secrets of  parenting those well-behaved French children, fraternity (she points out the differences and the similarities between the French and Americans), style, creativity and much more.  Each assessment is relegated to its own chapter in the book, which turns out to be a lovely way to focus on each topic ~ certainly a pleasure for this reader.

    I can see taking this book along on that long flight from California to Paris, and not putting it down until it is finished.  P J Adams is a fluid writer with a sense of humor that definitely comes naturally.  In her chapter entitled Panache, for example, she answers the question all non-French women traveling to Paris have had:  what to wear so you look like you fit in ~ at least somewhat!  From earrings and scarves to the right shoes and jeans, she has sensible tips; she also suggests taking along a little black dress, a white blouse, a long rope of pearls and even a beret!  Not everyone will take her advice, but reading her reasons behind these choices is great fun. This is really a delightful little (229 pages) book written with a great deal of love for Paris and the French.  We recommend it!

    Intoxicating Southern France is P J Adams' second of this series and one we will take with us on our upcoming  visit to south central and southwest France.  Although we've been there many times before, she brings so many of the attractions and villages alive with pages of interesting history, a sufficient amount of information about shopping (there's a lot of opportunity to shop everywhere in France), and insight into the people and lifestyles found in the south.  There are her quirky little tidbits such as tips on opening a wine bottle without an opener. . . all you need is a man's shoe and a tree!

    This book represents ten years of travel through France's southern provinces and her encounters with interesting people along the way.  And, P J Adams will appeal to those who also struggle with speaking French.  Not only is there ample exploration of the Côte d'Azur from Monaco to the border of Provence, but the author provides long looks into Bordeaux wine country and a little peek into a cooking class after a lovely time at the local outdoor market with the lady who would teach the class.  They shopped for and prepared nine dishes ~ "and Madame Lucie did it all in her teeny French kitchen wearing high heels and a dress!"

    Some interesting pages are devoted to the French ease with weight control:  how they approach food, how they consume their meals and, of course, how this all makes a difference.  In agreement with something I have long believed after losing weight in France although consuming great quantities of food, P J Adams thinks that may have to do with eating better quality food.  I couldn't agree more!  There is a lot to be said for the French lifestyle, not only related to food but to walking more, savoring leisure time, and generally slowing the pace of life ~ like those two-hour lunches!

    Despite the abundance of historic details provided about each region of southern France, the author writes this book like a sweet memoir of her travels.  Intoxicating Southern France is easy reading, filled with invaluable information, and definitely fun."--France on Your Own, Diane Ohanian, http://www.franceonyourown.com 

     

    Thursday
    Aug132015

    Avoid These Top 10 Travel Mistakes to Ensure a Hassle-free Trip to France

    France Magazine's Complete France is featuring one of PJ's articles on the ten top mistakes travelers make when going to France. See our complete article at Complete France.

    PJ in Cannes

    1. Neglecting to Read Hotel, Restaurant, and Sightseeing Reviews. Travel Smart. Trip Advisor, Zagat, Virtual Tourist, and various travel guides will clue you in on tourist traps to avoid (like Paris’s overcrowded Les Deux Magot) and tips for making your travel experiences easy and fun. Example: the Paris Museum Pass saves money and lets you skip the long lines.

    2. Not Selecting a Gîte or Apartment. Paris apartments are typically fantastic ways to experience real life there; gîtes (furnished home or apartment) offer self-catering options and more freedom. You can get by without a concierge by heading to the town’s tourism office for advice and information.

    3. Wasting Time on Far-afield Accommodations. If you plan to see more Paris Right Bank sights, stay near there to limit your time spent on buses or the metro. If you visit Provence, pick a central locale like Avignon but avoid rush hour when you travel to and from the town. To escape French Riviera traffic, stay on one end and walk or take the trolley to nearby offerings (for example Nice and Monaco); relocate to another accommodation (like St. Tropez) to visit the opposite end of the area.

    4. Failing to Plan for Commute Time and Sunday Meals. Small towns in France get bogged down in farm traffic or local rush hour congestion while high-profile sights like the Eiffel Tour are a nightmare during peak hours. Go early or try late afternoon to avoid tourist hordes. In Bordeaux, take the wine bus, hire a wine guide, or secure a chauffeured town car to maximize your enjoyment. Remember that Sundays are cherished French family days and some dining venues close; book reservations or you may end up eating snack food.

    5. Being Unprepared for Emergencies. Take copies of your credit cards, medical data, passport, and back up prescriptions. Also take adapters, cords, and batteries for any contingency. More important, get travel insurance. (They often provide an emergency number if you need assistance.)

    6. Neglecting to Alert Your Local Banks and Credit Card Companies About Your Travel. Call the appropriate companies about your travel dates and be sure to have a copy of their non-800 numbers, as well as the toll free numbers, since toll-free doesn’t always work in foreign locales.

    7. Forgetting the French Niceties. The French are pleased when you honor their customs and recognize they feel their workplaces are extensions of their homes. When you come and go, use some token French at least to make connections. Phrases like “Bonjour, parlez-vous Anglais?” (“Hello, do you speak English?”), “Au Revoir” (“Goodbye), and “Merci” (“Thanks”) make a huge difference in bridging the culture gap. I often add “Mon français est très mauvais mais je essayer de pratiquer.“ (“My French is very bad but I try to practice”) and I make a French friend (and language coach) for life.

    8. Mispacking. You’ve heard the phrase “Layer, Layer, Layer.” I’d add “Ship it Home” and “Pack Light” as well. You can always find a La Poste post office in France that will give you one of their big orange boxes to toss in your bulky jackets (if the weather changes), your prized purchases, and even your dirty laundry to ship home. For around $50 or £33 the box will beat you home AND your luggage will be lighter. Also, avoid packing bulky sweaters and jeans; they take forever to dry.

    9. Obtaining Currency from On-the-Curb ATMs. Go inside the bank to get your euros; thieves sometimesPJ & Paris Gendarmes put credit-card readers in curb-side ATMs and steal your credit card number.

    10. Falling Prey to Pickpockets. Get some literature on how to avoid pickpockets and purse-snatchers like the American Embassy’s “Pickpockets in Paris: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim” (many of whom are adolescents who work in groups). Also learn to forcefully say “Vous arrêtez!” (“You stop!”) to people who are crowding or bothering you. You can always make friends with the gendarmes who are typically charming--after all, they are French!

    Monday
    Jul132015

    6 Best Paris Bistros

    Why go to Paris? For the romance, culture, shopping, people-watching, and of course the fantastic cuisine. But you don’t have to max out your credit cards to dine well. Parisian bistros are the answer. Here are my top six picks for classic French bistro dining (although I could name many more). Bistros, by the way, are small, intimate eateries that focus on moderately priced menus typically displayed on chalkboards or hand-written on slates. Most bistros offer traditional dishes like pâtés, country terrines, small steaks and roasted chicken partnered with pomme frites (French fries) or homey one-pot dishes like boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin. All come with tasty but reasonably priced wines or beer--and of course must-have desserts.

    1. Aux Lyonnaise (Right Bank, near the Opera). Alain Ducasse’s charming, traditional Lyonnais-style cuisine served in a Belle-Époque style dining room by aproned staff. Also has a fabulous zinc bar AND car-park service. http://www.auxlyonnais.com/en

    2. Chez L’Ami Jean (Left Bank, near Les Invalides and Eiffel Tower). Basque food and traditional French cuisine served at family-style tables in a room with cured hams hanging from the ceiling. Memorable dishes, friendly servers, and a fun atmosphere. http://lamijean.fr

    3. Bistro L’estrapade (Left Bank, Latin Quarter). Darling bistro famed for 20-euro plates like Magret de canard au melon boule de miel (duck with melon and honey), Suprême de poulet jaune aux écrevisses (supreme chicken with crayfish), and scrumptious desserts like Brioche perdue Chantilly au calvados (brioche with calvados-infused Chantilly cream) and Tarte Tatin (apple tart). http://bistrotlestrapade.fr/en 

    4. Le Violon d’Ingres (Left Bank on famed restaurant street Rue Saint-Dominique). Sophisticated 7th arrondissement elegance, chocolatier and chef-owner Christian Constant's polished bistro cuisine does not disappoint but it's a tad pricey. For even more moderate fare-in-a-pot, try his casual Les Cocotte eatery next door.  http://www.maisonconstant.com/violon-ingres/

    5. Le Fountaine de Mars (Left Bank also on famed restaurant street Rue Saint-Dominique). This red-checked tablecloth and polished brass Parisian bistro welcomed President Obama and his wife a few years ago. Famed for delicious southwestern France cuisine like cassoulet and foie gras. Great wines at an affordable price. http://www.fontainedemars.com

    6. Le Timbre (Left Bank near Luxembourg Gardens). This teeny bistro is rated one of the top 20 in Paris. More like eating at a dinner party than a restaurant, it has fantastic dishes by English chef-owner Chris Wright. So affordable; so delicious. http://www.restaurantletimbre.com/le_timbre/accueil_2.html

    Bonus: And don't miss Le Soufflé on the Right Bank near the Louvre. Serves THE most delicious soufflés for any course you choose, but especially a Grande Marnier dessert that is to die for (and they leave the entire bottle on your table for top ups)! http://www.lesouffle.fr 

    See our books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and where ever books are sold. Follow PJ Adams on Twitter @PJAdams10 and watch for our new books on the Loire Valley, Champagne, Normandy, Brittany, and Greater Paris.

    Thursday
    May282015

    Avignon: Favorite of Popes & Mimes

    Each July, the fabled Provence city of Avignon turns into a gigantic theatrical event called the Festival d’Avignon. It features theatricals, concerts, cuisine events, light show extravaganzas, and mime performances by students and professionals alike. But even off-season, Avignon remains a hotbed of spontaneous performances by local students honing their craft. As a university town, these energetic performers keep the drumbeat of innovation pounding in this picturesque Provence locale.

    Most know that the Roman Popes decamped to Avignon for a time in the 14th century; while there they built a massive palace that still stands today. Interestingly, this magnificent popes’ palace serves as a backdrop for these modern Avignon theatricals and light show spectacles. Thus, the grandeur of the once papal pageantry lives on in these colorful interpretations by singers, musicians, mimes, pyrotechnicians, and DJs. They keep Avignon buzzing with life.

    Nothing prepared me for an encounter with a very real human bee, however, in Avignon one sunny May afternoon. Bertrand the Bumblebee, as I’ve dubbed him, stood marble stiff and silent on a chair in the middle of an Avignon square. I watched him for a moment. Then I crept forward and dropped a euro into his bucket. Suddenly he burst into life, buzzing loudly and madly sketching something on a tiny bit of paper. Within seconds, he presented me with my very own teeny work of bee art—which I’ve kept to this day. 

    Later, I encountered another dramatic Avignon “performance” that perhaps even the Popes of old would have enjoyed. I call it the “Salute to the Sunset.” I was crossing the grand square in front of the palace one twilight and looked up. I suddenly saw two students poised upside down, reaching their arms out to the setting sun. They held their position for several minutes, weaving their arms in some kind of incantation that looked a lot like a modern dance sequence. Since Avignon is a university town, I suspect this "Salute" is done often, morning and evening, by “communing” young people who want to connect with the sun’s vibes.

    I confess I climbed the stairs to watch them—and I had a hard time resisting the urge to lie down too and experience this upside down view of mesmerizing Avignon! 

    Such is the intoxicating effect of quirky Avignon. If you get a chance to visit, stick around and maybe you too will catch some of the intoxicating buzz. 

    (Excerpted from PJ Adams's Intoxicating Southern France available where ever books are sold.)   

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