I picked up my bag at the Radisson Blu Metropolitan and navigated via Metro to the tony 1er arrondissement, home of luxury stores and fancy architecture. The Palais Garnier is also within walking distance of the hotel.
The Park Hyatt is one of the most coveted properties in the Hyatt portfolio and I think a night here costs upwards of 800 euros! Thankfully I had two free nights from the Hyatt credit card and there was availability during my stay, so I snatched those up very quickly as I was booking my trip back in February. After checking-in and conversing with the front desk person (first in English, then gradually peppering “oui” and “non” through the conversation, and finally transitioning into full-on French) I was escorted into my room:
Definitely more than enough space for one person! There was also a small box of butter cookies that I probably devoured in one sitting. They were that addictive. I also found amusing the two bottles of still water sitting on the wet bar counter that was replenished twice a day along with the maid service. The French really take their water seriously.
After settling in (and watching Andy Murray delight the United Kingdom with his historic win at Wimbledon), I decided to hike over to the Rive Gauche and explore further.
It was that time of day where the sunlight was coming in at the right angle to illuminate the face of Cathédrale Notre-Dame.
First stop on the Rive Gauche was the Académie française, staunch defender of the French language. Instead of using “software” and “email” they recommend “logiciel” and “courriel”. Good luck getting the French public to say anything but “le email”.
As I meandered through the jumble of streets behind the Institut de France, I came across the residences of some very famous historical persons.
By now it was 8 pm and I was starving. Yet in a sense I was in the worst place possible to be hungry – because there seemed to be so many good restaurants in this area! In the end, I returned to the Cour de Commerce and settled on a little restaurant called La Jacobine.
I liked how this place lets you pair different courses into a custom set. In this case, I decided to skip the entrée and go with the plat + dessert combo. Except there was a small problem. I wanted to use my credit card, but the host told me that their machine was broken and that they would prefer if I used cash. Unfortunately I only had 20 euros on me, and clearly that wasn’t going to be enough. He was kind enough to hold my table for me while I went off searching for a BNP ATM machine. Twenty minutes later, I returned flush with euros and ready to dig into some bistro fare.
Again, this wasn’t the fanciest dinner, but the simplicity of the food made it really enjoyable. Sure, you can go wait in line for Le Comptoir and shell out even more euros for a great experience, but that requires planning and patience. It’s home-style food like this that I want to experience when travelling abroad.