Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Long Weekend in Paris

We had a wonderful stay in Paris. As always, we spent a lot of time in and around the Champs Elysées and the Louvre and we also visited the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is being lit up for its 250th birthday, so every night there is a beautiful light show - it’s hard to describe but well worth seeing! We also spent a fair amount of time on the Left Bank, shopping and exploring.

On the recommendation of a friend, my husband and I visited the Musee Marmottan for the first time. (My husband was working the majority of the weekend but this was one thing we did do together!) The museum is located in an old home and contains a large number of Monets, as well as paintings by many other impressionists. We saw some beautiful Renoirs and a large number of evocative paintings by Berthe Morisot - one of the few female impressionists. It lacks the rush and bustle of some of the larger museums and is a lovely place to spend a couple of hours. Also it is on the outskirts of Paris (metro La Muette), so for the first time I saw Parisian suburbia. There were families walking in the park and children on the carousels (merry-go-rounds) catching rings on sticks as they go round and round. My husband spent a number of years in Paris when he was growing up and it brought back happy memories for him. It is a super place to visit.

We ate in some of our favourite restaurants and also in some new ones - although I have to confess that it is our favourites we will continue to return to! I do love Ladurée on the Champs Elysées. The lovely green awning welcomes you into a really beautiful restaurant where the food is just wonderful. The desserts and pastries are a particular delight. We ate lunch there three times this visit! Their crab club sandwich is just amazing and as for their macarons - no, not macaroons - I do mean macarons :) - well, they are beyond delicious. They are small meringue-y cakes, crisp on the outside, sandwiched together with a soft creamy middle.

We had a super journey back on Eurotunnel. It’s a great way to travel, particularly if you book their flexi-plus package. It means you can take any train, and there is a little building right before you take your car on the train where they pack you a lovely lunch to eat while you sit in your car going under the English channel. It’s a nice distraction - I’m really not at all sure about all that water overhead! However it really is such a quick and easy way to get across, I do have to recommend it.

The only sad thing is that for the first time I have had to remove a hotel recommendation from my Recommended Hotels page. We stayed at a favourite hotel in Paris - one we have been using for over ten years - The Méridien Etoile. We certainly won’t be going back. You can see my review on TripAdvisor by clicking here if you want the details, but suffice it to say that, despite a refurbishment, it has really gone downhill since last year. Some of the staff are downright officious, and while their executive rooms are of an acceptable standard (not executive though) their “deluxe” rooms are barely of a basic standard.

It was a wonderful break though, and I do have such a soft spot for Paris. It is a shame my husband was working most of the time, but our son and I had a really lovely time, and so enjoyed the time we did get to spend with him. I’m very grateful to have had such a lovely weekend.