Saturday, June 9, 2012

Birthday gift to self: Weekend in Paris

It’s absurd that yet another year had passed without my having been to Paris. I’d been to Cannes and Marseille. I’d been to Buenos Aires, the “Paris of South America.” I’d even been to Albania! What if I got hit by a bus tomorrow and died without having seen the City of Light? So on my birthday, I booked myself a last-minute long weekend to Paris: Not even another month would go by before I could cross it off my Bucket List. 

This is not why they call it the City of Light

My whirlwind visit to Paris was wonderful! I arrived at Hotel de la Tremoille on Friday morning, and this gem of a hotel in the “Golden Triangle” of the Right Bank welcomed me like an old friend. The contemporary décor was inviting, and my Superior room was spacious, with an excellent bath (which I immediately tested with great satisfaction). Next I made nice with the concierge, the charming and sage Patrick Le Clere, to arrange my first dinner in Paris. (Priorities!) Then I was off exploring this city I’d always longed to see.

My three day mission:
  • Tour the Louvre, check.
  • Cruise the Seine, check.
  • Splurge on perfume, check.
  • Shop at Le Bon Marche, check.
  • Stroll along Rue St. Germain and the Champs Elysees, check.
  • Eat at least one chocolate croissant daily, yum!
  • See the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Place de la Concorde, cafe where Hemingway hung out, etc. Done!
I.M. Pei's pyramid at The Louvre

Wining and dining well was another goal of the trip, and I must declare it a resounding success. My first meal was at a charming bistro near Invalides called D' Chez Eux, which offered deliciously earthy escargot and a rich cassoulet. I met my friend Marina at the Hotel Lutetia on Saturday night for traditional roast chicken at La Brasserie du Lutetia. My last dinner in Paris was at Restaurant Dessirier in the 17th arrondissement where I enjoyed spider crab, white asparagus in hollandaise and an enormous cheese plate for dessert.

White asparagus is in season April-June
Paris is such a beautiful city that I can't wait to go back.