Paris Planning

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!

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March 14, 2012 / Travel / LEAVE A COMMENT / 16

16 comments

  • What’s bfg? Other than a roald dahl character obvs.

    I’m totes in love with that bathroom, it’s amazing!

    Great planning, you’ll be whizzing around and back home in Philly before you’ve realised you’re jetlagged. Am so excited for you!

    I haven’t seen Bruges, mainly becuase it has Colin Farrell in it and he’s a dick. But you should watch Inglourious Basterds which is a brilliant film and has lots of lovely parisien things. Well, a bit anyway. Enough!

    • Bfg was supposed to be “bfd” for “big effing deal.” Further proof that I should not blog when I am sleepy. I finally caught it and changed it. I clearly missed the Blogging 101 course where they said to proof-read posts. Oy. Though I’d like to pretend it was a totally intentional Roald Dahl nod ;)

      Colin Farrell is totally lovable in this movie, surprisingly! And Inglorious Basterds was great! I saw it in theaters when it came out. The Jew in me wished that’s how things could’ve gone down in real life!

  • What a blooming result, well done you! You are uber organised but I hope you don’t rush around so much that you can’t relax and enjoy it? You may have used all the points up for now but just think what future adventures you can have on new ones.

    At least boyfriend shares them with you. Husband is off on his annual jaunt to LA & Vegas next month and used his Virgin points to go first class. I’m not bloody bitter… much. Virgin first class isn’t that great anyway, not when we’ve done Emirates business class in the A380, a-m-a-z-i-n-g. That’s the only thing I can remind him of to make me feel better, how sad!

    Not seen Bruges either. But love Clémence Poésy, isn’t she gorgeous?

    • I’ve never flown Emirates but I love Virgin! I fly them when I go to London and I’ve never had a less than stellar experience! My last flight was empty, and I got to have an entire row of 3 seats to myself. I pushed all the arm-rests up and went to sleep! Plus I love the little backpacks full of goodies they give you. I think I’d love a first class experience more, but I’ve never flown first class! Fingers crossed for one day…

      Clémence is an absolute stunner, it’s so unfair! The movie is really good, you should check it out! xo

  • I want to go on record as saying that one can’t put too much emphasis on hotels, because even though you don’t do much more than sleep, you *do* remember them as significant parts of your stay and significant parts of what you look forward to too! Am I right? When we’re planning trips, I spend an inordinate amount of time researching hotels and I’m always sure that the grass is greener once I’ve made my choice. That being said, I’m SO excited for you! Trying hard not to be jealous. And you know what? I’m not. You guys deserve a wonderful time. I can’t wait to hear all about it.

    • Aw, thank you Lauren! I’m pretty excited about the hotels, and I tend to steal the pens and notepads and such from the room to save as mementos. I have a huge box overflowing with that sort of junk, and no shortage of free pens! I’m excited to share all the details with you. Only a little under 2 months left!! Actually, two months from TODAY will be our 2nd day in Paris! Ah!

  • Sam, you flew Emirates on a A380? Now that’s the way to go…. amazing. Totally jealous:)

    Now to the Lisbeth skills. You are officially #onecooldealfinderchick That’s impressive and I agree with Lauren, hotels are very memorable. Ahem, may I remind you that you are going to the most romantic city in the world. Now I know you guys live together etc etc but I’m secretly hoping you will christen both the Marriott and Hilton:) #justsaying

    Yes, have seen Bruge and it was great. You are set to have a wonderful trip and I love how excited you are about it and all you planning……

  • Great job! Well, I really wouldn’t expect anything less from you. Both hotels look fantastic and super close to everything you want/need. When we went to Paris, we ALSO used my husband’s hotel points FROM MARRIOT to stay at a really wonderful hotel. It was actually the nicest one we stayed at on our whole trip. It was a little trek to get to the nearest subway, but it was tucked into a really beautiful neighborhood. Each morning, as we made our trek to the sub, we would walk amongst kids making their way to private school (I guess private because they were wearing uniforms, but perhaps that’s just standard dress for Paris schools??) It was really charming. And, see, even though we didn’t spend a lot of time in the hotel, I still remember it.
    Have a I told I’m exited for you?

  • It’s, like, kismet!

    Erin, our flat is RIGHT NEAR THAT HOTEL! If you look on google map up there, you see Avenue Ternes? That’s where we (well, my parents-in-law commandeered it now) live! Seriously, BEST CHOICE EVER. The 17eme is such a good little neighbourhood. Right next to your hotel is a design furniture shop, with a basement full of Eames and Vitra and weird Frenchy designer chairs (one was like a giant man-eating pompom in which to sit, I remember…hurrah). Then the BEST STEAK ON EARTH is at our tiny favourite restaurant just around the corner (with Didier the ginger waiter who should be a comedian), and of course, you’re walking distance to Champs Élysées…where the big ass La Durée is! And if you get a chance, go to Lateral, the cafe on the corner of Avenue McMahon. It’s where we have literally spent millions on coffee and omlettes over the years. So nice, and perfect people-watching perch from the outside space- all under the shadow of L’Arc! Oh, and a left out of your hotel and a quick left onto Avenue Ternes reveals a Sephora, L’Occitane, Chaises Longues (for cute souvenirs), Fnac, The Kooples, Comptoir de Cottonier and a bunch of other little handy shops for when Champs is way too packed to face if you fancy some light shopping without fighting the masses. Oh and a left then a quick right (good ole’ Avenue de Ternes again) reveals Marriage Freres! It’s like, tea heaven. The menu is something like seven pages long, with 6pt type of every type of tea on Earth- also a lovely place to sit for a refreshing brew. I realise now this is the longest comment ever, and you’re not there for that long, but seriously, good pick. And good one, boyfriend with the scoring hotel points!

    Oh, I wonder if we could sell the house by May…how funny to walk around the corner and be like “YO ERIN WHAT THE SHIT IS UP, MY SISTAAAAAAAAAAH?!”

    And completely terrify you.

    Ha!

    • !!!!! I’m so excited I’m actually FLAPPING my hands right now and bouncing in my chair! Süsk!! We’re practically neighbors! What are the odds? I feel like I’m having a Casablanca moment. Of all the arrondissements in Paris…

      I’m having sensory overload trying to take in all the amazingness the hotel is situated near. You had me at Eames and Ladurée! I can’t believe your favorite steak place with that adorable waiter is so close! I guess I know where we’re eating dinner one night! And TEA, omg tea. I’m a total tea nut, I tell you. I’m beyond excited right now. You better werk at selling your cottage and then we can have a chance encounter in Paris with loads of face-stuffing and squealing on my part. You can’t terrify me now, I’m totally going to be on Süsk-lookout the entire time we’re there! Thank you thank you thank you for the awesome suggestions of places to go!! I love getting tips from an insider.

  • And to completely comment-bomb you, I totally forgot to mention that from where you are staying, taking the metro is totally not necessary! If you don’t mind a little walking, you are easily within reach of everything (honest!)- and it’s much easier/less stinky/more fun to be above ground. Paris is totally walkable, especially from that hotel near L’Arc!

    Ok seriously. That’s enough now. Ha!

    • No! More comments! I demand more comments!! I’m more than up for the walk, and the weather is supposed to be gorgeous and I have a brand new 32GB memory card for my camera that I need to fill on this trip, so any excuse to be out and about will work for me! I wasn’t sure if the distance was walkable, but I walk everywhere generally. Horray! Good to know.

  • Well I can beat all of you show offs. I’m going to Cannes in June and staying at the Martinez, on the Croisette.Which is lovely. And free. Because R’s work are paying for it. So there! #justsayin’

    Excited!!!

  • Wow! The hotels look great and it’s so great that you got them with hotel points! Love when you can actually use all your hotel points/miles for something useful. P always gets lots of frequent flyer miles so we haven’t paid for any of our flights in years. Unfortunately they changed the mileage program recently and it will be harder to redeem the miles. Bummer!

  • […] We took a late nap (at 7:30 at night! thanks, jet lag) before heading across the street from our hotel for dinner. I’ll never get over walking out of the front door and seeing the Arc de Triomphe […]

  • […] in a little over two months (!!!!), so there is a lot of apartment hunting going on. Last time, we stayed in two fabulous hotels in the 17eme, but since that wiped out all of Boyfriend’s hotel points, we’re doing what we did in […]