Paris may be known as the city for lovers but we have decided to rename it the city for girlfriends! We recently scooped up a few of our besties and headed to The City of Light for a few days and nights of fun.
Did you know you can be in Paris in just over 4 hours? Amazing! We piled into the first class car on the TGV in Zurich (just like with air travel, once you go first class, it’s hard to go back) where we were treated like the ladies of leisure we aspired to be (at least for the weekend): a complimentary welcome cocktail (we ordered Champagne, of course), reclining seats, a place to charge our iPads so we could be sure we were fully-powered for our social media needs, newspapers and magazines (yes, even in English!) and a yummy meal too.
After catching up on the latest girlfriend gossip and a quick catnap, we arrived to find a taxi waiting to take us to our hotel (they will arrange for this on the train as well. What service!).
We’d all been to Paris before and so agreed upon a few things about our trip in advance:
Each of us was in charge of a different aspect of the trip – hotel, food, and transportation, and we each chose an activity or adventure in the city. It’s a great way to share the responsibility and work of planning as well as allowing each member of the party to surprise and wow the others. We agreed this is the way to go from now on.
We decided upon the chic and posh Neuilly neighborhood and the Mövenpick hotel as we’ve become accustomed to Swiss quality (and the name always reminds us of good wine and ice cream too).
We’d also heard about Möevenpick’s new ‘Go Healthy’ menu with many seasonal, healthy and delicious choices. We loved the tart tatin – which is fun to say – with beetroot carpaccio and the grilled sea bass with lentils and cauliflower. We thought about skipping dessert and saving our calories for the Champagne bar (they have over 70 different kinds of Champagne!), but the chocolate mousse with poached pear looked – and tasted – too good to resist. Yes, we also hit the Champagne bar, and though we did not try all 70 kinds, we were able to taste about 10 different nose-tickling glasses of bubbles during our stay…and during nice weather their outdoor terrace is fabulous for bubbles!
After our first night of sampling the fare and bubbly at the hotel, we retired with a large glass of water next to the bed, woke up leisurely without an alarm, meandered down to the huge buffet breakfast and were ready for our adventures:
Adventure 1: Tour through the city in a Citroën 2CV. These unique little cars have been around since the late 40s and have been noted for their innovative engineering and utilitarian design. We took a 2 hour city tour in a 1973 red version and decided it was one of the best things we’d ever done as a tourist. Even if you think you know Paris, there is nothing like being driven around by an adorable man in a striped shirt and tilted beret and seeing the sites – known and not so known – with the roof open and the wind in your hair. We channeled our inner 40s starlet by donning scarves on our heads to preserve our manes.
The only slight disappointment was that the Frank Gehry-designed Louis Vuitton Foundation museum was not yet opened when we drove by. Though, admittedly, the building is a work of art on its own and quite a sight to behold. We’ve already begun to talk about coming back once the museum opens its doors in late October.
Adventure 2: Walking tour of the Latin Quarter. We’d never been to this arrondissement on the left bank of the Seine and were charmed by its authentic Parisian sights and the smell of fresh Pain au Chocolat. The bistros, churches and shops, narrow streets – all a perfect picture. The surprise of the tour was walking into what looked like a park and coming upon the Arènes de Lutèce, a Gallo-Roman era amphitheater which could once seat 15,000 people and where gladiators fought lions. Author Victor Hugo was the driving force to save this amazing piece of history in the late 1880s. We love hidden gems!
Adventure 3: Luncheon in a Paris apartment. Oh la la. This was amazing. Also arranged through the handsome and charming founder of Paris Zigzag (who arranged our walking tour), we were invited to his mother’s apartment where we were served a delectable 3 course luncheon with wine and deliciousness all around. We lounged on the sofas and gazed at the bookshelves while sipping our postprandial coffee – if we didn’t know someone really lived there, we’d think it was all staged just for us. (But as there were framed photos of Ludovic as a baby and teenager on the mantle, we decided this was the real deal.)
We also spent an afternoon strolling around the Neuilly-sur-Seine neighborhood where we were staying. Beautiful residential buildings and schools and tree-lined streets led to shopping with little boutiques and tiny cafes. We may have been the only tourists there. And we liked that. And while we did manage to purchase a few gifts and trinkets, for the first time on a girlfriend getaway, we didn’t have to buy an extra suitcase to bring back all our loot. And that was kind of nice too.
It was a different kind of Paris trip and we loved it. We’re already planning our next Girlfriend Getaway and will report back with all the sordid details!
Foundation Louis Vuitton
8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 75116 Paris, France
Website . Tel: +33 1 40 69 96 00
Contributed by: Zuri Girl Kristen Vermilyea, an American actor, filmmaker, writer and artist who has lived in Zurich for nearly 6 years. She hosts the Zurich Film Festival TV show and is a social media and film consultant. When not watching and writing about film, she keeps busy attempting to learn to play new instruments as her four year old daughter has insisted they start a band.
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