My Heart Belongs to Paris

Jan 06, 2017 Avatar Hilton Smith Hilton Smith
I am so lucky to see the world as I do, new discoveries every year and at least one new country. Travel renews me, keeps things fresh and makes me come alive. Regular travelers always have one place they will go back to in a flash with little excurse to do so. For me this is forever Paris, France.

The “City of Lights” has all that I want in energy, architecture, food, wine, culture, history and yes, even the people.

Despite recent events, I discovered on a long weekend the same magic was there. People were out enjoying the city and all was well.

To get there, I went a different way with an Air New Zealand Business Premier via London/Heathrow and then a connection on Air France to Paris. It had been awhile since I had experienced ANZ and I was not disappointed. Very comfortable pods, a 3 in memory foam mattress, innovative food, built in entertainment system and a young, engaging crew made the time fly. It also helped that the connections in both directions went without a hitch.

Upon arrival I was taken to one of my favorite Parisian hotels, Le Pavillon de la Reine in Le Marais. This hotel on 28 Place de Vosges is so distinctive, so intimate and so service oriented that it makes you comfortable the moment your step inside.

The historic building has been refreshed. Many rooms have separate tub and shower and modern amenities but still keeping the French style. The breakfast is generous. The lack of a dining venue for lunch and dinner will be corrected next year.

Le Marais has changed with top designers taking up residence in buildings that previously had local boutiques and bars. it is less “local” than before, but Le Marais is still a serious place to explore. One of my favorite local restaurants, Les Philosophes is still there, over 25 years after I first discovered it. It is relaxed and informal. They make everything fresh so they will run out of items as the day progresses.

For a change of pace, we had to visit the iconic Ritz Hotel Paris which reopened earlier this year on Place Vendome. It has been completely renewed in discrete ways with the bones of the 21st Century, but with more than a nod to French tradition. Having martinis in one of the Ritz bars was a special moment indeed.

The luxury of our small group was that we all had been to Paris before. We just enjoyed the city with only a brief nod to the typical tourist sites.

One night we dined at the a very good La Maison Du Jardin Restaurant on 27, rue de Vaugirard with special meat dishes and good service.

One of us was staying at the traditional and very comfortable Victoria Palace Hotel.

Nearby was the recommended Le Vitis Bistrot a vins at 8, rue Falguiere in the 15th. I would definitely passed by this basic place had I been on my own. As it was, it was a real fine in a city full of them.

Paris is forever the second home in my heart and one that is to be shared. Let TravelStore bring you the magic of this city that will forever shine brightly.

Contact Hilton Smith to begin planning your small group tour of Paris with his years of travel experience.