Paris, France

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Paris je t’aime!! In my mind Paris stands well apart from any other European city. Paris, perhaps the most beautiful city anywhere and a place to never be at a loss for things to do.   Each time I go, the more I learn about interesting spots in the glorious City of Lights to add to my “to do and see” list and check in on old favorites. While I have my “must dos” on every visit like wandering the galleries and shops on the Left Bank, a walk through the Tuileries, Île Sainte Louis, a visit to some of some favorite smaller museums like the Jacquement André and L’Orangerie and a visit to Mariage Fréres and Ladurée Tea Rooms.  However, it is also great to check out new discoveries. Some new discoveries on this trip were the Bercy Villages, Viaducs des Artes, a day in the antique markets with Riad Kneife, new dining venues and a few new hotel discoveries.

One of the biggest decisions to make when booking a trip to Paris is whether to stay on the Left or the Right Bank of the Seine. It depends on your style, budget, activities and sights that are most important to you during your journey.  I revisited some of our beloved hotels on the Left and Right Bank and discovered a couple of new favorites.

To say Paris has some of the finest hotels is to say some of the “worlds” finest… the French capital sets a benchmark for irreproachable service and sumptuous surroundings hence the reason why some of the top “Palaces” in Paris are having to reinvent themselves. To currently note ….. on the Place de Vendome the Paris Ritz, on the Place de la Concorde the Hotel de Crillon and the Plaza Athenee is undergoing major refurbishments yet remaining open while doing so. This just leaves Le Bristol, Le Meurice and Four Seasons George V commanding the summit with newcomers like the Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La in close contention.

I opted to stay on both banks to have a diverse experience… the first part of my stay was at our preferred Left Bank Hotel, Hotel Esprit St Germain.

Esprit St Germain is very Parisian and designed along the lines of a private residence. A very intimate, five star boutique Virtuoso hotel ….with a very caring and lovely  owner, Laurance, who has a most efficient staff. Laurance has put her personal touch and loving care into each room and lounge in the hotel… she is constantly fixing up, redoing and adding little amenities sure to delight and as if she was a guest herself. The hotel has 28 rooms and suites… some connecting for families. I was lucky enough to enjoy one of their large Prestige suites (#102).

Esprit should be considered “your” home away from home… a place where service and luxury out weigh their smaller Parisian rooms. I quickly settled right in and indulged myself in some hot tea and snacks in the hotels fireplace lounge and at night I enjoyed the Library Lounge where an honor bar is beautifully arranged with complimentary drinks and appetizers.  It was as if I were a guest at a friend’s house as very relaxed with a personalized and dedicated service. It is the quintessential French hotel located in a very upscale area of the Left Bank (between the Luxembourg Gardens and the Boulevard Saint Germain) surrounded by lots of wonderful boutiques and within walking distance to many good local restaurants.

A hotel that is perfect for honeymooners, couples, families and woman traveling alone …..for anyone who likes a relaxed yet sophisticated stay.

My last few nights were spent at one of our most preferred Right Bank hotels, Hotel Le Bristol. It has a fairy tale setting in the heart of Paris, with a superb location on the Rue du Faubourg St Honoré, close to the art galleries and shopping of the 8th and 1st arrondissements, and is one of the top “Palaces” in Paris.  The Bristol is a model of old-school service and sophistication.

All of its 188 guest rooms and suites have been redone, and 26 more added in an adjoining building where I was lucky enough to have the most sought after junior suite (#760) with a full Eiffel Tower view. The spa facilities have been enlarged, updated and redecorated and feature products by La Praire. Among the hotel’s other highlights: the city’s largest hotel “French” style garden, an indoor pool, new fitness room, a chic new bar, a three star Michelin restaurant plus 114 Faubourg, a one star Michelin headed by Chef Eric Frechen. A very Parisian ambience in 114 Faubourg which has become “the” place to lunch in the neighborhood and where I enjoyed an unforgettable meal.  I started with roasted ceps with chestnut pumpkin mousseline and Bellotta shavings….and for an entrée enjoyed pan seared beef tenderloin from Normandy with lard di Colonnata, cep gratin!!!

My Favorite Hotels in Paris: 

LEFT BANK: Hotel Esprit St Germain, Hotel de L’Abbaye, Hotel Pont Royal, Relais Christine, Hotel St Vincent, Hotel du Aubusson and Hotel Duc de Saint Simon

RIGHT BANK: Hotel Le Bristol, Le Meurice, Four Seasons Hotel George V and Shangri-La

A city hard not to love… I look forward to sharing and reliving my experiences while planning your next vacation to one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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2 thoughts on “Paris, France

  1. in paris – le meurice or shangri la – we are trying to pick between the two for my son’s 18th birthday. He will be studying hotel management in college – so which would you pick for a stay in February 2014?

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