The City of Love.
La Ville-Lumiére. The City of Lights.
Two beautiful nicknames for a beautiful city.
A Corner of Paris.
Last week when I shared some doors from Paris in this post, I realized that I had shared very little about the Paris portion of our trip this past Spring.
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 the 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 into 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 at a breakfast buffet 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 remembered 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. You 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 a pizza was the standard there. Eggs seem 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 nomming 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 loved 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. And 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.
Place de la Concorde.
Many nights we walked down to Place de la Concorde to watch the sky begin to glow as the sun nestled into its 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!
25 thoughts on “A Corner Of Paris”
Very interesting post 🙂
Thank you. 🙂
I remember when we hit the wall on hotel rooms. When we didn’t all fit in two beds and a roll-away, but Bubba wasn’t old enough to be the adult in a room. That’s when travel got pretty pricey!
Mini dates in the evening — Niiice! 😀
Mini dates were soo niiice.
Travel does get pricey when you need that extra space. Add in airfare and food and I’m pretty sure the hubby and I will be able to travel much more often once they are responsible for themselves! 🙂
Really nice post. I love your details and will share with my daughter, who may need a room like yours. Well done!
Thank you. Finding that additional room space isn’t always easy. I was so glad that we were able to find something and it was a such a charming place too.
The first time I went to Paris I took 14 yr old Baby Girl. To say she Hated It would be an understatement. She was miserable! She hated the food except for Pizza, hated that she couldn’t speak the language, and her that Mother was mediocre at speaking the language and wasn’t a Hero, and the shops and stores had a protocol that she didn’t understand.
She was quite pleased with herself for understanding that I didn’t order the pizza one night correctly and she had comprehended the waiter far much better than I did. I am so proud of that too!
My French Comprehension still sucks after 15+ yrs of study. Sigh…will I ever get it?
On my second visit we all went and we had two rooms. Our only complaint was the the elevator and how small it was! We all couldn’t go up or down together! Though we did love our rooms! My favorite is the 7th or 6th arrondissement. We were in the 7th then. The kids loved the patisserie next door and the Pizza vendor across the street…it was Greek Pizza but, what did they know.
I don’t know New York from Chicago, but I do know American from Greek Pizza. 🙂
Miss Sunshine is particular about food and doesn’t even like pizza (I know…crazy!), but conceded to eat it with the boys. We also would pick up sandwiches at a small grocery that was nearby.
I have a tendency to wear people out because on a vacation I can go,go, go. I tried to let them take the lead on what we did because more than anything I wanted them to love traveling.
Big Mr. had 3 years of French under his belt, but he didn’t want to try it out. I need to learn a few phrases at least. I did say Bonjour and Bonsoir and tried to smile a lot! 🙂
It’s funny that you mention a small elevator! We took separate trips when we had our luggage. We did just fit when it was just us. I’m still learning the arrondissements, but those the 6th and 7th were lovely areas. Another issue with finding a place large enough was that we decided to go at a point when many things were already booked. I will have to look into those areas in the future!
You make me miss Paris! I have been several times when I lived at home (Sweden) as its only a short plane ride there. Best part as you also mention, is sitting outside, have a glass of something and just look at people. I also love the surroundings around Place de la Concord. Next time try to make time to visit beautiful gardens of Versailles.
That must have been lovely to have lived a short plane ride away. I did love how you travel a “world” away so easily when we were in Europe. We did spend a day at the Palace of Versailles. It was the only thing that we made a commitment to actually see. 🙂 The gardens were beautiful!
LOVE Paris. We visited several times before children, and would love to take them one day. Most modern hotels in Europe have the keycard systems – where you leave it in a dock to activate everything in the room, and use it to get to the rooms – I remember the first time I ever saw it, and was just as confused as you 🙂
Forgot to mention – some hotels are switching to a mobile app now as an alternative to the key card.
We have some hotels that offer a mobile key card, but that’s only to open the door to the room. I’m not sure if there are any hotels that run the electricity, etc. by the card.
I only wish we’d have had more time to spend there. I thought the keycard system was such a great feature, but we were definitely confused when we kept trying to turn on any light we could and find the “box” they were talking about. 🙂
I’ve been lucky to have traveled considerably more than the average person throughout the world, but Paris still stubbornly remains my favourite city.
It holds a magic that hasn’t diminished over the years, even though a few cities have competed for the #1 spot and fallen a bit short.
I love it when I can re-experience her magic through someone else’s eyes 💕
I’m still torn between Paris and Amsterdam, but I still need to visit LOTS more cities before I make my decision ;). She is quite the magical city though!!