Impressions From Our Trip To Paris

Impressions From Our Trip To Paris

102

While the primary focus of OMAAT reviews is airlines and hotels, I figured I’d briefly reflect on the six nights that Ford and I just spent in Paris. I’ve always liked Paris, but I think I’m now starting to love the city. I have a few observations, in no particular order…

France’s vaccine & testing requirement

Some readers asked what coronavirus precautions were like in Paris, and I have to say that I was impressed. France has the “pass sanitaire” concept, which is essentially the requirement to provide proof that you’re fully vaccinated, have recovered from coronavirus, or have gotten a negative test result in the past 72 hours. This is required for going most public places, including restaurants, cinemas, etc.

While most people living in France have this “pass” on their phone, in our case we just showed our CDC vaccine cards everywhere, and that did the trick. It was a bit nerve-racking to carry around our vaccine cards given that they can’t easily be replaced, but that still seemed like the easiest option.

Personally I think this is a brilliant concept, as there aren’t many places in the world that take such a logical approach to protecting people from the pandemic. Even those who aren’t vaccine fans will hopefully appreciate that this isn’t simply a vaccinate mandate, but rather testing and recovery from infection are also eligible.

Mask wearing was still common in restaurants and other indoor public settings, though not required across the board. For example, at some restaurants all staff were wearing masks, and guests were told to wear masks while moving around, while at other restaurants there were no masks in sight.

In terms of hotels, the Ritz and Four Seasons required mask wearing in indoor public spaces. Meanwhile at Cheval Blanc, staff wore masks while guests weren’t required to, with the logic being that everyone had a “pass sanitaire.”

France has logical restrictions to minimize coronavirus risk

Perfect weather makes travel better

I tend to think that weather can have such a huge impact on how much a trip is enjoyed. This is true both in terms of sunlight (which tends to make me feel happy and energized) and lack of precipitation (which makes it easy to walk around and be outside).

We lucked out, because I don’t think it rained once in the six nights we spent in Paris. Instead we had the most perfect weather imaginable — it was mostly sunny, and it was usually in the 60s (Fahrenheit) during the day, which was perfect for being able to walk for hours on end. I’m so grateful for that, because we would have been much more limited in what we could do if it rained the whole time.

We had perfect weather in Paris

Everyone was so friendly (surprisingly?)

Historically France hasn’t been known for its service culture, but rather there has been the impression among many that service can be at least somewhat rude and arrogant, and that many Parisians resent tourists. I’m not trying to single out France here — of course we could just as easily talk about what Americans are known for (it ain’t pretty), and I’ve also written in the past about Greece’s unfair reputation for bad service.

The reason I bring this up is because I felt like everyone I interacted with was particularly hospitable during our visit. Now, in fairness, we were staying at top luxury hotels, and I’d expect great service there. However, everywhere else, from street cafes to museums, we encountered nothing but genuinely friendly people.

Similarly, that’s one of the things that I loved about some of the fine dining restaurants we went to. I was worried they might feel stuffy or that service might be arrogant, but instead the servers were all fun, had a great sense of humor, and were proud of what they were offering.

I’m not sure if anything actually changed, if I just lucked out, or if I had been viewing things wrong on previous visits.

We had great service across the board in Paris

Paris got me hooked on fine dining

I hinted at this in my review of the Four Seasons George V, but I think this deserves its own section. I’ve always enjoyed good food (who doesn’t?), but this trip really changed my perception of Michelin-starred dining.

When I was younger I’m not sure I would have appreciated some of the meals we had, but this time I loved them more than I can put into words. There’s something so awesome about a great fine dining experience:

  • It’s not just about the food, but rather it’s about the overall experience, and in many ways the whole meal kind of feels like performance art
  • There’s nothing I love more than watching passionate people do what they do best, and that’s kind of how our dining experiences felt, in a nutshell
  • I’m also not much for bars or clubs, so a four hour dining experience and then bed is kind of my ideal night

Going forward, making some reservations for “peak” dining experiences will be a more central part of our travel planning process when we’re taking trips for special occasions. Or at a minimum, it’s not going to be an afterthought, and something we just think about when we get to our destination.

I have a new appreciation for fine dining

It’s cliche, but I really love Paris now?

In the past I’ve always liked Paris, though I’m not sure I really loved it. Or perhaps I was just trying to resist the urge, because everyone else seems to love the city, and it just seems too cliche.

But yeah, I think I really do love Paris, along with everyone else:

  • I love walking, and the city is great for walking around; even if you don’t actually stop anywhere, the architecture and general beauty of the city is unbeatable
  • No matter whether you’re dining somewhere casual or at a fancy restaurant, the quality of the food and wine is phenomenal across the board
  • Paris has plenty of awesome attractions, from museums, to gardens, to shopping

What more can one really want from a city?

Bottom line

We had an amazing six nights in Paris. We lucked out with perfect fall weather, which was such a nice change of pace after being in Florida for so long. I love France’s “pass sanitaire” concept, which made us feel safer dining out, etc. And in general we just had a lovely time doing a lot of walking, eating, and drinking. So yeah, I recognize I’m a bit late joining the Paris loving party, but better late than never, I guess?

Where do you stand on Paris?

Conversations (102)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Hana Guest

    Is the US CDC vaccine card widely accepted by restaurants, cafes, and even museums in Paris? Or, is the French Pass Sanitaire a must for entering these indoor establishments?

  2. Twinks Guest

    My husband and I just returned from 12 days in Paris and Normandy. First 3 days in Paris on our own exploring and doing exactly what we wanted. Fabulous is not exhausting! Then we hooked up with our cruise (Vantage) and where off to Normandy. Again wonderful and touchingly historic. Love Giverny and everything Monet. Parisians where very hospitable and the weather was great!

  3. Bill Guest

    I have been traveling in Germany and just use a photo of my CDC card on my phone. Why carry the original? Works fine. Only asked for ID once and had that on my phone too.

  4. Emily Guest

    Nice to learn that you enjoyed Paris.

    I maintain that one hasn't experienced luxury until they try have stayed at luxury properties in India. I am sure Virtuoso must have these fine properties on their list.

    1. DCharlie Guest

      Actually, Ben visited a few Aman properties in India (one of which is now The Lodhi) and an Oberoi property in Gurgaon back in the days when his posts received maybe three comments in total. I agree that luxury cannot be defined unless one experiences the Taj, Oberoi or Aman India properties.

    2. nadine cohen Guest

      love paris love paris ❤ paris i attended culinary school there in 2008 and 2009 than my mom and i went in 2013 and 2014 we are planning our next trip 2023 with my granddaughter my only niece my mom and myself cant wait

  5. Shari fieldgoldberg Guest

    Its different when you stay 5 star, not everyone can afford such a life style, and not everyone in France is so nice.
    I too, just spent 9 days there and though I didn't slum it. I did not 5 star it like you. I did go to museums and nice restaurants, and the Eiffel Tower. However, I did it with uber and a wheel chair and some walking.
    Had nice ppl. But...

    Its different when you stay 5 star, not everyone can afford such a life style, and not everyone in France is so nice.
    I too, just spent 9 days there and though I didn't slum it. I did not 5 star it like you. I did go to museums and nice restaurants, and the Eiffel Tower. However, I did it with uber and a wheel chair and some walking.
    Had nice ppl. But also very rude French ppl , even in the same 4 star hotel.
    It seems crazy how Americans are treated and handicapped as well.
    Maybe, ppl should hear another side of the coin, not just a paid out [email protected]

  6. Emily Guest

    Wait. You flew to a destination for the sole purpose of enjoying it? What a radical concept!

    Jokes aside, Paris is beautiful, fun and hospitable. Just don’t act like the typical American tourist. I hope your branch out and visit other parts of France. Paris is pretty but Lyon and Marseille are my favourite cities in France. Rural France is truly the icing in the cake, although out of your comfort zone, perhaps.

  7. Ed Guest

    I'm glad you enjoyed it. Paris gets a bad reputation for being inhospitable, but I've really only found that to be the case at CDG! If you're nice, people tend to respond nicely.

    Also, it's kind of funny to see how this blog is changing over the years - it's now about how you spend your money and your time. Seeing more destination and city hotels is definitely more interesting to me versus another F/J...

    I'm glad you enjoyed it. Paris gets a bad reputation for being inhospitable, but I've really only found that to be the case at CDG! If you're nice, people tend to respond nicely.

    Also, it's kind of funny to see how this blog is changing over the years - it's now about how you spend your money and your time. Seeing more destination and city hotels is definitely more interesting to me versus another F/J review - I'm trying to get where I'm going as quickly as possible, so I'm taking the direct route and I'll sit in economy if I have to over a one stop in a premium cabin. It's not worth the extra 3-4 additional hours.

  8. Mark Guest

    I've always loved Paris. Beautiful city, beautiful architecture at every turn, historical monuments and museums, always lovely to have a river in the middle of a city, great food, great shopping, great hotels.

  9. Steve Gold

    Ben and Ford have worked hard to have the ability to pay cash for these places, I cant believe that a lot of people have a problem with this. A couple of years ago Lucky reviewed a $1000+ property and i remembered thinking there is no way i could ever afford it but the review was so great it forced me to work a little harder that month and year and i got to finally...

    Ben and Ford have worked hard to have the ability to pay cash for these places, I cant believe that a lot of people have a problem with this. A couple of years ago Lucky reviewed a $1000+ property and i remembered thinking there is no way i could ever afford it but the review was so great it forced me to work a little harder that month and year and i got to finally stay there (and return this year!). So please Lucky dont stop reviewing these types of properties, it is inspiring to me to work harder and save more.

    1. JohnHam New Member

      Thanks for the motivation

  10. Barry Guest

    Absolutely agree that fine dining is about much more than the food. The whole experience when done correct, can be quite special.
    I loved to enjoy fine dining when I lived in NYC with so many great restaurants there.

  11. Ash Guest

    I have never written a comment before, been reading since 2011/2012 ish, but I have come to realize that as you get older you start liking things you once thought you never would.

    1. Stephen Guest

      My wife and I have been to Paris five times. We always economize on our travel and stay in an inexpensive chain hotel. We have never experienced any rudeness or arrogance from servers, hotel staff, store clerks, or locals. However, we have always traveled during off-peak times of year, we speak a bit of French, and do not dress in Bermuda shorts, running shoes and fanny packs. We have witnessed American tourists who seem to...

      My wife and I have been to Paris five times. We always economize on our travel and stay in an inexpensive chain hotel. We have never experienced any rudeness or arrogance from servers, hotel staff, store clerks, or locals. However, we have always traveled during off-peak times of year, we speak a bit of French, and do not dress in Bermuda shorts, running shoes and fanny packs. We have witnessed American tourists who seem to think that speaking at higher volume will suddenly enable a non-English speaker to understand them. The French are proud of their language and culture, and they value their privacy even in a big city setting. If Americans respect those things, they will be rewarded with respectful friendliness. We love Paris!

  12. Karen Guest

    We lived near Paris for two years, working as volunteers for our Church's new Temple in Versailles. Every week--nearly--- we took the metro into Paris. The goal was to see EVERYTHING! All the Big monuments, discover many small out-of-the -way jewels, and feel the heartbeat of the City. Looking back, I feel we did. We used a walking tour book that we broke up into smaller walks so we could enjoy something new every time....

    We lived near Paris for two years, working as volunteers for our Church's new Temple in Versailles. Every week--nearly--- we took the metro into Paris. The goal was to see EVERYTHING! All the Big monuments, discover many small out-of-the -way jewels, and feel the heartbeat of the City. Looking back, I feel we did. We used a walking tour book that we broke up into smaller walks so we could enjoy something new every time. Unequivocally: YES!!! I love Paris. Now back in the USA I read everything I can find about it, to pause and remember the feelings, sights, tastes, even the smells (cigarette smoke, garbage on the streets...) That can take me back even for a moment to Paris

  13. NYGuy24 New Member

    I haven't been in Paris for a number of years. Another commenter said in that things have changed. I found Paris to be the rudest city in the world when I visited. Many of my friends had similar experiences. In the past several weeks one of my friends had a couple of issues in Paris with people. Maybe the issue is the older generation I don't know, but there was a clear hostility coming from people that I rarely feel in other countries.

    1. NYGuy24 New Member

      My understanding is this has always been more of a Paris issue than a France issue.

  14. GrammarPolice Guest

    *****clichéd.

    Cliché is a noun, FYI.

  15. Rock Guest

    Thought this might be helpful. If you are traveling to France you ca request to convert your CDC covid card into a EU pass which will work everywhere in Europe. Go to this link https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etrangers (This link eplains https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france/coronavirus-statements/article/applying-for-a-covid-certificate-if-you-were-vaccinated-abroad-procedure-for). WARNING. You need to have travel plans to France with booked travel in and out. ALSO you may of may not get the pass in time. Two colleagues I was traveling with tried. One got it...

    Thought this might be helpful. If you are traveling to France you ca request to convert your CDC covid card into a EU pass which will work everywhere in Europe. Go to this link https://www.demarches-simplifiees.fr/commencer/passe-sanitaire-etrangers (This link eplains https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/coronavirus-advice-for-foreign-nationals-in-france/coronavirus-statements/article/applying-for-a-covid-certificate-if-you-were-vaccinated-abroad-procedure-for). WARNING. You need to have travel plans to France with booked travel in and out. ALSO you may of may not get the pass in time. Two colleagues I was traveling with tried. One got it in 48 hours... The other got an email 2 weeks later after we had left France telling him they were unable to give him the pass because he has already left. LOL. The Pass is for all EU including some non-schengen. Once you have that, you download the app AntiCovid or whichever EU app you want and scan the QR code and now your Pass is on your phone. Different App for each country, so I have a folder with all the apps for EU. Hope this helps.

  16. Terry Guest

    Can you just show a photo of your vaccine card? That's what I did for restaurants in Honolulu & theatres in London. I'm not keen on carrying my vaccine card around any more than my passport.

    1. Steve Gold

      Just make a copy and laminate it, Cant imagine anyone actually turning it down because it is a copy. Vaccination checks are 99% for show anyways. Keep a copy in your wallet as well as receipts or appointment confirms from your shots on your phone if they really care you can show them but they wont.

  17. Rob Guest

    Just an FYI for those who want a Pass Sanitaire: go to any pharmacy with your CDC card and your passport- they will enter your info into their computer and in less than 5 mins you will have your Pass Sanitaire and QR code. Then you can download the (French) AntiCovid app and transfer it there. My family did that on our 1st day in Paris and it saved us a lot of time. Also...

    Just an FYI for those who want a Pass Sanitaire: go to any pharmacy with your CDC card and your passport- they will enter your info into their computer and in less than 5 mins you will have your Pass Sanitaire and QR code. Then you can download the (French) AntiCovid app and transfer it there. My family did that on our 1st day in Paris and it saved us a lot of time. Also it's an EU Digital Covid Certificate so it works in all Schengen countries. I used mine in Italy as well with no issues.

  18. Alan Adkins Guest

    A note on the Pass Sanitaire in France. Although it's true that the CDC vaccination card seems to suffice for most restaurants, hotels and museums (I never had any problems on my recent three week trip), I would definitely recommend getting it anyway. Mine arrived (via Email) from the French government site about a week into my trip, and it made things much smoother. Most French are not familiar with the CDC card, and with...

    A note on the Pass Sanitaire in France. Although it's true that the CDC vaccination card seems to suffice for most restaurants, hotels and museums (I never had any problems on my recent three week trip), I would definitely recommend getting it anyway. Mine arrived (via Email) from the French government site about a week into my trip, and it made things much smoother. Most French are not familiar with the CDC card, and with the Pass Sanitaire with you, you avoid having to constantly explain what the CDC card is, and more importantly, some officious representative who doesn't want to let you pass.

  19. Andy 11235 Guest

    I am a bit surprised with all your stays in Europe that you haven't gotten a passe sanitaire or its equivalent. Pharmacies in France, Germany, and possibly others will take your CDC card and enter the details in the national system to generate the QR code. There's no need to rely on your CDC card. As a side note, many states allow access to digital vaccination records, and will generate some sort of digital certification (pdf, qr code) if needed.

  20. Reda Guest

    I like the pass sanitaire concept,, but did you know that they don't check IDs? So unvaccinated people can borrow a pass and go anywhere they want. Their concept is good, only if they go all the way with it.
    The middle class American wouldn't stay at the Ritz ou the Four Seasons, that is luxury and very expensive, the average Joe will not benefit from your review in my opinion. That goes for the fine dinning experience as well.

    1. Barry Guest

      Theres plenty of well above average Joe's on this site. It's an air travel blog focusing on , among other things, premium class air.

    2. Steve Gold

      I would wager heavily that the average reader of this site earns at least two to three times the national average for income in the US and probably closer to 150k than 50k. There are plenty of other sites with budget reviews of paris but this is not one of those sites. Sure Ritz and 4S might be a little much but most daily readers of the blog have multiple premium cards and a splurge on a $1000 a night hotel isnt unreasonable.

  21. Michael Guest

    I have always enjoyed Paris and France. I have always received good treatment from the people. The food is very good but pass on “fine dining”. The portions are silly and good food is cheffed silly. I like bouillabaisse, frog legs, escargot and seafoods and small local cafes.
    My wife hates France so we don’t go often. I may take a solo trip when Covid is less and walk everywhere.

  22. Devarsh Shailesh Saraf Guest

    Ben, would it be possible for you to share further details of your trip - cafes/restaurants/activities etc. One of the reasons why I follow this blog is because I love your attention to detail and I find that I notice subtle differences in soft and hard products better once I have read your review on it. It would be interesting to see how you'd do value/comfort analysis with respect to the non-airline and non-hotel part...

    Ben, would it be possible for you to share further details of your trip - cafes/restaurants/activities etc. One of the reasons why I follow this blog is because I love your attention to detail and I find that I notice subtle differences in soft and hard products better once I have read your review on it. It would be interesting to see how you'd do value/comfort analysis with respect to the non-airline and non-hotel part of the stay, which for many is the real meat of the matter.

    I know this is an airline/hotel review blog, but would prefer reading about how you spent each day in Paris than yet ANOTHER review of Lufthansa's first class, which I might never get to fly.

  23. Jack McDermott Guest

    We just returned from a five night stay in Paris, and had the same experience. I have always loved París and found locals to be amazingly warm, once I got to know them.... but, this trip, it seemed that all walks were knocked down, and we instantly connected with people. I'm American and my husband is Spanish. He doesn't speak English, but everyone was so eager to talk with us in a mixture of the...

    We just returned from a five night stay in Paris, and had the same experience. I have always loved París and found locals to be amazingly warm, once I got to know them.... but, this trip, it seemed that all walks were knocked down, and we instantly connected with people. I'm American and my husband is Spanish. He doesn't speak English, but everyone was so eager to talk with us in a mixture of the three languages. We decided no taxis and no metro. We walked over 15 kms per day, and saw parts of the city we normally missed. Normally we stay near the Opera, but this time we found a nice boutique near Sacre Coeur, and we fell in love with the neighborhood. We've already booked our next trip there in March. Thank you for your article.

  24. Mark Guest

    I really enjoyed reading about your meals, as it ties in with one of the key parts of my own travel.

    I view choosing a few restaurants as part of the planning of a trip - I usually leave a night or two "free" to find a restaurant by chance but have the starred places reserved in advance, except for somewhere like Amsterdam where there was so much choice I had every evening reserved...

    I really enjoyed reading about your meals, as it ties in with one of the key parts of my own travel.

    I view choosing a few restaurants as part of the planning of a trip - I usually leave a night or two "free" to find a restaurant by chance but have the starred places reserved in advance, except for somewhere like Amsterdam where there was so much choice I had every evening reserved and even one lunch, to treat some friends who live nearby.

    Many Michelin-starred restaurants have moved with the times and are no longer as starched and fussy as the reputation that proceeds them - the better ones have staff who are really engaged with the food and happy to talk about it and answer questions. Once you've incorporated it into your travels for a while, you can start to "read" the restaurant scene at a destination - I've been to plenty of restaurants that were later upgraded to 2 or 3* (bianc in Hamburg was a classic example) and also some that weren't starred at the time of my visit but gained one shortly afterwards.

    Look forward to reading more of your restaurant experiences!

  25. Guillaume Guest

    Hi,
    Nice trip report, thanks for sharing !
    If you loved the food in Paris, then you should try going to Lyon !
    Did you know that you could have your CDC card converted to the European QR code in France, most of the pharmacies can do the conversion for you, but you might pay a small service fee (my friend from the US paid like 20€). Makes it much easier to travel across europe with this QR code.

    1. Jason Guest

      Fully agree - while Paris does have good food aplenty, Lyon is the place to go!! I've had great meals in St Paul de Vence area too.

  26. GC Guest

    Ok, I have to pick on you (in good fun) for one line in the post: "it was usually in the 60s (Fahrenheit)".

    Um, c'mon, I think we all know it wasn't in the 60's (Celsius). Climates change isn't that bad yet!

  27. BookLvr New Member

    We were in France for two weeks in late July/early August with an itinerary including Paris (4 nights), St, Malo (3 nights), an excursion to Mont St. Michel, Bayeux (3 nights), an excursion to the WW2 battlefields, an excursion to Etretat, and then back to Paris (3 nights).

    I share your view that the "passe sanitaire" is a great idea! I wish we had the same thing here in the United States and that the...

    We were in France for two weeks in late July/early August with an itinerary including Paris (4 nights), St, Malo (3 nights), an excursion to Mont St. Michel, Bayeux (3 nights), an excursion to the WW2 battlefields, an excursion to Etretat, and then back to Paris (3 nights).

    I share your view that the "passe sanitaire" is a great idea! I wish we had the same thing here in the United States and that the degree of mask compliance were as high here as in France. My family and I carried our vaccine cards in plastic badge holders on lanyards which kept them nice and fresh.

    We adored all of the destinations we visited and had a fantastic time! These two weeks were all the sweeter after the long period of not traveling due to Covid; our appreciation was all the greater for realizing how very precious the opportunity to travel is. Paris also seemed less crowded than on some of our other visits. While we did not visit Michelin starred restaurants, we ate at a restaurant with a Michelin Bib Gourmand (L'Angle Saint Laurent in Bayeux) and one with a Michelin Plate (La Rapiere in Bayeux), and both were magnifique!

  28. Jared Guest

    Did not think that I’d ever see an article on this blog summarising a leisure trip. Glad you’re living your life once in a while. Diversity is important to retain interest.

    Paris is a wonderful city to discover by walking. Glad to see that you got a glimpse of it, even if you only grazed the surface. Michelin starred restaurants age fine, but the locals will share some brassiere and bistros which are truly...

    Did not think that I’d ever see an article on this blog summarising a leisure trip. Glad you’re living your life once in a while. Diversity is important to retain interest.

    Paris is a wonderful city to discover by walking. Glad to see that you got a glimpse of it, even if you only grazed the surface. Michelin starred restaurants age fine, but the locals will share some brassiere and bistros which are truly hidden gems.

    I’ve never experienced ride behaviour in Paris but maybe that’s because I’m fluent in French. Learning the language spoken at your destination and attempting to use out always wins the hearts of the locals.

  29. Viola Vigil Guest

    My best friend and I had a wonderful time in Paris. Everyone was friendly and helpful. We walked all over Paris even though it was cold and had some rainy days but we enjoyed it all.
    I would definitely go back again!

  30. Catherine Guest

    Hi,
    I was fortunate to have gone 2 years this past September.
    I have to agree. It's a beautiful city and yes the people were very friendly and helpful too. I now have a passion for fine wines and pasta. Hope to return soon.

  31. Lee Mulcahy Guest

    Ben
    I love ALL your articles especially this one on the City of Lights. Thanks for the great photos. Wondering what your favorite arrondisement (zip code or quarter of Paris)?

  32. Dom Guest

    A four-hour dinner is two hours too long.

    1. Alexandra McCorkle Guest

      A four hour dinner is not too long if you take the Bustronome, dinner tour bus starting at the Arc de Triomphe. It was a delight and perfect.

  33. Randy Platinum

    Not sure why you carry your real Covid vaccine card: Other options:
    1. Make a two side copy and have it laminated at Staples. Also make a reduced one - size of Credit Card and have that laminated as well. At least in the USA this works.
    2. Make a hi-res scan and save as JPEG. Email to yourself and save in "Notes" then you can open from iPhone. This works too.
    ...

    Not sure why you carry your real Covid vaccine card: Other options:
    1. Make a two side copy and have it laminated at Staples. Also make a reduced one - size of Credit Card and have that laminated as well. At least in the USA this works.
    2. Make a hi-res scan and save as JPEG. Email to yourself and save in "Notes" then you can open from iPhone. This works too.
    3. Note as good - but take a picture and save in phone.
    3. The CLEAR app has it but I guess CLEAR app doesn't work in Europe.

    Go with option 1 first - my advice.

    Also - never to late to go to Paris and enjoy. You don't need to go to expensive restaurants to get really good Paris food.

    Unfortunately, most European cities are not what they used to be - nor as safe as what they used to be.

  34. Super VC10 Guest

    Glad you had such a great time in my favorite city, and have discovered the joys of being a flâneur. My first trip to Paris was in 1969, and over the ensuing years I returned scores of times. For the past decade, my husband and I have owned a home in France, and with the capital just 3 hours away on the TGV, we visit regularly for a Paris fix. The myriad pleasures of the...

    Glad you had such a great time in my favorite city, and have discovered the joys of being a flâneur. My first trip to Paris was in 1969, and over the ensuing years I returned scores of times. For the past decade, my husband and I have owned a home in France, and with the capital just 3 hours away on the TGV, we visit regularly for a Paris fix. The myriad pleasures of the City of Light never dim for us. In fact, to my mind, Paris is in many ways even more appealing for visitors today than it was on my visits of a half-century ago. Probably the biggest single negative is that, sadly, it's no longer difficult to get a bad meal in Paris. In fact, it's far too easy, as many restaurants now serve microwaved frozen foods; something that never would have happened even a few years ago. Staffing is also a perennial problem, since restrictive French labor laws make it almost impossible to hire part-time staff. Many small establishments get by with one person in the kitchen and one other person (usually the spouse) doing everything else.
    Thanks for the excellent reviews of your three Paris hotels and the gorgeously lush photographs.
    Kenneth

  35. Donna Diamond

    I just returned from Italy after a 22 day business trip traveling through four regions and had a similar impression of the new friendliness. The locals often commented that they were glad to see Americans returning, although apart from my flights on AA, I could count on the fingers of one hand the Americans I actually ran into on this trip and others that preceded it during the pandemic. Once Americans return en masse, they’ll...

    I just returned from Italy after a 22 day business trip traveling through four regions and had a similar impression of the new friendliness. The locals often commented that they were glad to see Americans returning, although apart from my flights on AA, I could count on the fingers of one hand the Americans I actually ran into on this trip and others that preceded it during the pandemic. Once Americans return en masse, they’ll probably hate us again but for now, it’s definitely all upside.

    And for context, I stay in three and four star non-chain hotels not ultra luxury places nor do I eat in Michelin Star restaurants and the sentiment was warm and welcoming at that end of the travel spectrum as well.

  36. Joe Guest

    It is all but impossible to get the Passe Sanitaire from the United States. My whole family applied over a month ago and have received no respose. They have created a requirement that cannot be satisfied, unless you want to shell out 50 Euros every three days for a covid test.

    We still need that QR code or we'll lose thousands in prepaid, nonrefundable reservatuons.

    Don't get me wrong - I LOVE paris, but...

    It is all but impossible to get the Passe Sanitaire from the United States. My whole family applied over a month ago and have received no respose. They have created a requirement that cannot be satisfied, unless you want to shell out 50 Euros every three days for a covid test.

    We still need that QR code or we'll lose thousands in prepaid, nonrefundable reservatuons.

    Don't get me wrong - I LOVE paris, but they've already put a bad taste in our mouth which they'll need to overcome with their fine cuisine.

    1. sdfamily Guest

      I applied September 2 for a Nov 4 trip. Submitted and forgot about it. Received link to EU Digital Covid certificate on September 30. Seemed to work just fine.

    2. LT Guest

      I just showed them my CDC card, and everything went smoothly. By law, they had to check for the vaccinations in order for eating in. They didn't want to get into trouble, so they were happy to see anything equivalent. I did actually want to apply for the Passes Sanitaire but after reading the requirement, I just went with my CDC card.

    3. Margaret Guest

      I have been in France for the last two weeks. I applied for my pass from the States 40 days before coming here. I received my pass the day after arriving in Paris. In the meantime, I went to pharmacy, took an antigen test and within 20 minutes had a QR code good for 72 hours.

    4. ZZ Guest

      Don't worry about it. I arrived in Paris in August with a CDC card, despite emailing beforehand for a pass sanitaire to no avail.
      I walked into a pharmacy on the first day in Paris and the staff issued me the pass within 5 mins.
      Not all pharmacies provided the service, but chance of getting a pass after you stop by five different pharmacies is very high.
      If that doesn't work out,...

      Don't worry about it. I arrived in Paris in August with a CDC card, despite emailing beforehand for a pass sanitaire to no avail.
      I walked into a pharmacy on the first day in Paris and the staff issued me the pass within 5 mins.
      Not all pharmacies provided the service, but chance of getting a pass after you stop by five different pharmacies is very high.
      If that doesn't work out, simply showing CDC card works >95% of the time. I have friends who showed E-copy of canadian vax certificate and that worked too.

    5. CB Guest

      May I suggest you submit a new Passe Sanitaire application around 8:00 or 8:30 Paris time (not your time zone). It could be approved within minutes.

      We had the same issue, waited more than 30 days with no response despite sending several status requests. Two days ago, we followed someone else's suggestion to file new applications at 8 am local time. Both of our applications were approved within 5 minutes

      It is a pain...

      May I suggest you submit a new Passe Sanitaire application around 8:00 or 8:30 Paris time (not your time zone). It could be approved within minutes.

      We had the same issue, waited more than 30 days with no response despite sending several status requests. Two days ago, we followed someone else's suggestion to file new applications at 8 am local time. Both of our applications were approved within 5 minutes

      It is a pain to stay up so late to apply at 8 am Paris time, but it's worth it.

      Be sure you delete your original applications if you are successful.

      I don't like to overwhelm their system with duplicate applications but they need to respond in a more timely manner.

  37. dander Guest

    We went to Paris, Nice, Paris Disney and then back to Paris this summer. Had a jerk for a waiter in Nice, and besides that the only jerks we encountered were Americans. We Fly economy plus, and stayed at Holiday inns. No way could I justify a house payment on a nights stay.

  38. Fredric Guest

    I am blessed to have spent many days and nights in Paris over the years. I am able to communicate in French with reasonable competence, so this does help. I adore the city, but I adore many cities. I have experienced brusque, impatient and even rude service in Paris. I have also been welcomed as an old friend even though I had never been at that particular establishment. Like any big city, there are millions...

    I am blessed to have spent many days and nights in Paris over the years. I am able to communicate in French with reasonable competence, so this does help. I adore the city, but I adore many cities. I have experienced brusque, impatient and even rude service in Paris. I have also been welcomed as an old friend even though I had never been at that particular establishment. Like any big city, there are millions of people and countless different experiences. This post brought back so many memories for me, and makes my heart ache to travel again to my current international favorites like Paris, Hong Kong, Lima, anywhere in Italy, anywhere in Japan, Katmandu, etc. But I also look forward to find my new favorites. Thank you, Ben, for giving us a breath of fresh air, a taste of the freedom and joy of adventure that many of us feel when we explore this beautiful and amazing world.

  39. Dude26 Guest

    Heck, yeah - Paris is awsome. I've always been a Paris lover and a London hater - awful city, way overrated in my opinion.
    As they say:
    "It's hard to find a bad restaurant in Paris just as it is hard to find a good one in London".

    1. Stephen Guest

      @dude26 You are so right!

    2. LT Guest

      Hell yes!!! And no, please don't remind me the food in London. LOL!

  40. Stephen Morrissey Guest

    Thank you for your reviews of your Paris stay Ben.
    They were thoughtful and full of insight.
    While the hotels you stayed at may be above my pay grade, I enjoyed your comments/reviews very much.

    Cheers from Canada.
    Steve

  41. Kevin L Guest

    We were there for nine days recently, got back about three weeks ago. We’ve been to Paris multiple times and this was our best trip yet. I have to echo your sentiments on the friendliness and common sense approach to COVID. I think making the pandemic a health issue versus a political issue helped them. Everywhere we went, they accepted an image of our cards which was convenient. Flew Air France Business Class and had...

    We were there for nine days recently, got back about three weeks ago. We’ve been to Paris multiple times and this was our best trip yet. I have to echo your sentiments on the friendliness and common sense approach to COVID. I think making the pandemic a health issue versus a political issue helped them. Everywhere we went, they accepted an image of our cards which was convenient. Flew Air France Business Class and had a great experience. Stayed at the Nolinski and loved it. Can’t say enough good things about Paris.

  42. UA-NYC Guest

    Never got my Pass Sanitaire in mid-Aug when they were inundated, but got it within an hour on my second attempt for an early Sep trip. Loved it, nice to have a QR code vs. a piece of paper (or copy of it).

    Anti-vaxxers...there's always Paris, TX to go to.

    1. RobPHX Guest

      what website did u use?

    2. UA-NYC Guest

      The US French Embassy site I think...TPG may have linked to it a while ago

    3. Nicolas Guest

      Tbh I can't believe Americans have to use a piece of paper (which from what I've seen doesn't even seem hard to forge). Even in Argentina we have QR codes for vaccination proof at this point.

  43. Chocolate Factory Guest

    You can actually get a French vaccination certificate, you simply apply for it online. You just have to upload a scan of your CDC card and then wait for 2-3 days. Then you can also show it on your phone.

  44. Deby Talley Guest

    We just back from Paris and it was wonderful. We had tried to get the Passe Sanitaire thru the official channels but it was backed up. We contacted our hotel concierge and they set us up with a pharmacy to help us. Flashing that code was wonderful

  45. Auspointer Guest

    Lucky, watch the movie Foodies.

  46. Yehuda Kovesh Guest

    I was a resident of France 10 years ago and noticed the distinct anti-foreign coldness, from the bus drivers to university professors. I dont agree that they like you murdering their language, as I was politely told at a prestigious university to speak in English. Since then I have visited France at least once a month except 18 months during covid. My last two visits and the upcoming visits have been/will be in 2021. I...

    I was a resident of France 10 years ago and noticed the distinct anti-foreign coldness, from the bus drivers to university professors. I dont agree that they like you murdering their language, as I was politely told at a prestigious university to speak in English. Since then I have visited France at least once a month except 18 months during covid. My last two visits and the upcoming visits have been/will be in 2021. I have noticed a distinct difference in the attitude of service staff towards tourists and visitors or people they consider not-french. Many of them are polite to ask are you French and then be rude, in the old days, if you are not (Je suis australien). I welcome this change from Paris to the provinces and for the first time in years I can say. I am falling in love with France

  47. Andy Guest

    I think your impression on France and hospitality is a little outdated. 20 years ago, I would have agreed that for the most part Parisians weren't that friendly to Americans (I experienced on a couple of trips), but as the older generation has retired, the younger generation is much more friendly towards Americans. I've seen the gradual change over the half dozen times I've been to Paris in 20 years. I've always found the French...

    I think your impression on France and hospitality is a little outdated. 20 years ago, I would have agreed that for the most part Parisians weren't that friendly to Americans (I experienced on a couple of trips), but as the older generation has retired, the younger generation is much more friendly towards Americans. I've seen the gradual change over the half dozen times I've been to Paris in 20 years. I've always found the French outside of Paris to be extremely nice and wecoming.

  48. Fsuga Guest

    Never understood the bad rap on people on Paris. I've done 4 trips there and have never had anyone be overtly rude or indifferent toward me. My French blows, but I did the hooked on phonics for main phrases and had zero issues. The women are particularly friendly to American men and will show you places you'd have never found if you just approach them.

  49. ben senise Guest

    the french are probably being nicer to the tourists (all, not just americans) because they realize how much their livelihoods depend on tourism. that, plus the fact that they aren't being inundated with tourists.
    having lived in and around geneva for 30 years until 2009, i would be in paris on a regular basis, i.e. monthly. it is still my favorite big city in the world although my last trip there a few years...

    the french are probably being nicer to the tourists (all, not just americans) because they realize how much their livelihoods depend on tourism. that, plus the fact that they aren't being inundated with tourists.
    having lived in and around geneva for 30 years until 2009, i would be in paris on a regular basis, i.e. monthly. it is still my favorite big city in the world although my last trip there a few years ago pushed my tolerance to the limit. any place with even the slightest tourist interest was so jam packed that it was impossible.
    but ben, you are looking at the world, or at least paris, through rose colored glasses. go to paris on a budget and stay in a crummy hotel with uncomfortable beds and eat in lousy restaurants and i'd bed that your outlook would be different. i'm not knocking your trip. i like living well too. but travel is different at the low end.

    1. NFSF New Member

      Aren't most cities unpleasant when staying in a crummy hotel and eating lousy food?

  50. Lou Guest

    Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world, and I am looking forward to my 7 night visit next month. If anybody has any hidden gem/local restaurant recommendations please let me know.

    1. Jason Guest

      I've had excellent meals at Les Canailles, Les Bon Georges, and Au Petit Tonneau. All in NOvember 19 right before covid and they still get good reviews. I use to like Chez Michel. It was good - not sure how it is now.

    2. ben senise Guest

      check out the michelin guide. it isn't only michelin starred restaurants. there are all kinds. my experience has been good with their suggestions.
      https://guide.michelin.com/en

    3. LVairbnbhost Guest

      Hi there. I’ve had two amazing meals at Pierre Sang in Oberkampf. It’s French/Korean fusion, and (don’t be scared) there’s no menu. They’ll adapt what they’re serving nightly to your preferences and tastes. It sounds gimmicky, but trust me it’s a stunner. And killer wine list and the bread is to die for.

    4. Kevin L Guest

      Had an amazing meal at Frenchie on Rue Nil. Same for Saint Sebastian and Les Cocottes. Would highly recommend reservations. Also, check out Paris By Mouth. Emily was our guide.

  51. Never In Doubt Guest

    For the In Doubt’s it’s Italy > France for a variety of reasons, but I definitely understand liking Paris.

    Weather
    Food
    Our own language capability
    Long time vacation locations

  52. B N Guest

    Have been to Paris twice as an adult and more as a child. My personal rule of thumb is to talk in as much french as I am able, even if it means terrible grammar. The effort is appreciated and people who would normally be too shy to speak in their own imperfect English are more than willing to try.

    While the metro is useful, I don't do well with stairs so the bus was...

    Have been to Paris twice as an adult and more as a child. My personal rule of thumb is to talk in as much french as I am able, even if it means terrible grammar. The effort is appreciated and people who would normally be too shy to speak in their own imperfect English are more than willing to try.

    While the metro is useful, I don't do well with stairs so the bus was how we handled most of our travel in the city. It's surprising how sociable people on the bus are compared to the metro. We had 6 Parisians giving us advice on cheese shops after someone overheard us talking about trying to make out the routes to the one we planned to go to.

    The only time I saw rudeness at a restaurant was at a small place with almost no english. A woman with a larger group in tow, was wanting to know if they served oysters or something like that and they were just so rude in how they were asking that the owner (who was being very kind and chatty to us with our bad french and her bad english) practically shut the door in the woman's face.

    Treating people as equals also goes a long way toward getting respect back. The french revolution made a bigger impact in flattening the aristocracy at least socially.

  53. MarkyMark-321 New Member

    Great review to close out the Paris trip reports! I need to make a Delta MQD run before the end of the year and I think you pushed it over the top for CDG as my destination. Thanks again for the great reports.

  54. David W Guest

    I hope you add fine dining reviews as part of your trip reports, whether or not they're in the hotel you're staying at! You can also plan trips around various fine dining establishments!

  55. Daniel Li Guest

    My husband and I also spent a week in Paris in the end of Sep, we felt the same about how everyone was just so nice and friendly, and exactly how you described about cafes and restaurants, people were all humorous and proud of their food.

  56. Roman Guest

    Maybe you, Ford and Watson should give Paris a try for a couple of years and get out of Miami for awhile.?

  57. dc_nomad Guest

    @ Ben- Curious, why you didn't try to get the "pass sanitaire"?

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      If France is like Italy, for an American it’s not worth the trouble.

      My CDC vaccine card was/is universally accepted in Rome this fall.

    2. Rachel Guest

      It wasn't actually that bad a process, though I say that as someone that lucked out and got their pass in time. You apply online through their website for tourists, upload all the requisite information (e.g., copy of your CDC vaccine card, flight information), and (this is the important part) make sure you submit the form during French business hours. That resulted in me and three other travel companions getting our approvals within minutes (vs....

      It wasn't actually that bad a process, though I say that as someone that lucked out and got their pass in time. You apply online through their website for tourists, upload all the requisite information (e.g., copy of your CDC vaccine card, flight information), and (this is the important part) make sure you submit the form during French business hours. That resulted in me and three other travel companions getting our approvals within minutes (vs. my original submission in the evening East Coast time, which languished until I saw some submission tips on online forums).

      Would be interested in a data point re: if (since the pass sanitaire says "EU Digital COVID Certificate" at the top) I can use the certificate + QR code for entry to other countries (e.g., Portugal) that currently require a PCR test if you don't have an EU COVID cert.

  58. Ben L. Platinum

    "I love walking, and the city is great for walking around"

    My favorite thing to do in cities is walking, too. I have never had much interest in visiting Paris, but Mayor Hidalgo's bold actions to emphasize biking, walking, and transit over car travel has made me reconsider. By all account, the city feels much more livable, and you can actually take time to admire the city's beauty and listen to the sounds of the...

    "I love walking, and the city is great for walking around"

    My favorite thing to do in cities is walking, too. I have never had much interest in visiting Paris, but Mayor Hidalgo's bold actions to emphasize biking, walking, and transit over car travel has made me reconsider. By all account, the city feels much more livable, and you can actually take time to admire the city's beauty and listen to the sounds of the city rather than dealing with noisy, unsafe driving. Glad you had a good trip!

  59. Criced Guest

    As a foodie you now need to go to Lima in Peru and eat at Centraal

    1. Jef Guest

      ...and Maido, which is the king of the Nikkei style (and definitely more satisfying than Central)

  60. Clem Platinum

    Glad you had a great trip, since this is my homeland :) . It truly is a stunning city, incredibly beautiful. I've been living in the States for a decade but every time I go back to Paris a few times a year, I also always take a few very long walks to just admire it. It's the best way to experience it. Of course living there is somewhat of a different story, but the...

    Glad you had a great trip, since this is my homeland :) . It truly is a stunning city, incredibly beautiful. I've been living in the States for a decade but every time I go back to Paris a few times a year, I also always take a few very long walks to just admire it. It's the best way to experience it. Of course living there is somewhat of a different story, but the same can be said for any city in the world.

    The fact that you stayed in uber luxury places probably also helped with your impression, but regardless I feel like service has slightly improved in recent years, particularly towards foreigners. Hopefully you get to explore other parts of the country at some point! There are other extremely luxurious places to stay in the south (including in the countryside, not just city properties).

  61. Craig Guest

    We just recently came back from a 2 week France trip and had a very similar experience with the friendliness. Inside Paris we ate at multiple Michelin Star locations and local bistros and never felt anyone to be unkind or stuff at us. Outside of Paris we experienced late nights at locally owned bars where they started pouring wine for us without charge and just all seemed to be in a great mood. It was...

    We just recently came back from a 2 week France trip and had a very similar experience with the friendliness. Inside Paris we ate at multiple Michelin Star locations and local bistros and never felt anyone to be unkind or stuff at us. Outside of Paris we experienced late nights at locally owned bars where they started pouring wine for us without charge and just all seemed to be in a great mood. It was quite surprising as we were all expecting the stereotypical Parisian kindness (or lack thereof)

  62. Yuri T Guest

    I was in Paris for a week as well this October and had the same impression about the service – both bistros, hostel, simple coffee shops etc. By fairness, I greet them in french and ask for speak English. They never refuse of treat me differently. Also lucky with the weather, Paris seems very special at this fall.

  63. ZZ Guest

    Glad you enjoyed Paris. Just moved here from the US a few months ago. Still navigating my way through it but visually Paris is just too stunningly beautiful to not love it

  64. Luis Guest

    Spends 6 nights at $1500/night hotels eating at Michelin restaurants and is surprised service is good and friendly in Paris. lol

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Luis -- We had more meals outside hotels than inside hotels, and most were at random restaurants and cafes we stumbled upon without a reservation.

    2. Shawn Guest

      Ben I get it. Luis does have a point though even if he commented as a troll. One cannot really get the feel for a city staying at the utmost posh hotels and eating at the most exquisite restaurants. Albeit I know that you did eat at other places. But there is some truth to his troll comment.

      Personally I much prefer the French countryside to Paris. I used to love Paris and the more I go there, the less I like it. But love driving around the country.

    3. Shawn Guest

      I think your views on things change when you have a spouse/ significant other to do them with.

      I think you’re finding it’s less about the mode to get there (although who doesn’t love flying F/J) and more about the experiences you have with your love ones. Butchering a language. Getting shark instead of steak. Suggesting my partner order andouille sausage. Those are the things I remember. Not what amenity kit I got.

    4. Santastico Platinum

      I struggle to see how much you eat at hotels. There is so much out there to try. I almost ever eat at hotels even breakfast sometimes. Grab a cappuccino and a croissant at the corner bakery in Paris and that is enough for me.

    5. Bratty Guest

      good for you but are your blog readers impressed with that corner cafe review?

    6. Greg Guest

      You do realize the reviewed portions of the trip are in part business expenses - so he's getting a nice discount via fewer taxes on top of the travel agent discounts Ford enjoys

  65. Myro Guest

    I still remember times when this blog was useful for average traveller. Now, its posh place, as Ben is just filthy rich and spends his money at ultra-lux hotels, and now apparently also restaurants.

    1. Nelson Guest

      "I still remember times when this blog was useful for average traveller"
      Have you been living under a rock the last 18 months?? Heard about Covid? Ben don't have his Private Jet so understandebly he can not report as much as in normal times.

    2. Never In Doubt Guest

      Ben thanks you for all your clicks!

    3. CSR 2.0 Guest

      There are 1) MANY people who can afford to do what Ben is doing regularly, and appreciate his reviews for that.
      2) There are also many people who cannot afford to do so regularly, but would save up for a very special occasion and splurge, and they would also be helped by these reviews.

      If you don't fall into either of those categories and are going to be bitter about it, I'd suggest reading elsewhere.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Steve Gold

Ben and Ford have worked hard to have the ability to pay cash for these places, I cant believe that a lot of people have a problem with this. A couple of years ago Lucky reviewed a $1000+ property and i remembered thinking there is no way i could ever afford it but the review was so great it forced me to work a little harder that month and year and i got to finally stay there (and return this year!). So please Lucky dont stop reviewing these types of properties, it is inspiring to me to work harder and save more.

2
Donna Diamond

I just returned from Italy after a 22 day business trip traveling through four regions and had a similar impression of the new friendliness. The locals often commented that they were glad to see Americans returning, although apart from my flights on AA, I could count on the fingers of one hand the Americans I actually ran into on this trip and others that preceded it during the pandemic. Once Americans return en masse, they’ll probably hate us again but for now, it’s definitely all upside. And for context, I stay in three and four star non-chain hotels not ultra luxury places nor do I eat in Michelin Star restaurants and the sentiment was warm and welcoming at that end of the travel spectrum as well.

2
Shawn Guest

I think your views on things change when you have a spouse/ significant other to do them with. I think you’re finding it’s less about the mode to get there (although who doesn’t love flying F/J) and more about the experiences you have with your love ones. Butchering a language. Getting shark instead of steak. Suggesting my partner order andouille sausage. Those are the things I remember. Not what amenity kit I got.

2
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,523,713 Miles Traveled

25,807,500 Words Written

28,675 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT
  • October 25, 2021
  • Ben Schlappig
7
7 Reasons To Collect Citi ThankYou Points
  • June 2, 2018
  • Ben Schlappig
4
Weekly Review: June 2, 2018