Many try to avoid Paris in the summer when it is crowded with tourists, but for others summer offers the only part of the year to break for vacations. Now is the time for planning if you are opting for a trip to Paris this summer, and let’s face it—Paris is a glorious city at any time of the year.
My wife Lillian and I were there during July this past summer. As usual, our preferred place to stay is the L'Hôtel du Louvre, now part of the Hyatt hotel chain. Not only is it a most comfortable hotel, but it has one of the best of locations, right next to the renowned Louvre museum, one of the greatest museums in the world.
The well-air conditioned hotel, located on the right bank at Place André Malraux, offers rates that may include breakfast in the bistro-like restaurant on the premise, and since Hyatt acquired the hotel, the buffet breakfasts are even more elaborate in keeping with what travelers expect. The serving staff is very friendly and tries to be accommodating. It is interesting to find people from many parts of the world dining there, which led to some informative conversations.
I’ve also found the hotel’s executive staff to be cordial, and Executive Assistant Anne-Sophie Millet has been especially pleasant and helpful. One thing to request when making a reservation is a room facing outside. One year we could look right up the Avenue de l’Opéra with a view of the Paris Opera in the distance, spectacular when lit at night. This past July we had a room facing the renowned Comédie Française, where one can experience a performance in the theater that is considered a national treasure. The hotel also has a convenient business center, and taxis are readily available from a nearby rank.
As for the Louvre, one has to have extra patience in the summer. The crowds line up, so one usually has to allow waiting time in scheduling. Staying next to this museum is a strategic coup, for The Louvre is not to be missed.
There are other attractions available and the concierge desk personnel at the L’Hôtel du Louvre are very helpful with advice and brochures. They will also make reservations for guests. With concierge assistance we opted one night for a concert in an extremely charming environment, La Sainte-Chapelle, 4 Blvd. du Palais, with its entrance via the Palais du Justice. The orchestra Les Violins de France played a program of Vivaldi, with Frédéric Moreau as soloist. The concert was delightful, thanks to the talented musicians, but all the more pleasing due to the ambience.
L’Hotel du Louvre is also right at the noted Rue St.-Honoré, where one can stroll and shop at the various boutiques, whether searching for clothing, accessories or top-of-the line chocolates. One can also walk along the Rue de Rivoli, opposite the Tuileries gardens and lined with tourist-type boutiques. However, in July it proved to be tremendously crowded so that one had to buck the throngs to make one’s way.
Inviting restaurant opportunities are essential to any neighborhood, and for the past few visits to Paris we have enjoyed dining at Pierre, at the nearby 10 Rue de Richelieu. Pierre has undergone a renovation that has made it especially attractive and modern, and it is staffed by Maître-Sommelier de France Éric Sertour and Chef de Cuisine Konrad Ceglowski.
On this trip, in addition to dining a few times at Pierre, we also found the cozy Bistro Richelieu, with well-prepared traditional cuisine, located at 45 Rue de Richelieu. The restaurants mentioned, as well as the hotel, have easy Metro access from the Palais-Royal Station, appropriately named, as the Palais-Royal is a landmark of the neighborhood.
We enjoyed walking along the Avenue de l’Opéra and snacking at the famous Café de la Paix, near the opera house. Sitting outdoors, we were amused watching the mélange of passersby. Of course, we also ventured to the left bank, where we attended a family wedding party reception in the restaurant of the Hotel Lutetia, and wandered around the streets to visit old haunts from the many trips to Paris in the past.
It happened to be very hot during those July days. But the over-all pleasure of seeing Paris again compensated for the weather.