Indagare member C.T., from Malibu, recently traveled to Paris with her twelve-year-old daughter. Here are her impressions.
“For our Paris trip, we wanted a hotel on the Left Bank within walking distance to shops and restaurants with old-world elegance and charm. We choose Hôtel Duc de Saint Simon and it was perfect. It’s a charming hotel particulier with only 34 rooms, most of which look out onto a leafy garden. It has a full bar and breakfast service, and a small room service menu. The rooms are very small, so we were happy to have booked a suite (room number two). For two people it was perfect and très français!
“We loved all the tours! The guide Indagare suggested was fantastic; incredibly knowledgeable and personable. It was like having the best teacher you ever had in college be with you at a museum. The sequence our tours were set up in was great because it allowed us to follow the art chronologically. I would say that the Château de Chantilly was the highlight. It was a beautiful drive, and our guide was charming, funny and well-versed in the subject. We loved the Château, and its collection of paintings. We had a delightful lunch at a restaurant inside the Château. The horse show was astoundingly good! It was a bit like cirque du Soleil with horses.
Versailles was worth seeing for the gardens, which we toured all day. It was important to have a guide because he added so much to what we were seeing. We also had a nice lunch at a restaurant in the surrounding park.
“I absolutely recommend touring Giverny to anyone interested in gardens. They are breath-taking and so inspiring to anyone like me who has a green thumb (or tries).
“Back in Paris, the three-hour crash course at the Louvre was just right for my daughter who is twelve. Any more would have been too much. The guided tour added so much to the experience!
“We did a lot of shopping, and particularly liked the Rue du Four, Rue de Sevres, Rue du Dragon area. Although the dollar is weak, if you stick to French brands you can get some nice products at a decent price. We bought leather sandals for everyone and leather handbags and wallets, french artisan perfume, and lost of chocolate!
“As far as restaurants, the recommendations and information on your Web site are really good. We loved Les Bouquinistes, La Société, La Cigale Récamier and Ralph’s. Though make sure to reserve a table on the terrace at Ralph’s, it is the happening spot. We were told we hadn’t booked the terrace and sent inside, which is like eating alone at the Harvard Cub, only more expensive. Outside, is where the action is, and great people watching takes the pain out of a €27 hamburger. The one restaurant we didn’t like (and didn’t stay) was Le Telegraph. I think the bloom may be off the rose, or perhaps it is a night spot only. But, for lunch, it was dead, and the menu is not good for kids or vegetarians: rabbit, duck, beef tartare, etc.
“We also loved Les Deux Magots for something traditional and good people watching, and they serve Pierre Herme pastries for dessert. Likewise, we enjoyed the old-world charm of Angelines after walking the Jardin de Tuileries. We also really loved walking around Jardin de Luxembourg. It gave my daughter a sense of what it would be like to be a kid living in Paris.
Indagare did a fantastic job planning our trip. Everything from the tours to the restaurants was just about perfect for us. And I’m so glad we did the guided tours Indagare suggested. They enhanced the experience so much—not just for my daughter, but also for me.”