The Best Hotel In Paris.

It occurred to me this week that it was 20 years ago that I first traveled to Paris.  It was 1992, and I was a bit leery when I arrived.  This was long before the big “clean up” of the city to celebrate the year 2000.  It was before laws were passed that every building’s exterior must be cleaned once every decade.  In short, it was the last days of a Paris that is no more.  Today it’s lovely, but it is a different city.  Clean and gleaming, it’s humming with the sounds of mechanical street sweepers.  Gone are the days of the grime, grit, and age.  I still love it, though.   The beauty of the city, the deliciousness of the food, and the charm of the people enamor me.  Yes, I think they are charming.  However it took me a day or so to accept the charms of such a place, and to the understand the impact it was having on me.

It did though.  It happened on my second night there.  It was cold; a type of cold that doesn’t blow through the part of the world I live in.  It was painful.  It was late and I was alone in my room.  My roommate, who I didn’t particularly get along with, was fed up with what he called “fancy gross food” and decided he was going to venture out to a McDonald’s near by to get  “real food.”  Despite the cold of the air, I turned out all the lights in my room, leaving on the television on, quietly listening to MTV Europe, and opened one of the large windows.  I leaned out onto the iron railing and looked down at the cobblestones below, wet from an earlier rain, reflecting the lights of the city back towards me.  It was quiet, and an elderly woman with a cane walked down the small street away from my direction toward a brightly lit flower stand exploding with color from the darkness.  It was then that the sounds of U2’s “ONE” began playing in the background.  In its haunting guitar, and downbeat vocals, I found my soundtrack for the night and the days to follow, and I was in love.

All of this happened at the Princess Caroline Hotel in Paris.  I’ve stayed there several times since my first trip.  Each time, I’ve been in a different room, and each one is different.  All of them are nice and comfortable, and the staff is friendly and accommodating.  The prices are reasonable, for Paris.  However, the real beauty of the Princess Caroline is the location.  It is literally, a block from the Arc de Triumphe, and two blocks from the Champs-Elyees, and a metro station is around the corner.

The truly glorious thing about the Princess Caroline, though, is the fact that over the years, I have recommended it to others and they too have come back with tales of their admiration for the city. There’s something wonderful, and magical, and simply lovely about the Princess Caroline.  It isn’t the most luxurious, or the largest, or the most resplendent hotel in the city, but it is the best hotel in which to fall in love with Paris.


Categories: Advice, Europe, Thoughts


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