The City of Love.
La Ville-Lumiére. The City of Lights.
Two beautiful nicknames for a beautiful city.
The best place to begin is always the beginning. When we decided that we would like to travel to Europe over Spring Break, Paris was one of my top choices. Even though I was somewhat intimidated by the city, it seems like everyone who has chance should visit Paris. Given that our travels to Amsterdam and Paris were confined by the dates of the teenagers Spring Break, our time in each city would be limited. Just enough to have a taste of Europe. This was the first time I, or the children, had ever ventured out of the United States.
In order to create the least amount of anxiety (for me..the anxiety-prone person), we chose hotels that would make each city walkable. Finding rooms for a family of five is not an easy feat. When they were tiny, we could squeeze them all in to one bed. Now that Big Mr. is 6’6″ and Mr. D is over 6′ and Miss Sunshine is in the 70th percentile and not done growing….we need more beds.
In Paris, that was found in this hotel.
Hotel Opéra Richepanse.
Located at 14 rue de Chevalier de Saint George, this boutique hotel consists of 39 rooms and suites.
We took the train from Amsterdam to Paris. We had considered taking the Metro to the hotel since it is located 200 meters from the Madeline Metro Station (which serves lines 8,12,14) and 400 meters from the Concorde Metro Stations (which serves lines 1,8,12). In the end we opted to take a taxi since all five of us had luggage. There are signs when you exit the train reminding you to use the “official” taxi line. I would advise that you take heed of that message. We did have a gentleman ask if we needed a taxi and try to wave us toward his driver. We got in the “official” line. I imagine that driving in Paris is not for the faint of heart. I could not tell if there are “rules” of the road with people squeezing here and there, but our driver was very nice and got us there safely.
The hotel is located in the first arrondissement and has been renovated. It was quite beautiful inside. This was the view as you walked through the front doors. Through that door and down the stairs is where we would eat a breakfast buffett each morning. To your left was a gathering area and to the right the concierge/check-in desk.
Perhaps you have frequented a very modern hotel.
I had not.
While the concierge did explain we’d need to put the key into the box, we did not understand what she meant. The lights, etc. do not work in the room without placing the key into the slot. We had to send Big Mr. down to figure out how to turn on the lights. They graciously sent a worker up to show him where it went. The foyer was dark and we would never have thought to look there. But honestly, we still wouldn’t have known how to work it.
This also means that when you leave, the power shuts down. This seems like such a great way to conserve energy (Just be sure that you aren’t sharing a hotel with someone who’d like to make your lights disappear while you’re showering. This didn’t happen on our stay…but I’m just sayin’)
The key was also required to access the stairs from the lobby or to make the elevator move. I wouldn’t realize how grateful I would be for this fact until later. We were there during the shooting on Champ Élysées. While we didn’t hear about it until after we returned to the hotel, it also explained why there had been a helicopter flying overhead as Big Mr. and I walked to the nearby grocery. This hotel was only about 1/2 mile from the shooting. There was still talk of perhaps another shooter being on the loose. My heart raced as I heard people running down the hall (probably a child running to their room), but then I remember that without a key, nobody could get beyond the lobby. This put me at ease.
The rooms that we actually had were connecting rooms. Ours was considered a Superior Room and the kids were in a Deluxe Triple Room. This was the view of our room from the bed looking toward the room that the teens shared. Your can see other photos of the rooms at the hotel’s website. Our rooms looked like their photo of connecting rooms without the wood-beamed ceiling.
Our rooms overlooked rue Duphot. It was a very quiet street.
We would end up ordering pizza twice from Pizza Nelly
… because teenagers… and pizza.
I’m not sure if it was the managers or owners who were working. I suspect owner because they called their daughter, who spoke more English, to help us place the order for pepperoni pizza and that we wanted to take it with us. This was helpful because we didn’t realize that putting egg on pizza was the standard there. Eggs seems to be very popular on quite a few foods in Paris.
That’s another wonderful thing about travel…seeing how they prefer to serve their food. Other items that we experienced which were not our normal way of eating an item were ketchup and mayonnaise served together as the side to fries and lemons in the coke.
While the teens were up in the hotel room nom noming on pizza, the hubby and I would walk to the brasserie across the street.
Le Relais Madeleine.
Located at 9 rue du Chevalier de Saint George, we adored this place.
We stumbled upon it our first night in Paris. Miss Sunshine was very ill. She had mustered up enough energy to walk down to Place de la Concorde and check out the Jardin des Tuileries, but then she really needed to eat and rest. We decided the best option was the brasserie near the hotel. We had a nice dinner and the owner / manager? was so nice that we returned for drinks each night. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down his name, but I think it was Pierre.
We love sitting outdoors and watching nighttime Paris come alive. Happy Hour was from 18H-21H. You would see the crowds begin to come and meet as the work day ended. You would see those who had been shopping nearby on rue de Faubourg Saint Honoré carrying their bags from Hermés and other nearby shops. You could imagine what it was like during an evening as an actual Parisian.
We could see the door to the hotel, in case a teen needed to get us. I would even have my one encounter with a mostly complete language barrier in the pharmacy next door. While intimidating, it wasn’t that hard to point and say advil. I’m not sure if I would have known if she gave me the correct change, but she took her time counting back each piece, so that I would feel confident in her honesty.
It also felt delightful to have these mini-dates with the hubby while in Paris.
Many nights we walked down to Place de la Concorde to watch the sky begin to glow as the sun nestled into it’s sleeping place. The Eiffel Tower would light up and for 5 minutes every house it put on a dazzling display of twinkling, adding even more spark to a magnificent view.
On the return from Place de la Concorde back to the hotel, I was in awe of the beauty of these historic buildings. Building whose architecture curves and dances into the cityscape.
While Paris had intimidated me with its sheer size and language differences, I did fall in love with its beauty.
Paris in Spring is definitely spoken of in a reverential tone for good reason.
I hope to again walk her streets one day.
Let your light shine!