Relishing Repasts, Romance in the City Along the Seine
The Louvre was to the left. To the right, I spied the Eiffel Tower. This was the view that I took in as I gazed out the windows of my park view executive suite at Le Meurice. I’d just returned to Paris for the third time in my life — and it was time to resume my love affair with the city that sits along the Seine.
Whether you’re with a special someone or flying solo like I was on this visit, there’s something about the romantic vibe of this city that always casts a spell over me. Here are my must-includes for a long weekend in the City of Love.
Any jet lag that had settled in during the taxi ride from the airport vanished as the bellman escorted me through the elegant front doors of Le Meurice, a Dorchester Collection property.
Recently, the hotel unveiled 29 newly restored rooms and suites inspired by the beauty of Versailles. And as I walked down my own mini Hall of Mirrors leading into the sitting room of my suite, I was speechless.
Touches like the lush coral curtains and upholstery, chandelier, Italian marble in the bathroom, signature artwork, and fresh-cut roses made me feel like a queen. And then there was that million-dollar view. Every time I looked out my floor-to-ceiling windows, my heart was happy.
For that reason, I had no problem spending my evening enjoying a little regal R&R over a simple room service of veggie soup and wine. After all, what better way to spend my first night in Paris than watching the evening lights of the Eiffel Tower in my PJs?
A pastry assortment fit for a princess. I’d been seated at my table in the breakfast area located in the property’s Restaurant Le Meurice Alain Ducasse and was immediately greeted with a pastry tower dappled with croissants, bread, and other treats.
While sipping my tea with steamed milk from a beautiful tea cup, I enjoyed other bites and drinks including green juice and the hotel’s take on avocado toast. And thanks to the warm and attentive waitstaff, I started my Saturday with a full belly and a smile on my face.
I didn’t have anything on the agenda until my dinner reservation, so I took advantage of the opportunity to do what I love most on solo trips: wander. When I was 16, this is how I fell in love with Paris during my first trip to Europe. I had a chance to explore the city on my own, wandering down any street that beckoned and wondering about the people who’d walked there in years past.
Today’s walk took me through the Tuileries Garden across the Seine down to Notre Dame (which was sadly covered in post-fire scaffolding). Then, I crossed back over to the Right Bank and wandered back to the hotel. Hours later, I returned to Le Meurice and rewarded myself with a snack of cheese and wine in Bar 228 to hold me until dinner.
The last stop of the evening was Balagan. Only a brief walk from Le Meurice, the Israeli restaurant is a Parisian hot spot. I’d secured a reservation at the chef’s counter, and if you love food and drink, do the same.
As the hostess escorted me to my seat, the tune of Abba’s Gimme, Gimme, Gimme thumped in the background, and I saw the chefs laughing and prepping food in the open kitchen. I knew I’d come to the right place. Then, I was introduced to Sous Chef Sahar Etzion (the primary person cooking for me that evening), and the journey commenced.
There were beautiful takes on tuna tartare, fatoush salad, bone marrow, and scallops. Happiness is gnawing the last bits of savory lamb off the bone while eagerly anticipating the next artfully plated dish that Sahar would place in front of me. And each taste was complemented with wine that Sahar knew would perfectly pair with the flavors of the food like a scoop of pistachio gelato perfectly pairs with a steamy summer day. But, after hours of indulgence, it was finally time to say “bonsoir” to Balagan.
After indulging a decadent order of French toast at this morning’s breakfast, it was time to treat my feet to a pedicure at Spa Valmont pour Le Meurice. When I arrived, I was whisked into the peaceful relaxation area and offered a small pot of ginger tea and a delicious little seeded cookie.
Right on time, I was met by the therapist and escorted to the treatment room, which, due to construction, was a hotel room separate from the spa area. I was intrigued by the idea of experiencing a pedicure lying down on a massage table — and the experience lived up to the intrigue. I left feeling relaxed and with my toes a sassy shade of burgundy.
That afternoon, my wandering continued to Palais Garnier, better known as the Paris opera house. I’ve toured Palais Garnier before and was enchanted by the glamour and romance that exuded from the space. So, I was thrilled to find a matinee ticket to the Paris Opera’s version of King Lear.
This opera was more modern than I’d prefer. But, the surroundings made the experience worth it. The theater is stunning, and you can imagine what a scene it must have been to sit among the Parisian elite in their tuxedos and gowns in decades past.
The finale to my last evening in Paris was dinner at Restaurant Le Dalí in Le Meurice. With the sounds of live music in the background, I enjoyed tastes like beef carpaccio and brill with gnocchi and artichokes, all accompanied by beautiful wines selected by the expert waitstaff. It was the perfect end to this chapter in my love affair with the city along the Seine.
The Paris Opera