J’adore Paris!

This summer I’m trying something new. A vacation. I never vacation in the summer. Crowds, heat, high prices. Nope, not for me.  However, this summer my best friend Amy and I are traveling to Paris!

Back in 2006, I had planned a trip to Paris for New Year’s Eve. Figured, what better way to ring in 2007 than with a hundred thousand of my closest friends on Champs-Elysees. While in New Orleans for Christmas, an off-hand comment led to Amy’s husband surprising her with a flight to join me. So, within days she was jetting off to Paris to enjoy a few days in that magical city. A few crowded, crazy, cold rainy days.

Ever since that trip, I’ve dreamed of Paris in the spring. Sitting in outdoor cafes sipping coffee or wine (ok, it’s always wine in the dream). Enjoying the gardens full of spring blooms, and strolling the sidewalks with a baguette peeking from my bag.

Well, instead of spring, it will be summer. Peak time for Paris.  I’ve managed to coordinate flights (LAX for me and New Orleans for Amy). We’ll depart July 5th and meet up in Chicago enabling us to travel overseas together.

Downside is I usually book coach for myself and use my status upgrades to move to first and business class. But, not only are the coach seats incredibly expensive, but the business class cabins during this period are already nearly full – not a chance of using an upgrade.  So, this is the time for award tickets!

Next downside of peak season travel – the point saver awards also aren’t available, which means that each ticket costs double what it should in points. So, 400,000 miles later I have two first/business class tickets to Paris. First will be enjoyed domestically and the international leg will be business class. Yes, that’s A LOT of miles! But, hey why have points unless you use them right?

On the positive side with the points, is that while the point saver tickets have limited flight availability with this level of award ticket you can fly any flight making it much easier to coordinate different departing cities. Even our layovers line up nearly perfectly.

It’s not an incredibly long trip. Departing on a Thursday which means arriving in Paris Friday morning and we’ll depart Tuesday mid-morning. Four nights in Paris. And with a comfy business class seat we’re able to sleep during most of the flight which means while we’ll be tired Friday afternoon, we’ll still be able to enjoy the city that day. Perfect city break.

From a hotel standpoint, Paris is VERY expensive. Shockingly so. Rooms under 200 euro are hard to find and breakfast is always an extra 12-15 euro per person. The first trip to Paris was in a bit of a grungy hotel on the right bank of the Seine a few blocks from the Opera house. Not overly convenient to the major sites.

This time I wanted to stay on the left bank.  I’ve booked us in a highly rated hotel in the 6th District (St. Germain) within what’s considered the Latin Quarter. A much more inviting area just a block off Luxembourg Palace and gardens. Once again finding the hotel using a variety of booking sites, reading reviews and then contacting the hotel directly.

While the booking sites didn’t have twin availability, by going direct to the hotel, I was able to get an ever better internet rate that included breakfast and a guaranteed twin room! Hotel Jardin de L’Odeon will be our base for this delightful trip.

Can’t wait for July! Now, off to brush up on my French.

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