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Parisian Inspiration

by Brad Beaty

Twice in our lives, Giuseppe and I found ourselves in Paris, both there on business, both being separate hotels, thus having what was the opportunity burden of luxury being within blocks of each other but staying at competing hotels.  That having removed the romantic aspect out of Paris for us ultimately inspired us begin thinking that there had to be another way to live and work together!  Move forward several years, and viola…we are in Paris together with a small group of awesome travel advisors and enjoying every moment of this famed and favorite city of many as we are finally under the same work umbrella and roof!  Finally, we checked in the same hotels together!

After a wonderful weekend in Normandie, also hosted by the Barrier Group, we arrived in Paris at Le Fouquet’s.  It is a hotel I had known by name since it opened, but other than a quick peek of the lobby several years ago, it was all new to me.

Who wouldn’t want to stay at the city’s most notable address at the corner of the Champs Elysee and Avenue George V?  Location factor…. check!

Who would not want to dine at the famous Fouquet’s Brasserie where the who’s who that have ever visited or are native to Paris have sat and enjoyed the people watching along the world’s most renowned avenue, and of course all the while gorging on French classic cuisine?  Food and drink…check,.check.

Rooms?  I was very curious to see the “new” Fouquet’s after having been one of the most recent hotels to completely close for a full renovation.  The junior suite we were assigned was modern, elegant, and spacious.  It felt much like our own room at home with “quiet” décor, well organized large walk-in closets, large bathrooms and all the most modern amenities one could expect.  Accommodations….check, check, check!!

The hotel’s other facilities, such as the outdoor courtyard restaurant, the rooftop bar, the amazing “art” space spa (you must see it to understand), and the service all met and exceeded expectations.

So, having been to Paris several times, I was looking for our hosts to wow us outside of their home.  They indeed surprised even the most seasoned of us with tickets to the Kempt Exhibit, which humbled all.  This very “hipster” location was a warehouse room which once the program began, turned into “tattooed” walls, floors and ceilings from one of the world’s most famous artist through various phases of his creative live.  Thinking back only a few weeks ago, I don’t even remember if there was any music or sound accompanying the changes and movement, but in my head, it was complete silence as I felt personally blanketed in this exhibit.

Next day were met in front of the hotel by several vintage Citroen cars with driver guides for each.  This was like a throwback to cruising through narrow streets as if in the 1960’s!  Our drivers were fun, knowledgeable, and knew how to entertain while sharing secrets of the city.

The tour ended at the Batou, where we had a lovely luncheon this luxury dining ship famous for cruising the Seine.

After saying good-bye to our friends who were mostly returning home, Giuseppe and I headed to check in at our second hotel, Le Roch Hotel & Spa for a night, where we also me our auntie from London.  What I love about this hotel:

  • The entrance and lobby…. it’s like an open concept home when you walk in. You see the reception/lobby, bar, dining room, bar and library all in the same large, but cozy and warm, tasteful space.  I dare to compare it to a very luxurious “We Work” space, but with many more comforts and services.
  • The attention to detail….at the entrance of our suite, there was a photo of Giuseppe and I taken just days before in Normandie framed as a gift. Loved it!
  • The staff…while they are there for your every need, they are very real. You feel that you could sit down and become fast friends with all of them given the time….and I wanted to do just that.
  • The food, I expected to be casual and simple being that the dining was in the open concept area. Instead, this brilliant young chef completely surpassed what I expected with each dish.  The food was creative, awakened the senses, without being too contrived.
  • The location is a completely different Paris than the famed Champs Elysee we had just left, but just as interesting and convenient to a host of landmarks within blocks, such as the Palais Royal, Louvre museum, etc.
  • The pool in the lower level…. it’s just simply cool, and where else do you find such a great surprise in a 37-room hotel in Paris?

Although we did not have time to spend as typical tourists, we still enjoyed Paris together, and with two opposite hotels, but both with styles to attract the right clients, we will be back to share these with many more of you…. soon!

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