Le Meurice is Le Fab!!

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Recently, the Sole Traveling Mama spent a delightful, better half of the day with a few dear friends at the gorgeous Le Meurice.    It may have been something about a Jubilee birthday celebration that started it all, but whatever the pretense, it was the perfect venue for reveling in glamour and luxury.

It all probably really started a year ago with STM’s darling Irish friend, “Miss Tiny but Mighty”.   Having 10 children between the 2 of them, they would desperately try to find the time to meet for a rushed coffee after the school drop-offs at a corner cafe, every few weeks.    For the sake of convenience, they would sit at a small, cramped table in the noisy cafe with their notebooks trying to align children’s playdate schedules and weekend activities while catching up on Life in general.

It was only in another coffee meeting in the elegance of Fouquet’s one morning that it dawned on Sole Traveling Mama…”I can pay 10 euros for a cup of coffee sitting in a huge, comfortable, velvet-upholstered chair with a mini croissant included and spend a pampered hour, OR pay 5 euros for a coffee with my uncomfortable wooden chair being jostled around amidst constant chaos…..hmmmm.   Now I’m no genius but even I can figure out that we’ve been doing something wrong and need to change our ways!!”

When the next Irish coffee meeting rolled around, STM suggested the Shangri-La, and so began their  tradition of splurging on themselves for a monthly fancy coffee/children strategy session.    And as their friend Long Island Lolita is one to say, “It’s cheaper than therapy!”

Now, STM is not one to just throw money around and she is always looking for a bargain, so don’t think she is advocating this on a daily basis – although it sure would be nice!   The value-added is in the pampering and living for a bit like a princess!!

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The Le Meurice coffee at approximately 12 euros is served with 2 delicious chocolates and considering the Philippe Starck decor in which one is ensconced  – it’s a bargain!!!      And the true beauty of it, is that one can sit and enjoy for as long as time permits – noone to rush you there.

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STM adored the fanciful chair legs and design.   What do you think about these well-heeled chairs?!    The vitrine with the hanging old hand mirrors and candles was stunning and the Dali like cubic tables  gave an edgy feel to the sumptuous furnishings.

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Le Meurice has been on the Rue de Rivoli, Paris, adjacent to the Tuileries Gardens since 1835.     Rulers from countries such as Jordan, Thailand, Serbia, Russia, Belgium, Iran, England and Spain, to name a few, have all stayed there.    Salvador Dali was a frequent guest at Le Meurice and possibly one of the most eccentric, with his outrageous demands of the staff.     It wasn’t ALL about the extravagance and Society though; during WWI it was closed as a hotel and used instead, as a hospital for wounded soldiers.

So what are you waiting for??!!    Step off the Rue de Rivoli and into the divine – after all, you work hard, you DESERVE it!!!

Le Meurice, the “Hotel of Kings” is located at 228 Rue de Rivoli, Paris 75001,  Metro Line 8, Concorde or Line 1, Tuileries

http://www.dorchestercollection.com

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A “Ritzy” London Christmas

Sole Traveling Mama loves London at Christmas and a stop at the Ritz to see the decorations is a family tradition. Gorgeous any time of the year, the Ritz becomes truly spectacular at Christmas! Their gilded Winter Wonderland is a feast for your eyes, as lavishly decorated trees with wrapped packages and golden pinecones abound throughout the salons, hallways, bar and dining room.

Opened in 1906, the Ritz has been welcoming in style a range of “A List” guests from the Aga Khan, to prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, Charlie Chaplin, Churchill and the drinking champagne from her slipper, Tallulah Bankhead!

Just go ahead and treat yourself to a classic high tea when you need a break from all that holiday shopping. It’s not just tea, it’s an event! Reservations are a must as is booking early. Last year Sole Traveling Mama had to book tea 5 weeks in advance for a December Wednesday! http://www.theritzlondon.com

Two other Christmas tea time favorites are The Savoy http://www.Fairmont.com and Claridge’s http://www.claridges.co.uk Both of these need to be booked far in advance as well during the holiday season.

And to work off all those calories from tea, head over to Somerset House for their seasonal outdoor ice skating rink. Skating in that beautiful setting around a Tifffany’s decorated tree is simply divine. Canary Wharf and the Natural History Museum will also have outdoor holiday rinks opening in December. You can review up to date information on opening hours and tarifs at http://www.viewlondon.co.uk

Cheerio and Happy Holidays!

A Paris Terrace With a View at the Shangri-La…..Only Until September 8

The Paris rentree’ is in full swing, with suits and heels now outnumbering the camera-toting tourists.    If you live here and need a little pampering after braving the school supply shopping at Monoprix or if you are enjoying holiday time in Paris between now and September 8, hurry on over to the Shangri-La for a great end of the summer send-off.

Located at 10 Avenue d’ Iena 75116, just off Trocadero, the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel is in the former home of the grandnephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Prince Roland Bonaparte.     Built in 1896, it boasts gorgeous chandeliers, marble and a beautiful sweeping staircase.    Listed as an Historic Monument in 2009, it became the first Shangri La Hotel in Europe.    

Sole Traveling Mama was honored to attend a Bar Mitzvah there in March 2013, and the quality of service, food and ambiance were superb.    When she learned that this summer for the first time, a champagne bar by Bollinger would be opened on the Terrace, she KNEW she had to return to experience it first hand!

The Terrace is actually much smaller than what it appears to be in photos and  upon initial entry.     The artful use of mirrors “increases” the size and amplifies the candles and especially the Eiffel Tower as it sparkles each hour.     Unfortunately, not all seating has a view of the Eiffel Tower, so pick your seat accordingly, if possible.    The Terrace is open daily until September 8 from 5:00-11:00 for non-hotel guests.    

Should you feel the need to pamper yourself even further, book an overnight stay in The Imperial Suite, the 275 sqm  former private apartments of Prince Bonaparte, complete with high ceilings, tall windows and all the original mouldings!!     Fit for a modern day Princess for sure!

www.shangri-la.com