by Tim Morgan
“I’m off to Paris.” Doesn’t just the sound of that declaration define the messenger as chic, worldly, romantic, or just down-right cool? Maybe I’m an old-fashioned romantic with an out-of-date vocabulary, but Paris is nothing, if not the epitome of modernity steeped in both glamorous and historic roots. Read on, if you want to enjoy it in style and luxury without giving up the ‘entire’ contents of your wallet.
A hotel in Paris is a tricky thing: If you’re looking for opulence, full-stop, the choice of the famous George V is obvious. But if you are looking for that precious and rare combination of value, luxury, and friendly, unpretentious service, the choice is equally evident: it’s the Hotel Lotti.
You will be surrounded by elegance from the moment you enter the lobby, in the ornate Suite Royale Lounge, and your beautifully appointed room. More important to me, however, is that in a city that is not known for its embracing and tolerant attitude toward non-French-speaking individuals, the hotel is an oasis of friendly faces from the gentleman who hails your cab and opens the door, to the General Manager of the hotel, and everyone in between.
For exceptional Concierge services, ask specifically for Jean Baptiste (no, I am not joking). He will hand-pick your restaurant, including the seat and server, organize your theater tickets, and ask you if you enjoyed your evening when he sees you the next morning. Reach the Lotti at +33 1 42 60 60 62.
Sights, Sounds, and Tastes of Paris: There are just to many too list here, but you’ll get the idea. The sound of scooters zipping by, the scent of a fresh baguette, the taste of a savory onion soup, or sweet, creamy pastry. It’s all Paris.
So, here are my favorite things to do and places to eat. Tour the Louvre to catch a glimpse of Mona Lisa watching you. Forget the elevator and climb the Eiffel Tower by foot. See the stained-glass at Notre Dame when the sun is high enough to come streaming through the window. Stroll the left bank, hand-in-hand. Sample as much French wine as you can without paying for it in the form of a headache later.
Had enough fun for one day? Time to eat. My favorite restaurant is La Mediterranee at 2 place de L’Odeon, tel. 0143260230. You won’t need to chew. Everything from the soup to the dessert melts in your mouth, the atmosphere is vie-en-rose, the specialty is fish, and the staff are determined to make it one of the experiences of Paris you’ll never forget. Best Casual Bistro: 40 Place du Marche Saint-Honore Tel: 01 42 86 04 24.
Not in Paris for Romance? Try Disney Paris. To me, Disney and romance is not an apt match, however, if the kids are in tow, it’s a great way to break-up all the shopping and museum-hopping that some kids loathe. The rides and attractions are not on scale with Disneyworld in Orlando or Disneyland in Anaheim, but it’s quite unique to be able to take the Metro from downtown Paris to the ticket-booth in less than 40 minutes.
In the end, you can come to Paris with your best guy or gal, or find someone new. With kids. Without kids. With a smile and the right attitude, you’ll come home with a suitcase and belly full of memories.