Every time I return to Paris the magic occurs as soon as I arrive! I remember my first trip - 10 days spent here during Christmas week when I was 20, staying in a tiny hotel on the Left Bank, taking the metro everywhere and falling in love with this city. Today I arrive in style, limo to Le Meurice, one of the iconic palace hotels, champagne and their famous macaroons to welcome me are waiting in my room.
This gorgeous hotel is in the heart of Paris, across from the Tuileries Gardens on the Rue de Rivoli. Perfect for walking and shopping. The Louvre Museum is only a short walk down the street, the Musee D'Orsay across the Seine.
We meet with Antoinette, my favorite private guide service in Paris. We start with cafe au lait and a baguette sandwich and then head off to St Germain des Pres for a tour of the Jazz Greats of the 20's, along with anecdotes about the lives of the writers of the time who hung out in this arrondisment. Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein - amazing stories! We walk the narrow cobblestone streets, imagining what it was like for them. The Americans coming to Paris to explore and expand their talents - away from the strict, puritanical USA with prohibition and censorship.
We then check out the gourmet shops - each kind of cheese, chocolate, foods of all kinds - all overseen as they must adhere to regulations or they cannot be sold in France. The displays of cakes, fruit, baguettes are so artistic! This is a perfect place to go shop to shop and buy all the dishes to make a fabulous picnic. I cannot pass my favorite shoe store without stopping to see what new colors they have - I love the ballet flats of Repetto! This time I buy purple.
Returning to Le Meurice, I notice again how this traditional hotel has been updated with the touch of Philippe Stark, but retains the dignity and elegance it has always had.
More on Katie Cadar.