When you just mention the city of Paris, people tend to experience an emotional reaction. It’s a place that is filled with history, romance, beauty and just about anything else you can think of that is attractive in a city. It’s also been that way for centuries, as people from all over the world do whatever they can to spend time in this gorgeous place every year. Unfortunately, I had been to Paris a few times but had never had any time to enjoy it, as I was always there for work. Then one day recently, I got a call from my boss early in the morning. It seems that the last day of our meetings were canceled, so we could either go home later that day as she was or take the original flight the next morning. If I stayed, though, I would have to find a Paris hotel on my own and quickly.
I frantically thought about how I could find a hotel room in Paris on such short notice. I grabbed my phone and pulled up HotelTonight. I searched for Paris hotels and was quite impressed with what I saw. There were a lot of choices available, and they were nice, quality choices at what seemed to be extremely reasonable rates given the time frame involved. I chose a hotel that seemed right for me and booked a room within seconds. I couldn’t believe it–I was off on a day of exploring Paris. All I needed was a list of neighborhoods to visit.
I wanted to start my day in Paris in the middle of it all, and that’s pretty much what you get in the Right Bank. It sits by the Seine River and is near one of the all-time attractions in Paris, which is the Louvre. I walked through it, amazed and then walked along the river just appreciating the fact that I was in Paris seeing what there was to see. I enjoyed listening to all of the people speaking French as well, although there were a lot of tourists in the area at the time, which I supposed was how it was on most days of the year.
Le Marais, which means “The Marsh” in English, has long been considered the aristocratic center of the city. You can sense that as you walk down the streets and take in all of the opulent architecture and decor inside of the beautiful buildings. I also found quite a few art galleries, which was great because I had hoped to see a lot of French art. I also needed a bit of an energy boost, so I found a cafe nearby that had outdoor seating. I enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee and spent time just people-watching. Paris is a fine place for this activity to be sure.
The Latin Quarter in Paris is named because for a time here, people actually spoke Latin. That’s right–the Romans ruled here for a while starting in 52 B.C., and you can still see some of the remnants of the Roman Empire at a nearby museum. I walked around amazed that I never realized how old Paris actually was. I was also hungry, so I found a little restaurant with only a few tables. It served local fare, and I had soup, a salad and a small sandwich that was absolutely perfect for what I wanted at the time. I was happy and ready to enjoy my afternoon.
St-Germain-des-Prés was the exact neighborhood I needed at exactly the right time. I spent hours walking from art gallery to art gallery, as that’s what this area is known for along with its cafes. Thankfully, it’s also a big shopping center, and I needed one so that I could find some gifts for my family and friends who would not believe that I had finagled a day for myself here. I found some stores and filled a few bags with unique items. I couldn’t wait to give them to people and to tell this incredible story. After all that walking, it was time for dinner.
Where better to end my day for dinner than the Champs-Élysées? This is THE attraction in Paris, and it’s one that some may feel is filled with too many tourists, but I wanted to experience it all the same. I walked around and took a lot of photos before finding a restaurant that I had to make sure was even a restaurant before going in. It was, and it served some of the best, richest and creamiest French food I had ever tasted. It was a beautiful dinner.
As I made my way back to my hotel, I thought about how lucky I was to have been able to spend the day doing what I was doing. I was lucky in part because I found that app known as HotelTonight. Without its ability to help me find a Paris hotel room that morning, this entire experience may never have happened. I looked forward to my future travels, especially now that I had a travel companion that would always help me find lodging.