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Sometimes, things turn out differently - a trip to the heart of France

Sometimes, things turn out differently - a trip to the heart of France

Old Oct 22, 17, 2:11 pm
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Sometimes, things turn out differently - a trip to the heart of France

This is about a short trip to Paris. It was a birthday gift for my girlfriend who was never in Paris before and had to cancel a trip in 2015 due to the flood.

For lodging I decided to stay 6 nights in Paris at the Shangri-La. Main reason for this Hotel was value. It was clear I wanted to stay at one of the Palace-Hotels (including Ritz or Peninsula). Shangri-La had an amazing offer with 3 for 2, Breakfast, 110 $ credit and an guaranteed upgrade from a Premium Room to a Deluxe Suite. OK, no Eiffel Tower view, but for me is space much more important than a view. After booking they did some changes at their room categories (they now offer 2 additional Junior Suite categories) and their price politic. Now their Terrace Eiffel Tower Suites are sometimes more expensive than the Deluxe Suite. Otherwise the Deluxe Suite with Eiffeltower view is no longer available and they offer 2 room Junior Suites with Paris-View, some with View on Eiffel Tower - wired in my eyes.

Another Highlight should be a performance at the Opera Garnier. The booking was quite funny. When the window opened only 3 tickets at the best category were available. It were the middle box at the second Balcony, normally not my choice. I wondered that nothing else was available and thought I were lucky to get at least 2 tickets. Price was 210 € per ticket, but we know all that Paris is a value spot A few days later I found out that I had booked a special performance for people under 40 (we are both still under 40). They now sold many tickets at the best category for 126 € as they grant a 40 % discount. So I could have got the tickets I wanted and I wasted 168 €. Great No chance to change it.

Next decision was haw to travel. Options were flight (Eurowings Best), Train (Thalys not available with directtrains for the inbound) or car. I´m in General not a big fan of trains, especially as I´like to travel with some lagguage and there is no real option to store it securely during the journey. Also it´s so unflexible. In the end I opted for my car, especially as it´s only a 550 km journey.

As we were flexible I decided to "complete" the vacation with 1 night at Auberge Jeu de Paume Chantilly to visit the Chateau.

For dining I booked the following restaurants:

La Table Chantilly (1 star)
Shang Palace (1 star)
Les Fables de la Fontaine (1 star)
L´Aperge (3 stars - lunch)
L´Abeille (2 stars)
Kei (2 stars)
Astrance (3 stars - lunch)

For sightseeing I preebooked Versailles private appartement tour, Versailles Gardens Music Show and Eiffel Tower.

That was the plan. See, how it worked out.....
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Old Oct 22, 17, 3:39 pm
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Auberge du Jeu de Paume Chantilly

After an easy drive we arrived Chantilly. We booked Auberge Jeu de Paume which belongs to Relais & Chateau and is located near tot he Chateau. The hotel was opened in 2013 and offers 92 rooms.
I booked the hotel through Virtuoso with the usual advantages + 2 tickets fort he Chateau, Chocolate and wine. Rate for 1 night at a Junior Suite was 575 €, the next (and highest online available category) would have been a Deluxe Suite at 765 €. Next category was an Executive Suite which is in fact a Suite Prestige with Terrace. I decided to hope for an upgrade form the Junior Suite and at least to save some bugs…..
When we arrived first no Doormen was in sight. After a few minutes he arrived and took care of our lagguage and car. At the reception weh ad to wait for a few minutes as the people in front of us had many questions….. After one oft he 2 people in charge had time for us everything went fast and we were greeted by the manager on duty.
The lobby is relatively small but relative open. Due tot he marble I wouldn´t call it cozy:


We were escorted to our room and I was happy to learn that „my tactic“ worked out as I stood obvious in a 2 room suite. We even received a double upgrade to a Prestige Terrace Suite which can´t be booked online and which is regarding rack rate around 200 € more expensive than the Deluxe Suite.
Floor Plan:


The hotel offers rooms in different farb-schemes, our was pink. The furniture is classic, everything was as new even after 5 years. The entrance offered a little table and a second toilet.



The living-room was like the whole suite (between 50 and 60 sqm) not big but furnished adequate and consistent.



Between the livingroom and the bedroom was a closet-area with enough space. Only wired thing was a power distributor behind the cupboard with the safe which made a permanent loud noise.



The bedroom was bright and offerd a covered wall behind the bed which gave it a special touch.




The bathroom was classical built with a shower, separate toilet, bathtub and 2 sinks.





Cosmetics were from Hermes. Only critic was, that the toilet was very narraw and it was some kind of a challenge to go in and close the door.
The terrace is shared with the suite beside and while it offers some space I wouldn´t pay 200 € or even 50 € for it.


One oft he highlights of the hotel ist he SPA. I absolutely loved the pool which was warm and the very warm Jacuzzi. Very nice place.


Small gym:


Brekfast they serve at the main restaurant and normally claim 32 € per person fort he buffet. While the room was nice the breakfast itself was mediocre. Not worth 32 € in my eyes. Service at breakfast was slow and not very good. For excample they took my cutlery and didn´t bring any new. As we didn´t find anyone to as for a new one we helped ourself wis a knife at the neighboor table. Funny enough this one was replaced quickly but no one mentiones we still had no fork. Finally I had to ask for one….





The Auberge is a fine hotel with a great location. Rooms are clasical furnished but nevertheless modern, the SPA is very nice. Of course it´s not too cheap (rather the opposite) but that´s to expect near Paris. If breakfast isn´t included I would strongly recommend not to take it at the Hotel, there is a very good Patisserie (Connesson) and bakery (Boulangerie Du Chateau) available, both only take away.
I will write later about the restaurant.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 8:59 am
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If breakfast isn´t included I would strongly recommend not to take it at the Hotel,
I often do this, since I do not have a big breakfast and find it difficult to justify the price of breakfast buffets.

Looking forward to reading the rest.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 9:21 am
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Nice restaurant lineup offerendum. Personally I don't care much for l'Arpège as it is mostly about vegetables. Curious to read how everything turned out in the end....
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Old Oct 23, 17, 12:02 pm
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Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
I often do this, since I do not have a big breakfast and find it difficult to justify the price of breakfast buffets.

Looking forward to reading the rest.
Hope I will deliver

Originally Posted by JohnRain View Post
Nice restaurant lineup offerendum. Personally I don't care much for l'Arpège as it is mostly about vegetables. Curious to read how everything turned out in the end....
L´Arpège was a turning point
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Old Oct 23, 17, 12:03 pm
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Chateau Chantilly

I wanted to see Chateau Chantilly for a long time. It looked beautiful in the travelguide and it´s well known from the James Bond movie „A View to a Kill“.
During our visit there was a flower-festival which meant entrance fees were higher as usual. As tickets were included in our room-rate I didn´t really care. Directly beside the hotel is the entrance to the Grand Stables:


After a little walk we saw the chateau:


It´s beautiful from all sites:




Way up to the main entrance from the garden:


Nice details:


The main entrance:



After entering the castle we first visited the chapel.


Behind the choir ist he chapel of hearts, with all hearts of the princes of Condé:


The castle is relative new as the „original“ was destroyed during French revolution. Nevertheless you can find some nice rooms:






The Musée Condé hosts the second largest collection of antique paintings after the Louvre in France.






The gardens are as you can expect well preserved:




The Grand Stables host some animals, not only horses as you can see:


The chateau is also nice at night:
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Old Oct 23, 17, 3:28 pm
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La Table du Connétable

For dinner we had a reservation at La Table du Connétable. When I first had a look on it it had 2 stars, but it was „downgraded“ to 1 star in the last Michelin. The reason ist hat the former chef moved to Eze and it seems Michelin didn´t trust the new chef Cément Leroy to hold the level. Otherwise Gault Millau praised him highly. In the internet I read „formal dress“ would be required, whatever this means….
We were greated friendly and brought to our table. The dinner started with some truffle-bread which was to die for:


They offered a la carte dining or 3 menues with 3 (95 €), 4 (125 €) or 7 (175 €) courses. For our taste only the 3 course menu was interesting with 2 choices for each course.

First some little greating from the kitchen:

All tasty……

Now some good salmon:


Delicious bread:


Time fort he first course:
My company had „The „perfect“ egg, textures of sweetcorn and onions“:

I found it good but not outstanding as my company did.
I took „Flame grilled mackarel, pink radish“:
[img]https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4467/37887429801_77a61abf52_b.jpg[/img

The dish came in 2 parts. I can´t say bad things about it but like the other appetizer it missed the wow-effect. Yes, on 1 star level, but not more.

For the main-course we both took „Roasted monkfish, rock fish juice“:

The fish was simply outstanding, a dish clearly on 2 star level. Alernative would have been a roasted hen, of course no option for us.

Now they showed me the cheese-trolly. Against better knowledge (tob e honest I had already enough) I gave it a try (24 €). I forgot to take picture of the trolly, but here my selection:

A good offering of cheese, good homemade marmelade.

Now a little sorbet:


For dessert we both choosed „Chocolate Medley“ (alternative „Plum like a baba“):


A nice dessert!

For the finish some petit fours including „original“ creme de Chantilly:


Bottom line: The restaurant hase surely potential and I would it rate in the higher 1 star level. I wouldn´t be surprised if Leroy is able to win the second star back. Service etc. are still on this level, prices for the food are reasonable in my eyes. I wouldn´t hestitate to eat here again.

P.S. I now read at Gault Millau that Cément Leroy left the Restaurant end of August 2017 while he was near a 4th head. My menu I got at the end of the dinner still states Leroy as Executive Chef. Also the homepage still says nothing about a change - wired.
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Old Oct 23, 17, 11:06 pm
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
L´Arpège was a turning point
To the better or to the worse...?
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Old Oct 24, 17, 8:09 am
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Originally Posted by JohnRain View Post
To the better or to the worse...?
Stay tuned
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Old Oct 24, 17, 10:27 am
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Les Fables de la Fontaine is great. It was my go to place for Lunch when I was in Paris. If the weather is nice go for lunch and get a table in the courtyard...

Enjoy,

Timo
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Old Oct 24, 17, 10:50 am
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Originally Posted by timo469 View Post
Les Fables de la Fontaine is great. It was my go to place for Lunch when I was in Paris. If the weather is nice go for lunch and get a table in the courtyard...

Enjoy,

Timo
Had dinner at Les Fables, report will be up next end of week I guess
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Old Oct 24, 17, 12:59 pm
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Basilique de Saint-Denis

After we left Chantilly we first visited the Basilique of Saint Denis. First it was a hard challenge to find a parking space. Who knows Saint Denis will surely understand why I wasn´t to keen to park my car on the street. I had the problem that half of the streets my Navi did prefer were indeed closed. After I finally found the garage we stood inside a shopping centre which showed the special charme of Saint Denis.
After a few steps we stood in front of the Basilique:


The church is impressive from inside:


Highlight are the royal graves which in fact only rarely are real graves today as they were opened during revolution, the bodies removed and thrown in a mass-grave. Nevertheless many monuments survived:






Memorial of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette


The choir hosts some altars and monuments




In the crypt are the graves of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette:


Also you find some coffins


What was found in the mass-grave was buried in 2 ossuaries:


Interesting church which should not be missed
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Old Oct 24, 17, 2:46 pm
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Seine cruise

My company is a big fan of city-tours like boat-cruises or open-bus. This time I remained strong and objected against an open-bus tour (see my Marseille experience), but agreed with a Seine cruise. We choosed Bateaux Parisiens which costs 15 € for an one hour cruise. Departure was from Eiffel Tower.
First we had to wait in line, they didn´t open the boat until minutes before departure. On board we went to the upper deck to learn that it was a very bad idea to pack only long shirts (also see „moron-traveler“).
After a few minutes on the grill the tour started and we first passed Pont Alexandre



No real commentary was offered on the upper deck but everything is more or less self-exploring. The Louvre:


The „cap“ of Île de la Cité:


Pont Neuf:


Notre Dame:



Conciergerie:


Institute de France:


Musée d´Orsay:


Palais Bourbon (National Assembly):


Back to Pont Alexandre:


Holy Trinity Cathedral:


Last view on Eiffel Tower:


The tour is of course pure mass-tourism and who thinks it´s romantic or something like this has real problems in my eyes. But it´s an enjoyable ride with some nice perspectives. I wouldn´t call it a „must-do“ but many people may think different.
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Old Oct 26, 17, 3:58 am
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Fabulously detailed report. Love it. I think I'll re-read this in a day or two. Thanks.
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Old Oct 26, 17, 4:42 am
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
Fabulously detailed report. Love it. I think I'll re-read this in a day or two. Thanks.
Wow, thanks!
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