For our first international award trip we chose Paris. Followed by a long week in Italy. Our plan was to spend 5 nights in Paris at the Luxury Collection Prince de Galles, then head to Italy for 9 nights. Tuscany for 3 nights in the Westin, followed by 3 nights at the Luxury Collection Hotel Patrizza on the island of Sardinia, and finish with a few nights in Rome at the Westin Rome.
This was our first Business Class award with Delta in their old style cradle Business Class seats. The seats weren’t great, but we couldn’t help but stay up almost all of the night talking about the next few weeks. We made friends with the flight attendant and when we departed, she brought us a bottle of red and a bottle of champagne. Nice gesture and we left the flight fully stocked for the first night in Paris. Sweet!
I recall getting these seats for about 90,000 SkyMiles per seat and was able to find plenty of availability exactly at the 330 day mark. I was even able to get on the “wait list” for the return flight since the availability window wasn’t open yet. So you can see from some of those factoids, this trip was quite some time ago.
We landed in Paris and took the train over to the center of town. Then a quick walk and we were checked into the Luxury Collection hotel on George V.
We were upgraded to a suite at the Prince de Galles. No fuss, begging or bartering, just a pure Platinum upgrade. I think we paid about 10,000 points per night. That was a lot back then, but it was totally worth it. Five nights in the center of Paris before heading to Tuscany.
In Paris, we had a few items on the agenda. One of those items was a reservation at a nice restaurant each night…except one.
The restaurant for the night didn’t take reservations. In fact, we wouldn’t even have a table. It was perfect.
We took a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens in the late afternoon. It was a great way to catch up on our last few weeks.
After some time in the gardens, we meandered through the streets of the left bank towards the restaurant.
L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon didn’t take reservations, but it was perfect. After a long walk in the gardens, we were ready for a drink. Only one problem, the menu was in French. I kindly mentioned “je ne parle pas francais” to the waiter and he asked if we preferred for him to read the menu to us. After hearing him talk through each and every item on the menu, we had a clear path for the night. We’d start off with a nice bottle of red before getting into the meal.
Mrs. Weekly Flyer ordered a nice lamb chop appetizer and I selected the asparagus soup. For the main course, I went with the tenderloin and Mrs. Weekly Flyer went with a special of the day. Both were fantastic.
Our flight to Paris was perfect. An upgrade to the suite at the Prince de Galles was seamless. And the path we took on our first night out on the town took us past a heard of miniature horses, through the gardens and down the winding streets of Paris.
It was a perfect first day in Paris. Not only because we enjoyed exploring a new city, but more importantly because we were exploring it together. Winging it through Paris…on our first trip…without a reservation.
What’s your favorite way to explore Paris?