To travel is to take a journey into yourself

Bonjour tout le monde, ca va? If you’re here you probably want to talk about our favorite topic: Paris of course! It’s just an obsession for some of us, isn’t it? How is it that Paris never gets old? It’s one of the few places you can go over and over again and never see it all.

If you’re anything like me, you love to think about WHO created Paris…the vision that the people all had to have shared to build a city that would still be the benchmark for beauty and culture. And they did it dressed to the nines. With no electricity, just their imagination and determination they erected a place that we stroll sometimes without a second thought. But there are some of us who still want to see the Paris of the Parisians of the Past and experience what they had in mind for future generations to enjoy.

I’m talking about the Paris where you feel at home. Not going to monuments but instead going to the special parts of the parks, to the homes of artists, visiting the ateliers and workshops where they lived and worked and sweated and created. It’s like going to visit old friends for some of us. Maybe we were there together in a past life!

image: Parc Monceau by Adam Gopnik

What about you? Is Paris on your bucket list? Maybe you’ve gone once, or even twice. I hear a lot of people say they just didn’t get it, that it didn’t resonate with them. Or that it’s changed. That’s because they didn’t get to see the real Paris. The intimate, exquisite, quiet, elegant and usually overlooked Paris. I continue to explore, and it seems the more I do the more there is to discover. Maybe the fact that you can never finish is part of the allure.

Even with my blog there are so many topics to get into that sometimes the vastness of its depth and beauty is incomprehensible. From the parks and gardens and passages to history, architecture, cabaret and follies, fashion, photography, food, shops, cafes, music, galleries, art, perfume, culture, wine, chocolate, cinema, museums, picnics, parks, gardens, ateliers, brocantes and of course the flea markets, there’s so much to see and do and taste and touch it’s like a banquet of beauty. In fact it’s a moveable feast, Hemingway was so right! And the buffet is endless.

And so, once again I’m heading back in September and have been putting together some new adventures, and you’re invited to come along. I like to share a different Paris than the one in the guide books, one that’s beautiful and serene. One that the Parisians of the past knew well and where they went to get away from the crowds to stroll and languish, paint, write and get inspired.

Lately there’s been interest in a lot of activities along with the usual trek to the fleamarkets, including off-the beaten path places like the vineyards of Montmartre, cooking in a private apartment, walking tours, jazz clubs, thrifting for designer fashions, restoration techniques, and lots more! We’re combing a little of each into our trips, creating an experience that’s custom made for you.

So take a look at what we’ve got simmering. If you’d like to join us, let me know and we’ll set it up. I want you to experience the Paris you’ve always dreamed about. Our trips can either be booked a-la-carte or they can be packaged to include airfare, airport transfers, hotel or apartment, meals, transportation, tickets and all expenses paid. If you’re interested, contact me and let’s discuss your dream trip this fall. Below are the cliff notes and just a fraction of what’s in store. You’ll get a detailed itinerary with specific events and destinations when you book.

Sept 1-5 

Parisians of the Past – Salon Hostesses:

“Portrait de Juliette Recamier, femme de Lettres Francaise”. Francois Gerard 1805

We’ll visit the homes and haunts of the women who made Paris the center of the universe in the Age of Enlightenment. When there was nothing but dirt and oppression, these women decided they’d create a new world for themselves filled with beauty, culture, manners and etiquette. They designed clothing and interiors and gardens that are still the benchmark for good taste today. Together we’ll walk in their footsteps enjoying the homes and salons that still stand in commemoration of their epic legacy.

Sept 6-12

Decor Tour:

image: Connaissance des Arts

This incredible week will be filled with treasure hunting and shopping for home decor. We’ll take you to find everything from mantles and doors to chandeliers and textiles at the flea markets.  We’ll also go to the world famous trade show, the Maison et Objet. You’ll go inside auctions and warehouses in and out of the city. It’s the perfect trip if you’re decorating a home, stocking a store or stocking up for shows and want to find linens, decor and home accessories at wholesale prices. 

Sept 13-19

Artist’s Ateliers & Workshops in Paris:

If you love going into private homes and workshops of artists who lived in Paris, this is the one for you. Parisians have had incredible foresight to keep certain places just as they were when the artist in residence lived and worked in the city. Many of these homes are tucked away right in the center of Paris. We’ll go on our tour to explore these homes and it truly feels like we’re going to the visit old friends and acquaintances from the past. 

September 21-26

 Off the Beaten Path:

This trip is for those who want to have a bit of an out of the ordinary daytime adventure and nightlife including hidden  jazz clubs, dinner parties, behind the scenes at museums and riding in a hot air balloon. We’ll go to gourmand’s Paris and indulge in a little French decadance.  We’ll customize to your preferences so you’re sure to have the time of your life.

Well that’s it for the moment! Bottom line is there’s a Paris that’s just for you, not a cookie cutter tour but an adventure that’s full of fun and discovery. A journey and experience that will leave you with a new appreciation for this truly magical place that’s just waiting to be rediscovered…by you!

If you’d like to schedule a day together in July, email me at claudia@theparisapartment.com. Et alors, ciao for now…à bientôt!

June 23, 2019. Ateliers, Auctions, Brocantes, Carnavalet, Clignancourt Market Paris, Day Trips, Decorating, Design, Design Show, exploring, Fashion, flea markets, Fleamarkets, French Chocolate, French Interiors, Friends, Furniture, Gardening, Going Green, Green, Hotels, Interiors, Paris, Paris Trip. 1 comment.

10 Chic Boutique Hotels in Paris, 2019

Bonjour et Happy Spring! I hope you’re doing well and coming out of winter hibernation.

This time of year we get lots of requests for hotel recommendations so I put together a list of my personal Parisian favorites. Below is a list of Boutique hotels (I normally stay in apartments but do love a great hotel now and then). Like the image above, most of us would be happy with just a bed by a window…They were chosen based on aesthetics (can’t tolerate bad decor, especially in Paris), price and amenities. (I’m a sucker for a fireplace or pool, good sheets, central location and a view).

If you’d like to add any to the list please let me know. In the meantime I hope you enjoy these even if it’s just an armchair vacay for now! (image via Pinterest)

1. Hôtel Mansart – Esprit de France

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Hôtel Mansart – Esprit de France A colorful Boutique Hotel

Set on the on the corner of the prestigious Place Vendome, this hotel offers refined guest rooms with old world charm that’s traditional but not too serious. It’s got all the modern conveniences we love in good hotel. The air-conditioned rooms are equipped with flat-screen TV, satellite channels, WIFI and mini-bar. All rooms are decorated with antiques and include tea and coffee makers.

A continental breakfast is served each morning in the elegant dining room. Guests can enjoy a drink in the hotel bar. A 24-hour front desk, newspapers and laundry services are provided.

2. La Maison Favart

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La Maison Favart – A Light-hearted Boutique Hotel

This is a fun hotel that’s done in a playful 18th century design. It’s in the heart of town and is only  a 5 minute walk to the Opéra and the Grands Boulevards. A sauna, gym and pool can be enjoyed for free on site.  Flat-screen TV and  WiFi are provided in the air-conditioned rooms.

The rooms also have a coffee machine as well as a mini bar. A morning buffet is served daily in the breakfast room and the hotel has a 24-hour reception desk. some of the rooms have questionable decor so ask which you’re booking if want a more subtle palette.

3. Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais

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Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais – A Charming Boutique Hotel that takes you back in time

This is one of my favorite small hotels in Paris. It’s in the heart of the 4th arrondissement, the perfect location to do absolutely anything including walking around at night. Not far from from the Place des Vosges and Musée Carnavalet, it’s one of the most precious boutique hotels in Paris and was once an entire house. There are 19 rooms in total, each designed to evoke the Paris of the past. Rooms and suites are decorated with French furniture and decor, chandeliers and whimsical details. Breakfast is served each morning in a wonderful original room with exposed stone walls and a working fireplace.

The hotel has all the amenities and comforts including WIFI, USB plugs, minibars and flat screen TVs. There’s an elevator that goes to all floors, air-conditioning and some of the rooms have small balconies. Book early as it fills up quickly and is difficult to secure during high season.

4. Hotel des Grands Boulevards

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Hotel des Grands Boulevards – Very special hotel with exceptional service

This is a lovely boutique hotel with beaucoup style and all the modern trimmings. It’s meticulously run with great pride without being stuffy. The air-conditioned rooms are equipped with flat-screen TV, WiFi and dimmer switches for soft lighting. There is also a coffee machine with organic coffee in the rooms, as well as a radio and phone.

Guests can enjoy a buffet breakfast each morning. The hotel’s restaurant serves a variety of dishes and also offers vegetarian options, and guests can enjoy drinks and dining in the hotel bar. Staff at the 24-hour front desk are very helpful.

5. Hotel Saint-Germain des Prés

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Hotel Esprit St Germain – Welcoming & intimate with a spa & fireplace

This is a fantastic 5 star boutique hotel that has the feeling of being at a private residence. It’s on the Left Bank in a lovely location. It’s been the winner of the numerous awards for being a top hotel worldwide. The design is understated and has been thoughtfully decorated throughout the lobbies and in the 28 rooms and lounges. Guests are greeted with personalized service, and complimentary drinks are offered throughout the stay while sitting by the fire.

For those who love the left bank, this is the perfect location, situated on a small quiet street with shops and restaurants steps away. Hotel Esprit Saint Germain was created to pamper guests with elegance and comfort as well as all the amenities (WiFi, A/C), as well as a gym and sauna. Ask which room you’re booking as some of them are decorated in wild colors of you want a more monochromatic palette.

6. Hôtel Providence

Hôtel Providence – An oasis in the 10e Arrondissement

Located in the neighborhood of Strasbourg-Saint Denis, this boutique hotel is setting trends and raising the bar on boutique hotels. There are only 18 rooms in this little gem but each is decorated in vivid colors like bright ochre and draped in velvets of French blues and deep hues. Every detail has been considered in both decor and hospitality and the hotel also has a bar and restaurant. There are special touches like 27-inch iMacs and cocktail bars in each room. There’s a fireplace on the main floor which keeps the ambiance cozy. This is becoming a very popular neighborhood and the hotel books up quickly so if you’re looking to book, plan as far in advance as possible. Of course it has all the amenities you could ever want including a fantastic restaurant and charm galore!

7. Hôtel Verneuil Saint Germain

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Hôtel Verneuil – Quiet opulence on a petit Parisian street

This lovely hotel is only 26 rooms and is located in a 17th century building on a very quiet street. Just around the corner is all of Paris, gourmet food shops, famous restaurants and all the major landmarks. It’s quite a unique location and famous for being the street where Serge Gainsbourg once lived. The rooms are very small but have everything in place for a perfect stay. Some have beamed ceilings, others have a stone interior. The team is very helpful and will provide museum passes upon request, reserve tables in neighborhood restaurants, and are on site 24 hours. The small size of the hotel is designed for guests to feel at home with a warm lounge and crackling fire. 

8. La Chambre du Marais

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La Chambre du Marais – A jewel in the center of Paris

La Chambre du Marais is located in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris. It’s well done with updated bathrooms and pretty decor. It’s in the middle of everything and still maintains a gentle, quiet vibe. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar, high speed WIFI, air conditioning and flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Some units feature an en suite room. Each room is equipped with bathrobes, slippers and toiletries. 24-hour front desk service.

9. Le Metropolitan, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Paris

Le Metropolitan a Tribute Portfolio Hotel – Elegant and modern with a Parisian spirit

Situated in a 19th-century building at the Place de Mexico, this hotel is the epitome of minimalism to the max. The hotel is an eco-friendly property in the 16th arrondissement, with a direct views over the Eiffel tower and walking distance from the Champs Elysées. This contemporary and sophisticated boutique hotel features stylish guest rooms and suites, all equipped with WiFi, a personal smartphone with internet access and unlimited international calls.

The hotel also features a restaurant that serves innovative cuisine of locally sourced ingredients. The bar area has a fireplace and offers a welcoming place to relax with a drink. After a long day, guests can enjoy the pool and Hammam steam room or indulge in a luxurious spa treatment.

10. The Hoxton, Paris

The Hoxton, Paris – Casual and Comfy

This is a fabulous hotel that’s a little on the masculine side as far as decor and its very luxurious with comfy beds and ultra soft sheets. It’s in a central location and just a few yards from from Grands Boulevards Metro. The hotel has a beautiful restaurant and bar as well as a lounge.

The Hoxton, Paris features standard amenities including WiFi throughout the property as well as A/C, room service and flat screen TVs. But hey, who watches TV in Paris anyway!?

PS This list is my first foray into affiliate partnerships. I personally recommend each of these hotels. Some of the links go to booking.com and they pay a commission on bookings that come through these links. I know this is old news but it’s new to me :)

If you’re interested in finding out more about it let me know, we can all be using this system in our own individual ways.

March 25, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , . Boutique Hotels, France, Hotels, Paris, Paris Hotels, Travel. 3 comments.

the art of the heirloom

Bonjour and happy holidays! It’s officially deep December and I’m sure we’re all in the middle of holiday preparations of baking and wrapping (or we’ll be starting any minute now…)

Over here it’s been a busy few months getting everything back in order after a small hiatus. We’ve restructured with the help of great friends and family, and are back up after a lot of hard work. truth is it’s a lot more fun to work with people and letting that happen has been the ultimate blessing. the best part is that we’ve got a sweet collection from the paris on the website and for the moment, i get to enjoy these little gems in my home. i guess the major shift has been that our focus has shifted from just buying little do-dads to honing in on the real treasure hunting that can done at the Paris flea markets. Now i’m looking for pieces that are part of history. i was asked to write an article about it for a good friend and colleague, Mimi Bleu who lives in paris and has created an online magazine, Belle Inspiration which is a beautiful venue for all things authentically french. she let me share the full article below so i’ll stop writing and you’ll see what i mean…

well… there’s a lot more to say on the subject but that will have to be another article i suppose…

thank you again, mimi for letting me share this! if you’re interested in checking out the entire magazine or subscribing, take a look at her site, www.belleinspiration.com.

and now, maybe i’ll try my hand at baking some cookies! a tout alors!

 

December 16, 2018. flea markets, Fleamarkets, France, Heirlooms, Marché aux Puces, Paris, Paris Flea Markets. 2 comments.

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