Paris: Travel Advisors Can't Wait to Return

Photo by Freeimages.com/Attila Szikora

Paris, When We Return

What more to say about Paris, everyone’s favorite city, for whom our hearts have been breaking for the past few weeks? We take a look forward on what we’ll do next time we go, where we’ll celebrate the subtle joys the amazing City of Light delivers in the most elegant fashion.

“I plan to walk along the Seine and make my way to the Ile de la Cite,” says Ignacio Maza, executive vice president of the Signature Travel Network. “I want to climb up the steps to the top of Notre Dame's bell tower for the most beautiful view of Paris. From here, my next stop is Berhthillon, at 31, Rue Saint-Louis en Ile, for the best ice cream in the world.”

Peter Carideo, president of CRC Travel says, “The first thing I am going to do when I go back this winter is to don a pair of ice skates and skate around the rink at the Plaza Athenee. I will already have a massage booked, as I have no false pretenses about staying upright! Post massage, I will walk over to a bistro to enjoy champagne and watch the people go by.”

Jim Strong, president of Strong Travel Services, is going back soon, “to once again enjoy a long leisurely lunch at Les Deux Magots, sitting outside watching the sights of the St. Germain pass by.” His mother and CEO, Nancy Strong, “is excited to return to see her friend, Collin, the bartender at the Bar at the Ritz, one of her favorite stops in Paris.”

Anastasia Mann, chairman and CEO of Corniche Travel, is ready to return to Paris, now, more so than ever. “Apart from visiting my friends there, I will repeat two of my favorite things I do on every trip (silly as it may sound to some!): Spend a day at Marche aux Puces, the amazing flea market, and take the Bateaux Mouches cruise down the Seine. These are traditions for me going back many years. The flea market is truly amazing and I've acquired some stunning museum quality art and sculpture pieces. There is a crazy little bistro tucked in the back called Chez Louisette. I hope it's still there,” she says.

Mary Ann Ramsey, president of Betty Maclean Travel, will visit the flea market in Saint-Ouens. “You can find amazing antiques, with great buys on china, silver and furniture, along with along with vintage Chanel earrings and Louis Vuitton handbags, always negotiated and shipped with perfection by my guide. She’ll also go to Fauchon’s on the Place de Madeline to stock up on chocolates, teas, honeys and mustards. “They also have a great café, which is always a must,” she says.

Walking along the streets of the Left Bank is one of Shelby Donley’s favorite Parisian jaunts. The president and CEO of Camelback Odyssey Travel also adores taking a private river limo down the Seine, champagne in hand. In the evening, Donley loves going to Silenco, “a fantastic club in Paris!”

Wendy Burk, CEO of Cadence, says her first stop will be for a “fancy, stylish coiffure at a local beauty salon. There’s one on every corner.” She’ll also walk the city, stopping at small boutiques for fabulous French fashion; peruse the great museums and end the day sitting at a cafe people watching.

Greg DeClemente, COO of Courtyard Travel, plans on his next visit to "sit in a typical French cafe enjoying a bowl of mussels in white wine and garlic, along with some great French bread. Garçon, un autre vin blanc s'il vous plaît!"

Steve Loucks, chief communications officer for the Travel Leaders Group, says, “The dreamer in me is always inspired by visiting the Musée d'Orsay, my favorite art museum anywhere. The romantic in me always manifests itself by visiting the little outdoor cafes on the Left Bank. The adventurer in me gets an adrenaline rush pedaling past all the famous monuments using Paris’ Vélib' bike-sharing program. And the explorer side of me enjoys navigating some of the incredible courtyards near Place de Vosges. Paris is a place that makes me feel complete,” he adds.

Barbara and Michael King, co-presidents of Great Getaways Travel, have “an unconditional, adoring love for this Paris. We love the embracing comfort of Esprit St. Germain on the Left Bank. The design feels warm and inviting and the staff welcomes us back each time with genuine affection. I see us walking to the patisserie around the corner to get some delicious macarons that we swear we’ll bring back to our colleagues at Great Getaways Travel; lo and behold, it doesn’t happen because we end up eating them ourselves. I also envision long, ambling walks - Paris is such a great city to stroll, stop at a cafe for a latte, shop, and people watch. We will walk down some of our favorite streets and always snap a photo by the Arc de Triomphe, reminding ourselves of those who gave their lives in the name of freedom. Lastly, Michael and I will go to Hermes to purchase a scarf for my collection, a custom we began on our honeymoon. Of course we could buy a Hermes scarf anywhere, but this is Paris, and we celebrate this city!”

Perry Lungmus, vice president, luxury travel at Travel Leaders, plans to go on an immediate search for macaron on his next visit, likely to one of the Pierre Herme shops, “probably in the Marais because it’s a favorite place of mine. I will join the many Parisians in having a Belgian beer outside 'en terrasse,' for sure somewhere in the 10th Arrondissement.”

Barry Liben, president of Tzell Travel Group, aims to go to Le Cinq at the George V. “After one of the best meals anywhere in the world, I’d visit a scenic nearby bridge where my son proposed to his wife,” he tells us. Liben’s colleague, Cindy Schlansky, vice president of operations for Tzell, is headed to Paris next summer with her husband and two sons.

“There’s something magical about seeing the Eiffel Tower in person for the first time (as well as the second and even third time) that is quite overwhelming. Standing at the base and looking up is something I look forward to experiencing with my family very soon,” she advises.

Anne Scully, president of McCabe World Travel, was literally packing for Paris when we caught up with her. “To me, the city is filled with light, music and art and some of my favorite little shops. It is the friends I have in Paris that matter most. Over the years I have grown to love our colleagues that take such great care of our clients. They have become family to me and their hotels are like friends that you have to drop in on to say hello to. I love to go this time of year to see their amazing holiday decorations. Standing under the Eiffel Tower when it twinkles is still one of my favorite moments.

“It’s time to give all our friends in Paris the warm hug and love they have always given to us,” says Scully.

Another Take

Rudi K. Steele, president of Rudi Steele Travel, was actually in Paris when the terrorist attacks occurred. “I wanted to tour The Ritz one more time in a hard hat to see how they had progressed and if they will indeed be ready by early 2016. I received a call from AA at 1:30 a.m. November 14, telling me that my flight from CDG to DFW had been cancelled because of the situation in the city. Yes, I was in the city when it all happened and it reminded me of 9/11 when I had just returned to Dallas from Vienna where I had attended the anniversary celebrations of Hotel Sacher.”

Steele intends to visit Paris again, quite soon.

“The French are wonderful people and not only is their capital the City of Light, the French themselves light up a room with their love for life and joy. Next time I go back to Paris I will try to be more of an honored guest and try to speak in their tongue instead of having them adapt to me. If we feel and act more like the French then we will definitely overcome and win and those horrible people will lose.”

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