The 5-Star Myth


This may come as a surprise to you, but five-star hotels do not exist in Paris. The most famous hotels in Paris such as the Ritz and the Crillon are called 4-Star hotels ‘de luxe’. 4-Star Luxury Hotels. So, when you hear about 5-Star Cuisine and 5-Star Hotels, this is more often the work of over-enthusiastic brochure writers. I’ve noticed that ‘5-Star’- cuisine is particularly a cruise-talk cliche.

Rue de la Gaite will soon have a new four-star hotel which will compete with Le Meridien (Rue Commandant Mouchotte). Yesterday we walked an American couple to their hotel the Concord (located directly across from the Meridien. The limo that was supposed to pick them up at CDG airport never showed up. Fortunately the couple ended up standing just in front of the bus stop for the Air France shuttle (without knowing it would take them practically to their door step). Why pay 55 Euros for a taxi when you can take the shuttle for 14 Euros per person. We assured the couple that they would be close to their hotel if they took the shuttle bus and promised to show them the way. That was our good deed for yesterday. (The moral of this story is, if you have a pre-paid limo or hotel shuttle picking you up at the airport, make sure you have a contact number to call when they don’t show up!)

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During our walk today, we noticed that Rue de la Gaite is going through some major transformations, in particular the Bobino night club. Bobino (where Josephine Baker used to perform) has finally finished its renovations with sparkling Eiffel Tower lights (but tastefully scattered) and interspersed with blue-ish lights. The question is will we ever be able to afford a trip to Bobino? Most night clubs in Paris are pricey and Bobino is no exception. A night at the Moulin Rouge, the Folies Bergeres, the Crazy Horse or the Lido will set you back a couple of hundred Euros. Before we think about spending such a large sum (about the same as we’d spend for a bottle of champagne to while away the night at Queen), I’d like to find out more about Bobino’s show. Is it anything we haven’t already seen?
For the moment all we know about the new Bobino is the friendly letter from our 14th arrondissement mayor who has informed us that their usurpation of a ‘green space’ was done illegally – we’ve been walking past the Bobino entrance for the past ten years – and if there were any patches of green there – ever – I’ve never noticed anything worthy of being called green. The mayor of our beau quartier has also mentioned that if any of us should be awakened by loud music emanating from Bobino that we should notify the ‘Mairie’. How thoughtful for the mayor to be so concerned. Considering that we live in Montparnasse where every night between 2 and 4 am any number of drunks shout in the streets for any number of reasons. Once doesn’t move to Montparnasse if you long for peace and quiet.
We are delighted that Bobino has spruced up their entrance – and if they ever offer a special discount for neighbors, maybe we’ll even go and watch the show.