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News and Deals for Clients Visiting FranceApril 1, 2008 By: Anne Sophie Guerin Home-Based Travel Agent
Intro Packages for Regent Bordeaux' Debut
The Regent Bordeaux (www.theregentbordeaux.com) is set for its June opening, which will mark the entrance of the Regent brand into France.
The property is opposite the Opéra National de Bordeaux in the Golden Triangle, which offers plenty of high-end shopping for clients. The hotel will also have a 12-room spa, a rooftop indoor swimming pool and 22 suites. In all, the hotel has 128 rooms. The fine-dining restaurant will be L'Océan, an 80-seat "haute seafood venue" run by Executive Chef Pascal Nibaudeau.
Housed in a renovated historic palais, the Regent Bordeaux was originally slated to carry the Radisson flag until the property was upgraded this past year.
The hotel has two introductory packages: The "Wine Prestige Package" provides accommodations in a 230-square-foot Prestige Suite, designed by Jacques Garcia, which includes a fully-stocked private wine bar and a separate bedroom, living room and marble bath.
It also includes an in-room wine tasting at the suite's bar, featuring a personal sommelier and customized selection of Bordeaux wines. Rates start at $975 per night, double or quadruple occupancy, subject to availability. The offer is valid from June 1 to August 31, 2008.
The "Bordeaux Discovery Package" provides accommodations in a superior room, a two-hour guided tour of Bordeaux, a visit to a local vineyard, access to the city's monuments, historic sites and museums and a complimentary wine tasting at the Bordeaux Wine Council's "Bar à Vin." Rates start at $593 for two nights, double occupancy. The offer is valid from June 1 to December 31, 2008. Visit www.theregentexperience.com.
Air France Launches Discount Business-Class Fares
Air France has launched a new year-round business class leisure fare. Amounting to about 50 percent off the normal price, this fare is available to passengers who book their travel 30 days in advance of their departure date.
The airline is offering such one-way rates as $1,681 for Washington to Barcelona and $2,236 for Philadelphia to Paris. Visit www.airfrance.com/us.
Cooking in Paris
Eurobound (www.eurobound.com) is offering the "Paris Culinary Adventure," which includes four nights at the just-renovated Sofitel le Faubourg (www.sofitel.com) and a cooking workshop at Le Ritz Escoffier, which draws gourmands from around the world and provides training for a wide range of experience levels. The program, priced at $1,269 per person, double occupancy, also includes daily breakfast and hotel taxes and is available from July 11 to August 31. Contact [email protected].
Concorde Hotels Has Marie Antoinette Package
Through June 30, The Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais in Paris is showcasing an exhibit on the life of Marie Antoinette, and Concorde Hotels & Resorts (www.concorde-hotels.com) is offering packages that include access to the show.
The Marie Antoinette Exhibition package, available at several of the company's hotels, includes accommodations, admission for two to the exhibit, daily breakfast and a limited-edition tea box from the confectioner Maison Ladurée. Rates begin at 200 euro per night, per room, with a two-night minimum. Participating Concorde Hotels & Resorts include Hotel Concorde Montparnasse, Hotel Concorde La Fayette, Hotel Concorde St. Lazare, Hotel Ambassador, Hotel Lutetia and Hotel du Louvre.
Hôtel de Crillon, Le Royal Monceau To Renovate
Hôtel de Crillon (www.crillon.com) in Paris will stay open during its planned renovation, "with limited interruption to occupied guest rooms and public spaces," according to a hotel spokesperson. The hotel is run by Sylvain Ercoli, whose dossier includes the Hotel Martinez in Cannes, the Byblos St. Tropez and both the Ritz and the George V in Paris.
The French architect Thierry Despont has been tapped to lead the project, which will include renovating the ground floor, modernizing the guest rooms and corridors, increasing the suite count and adding a spa. The hotel's restaurant, Les Ambassadeurs, will stay open under the management of Jean-François Piège.
Despont has worked on many high-profile projects, including the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and the renovation of Claridge Hotel's public spaces in London.
We also hear that Raffles Hotels & Resorts (www.raffles.com) will manage the historic Le Royal Monceau hotel in Paris, which will close in June for a major refurbishment. When it re-opens in June 2009, the hotel will have 152 of what it is calling "the most spacious and luxurious rooms and suites in Paris." It will also have fine dining and bar options, as well as a new spa.
See Paris Up Close
Eye Prefer Paris Tours, a private tour company, provides custom FIT and small group walking tours of Paris, focusing on insider places most visitors would never see on their own.
The owner, Richard Nahem, also writes a blog, www.eyepreferparis.com, which hones in on Paris' best attractions, such as shopping, fashion, restaurants, nightlife, museum and gallery exhibits. A recent program took Nahem's clients to Raspail Organic food market in the chic Sixth Arrondisement, the Lalique jewelry show, the Luxembourg Gardens and the Orangerie. They also visited the Bastille food market, where Parisians do their serious weekly food shopping and enjoyed a Sunday French Provençal lunch at Chez Janou in the Marais.
Nahem says he's worked with travel agents in two different ways, by having them include mark-ups to their clients after he's quoted them a price, or by paying them a 10 percent commission. "I specialize in Marais tours but also do other areas like St. Germain de Pres, Montparnasse and Montmartre," says Nahem. Visit www.eyepreferparistours.com or e-mail Nahem at [email protected].
Discounts on Barging
French Country Waterways has a 40 percent discount on select departures during July and August. The 18-passenger luxury barge Esprit will sail through Burgundy's Côte d'Or wine-growing region at $2,995 per person, double, reduced from the normal rate of $5,295 or 43 percent. Standard fares of $6,595 and $6,795 for the eight-passenger luxury barge Princess are reduced to $4,500 and $4,700; and the July 6 departure of the company's newest barge, the 12-passenger Adrienne, sailing in Champagne between Maizy and Château-Thierry, is priced at $4,495, a 30 percent savings over the regular rate of $6,395, and includes a night at the luxury Hotel Raphael in Paris.
The Esprit will follow the narrow 18th-century Canal du Centre overlooking vineyards of the Côte de Beaune, the River Saône and the Canal de Bourgogne. The Princess will sail the Canal de la Marne au Rhin in the Alsace-Lorraine region, passing medieval villages. The Adrienne will sail on the Canal de l'Aisne à la Marne, showcasing champagne producers, such as Moët & Chandon.
Prices cover accommodations, all meals, estate-bottled wines, open bar, sightseeing excursions, bicycles for riding in the countryside and transfers. Visit www.fcwl.com for more information. —Ruthanne Terrero