Together Forever in ParisWords by Victoria Abbott Riccardi
Kissing atop the Eiffel Tower, cruising hand-in-hand down the Seine, sharing éclairs at a café – yes – Paris loves lovers, as Fred Astaire once sang. The only thing more romantic than tying the knot or honeymooning in Paris is to do both, depending upon your timing, budget and desire.
Having once lived in the City of Light and recently returned for several days, I can assure you no matter when you visit this sensual city, your time there will forever be emblazoned in your hearts. So, where to begin?
For starters, have your hotel arrange for a car to pick you up at Charles de Gaulle Airport, only five-and-a-half hours by air from Boston, eight hours from New York and 11 hours from Los Angeles. Then, it’s on to sparkling Paris, where we have two chic hotel suggestions.
First is the Sofitel Arc de Triomphe, recently renovated to resemble an elegant Parisian home and just off the bustling Champs-Élysées lined with shops, cafés and cinemas. Named after the glorious monument built to honor those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars, the hotel has 124 rooms, including five Prestige Suites and two apartments, perfect for wedding couples or honeymooners. While room styles vary, all have pale lilac walls, dreamy featherbeds and massive white-tiled bathrooms with gorgeous, spa-like soaking tubs.
For casual dining, head to Le Bar, where you can order a pastry, lunch or light supper. For fine dining, book a table at L’Initial, where you can savor elegant Gallic fare, such as seafood bisque and seared duck breast with seasonal fruit.
The nearby Maison Baccarat, a former private estate renovated by Phillip Stark, houses an exquisite French restaurant, crystal museum and gift shop. It makes a lovely spot to have lunch. For dinner before a show at Le Lido, just steps from the Sofitel Arc de Triomphe, Maison Blanc offers modern French cuisine with stunning views of the Eiffel Tower.
Our second hotel suggestion is the Mandarin Oriental Paris located on the stylish Rue Saint-Honoré lined with designer shops. A favorite of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith, the hotel mixes Art Deco design with sleek Asian minimalism and has 138 rooms and suites, including the gold and plum Suite Royal Mandarin with expansive living and dining areas and panoramic views of the city. In addition to a luxurious spa, the hotel has Bar 8 for drinks and casual bites and Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, a two Michelin-starred restaurant serving haute cuisine.
“Couples can experience [the Asian-French restaurant] Camélia, named after the blooming camellia bushes in the hotel’s indoor garden,” says Emilie Pichon, Director of Communication. The hotel also has an event service to coordinate all honeymoon details, as well as fulfill special requests.
“We can arrange private dinners in various museums (like Musée Rodin),” says Assistant Chief Concierge Adrianne Moore, “as well as private yacht trips down the Seine with chamber music.” Additionally, Moore has arranged for guides to take couples to some of Paris’ most romantic places, such as Pont des Arts, where they are given an engraved padlock to put on the bridge and told to toss their key into the Seine to lock their hearts together.
Brimming with history, the center of art, food and fashion, Paris is pure magic. So why not let it cast its spell on you?
Photos (in order of appearnce): Victoria Abbott Riccardi (1st), Sofitel Arc de Triomphe (2nd, 3rd), and Mandarin Oriental Paris (4th, 5th).
This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Fall/Winter 2014 Issue. You can order a copy here.
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