As many of you may know, I will be traveling to Paris for a week this coming Tuesday. Over the last few years I’ve gathered enough miles to fly both my parents, my brother who has a couple weeks off from medical school, and me non-stop from Boston to Paris. Once we get there, we’ll be spending seven nights at The Westin Paris – Vendôme. Luckily my parents are big SPG fans and had a ton of points that they were able to use, which allowed us to book this hotel. While there, we have a few tours planned as well as a day trip out to Giverny. However, we’re leaving ourselves lots of time to walk around the city since Paris is supposed to be such a great city to do just that!
For the last several weeks I’ve been reading a lot of guide books to figure out what to do while we’re there. We’ll obviously be seeing the major attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Louvre, but I want to find places that might be a little less traveled. While certainly popular the Catacombs, the Pere Lachaise cemetery, and Les Invalides seem to be less crowded than the big sites. We’re taking a couple day trips out of central Paris to see a few sites that interest all of us. The first is probably one of the most famous sites in the world: Versailles. Not only is the palace itself intriguing, but the design of the gardens is supposed to be amazing – my mom is really looking forward to this trip. We’re going to have a tour guide for Versailles so that we can fully appreciate everything and I will make sure to report on how the tour company is. Later in the week we’re doing a full day in Giverny; I’ve heard really great stories and accounts of it that I wanted to make sure to visit. We don’t have a guide for it, but given that the draw of Giverny is the beautiful landscapes that Monet painted, we’ll be sure to take it all in. Lastly, my all of family are huge Disney fans – I’ve been to Disney World probably 15 times over my lifetime and Disneyland twice – so we are going to Disneyland Paris! While it definitely isn’t the most cultured site on our list, we’re all looking forward to it. Next on my list is the Disney Resort in Tokyo!
Lastly, I want to hear from all of you! What were your favorite sites? What restaurants have you been craving since you left? Where did you have the best croissant in the world? Any suggestions you have, leave a comment and I’ll happily listen to anything you have to say. I’ve listed the books I’ve been reading, the tour company that we’re using, and a link to the hotel we’re staying at below for anyone that is thinking about visiting Paris!
Access Paris 11th Edition – This book breaks down Paris into several different neighborhoods and has tons of different restaurant recommendations, site reviews, etc. This was definitely a great resource and I’ll be bringing this along with us.
Fodor’s See It Paris 4th Edition – This was the first book that I bought because it gave a great overview of a few different areas of Paris. It’s not too in-depth, but provides helpful self-guided walking tours to see Paris by foot. It also has some restaurant recommendations, but not as many as the Access book. It has great overviews of a lot of the major sites like Notre-Dame.
The Paris Mapguide – While I haven’t used this yet, since we’re not in Paris, I read a number of reviews and received two different recommendations that I buy this mapguide. It goes into great detail on every street in Paris and should hopefully be quite useful if we find ourselves lost. I will report on how helpful it really is.
DK Eyewitness Travel: Paris – Lastly, my mom had an older version of this book in our travel bookshelf at home. She loves these books and, although I didn’t read it much, I can see why. It goes into extensive detail about the different sites around Paris. It has great pictures and detailed diagrams that explain everything perfectly.
Context Paris – Context Travel is a worldwide tour operation that has tours in all the major cities (including the U.S.). Their tours – they actually call them walking seminars – are led by scholars who are experts in their respective fields. The groups are limited to six people max so these are very small, intimate tours that we’re hoping will provide a great history and education of the different sites we’re seeing with them.
The Westin Paris – Vendôme – We lucked out on this hotel. There were no standard rooms available when we decided to book. The lowest room category available was a Junior Suite. These rooms retail for about €660+ per night so obviously we weren’t going to pay for them. The standard rooms are usually available for €480 or 20,000 SPG points, which itself isn’t cheap. However, we were able to book the Junior Suite at only 22,000 SPG points per night. I’m not sure if this was some sort of special or if it’s always available, but the Junior Suites look amazing and for only 2,000 more SPG points per night, a much better deal. It’s definitely not a cheap place to stay, but luckily my dad is a Platinum SPG member so we should get free breakfast, which will save us quite a bit of money.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day FlyerTalk is giving away A FlyerTalk Luggage Tag & Hoodie combo for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (with your First Name, Last Initial, and 3 letter airport code) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.