Paris; what a great city! Almost everything about the city exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to go back soon. I’ve broken the trip down into the several aspects that I experienced below, but overall I’d give the trip an A! The only thing that kept it from getting an A+ was the weather. It rained almost every day – though to be fair it was very much off and on so it never ruined our day – and was in the 60s-70s and overcast. It didn’t ruin the trip by any means, but we never got to see the city in all its splendor.
Hotel: The hotel was fantastic. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more as the rooms were great, the people were all friendly, and the location couldn’t have gotten any better. The Westin Vendome is right down the street from the Louvre, meaning it’s in the very heart of Paris. Notre-Dame and the rest of the Ile de la Cite are just past the Louvre and Ile St. Louis is just past that. Going the other way, the Champs Elysees is a short walk away as is the Arc de Triomphe. Finally, the St. Germain neighborhood is directly across the river with its great shopping and restaurants. There’s even more that’s close by, but you get the point. The rooms themselves were beautiful and spacious. Everyone at the hotel went out of their way to be friendly to us as well. I’d definitely recommend the hotel to anyone that was looking for a great place to stay. I should mention that the Park Hyatt Vendome Place, the Ritz Carlton, and the Mandarin Oriental are all just up the street so this is clearly a popular place to stay for some of the top hotels in the city.
Food: Paris and France are obviously known for their food and it did not disappoint. We didn’t eat at any of the top restuarants, but the several cafes that we visited were reasonably priced (for Paris anyways) and very good. Only one of the cafes were the servers rude to us (but they were even rude to Parisians); everywhere else they were very friendly and some even helped us with our French. A lot of places do have English on the menus, which makes it very easy to figure out what you’re getting if you don’t speak a lot of French.
Sights: This is what really exceeded my expectations. The Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, and Versailles were all much more incredible than I was anticipating. The Louvre is absolutely massive and it’s impossible to see in a single visit – I read somewhere that if you just glanced at all of the works of art that are on display it would take you over 40 hours to see! One of my favorite sites was the St. Chapelle church. It’s tucked into the Concergerie on Ile de la Cite and the stained glass is extraordinary. Words cannot describe how incredible it was to see so I would definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoys seeing churches.
Tours: We used Context Tours and they were amazing. We did three separate tours with them (Baguette to Bistro, Versailles, and Gardens of Paris) and they were all really well done and very informative. The tours never consisted of more than six people total and for the Gardens of Paris we were by ourselves. The small groups really allowed us to interact with the docent and ask any questions that we had. For the Baguette to Bistro tour, our docent was Alisa Morov who really knew everything about Parisian food. She’s written a few cookbooks, has her own baking shop and is a pastry chef for a restaurant within Paris.
For the Versailles and Gardens of Paris tours, our docent was Gabriel Wick. He knew everything there is to know about Versailles including all of the historical events. He gave us an amazing overview of the site and really showed us what went wrong before the Revolution. On the Gardens of Paris tour, he again was able to answer any and all of our questions. If you’re looking for walking tours in Paris, I would recommend Context without hesitation. They really gave us a better understanding of many aspects of the city.
Overall: Like I said above, the trip was fantastic and we all enjoyed it. The hotel was great, the food was incredible, and the sites and tours were all beautiful and engaging. I can’t wait to get back to Paris especially once I learn a little more French! I can certainly see it becoming a popular destination for me as I move through different aspects of life and I can safely say that it was my favorite European city yet. I hope you can all get to see it someday!
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.