Travel

By Candice Sabatini

Don’t have anyone that lights up your life right now? Then seriously consider a quick getaway to the City of Lights. Flirt with Paris. It’s waiting to flirt back at you!

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Take a couple of those saved up vacation days and book a long weekend in Paris. It’s only seven hours away and fares are as low as $550.00 www.ytb.com/stylishsojourns

Shhhh….here’s a little secret. Paris is a girl’s city. Yes, men love it too, but not with the same passion. It’s a place where you can strut your stuff. Parisian women are fiercely independent, and their men adore them for it. Dress well, wear high heels, hold your head high and get ready for some serious, but innocent flirting ma cherie! Paris loves us when we’re alone or with our BFF. Heck, if Fido is small and doesn’t mind plane rides, bring him along! Most Parisian hotels allow dogs as do all Parisian restaurants. Talk about a flirt magnet! No Parisian man can resist giving le chien a playful pet when its leash is attached to the wrist of a charming femme.

Don’t let the falling dollar stop you. Unlike cities such as London, or even Las Vegas, elegance in Paris comes from small, intimate experiences and uplifting personal luxuries that don’t have to break the bank in order to make you feel transported to a different time and place. From the charming chintz wallpaper in your hotel room, to wandering small alleyways made famous by picture postcards, to eating the world’s best crumbling macaroon; the crumbling dollar doesn’t mean you can’t feel like a million bucks. Luxurious pleasures are abundant at little cost.

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Stay on the Left Bank…The uber hip Saint Germain des Pres neighborhood. There are dozens of sweet little hotels in this arrondisement (district). Find some on www.parischarminghotels.net It’s not difficult to find a room for under $200. per night, inclusive of breakfast and taxes. One of my favorites, the charming Danube, on rue Jacob, always makes me feel welcomed. www.hoteldanube.fr Walk along nearby rue Buci and stop into one of the cafés for a glass of wine or a coffee. Open late and always lively, they are the perfect places for a little nightcap. Have lunch and nibble on the most famous macaroons in Paris at Laduree on rue Bonaparte. www.laduree.com

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Shop: Though the dollar is in the dumpster and the Euro is King…errrr…Queen….there are still some bargains to be had. Unlike in the US, sales are government regulated and there are only two sales a year, January and July. This year the sales will go through February 16th and the markdowns are incredible! By Valentine’s Day, there will still be merchandise left and it’ll be further marked down to “I can’t leave here without this” prices. On another note, savvy Parisian women love to shop the consignment shops where gently used (and often never used) designer goods can be bought for a fraction of the original price. The best of these shops are scattered around the 16th arrondisement, which is the priciest residential neighborhood in the city. On my last visit, I spotted a famous designer bag in a window of a consignment shop for 275 Euros that was brand new. One block away was the exact bag in that same famous designers store window for 575 Euros!

Even if you’re not buying, window shopping in Paris is wonderful along gorgeous streets like Avenue Montagne or rue Faubourg St. Honore and don’t miss the free runway fashion show at Galeries Lafayette department store. It’s fun to hit the stores to see what’s “in” in Paris now that will be in New York stores next year. For the most forward fashions, go to Colette on rue Faubourg, for the upcoming trends.

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Indulge: Parisian women are serious when it comes to taking care of their skin and were having regular facials when American women still considered it a yearly treat. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way on that one, and a facial in Paris is always at the top of my “must do” list. On my most recent visit, I had the pleasure of experiencing the luxurious Spa Nuxe on rue Montorgueil. (they also have a spa in Printemps Dept. store) Since I use their botanically based skin care products at home and had heard so much about their day spa, I just had to experience a facial there. Walking through the iron gate and into a typical Parisian courtyard, I was warmly greeted in the gorgeous Zen-like day spa. The friendly front desk person spoke english and I was led to a large treatment room which was decorated in asian style dark wood with simple architectural lines. No frilly Court of Versailles look here! My esthetician, Sophie, showed me where to put my things, gave me a thick terry robe to put on; and for the next hour and a half I was in a state of pure bliss! Soft music played as Sophie massaged my face, head, shoulders, décolletage, hands and feet knowing just when to use gentle pressure and when to press harder. The cleansers, peels, serums, masks, and moisturizing creams were applied with a magic touch. The stress of getting there at rush hour while the city was in the midst of a transportation strike, quickly melted away like the molten chocolate seeping out of the hot flourless chocolate gateau I had the previous night. www.nuxe.com

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Au Revoir City of Lights. I shall return again soon.

Originally published February 2008
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