A Once In A Lifetime Luxury Holiday Week In Paris – At A Discount
By Suzanne De Cornelia
For me, there is no better place to stay for a week at the holidays than on or near Rue Saint Dominque in the 7th Arrondissement. This is the street where Ludwig Bemelman set his enchanting series of Madeline books, so it feels like the Paris of our dreams, and also like coming home.
If you’re a resolute France-lover like me and can’t wait to return, or are dreaming about your first trip, or perhaps planning to surprise someone for a milestone celebration; I can’t imagine a more ultimate setting and value, than Paris Perfect, especially now during off-season.
Paris Perfect is a unique operation owned by a French husband and American wife. For less than a budget hotel for a week, you could rent one of their smaller fully appointed, luxury apartments. The owners, and their staff, are completely dedicated to your comfort and satisfaction. And because all of the apartments are equipped with kitchens, you can enjoying the experience of shopping in the local Farmer’s Market, and eating in your own home.
And what to expect of the neighborhood?
You are within steps of all the wonderful museums, famous monuments, including the Eiffel Tower, which is brightly lit at night outside your window, the lovely Champs de Mar for a stroll, and the not-to-be-missed gourmet street, Rue Cler where you can pick up a roast chicken for dinner. Outside on ‘Madeline’s’ street are the heartwarming cafes, shops, and restaurants that make this an unforgettable Parisian neighborhood.
If sparkling holiday windows are your thing, all of the designer shops of the Triangle d’Or are a short walk over the Pont de Alma: Chanel, Donna Karan, Prada, Zara, Hermes, Calvin Klein, and many more. Or, on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays the world’s largest flea market, Les Puces, attracts nearly 200,000 sightseers, be sure to bargain! And Paris is now awash in smart, clean bicycles that you can rent very reasonably for a day or a week to ride throughout the city, or maybe even through the Bois de Bolonge. You can drop the bike at any station, no need to return it to the original location. This is part of Mayor Bernard Delano and President Sarkozy’s commitment to the environment, an easier commute, and a livelier urban playground. Just beware Paris’ drivers, they’ve earned their reputations! And you can bring your laptop in your backpack, too. Paris has plenty of free WiFi; watch for the purple signs.
Start your day people watching over a Café Crème, or au double express et un croissant aux amandes at one of the many cafes. Wear a beret, read Le Figaro, brush-up on your French, or learn some basics, and you’ll fit right in. The first sentence I learned to say in French was, “Sorry for butchering your beautiful language.” Delivered with a smile, it earned chuckles, and friends. Be sure to see Musee d’Dorsay, especially nice if it’s raining, and it’s practically obligatory to light a candle at Notre Dame at the holidays. Later, if you feel like dressing for a nightcap stroll over to the nearby elegant Four Seasons George V Hotel for a cognac with ne plus ultra at Le Bar, where it’s romantic charm conjures a bygone era, and will make you forget the world outside.
What to do first? Check out Paris Perfect, then slice some pate on a baguette, add cornichon, mustard, a bottle of rich red wine, and curl up by the fire with a stack of rented DVDs: “Funny Face” with Audrey Hepburn, about how Paris can change your life. Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I love You,” for the wonderful scenes of Paris at Christmas. “Amilee,” which is so stylish about becoming your life’s own hero. “Something’s Gotta Give,” and witness a couple of a certain age vowing true love in Paris, and at the holidays, too.
Finally, listen to this charming French classic by Charles Trenet about how love, including love for Paris, makes your heart go “boum.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0KWyWwVp0E
Don’t forget to send me an e-postcard. Bon Voyage!
© 2007-Suzanne de Cornelia. This may be reprinted on websites as long as the entire article, including email link and resource box are included, and unchanged.
The author’s romantic adventure novel, French Heart, set on wineries in Aix-en-Provence, France, and Santa Barbara will be released in 2008. Please sign up today for the one time book announcement list on her blog at: http://web.mac.com/myfrenchheart