A few weeks ago, my lovely husband Mark and I hopped on a plane and spent two days in glorious Paris. This was before the horror of the November 2015 attacks, but I’ve chosen to share this post without changes as the beauty of the city shines just as brightly today.
Mark and I were on our first trip away alone as a couple in a very long time and we were beyond excited to explore the city together.
IHG had given us 500,000 points to spend, so we opted for a short city trip and a grand hotel. The points were enough to cover flights and the large room, with a little left over which we converted into £75 in shopping vouchers to grab supplies for the trip.
Intercontinental Le Grand
We stayed at the Intercontinental Le Grand, an opulent, centrally-located hotel dating back to the mid-1800s.
Situated just minutes from the Boulevard Haussmann and Opéra metro station, this was the perfect base for us to explore Paris, and in the evening of our stay, our room was a perfect retreat.
It was clean and comfortable with lavish decoration, a large and comfortable bed, satellite TV and Wi-Fi access, minibar and good-sized bathroom with robes and slippers supplied.
In the morning, we indulged in room service, which arrived exactly on time, to an excellent standard, and complete with more than enough to fill us up for the day of adventure ahead.
A relaxed stroll around the Louvre Museum
What trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Louvre? This is one of the world’s largest museums and a much prized historic monument on the bank of the Seine.
We spent two happy hours getting lost in the maze of art and artefacts, and could have spent much longer.
Every corridor of the Louvre is an adventure in itself. Walls lined with curiosities, ceilings and roofs a mix of modern glass and classical ornate architecture. It’s a gorgeous place to spend the day.
A walk around the Eiffel Tower by night
Of course, the eiffel tower has played backdrop to many a romantic scene throughout cinematic history, and it particularly comes into its own at night, when Paris begins to twinkle, and the tower shines golden against the inky sky.
We chose to forgo a proper dinner, and instead bought generously stuffed crêpes to eat as we took a slow meander back to our hotel.
A vegan lunch at Café Ginger
For lunch the following morning, we visited an amazing little vegan café.
At Café Ginger, 9 Rue Jacques Cœur, everything they serve is organic, free from anything animal derived, and totally delicious.
We ordered pies (a tofu and ginger pie and a kale and potato pie) and shared half each. They came with a whole plate full of little vegan treats, such as pickled red cabbage with pumpkin seeds, black lentils, brown rice, dressed purple carrots with sultanas, and parsnip and carrot chips. My goodness, it was very, very good.
Quiet contemplation at the Church of Saint-Sulpice
If you’re in the mood for a moment of calm, I’d highly recommend a walk around the 17th century Roman Catholic Church of Saint-Sulpice in the Luxembourg Quarter. It’s a visually beautiful place, filled with rich marbles, deep woods and soft golds.
Just walking, being together
When you live together and run a family together, it’s easier to start living around each other. One watches the kids while the other runs errands, then switch and head off in opposite directions again, potentially not actually inhabiting the same space until the very end of the day.
What was wonderful about our trip to Paris is that we entirely forwent public transport (except to and from the airport) and instead walked everywhere. According to my step counter, we walked 20 miles in two days! And as we walked, we talked and as we talked, it got easier, more comfortable, more like the old days. We were two humans instead of mum and dad, we were being together instead of working together.
It’s been good for us. I think our love, which hasn’t wavered but has perhaps been a little neglected, is a lot stronger for it.
Paris is also a fantastic destination if you love photography. Mark and I took three cameras with us and had brilliant fun shooting the architecture, quirks and bustling character of Paris.
When I look back through these shots, I can’t help but wish we were there, holding hands, eating crêpes and getting to know each other all over again. Paris, we will see you again soon.
More about IHG
As I mentioned, we travelled on IHG points. You’re probably stayed in an IHG hotel before – they’re the brand behind Intercontinental hotels, Crowne Plazas, Holiday Inns and more, and the IHG Rewards Club is the world’s largest hotel loyalty programme.
Once you’ve registered with the club, you can collect points for each night you stay at an IHG hotel. It really adds up and the more points you earn, the more benefits you can access.
After extensive research into what members want from their loyalty programme, IHG Rewards Club looked to personalise every element of the experience. IHG has also introduced a new membership level to sit above Platinum, to better reward its most loyal members with the most relevant benefits. This new membership level, Spire Elite, will include new benefits and choices, such as 100% bonus points for guest stays (an industry first) and the member’s choice of either 25,000 points or the ability to gift Platinum to a friend or family member for a year.
Spire Elite can be reached by earning 75,000 qualifying points or staying at IHG hotels for 75 qualifying nights, over the course of a year.
For more information, visit IHG Rewards Club, or ask about the scheme during your next IHG stay.
This is a commissioned post for IHG.