Go Beyond Paris!

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Quick Trips Outside Paris: how to make more of Maison Objet

We have been doing the Maison Objet Fair for the past 10 years- twice a year. So one would expect us to know Paris inside and out. Truth be told, we usually only have one free day before the show set up and then it’s business as usual. Catching an 8:30am RER B from St Michele station and arriving at Parc des exposition a few minutes before the 9:30 opening of the Fair. Then a grueling 9 ½ hours later returning to Paris for a 9:OO pm dinner….repeat for the next 5 ½ days. But that one free day is jam packed with quintessential Paris!

I am making it sound like all work – no play. The reality is that we try to add on 2-3 days prior to the fair and travel to different destinations in France. Short, quick trips take the edge off the upcoming shows and usually provide some sort of inspiration for designing new collections of bath accessories. Here is my take on short trips outside Paris….

Bordeaux- The wine estates are definitely worth seeing and the town St. Emilion is charming if not touristy. But we were not enamored with the city itself. Highly recommend the Spa Resort Les Sources des Caudalie www.sources-caudalie.com and its vinotherapy treatments. We stayed at the ultra hip and unique Le St James. https://www.saintjames-bouliac.com/fr

Honfleur- a small, charming port town on the Channel, once frequented by artists. An overnight is all that is needed. A good jumping off point to Normandy attractions. We especially enjoyed a walk among the resort stores in Deauville. We stayed at La Ferme St Simeon, an elegant farmhouse with half timber ceilings and slate roofs. Chintz rooms and antiques are a nice relief from today’s Schrager boutique hotels.

Reimes- What a wonderful city. Gorgeous cathedral, variety of architecture, handsome boulevards and of course Champagne (I am talking Moet and Chandon, Tattinger, Dom Perignon!). We stayed at the newly opened and aptly named Royal Champagne Hotel and Spa. https://royalchampagne.com/ Simply stunning.

Montpellier- This time we headed south to the Mediterranean. A young populace that made us feel our age. Mostly students attending 1 of 3 large universities. Took a side trip to Aigues Mortes – one of the few remaining walled fortress cities in France. Spent most of our time at the extensive pool and spa at Domaine de Verchant, a renovated 19th century mansion with all the latest hi tech gadgets. www.domainedeverchant.com

Chantilly- We were sitting at a communal table for dinner in Paris and struck up a conversation with an older couple. They lived in Chantilly and recommended we visit. So we did. 30 min from CDG and you enter the realm of Domaine de Chantilly – a magical chateau, manicured gardens and my favorite…the grand stables capable of housing 240 horses. Come for the races or the car concours. We stayed at the handsome Auberge du Jeu de Paume. www.aubergedujeudepaumechantilly.fr

La Gacilly – We were curious about Yves Rocher’s eco hotel in Brittany la gree des landes https://www.lagreedeslandes.com/fr/. Owned by the French cosmetic company, it is a bohemian-luxe experience. The town of Vannes on the water gives you a good Brittany experience.

On the short list….the island Ile de Re (off La Rochelle in the Atlantic), Biarritz and St Tropez. One show at a time.

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