Insights • Inspirations • Destinations • Design

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Perfect Parisian Honeymoon...

Here's something strange. I've never been to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I know! I can't believe it either. How could I have written 3 books about Paris and never looked out over the twinkling, shimmering skyline of Paris from the top of La Tour Eiffel?

I think I know the reason. All my life, I've waited for The Perfect Man to share it with. What a tragic cliché! Roll your eyes if you feel like it. I won't mind. For the same reason, I've never snatched a midnight kiss on the Pont Alexandre (above), nor boarded an old boat for a sentimental cuddle on the Seine, listening to an accordionist play the obligatory Piaf tune from behind. I've never done these things because I've never found The Right Person to do them with. I felt the Eiffel deserved someone special, you see. And as for a sexy kiss on the Alexandre Bridge? Well, it's not the kind of thing you can do alone. Not unless you wish to be arrested for Lewd Acts in Public Places.

So anyway, a few years ago I found The Perfect Man. Okay, Mostly Perfect. We were meant to have married last year but due to unforeseen circumstances (otherwise known as The Black Hole of 2011), the marital plans dissolved. It was probably a good thing. I didn't think I was quite ready to walk down the aisle for a third time. I know my first two weddings were with the same man, but it still feels a little Liz Taylor-ish for me. Besides, I've run out of dresses to wear. There are only so many Vogue patterns I can manage on my mother's Janome. {Gorgeous image of dress is from the great blog One and Only Paris Photography. Other images by me.}

So now we're dancing around an April elopement. (I say 'dancing', but I'm actually dragging my heels with the reticence of Julia Roberts. There are skid marks an inch deep along our deck.) As part of this engagement 'negotiation', I asked Mr Mostly Perfect if he'd consider going to Paris for a honeymoon? Well I mean, it seemed liked the ideal trade-off. He got the wedding. I got Paris. "Just think honey–" I whispered. "Eiffel Tower. You. Me. A tiny bottle of pink bubbly. A perfect Parisian sunset. Who knows where the night could lead?" He turned and looked at me as if I'd just told him he had severe leprosy.

"PARIS?" he spluttered in the same way that Obama pronounces "Republican". "What would we do in PARIS?" And then he gave me The Leprosy Face again.

Now I'm not suggesting that Mostly Perfect Man is unromantic. I mean, this is a guy who once gave me a garbage bin for a birthday present. He knows how to pull out The Big Gifts. But he WOULD rather spend a week in Washington DC than wander around the Left Bank. "I don't even like French politics!" he said. "Well honey, I'm not suggesting we crack a macaron with Sarkozy," I replied. "I'm simply picturing a cute studio on Rue du Seine, and a week full of French-style love?" "I don't think so!" he said, shaking his head. "I don't want some frog sticking his dirty fingernail in my coffee!" And then he went back to watching the news on the ABC. (Okay, he didn't really say that. That was my journalistic embellishment. And he's actually much nicer than the conversation suggests. I'm just spinning a story to make you laugh. I know he'd let me, too. He's lovely like that.) (Oh – and the top image isn't us. They're much more attractive versions of us.)

And so we are off to the US for our elopement. Which worries me slightly. Because we could end up in Mexico, and then WHO KNOWS what might happen on the honeymoon?

So as a little consolation to myself, I've put together The Perfect Parisian Honeymoon – or, more correctly, The Perfect Parisian Honeymoon As I Always Imagined It To Be. Would you like to come with me as I spend a week in Paris, doing things that flâneurs and romantics do? I'd rather not be alone, and would really love the company. It'll be fun. Trust me. Honeymoons are always better in your dreams.

A proper Parisian honeymoon begins with the wardrobe. Dior would be perfect, but we can't all drop $10K on a frock. (I can't anyway. Very sad about that.) So I suggest we whip up something like these pretty dresses on our old Janomes. Very fitting for a sashay around Paris, non? {Via the beautiful dustjacketattic blog} 

Then, we need a suitable honeymoon hotel. You know. The kind that upgrades you to a suite when you're only paying 100 euros for the room in the first place. (Told you: it's a Dream Honeymoon!) I suggest the Belle Étoile Suite of the Meurice (above), which features a 250-square-metre terrace with a 360-degree panorama over Paris. Just look at it. Have you ever seen a more beautiful hotel room? Or a more extraordinary view? I'd just be happy to spend a week in that ludicrously luxurious marble bath, singing Piaf to my little heart's content. Non, je ne regrette rien...  {Images via Meurice} 

And if we can't afford the Meurice, there's always this gorgeous back-up  –

If our budget can't stretch to the Meurice, we could always book into the Caron de Beaumarche on Rue Vielle du Temple in the Marais. I once checked in here after a huge row with my parents (who were staying in an apartment up the road). We were all tired (they'd just been travelling for 6 weeks), Paris was raining non-stop and we'd all caught a bad cold. It wasn't a recipe for a happy family holiday! But the Caron fixed the tears. I love this hotel. It's intimate, affordable, friendly, ideally located and decorated with élan. I'd happily spend my faux honeymoon here!  {Image of rooftops via JR Studios – I love this shot}

Then we need some wine. Just to start the faux honeymoon off on the right foot. (Weddings can be such stressful things.) I'm thinking a long boozy lunch. Russian caviar. Some Mouton Rothschild '99. And enough lush interior design to keep us amused between courses. I know. Let's book a private room at Lapérouse. Steeped in history, this is the restaurant where mistresses of politicians used to scratch their rings on the mirrors to see if their jewels were real or not. We won't need to do that, of course. We'll know our pink diamonds are the Authentic Come-To-Mamma Numbers. The best part, however, is that it's possible to book a private room all to ourselves. They even come with a daybed to, er, louche on between servings. (*Not that we'd need that.) You simply ring a buzzer when you want the waiter to come and pour some more of that Rothschild. So very French to think of things like that.

Then I'd suggest a wander around the Marais. We don't need a plan. The Marais is best explored without an itinerary. Although I would suggest we pop into the Musée Carnavalet (below). It has the BEST interior design exhibits. And it's FREE! Gotta love a museum that's free.

Then we might head over to the Left Bank, for a wander through my favourite square, the Place Furstemberg. We might pop in to Flammant for a look at the homewares, and perhaps Assouline for a browse through the books, before heading to Ralph Lauren for a drink and a sophisticated stickybeak at the store's fantastic interior design. {Images of Ralph Lauren by Thierry Chomel}

Then it might be time to head home for a siesta before dinner, don't you think? But why don't we detour through the islands to get there? Some of the best views of Paris are from the river bank. I could look at this view for hours...

More Paris honeymoon ideas next week.


  1. Beautiful post Janelle! I'm ready to book my train to Paris right now on the basis of this little fantasy trip that you've just to find the Mr Perfect to accompany me to Pont Alexandre III....

    1. Thank you Annie, and please forgive me for not replying sooner. Have been head down-bottom up writing a book. I'm sure you'll find a Mr Perfect to take you to Paris. Or even Mr Almost Perfect... Paris seems to make everything perfect in the end anyway...

  2. Oh Janelle, what a gorgeous fantasy trip through Paris, maybe one day both of us with our own Mr Nearly Perfect will undertake such a wonderful trip (of course, I am one of those people who have shied out of the starting gates of the Marital Stakes more than once). However, I wish you all the very best for your US elopment and if you could squeeze in a Las Vegas wedding by an Elvis impersonator for the blog that would be great.

    1. Thank you Claire. So pleased to hear others are bridal-shy too!
      I'm not sure I could do Vegas - although we discussed it. Apparently there's a place you can do DRIVE-THROUGH weddings. Can you imagine? I told my partner that I'd at least like to GET OUT OF THE CAR! He laughed and suggested that there's possibly a Drive-Through Divorce Court a few metres further on.

  3. I can't help but this post open on your screen?
    Is your computer in a very obvious (can't miss it no matter what!!) spot
    Because if it isn't it should be!!! Who could resist such a romantic honeymoon!
    Not that it really matters where, when or how you marry Mr Perfect our honeymoon was spent with my parents and three small children it was perfect!!!!

    1. Ah, but your Top sounds like he would have been a great man to have on ANY kind of honeymoon!
      Janelle x

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you Vicki. Hope you had a lovely lunch in London with the beautiful Jeanne (below)!

  5. Brilliant Janelle! Firstly, let me just say, that we share similar patterns in gifts. I have had some strange ones from Mr. H...along the line of garbage bins as well. It keeps me on my toes and his too. :)
    I think you should go on your honeymoon to the USA and take a detour to Paris and join me. I am off at the end of April for a few days, travelling on my own. I can't wait. Your post has inspired me to no end! If your ears were burning yesterday, I was telling Vicki @ French Essense all about you and flicked your post over to her today. I would follow both of you anywhere...anytime... :)
    Best wishes for a lovely weekend Janelle...
    Jeanne xx

  6. I hope you have a lovely time in the US, Paris sounds beautiful too. My husband and I were re-married (a vow renewal thingy) at the white wedding chapel by Elvis last October, it was a lot of fun, my three boys were witnesses. Have a lovely weekend.x

    1. Oh how wonderful Samantha! I've heard so many funny and lovely stories about the Elvis Weddings. We did consider it but then I backed out. Your experience almost makes me re-consider.

  7. Oh Janelle! This was such a treat. I enjoyed every second of our honeymoon - thanks ☺. J x

    1. Thanks so much Jane. So lovely to hear from you.

  8. When we married I told him that I had always promised myself that I would return to Paris with the man I love. Since that was him, he was stuck. Now we didn't go for our honey moon, in fact it tokk us 30 years to get there with me squirreling away any extra cash into my Paris account. We had a grand tome when we went and we splurged with dinner at the Jules Verne.


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