There are few things better in life than a trip to Paris. Be it for a week or weekend, the City of Light never fails to enchant. But fewer travelers visiting Paris due to recent terror attacks has resulted in a rough tourism climate. That spells deals for Americans. Paris has never been more affordable with discounts on airfares and even luxury hotels. We’ve just returned and can report that a shaken Paris wants its visitors back badly and Parisians are unusually happy to see Americans.

From personal experience we can highly recommend par excellence hotels like the legendary Four Seasons George V, the dignified and noble Le Bristol, the superbly-run and very palatial Hôtel Plaza Athénée the long-admired and recently restored Ritz and the ultramodern Mandarin Oriental, palaces of extraordinary luxe. And La Reserve Hotel and Spa, a stunning newcomer, the Duke of Morny’s aristocratic 19th century hotel particulier, has all the refinement of Belle Epoque Paris and miles of herringbone parquet, shimmering damascene brocade fabrics and Carrara marble to create a luminous atmosphere that will transport you to the chicest and most stylish atmosphere. We are not saying these caravansaries are inexpensive but they are worth every euro and there are values often to be found like an extra night free, hotel credits, upgrades, or breakfasts, even at this rarified level. Paris has always drawn lovers—this is the city of l’amour, after all—but these hotel will bend backward for you, be you blissful couples, on business or just discerning travelers seeking Le meilleur que la vie puisse offrir.

Restaurants? You must not miss the best: Le Grand Vefour, opened first in 1784; the Art Deco Relais Plaza at Hôtel Plaza Athénée; 114 Faubourg at Le Bristol, a chic brasserie with gilded columns and a grand staircase; three-Michelin-starred Le Cinq with its stunning courtyard views at the Four Seasons; contemporary French cuisine at Le Gabriel at La Reserve; and the venerable L’Espadon at the Ritz, all awesome gastronomique experiences with incredible cuisine and wines that will not break the bank.

Getting there? We found excellent pricing on Air France and Scandinavian Airlines. La Compagnie, an all-business class airline that operates between Newark and Charles de Gaulle, has round-trips beginning at $1800 a passenger. Expedia.com lists hundreds of offers combining airfare and hotel stays. As Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) told Ilsa in The Maltese Falcon, “We’ll always have Paris.” And he was right.

Another clever option: do as we did—book a 7 day trip on Uniworld’s new super ship, S.S. Joie de Vivre, from Paris to Normandy and glide blissfully on the Seine, taking tours of Monet’s house and gardens at Giverny, Rouen, Honfleur and the Normandy beaches of World War II. Plus they will show you Paris like no one can with special guided walking or biking tours. There has never been a more beautiful ship built and this one has it all—swimming pool, spa, gourmet food and wines, sumptuous cabins, a staff trained by the highly respected Red Carnation Hotel Company, and extraordinary comfort, style and a journey steeped in wonder, history, art and legend. Visit www.uniworld.com or call (800) 733-7820 or your preferred travel professional. Prices for this remarkable Joie de Vivre Seine Normandy cruise range from $3149 per person to $8799.

Go now, go this summer or in the fall. Do not fear: Paris is safe and ravishingly beautiful any time of year.

 

 

Happy traveling,
WILLIAM TOMICKI,
Publisher, ENTREE

 

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Travel and Food Editor, American International News Syndicate

Travel Editor, El Paso Inc.

Travel Editor, Rothschild Presse

Travel Editor, Southwest Senior

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Member, Society of American Travel Writers

Member, North American Travel Journalists Association

Member, International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association