Archive for the ‘hotels’ Category

CitizenM’s Launch Party

Sunday, June 8th, 2014
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CitizenM Paris

CitizenM Paris
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The hotel chain CitizenM threw a party Thursday night to celebrate the grand opening of its newest accommodation, located at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. And what a blowout it was!

Zoé

Zoé
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I arrived shortly after 7:00 p.m. Zoé greeted me in the lobby.

Party in Front Courtyard

Party in the Front Courtyard – Where Are the Bloggers?
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I thought that the only other guests would be bloggers — like me. However, I quickly realized that many other types had been invited, as most of the people there were dressed in business suits. Bloggers don’t wear business suits… at least not the ones I know!

Victor Bardon of Bouygues and Reinier Van Wingerden of CitizenM

Victor Bardon of Bouygues and Reinier Van Wingerden of CitizenM
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I circulated to meet people and to gather information about the hotel. After all, that was the reason why I was there…to blog about CitizenM’s launch party. I met some businessmen (pictured above)…

Tom from Amsterdam

Tom from Amsterdam
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I met Tom from Amsterdam.

Lily Heise and Heather Stimmler-Hall

Lily Heise of Context Travel and Heather Stimmler-Hall of Secrets of Paris
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Daisy de Plume of THATLou and Kasia Dietz of Kasia Dietz Handbags

Daisy de Plume of THATLou and Kasia Dietz of Kasia Dietz Handbags
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I caught up with some fellow Paris bloggers (Lily Heise, Heather Stimmler-Hall, Daisy de Plume, and Kasia Dietz pictured above).

Szjerdene from London and Mirelva from Amsterdam

Szjerdene from London and Mirelva from Amsterdam
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

And I met Szjerdene and Mirelva, who were having a great time!

Man Giving Room Tours

Man Giving Room Tours
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Then I took a tour of the hotel.

Adèle

Adèle
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Adèle showed me one of the rooms, carefully explaining how everything inside could be controlled by a tablet computer.

I wandered about, exploring the special “theme” rooms that had been set up for the party. Four rooms were occupied by models, demonstrating how the rooms could be used.

Business Room

Business Room
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Chillaxing Room

Chillaxing Room
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Party Room

Party Room
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Romance Room

Romance Room
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I asked the models in the Romance Room how their evening might end up. The man replied, “We’ll see!”

Crêpe Stand

Crêpe Stand
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

After the tour of the rooms, I went to the front courtyard to get some food. A special thanks goes out to Lily Heise for helping me claim a crêpe from this guy!

Adinda Calbo of Casa Barista

Adinda Calbo of Casa Barista
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Barista Adinda Calbo prepared one of the best cappuccinos that I have ever tasted. Thanks, Adinda!

Idris Harput Serving Champagne

Idris Harput Serving Champagne
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I got a glass of bubbly from Idris.

DJ

DJ
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Back inside the lobby, a DJ was pumping up the volume.

Lily Heise and Heather Stimmler-Hall Get Serenaded

Lily Heise and Heather Stimmler-Hall Got Serenaded
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Party Inside

Party Inside
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

And the party went on until the wee hours of the morning.

A good time was had by all!

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An Evening Spent Tasting Champagne and Tapas at the Champs-Elysée Plaza Hotel

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013
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Last Thursday morning I received a telephone call from the director of Le Keller restaurant at the posh Champs-Elysées Plaza hotel. Would I like to attend a champagne tasting? he asked. Each month the hotel features a different brand of champagne (see Le Keller’s Web site for details), and the tasting this month would be held that very evening in the bar of the hotel. I quickly consulted my agenda and found that, indeed, I was free that evening. So I accepted the invitation.

We wrote about Le Keller a year ago for our Paris Insights restaurant review and had a fabulous (though expensive) meal there. This was my opportunity to do some more gastronomic research—and this time, as a guest of the hotel!

Juli Dermit and Fred Duport

Juli Dermit and Fred Duport
New Cosy

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I arrived at 6:30 p.m., somewhat early. The jazz duo, New Cosy, had already set up and was performing. The singer, Julie Dermit, sang in such impeccable English that I thought that she was American!

Tony Miellot - Bartender

Tony Miellot – Bartender
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I sat down in the bar, a pleasant place, at a tall table. Even though other customers had not yet arrived, the bartender, Tony Miellot, began serving me. The tasting proceeded in the following manner: for 51€ you receive three champagnes, each paired with a different plate of tapas. The champagne house featured this month is Gosset, the oldest in the Champagne region (it was founded in 1584). The tapas are served according to their category—froids (cold), chauds (warm), and sucrées (sugary). Theoretically, the champagne that accompanies each group of tapas should be a taste match for that particular group.

Gosset Grande Reserve with Plate of Cold Tapas

Gosset Grande Reserve with Plate of Cold Tapas
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

As Tony poured the first glass, a Grande Reserve, he remarked about the color and fine bubbles of the champagne. I readily agreed with his assessment. The champagne had a light color of straw and the bubbles were very fine. I enjoyed the mineral-like, slightly yeasty taste of the beverage.

Along with the first champagne, I received a tray containing four tapas. These were not your ordinary deep-fried tapas that you would get in a tapas bar—they were all delicate, like the amuse-bouches that you get in a fine-dining restaurant. I particularly liked the Vélouté de potimarron. Served warm in a cup on the platter of cold tapas, the pumpkin soup tasted wonderfully rich as though it had been flavored with foie gras. I thought that the Grande Reserve harmonized very well with this first round of tapas.

Gosset Grand Rosé with Plate of Warm Tapas

Gosset Grand Rosé
with Plate of Warm Tapas

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The second champagne was a Grand Rosé served with a plate of three warm tapas. The rosé was pale pink and tasted softer and more fruity than the Grand Reserve. In my mind, it didn’t particularly harmonize with two of the cold tapas, but did go well with the third, a Dé de bœuf mariné aux épices douces, a small cube of beef prepared in sweet spices.

Gosset Celebris Vintage 1998 and Plate of Sweet Tapas

Gosset Celebris Vintage 1998
with Plate of Sweet Tapas

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The third champagne was a vintage 1998. It had a surprising taste that one does not usually associate with champagne, a taste of sous-bois, as the French would say. It evoked memories of the scent of the forest after a rain—not unpleasant, mind you, just surprising. In my mind, this is a champagne that should be enjoyed without food accompaniment, as its taste did not complement the sweet tapas with which it was served. As for the tapas, I especially liked the Sablé chocolat, a chocolate cream in crunchy shortbread crust.

Following the tasting, I left on a high note. It had been a fabulous gastronomic experience!

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Paris Insights Monthly Newsletter — A New Bed and Breakfast Opens near Paris

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
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Villa La Riante

Villa La Riante
Photograph by Kealan Benjamin Wardle

To prepare this month’s Paris Insights newsletter we went to the charming town of Le Vésinet where we met an American couple, Jim and Kristie Worrel. They recently opened a bed and breakfast in a beautiful villa that they spent five years renovating.

To view a preview of our newsletter, click here.

Paris Insights is published monthly as a downloadable PDF file. It is available only to paid subscribers for an annual subscription fee of $30.

If you are not a paid subscriber and would like to download the newsletter, please click here. Enter promotional code 11473309154 to receive a $5 discount off the price of an annual subscription.

Bonne lecture!

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Hotel Marignan—A Warm, Clean Place for the Budget-Conscious Traveler
Guest Blog by Michele Kurlander

Saturday, February 11th, 2012
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Hotel Marignan

Hotel Marignan
Photo by www.DiscoverParis.net

The Hotel Marignan is a budget hotel with unexpected frills, located on a quiet street in the often boisterous Latin Quarter — barely two minutes from the Maubert Mutualite metro, less than five minutes from the Panthéon, just down the street from the Musée National du Moyen Age and the Sorbonne, and a ten minute walk to Notre Dame, historic rue Mouffetard, or the funky rue de la Huchette.

Founded by the Kerigers in 1955, their grandsons, Paul and Roland, run the hotel today. Also sometimes behind the counter are Lily and Stephan, Paul’s grown children. The family and employees speak French and English and some also speak Italian, Ukrainian, German, Spanish, or Polish.

Paul Keriger is a slight, middle-aged Frenchman with thinning hair and a twinkle in his eye — a darling man who has a real pride in making sure the details are taken care of. Brother Roland, whose style can be more frenetic and sometimes off-putting, nevertheless also cares about the details.

You seldom wait more than several minutes for breakfast, and the staff quickly aids guests who are searching for a nearby restaurant or the right public transportation or even an umbrella to borrow.

The prices vary with the size of the rooms and the presence or lack of a private toilet and/or shower. A single without bath ranges from 50 to 54 euros depending on the season. Breakfast is included.

If you have never stayed in a hotel room without a private bath, don’t fear. The shared toilet and shower rooms on each floor are sparkling clean, only a few feet across or down the hall and shared with only one other room. Clean towels appear in your room each day, and every room has a sink, a comfy bed, a table and chair, a wardrobe with hangars, and ledges or shelves to stash toiletries and books.

Don’t stay at the Marignan if you are looking for a uniformed concierge, deep carpets, antique furniture, or even an elevator. But if you want truly budget prices, clean sheets, a free lending library of travel material, free breakfast, free use of laundry machines and a fully functioning kitchen — and, unbelievably, free Wi-Fi throughout the building — then this is the place.

You can store your meats, cheeses, vegetables and wines from the local marketplace in the guest refrigerator, and cook them on the stove or microwave. Often-returning guests love the mealtime camaraderie and the unpretentious and bohemian neighborhood where a back pack and jeans are more common than a Gucci bag, and where the ancient, narrow streets and the architecture exude antiquity.

Guests shop at either of two open-air markets nearby. They are perfect examples of how Parisians, including expats like Ernest Hemingway, have since the Middle Ages shopped for food.

The market at nearby metro Maubert Mutualité — open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m — features everything from fresh fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables, olives and olive oils, to clothing.

When the Maubert market is closed, buy your vegetables, fruits, sandwiches, cheeses, meats, and wine at the specialty shops alongside the metro; or, even late at night, find a little of everything at the small grocery store just down the block on the northwest corner of rue des Carmes and rue de Sommerard — including canned goods, eggs, cold cuts, dairy, cereals, fresh produce, soft drinks, and reasonably-priced bottles of wine.

Rue Mouffetard

Rue Mouffetard
Photo by www.DiscoverParis.net

You can also take a 10-15 minute morning walk to the colorful and historic rue Mouffetard — once part of an old Roman road — where the most famous street market in Paris has existed since around year 1350. The impoverished Ernest Hemingway often purchased breakfast here in the 1920s when he was writing some of his first short stories. This market is open every morning but Monday.

The Latin Quarter is so diverse you may decide to spend every day exploring.

To help you find your way around the historic area, ask for a free map at the hotel desk. The Panthéon stands at the top of a hill called Mont Sainte-Geneviève. Nearby is the church Saint Etienne du Mont, where Owen Wilson encountered the 1920s Peugot that took him to see Hemingway and Fitzgerald in the recent film Midnight in Paris.

At the bottom of rue Mouffetard lies the historic Eglise Saint Medard; at the top, the Maison de Verlaine restaurant is located in the building where poet Paul Verlaine died in 1896. Ernest Hemingway lived here from 1921-1925. Stop in one of the cafés on place de la Contrescarpe where you can relax on the terrace with a glass of wine, view the fountain, and imagine Papa Hemingway stoking his creative fires with alcohol on or near that very spot. At the time that Hemingway lived here, the neighborhood was a rundown, rough-and-tumble place, an aspect that he comments on in his memoir A Moveable Feast.

Shakespeare & Company

Shakespeare & Company
Photo by Michele Kurlander

On the other side of the Latin Quarter, the intersection of boulevards Saint Michel and Saint Germain mark the most bustling part of the quarter. Here you will find the narrow, crowded, and funky rue de la Huchette which features a multitude of foreign restaurants and street vendors, a jazz club, and the Théâtre de la Huchette. Two of Eugene Ionesco plays have been continually performed there since 1957. Farther along, browse the iconic bouquiniste stalls along the Seine, or the famous English-language bookstore Shakespeare & Company.

Visit square Renée Viviani just across the street from the bookstore where you can sit on a bench and view the spires of Notre Dame rising nearby, just across the River Seine. Behind you, church Saint Julien le Pauvre — founded in 1170 — sits on its own little namesake street and offers concerts at night.

The quarter’s gastronomic diversity ranges from the cheapest street fare to top Michelin-rated gourmet food. Eat at a Greek restaurant on rue de la Huchette after its owner smashes plates at your feet to get your attention as you walk by; or at the lovely little wine-bar restaurant Le Pré Verre located down the block from the Marignan, where the brothers Delacourcelle offer fusion cuisine and an extensive wine list; or, a block further down, eat couscous, lamb and other Tunisian fare at the family owned Chez Jaafar. If you are feeling flush, reserve a place at the famous Tour d’Argent, a short walk east along the quay.

Locals and visitors read, write, meet friends, or sit for hours at Café Panis, across rue Dante from Renée Viviani, where the food and wine are reasonably priced, shelves of old books line the walls, and there is a panoramic view of Notre Dame just across the bridge.

Visit the Musée de Cluny two blocks west of the Marignan. The medieval museum is housed in the former residence of Cluny monks. Built in 1485-1498 over ancient Roman baths, it features Gallo-Roman antiquities, wonderful tapestries, and a recreated outdoor Medieval garden.

Purchase a daily rate or buy a single massage at Club Jean de Beauvais. It lies around a corner from the hotel and has everything from spin classes to personal trainers, cardio circuits, massage therapists, and hydrotherapy.

See www.hotel-marignan.com for photos of the rooms, diagrams of the floors, a list of rates, reservation information, and a photo of Paul, Elizabeth, and Roland smiling out at you. Above their heads in bright orange are the words: “WE’RE HERE TO WELCOME YOU.”

Hotel Marignan
13, Rue du Sommerard
Phone: 01.43.54.63.81
Metro: Maubert-Mutualite
www.hotel-marignan.com

Le Pré Verre
19, Rue de Sommerard
Phone: 01.43.54.59.47
www.lepreverre.com
(a two course lunch with coffee and wine is 13.50 euros)

Chez Jaafar
22, rue du Sommerard
Phone: 01.46.33.95.40
www.restaurantjaafar.com
(Entree-plat-dessert 15-18 euros)

Club Jean de Beauvais
5, Rue Jean de Beauvais
Phone: 01.46.33.16.80
www.clubjeandebeauvais.fr

La Maison de Verlaine
39, Rue Descartes
01-43-26-39-15
La Tour D’Argent
15-17, quai de la Tournelle
Phone: 01.43.54.23.31
www.latourdargent.com
(Prix-fixe 70 euro lunch, 200 euro dinner)

Café Panis
21, quai Montebello
Phone: 01.43.54.19.71

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