SO. About this grand European vacation I’m taking in May. We land in Brussels at 8am on a Monday morning, and are taking a train right to Paris from the airport for two days. Of course, because I’m me and I’m a total spaz about everything, I’m sweating bullets about the possibility of losing our luggage, missing our Thalys train, having the plane get sucked into some LOST-like mystery island, you know, the usual. But at least I can finally take a deep breath about our hotel accommodations, because as of Monday night we officially have a place to stay in Paris and Brussels. We still need to firm up a place in Ghent, Bruges, and the Belgian countryside (Boyfriend is dying to stay in an old castle, isn’t that adorable?), but we’re definitely on a roll.
I should mention that Boyfriend travels a lot for work. Sometimes to exotic places like India, and sometimes to snoozefests like Minneapolis (no offense, Minnesotans). His job requires him to travel, and since he’s been in the same job for the past 7 years, he’s racked up a fair amount of hotel points. Hotel points are magical little things. Did you know that if you have enough of them you can stay in a 4 or 5 star hotel in an expensive European city for FREE? I thought it was the stuff of lore. So imagine how excited I was when I found our Boyfriend had (officially past tense now) enough points with Marriott, Hilton, and Starwood to put us up in a 4 star hotel in two expensive European cities for $0. And not for one night, but for four. FOUR. I guess all those lame business trips he goes on are actually worth it!
Tomorrow I’ll do a separate post on our Brussels hotel as well as the charming apartment we’re renting in Bruges. Speaking of, have any of you seen the movie “In Bruges”? I watched it with Boyfriend this week because he hadn’t seen it before, and in the 4 years since I first watched it I’d forgotten nearly everything about the plot. It was like watching it for the first time again. That movie is so good. And Clémence Poésy is in it!
Okay, so Paris! After a ton of research and reading a million different hotel reviews, doing some fuzzy math to figure out which hotels would work with the points we had, we settled on our choices: The Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe, and the Hilton Arc de Triomphe. We have to change hotels for the two nights we’re there, but bfd. Both are four stars and both are otherwise prohibitively expensive per night. They’re only a few blocks from each other and both within eyesight of (in case you hadn’t guessed) the Arc de Triomphe. I’m soaking up the waves of jealousy radiating off you right now.
Because I am a neurotic over-planner, and in an effort to maximize the limited amount of time we’re spending in Paris, I’ve already mapped out which metro line we need to take once our train pulls into the city of light (M4 towards Porte de Clingancourt from Gare du Nord one stop to Barbès Rochechouart, switch to M2 towards Porte Dauphine, 9 stops to Ternes, walk 1.5 blocks) to get to the Marriott. And don’t think I didn’t use street view in Google Maps to “walk” to the Hilton so we’ll know where we’re going.
And as it turns out, where we’re going for our second night ain’t too shabby, either! And before you say anything, yes, I realize I’m staying at a Paris Hilton for my very own “one night in Paris.” I’m trying to not defile the purity and loveliness of this trip with that grossness.
I know which metros to take to get to the Louvre and Ladurée. So far, that is the extent of my planning. It’s going to be fun and interesting trying to squeeze in everything I want to see and show Boyfriend in the most beautiful city in the world in two short days, especially considering we’ll be jet-lagged the entire first day. I have a vision of us sitting outside at a bar after dinner on Monday night, giggling with delirium.
I know that I shouldn’t put so much emphasis on the hotels, since the only time I’ll be spending in them is when I’m unconscious in bed. Frankly, I could spend two nights in a cardboard box on the streets of Paris and I’d still post about it like it was the most fabulous thing in the world. But there is something to be said about getting almost €1000 in fancy hotels for free. I may have had some pretty impressive bargains before, but I do believe this takes the cake.
Tomorrow: Brussels and Bruges!