Archive for the Category »Paris «

  Travel Tip Tuesday: Think You Can’t Use Frequent Flier Miles Last Minute? Think Again!

I just booked a flight 30 days out using my frequent flier airline miles. No – that’s not a typo – only 30 days out, to the day.

It reminded me of a tip I often give: If you have an account with an airline, let’s say American, don’t just check with American to see if there open seats for using ff miles. Check all the partners – For example, American is partners with Air Tahiti, which has flights to Paris from LAX. Who would have thought to check with Air Tahiti to go to Paris?

Auckland, New Zealand

American is also partners with Air Pacific, and Qantas….. so if you are flying to New Zealand, you have more than one option. Air Pacific doens’t only fly to Fiji! You could book a departing flight on Air Pacific, and returning on Qantas.

THe catch here is that you have to go to mulitple websites because one airline doesn’t show its partners availabilities.

I realize this involves soem finesse, and it often gets complicated doing all the research about partner airlines and available flights to frequent fliers.  So in this instance, I would recommend calling the airlines., Yes, there will be a $25 or so fee for doing so, but if you can save $1000 on a flight and book with your miles, it is worth it.

Happy Travels!



  Hotel of the Week: A Family Hotel in Paris

Tour de France 2008

The Tour de France is ending this weekend in Paris, after days of hard core pedaling. The race has bittersweet memories for me – Our first day of 5 weeks in France was watching the final leg of the race on a VERY crowded Paris street. (Notice my photo) Still – it was exciting for our whole family. (And helped distract from the jet lag!)

So since Paris is at the top of my mind  this week, my hotel choice is a chic hotel that at the same time is great for families: Pavillon de la Reine.

It is not always easy to find a hotel suitable for families in Paris. This one offers junior suites and suites that can comfortably fit a family of four. One of them has a living room down stairs with a pull out couch, and the bedroom is upstairs. This is a bonus if you think about it – kids are often up at odd hours due to the jet lag, so they can watch TV when they wake up and not wake you.

The rooms are stylish…and come with the normal amenities (hair dryer..) which is nice so you may not have to travel with adapters…which most of the time blow out on hair dryers anyway! Two amenities that don’t come with the price of the room are WiFi and breakfast. If you don’t want a full, hotel-priced breakfast, there are so many patisseries in the hood where you can get some delicious pain au chocolat.

Pavillon de la Reine offers babysitting services for a fee…and has a new gym and spa… and according to Trip Advisor, accepts small animals free of charge. (By the way, the hotel has received great reviews on TripAdvisor…especially from family travelers.)

Another bonus is the neighborhood : the Marais. This is where I stayed for two weeks. Not your typical tourist neighborhood – which I LOVED – it is narrow cobblestone streets with upscale boutiques, mixed with great museums and easy access to the Metro. The Picasso Museum and the contemporary Pompidou Center are all a stone’s throw away…and the European Museum of Photography is nearby…all of which I would highly recommend.

Mini golf with Place des Vosges in background

Also very close is the Place des Vosges – in the summer, the front of the palace is turned into a miniature golf course (mini golf in France) It is not cheesy (although the French may think so!)and a very picturesque setting to be playing miniature golf.

Mini golfing at Place des Vosges, Paris

On Sundays, most everything closes in Paris. However, the Marais is one neighborhood that stays open… so you can wander the streets and go into the boutiques, get a bite to eat in the nearby ethnic restaurants (this is still a central part of the Jewish community), and or end up relaxing at the some of the parks.

My job is to encourage you to take adventures with your children – Paris is one of those places where small children can have a good time. (It gets harder when they are “tweens” – too old for the fabulous parks, and too cool for the museums!) Pavillon de la Reine, although on the pricey side but still within the norm for Paris, offers families a great way to do it.

PS If you are looking for a similar hotel for almost half the price, check out Hotel Aston….I don’t know much about it, but if anyone has been there let me know. I just like passing on tips that can save money.