I promise to remain faithful – to my Paris Hotel


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“But I prefer polygamy and polyandry.” IHT, Jan 14’2008 Hmmm. That’s an eye-catching quote, especially when attributed to Carla Bruni, who might soon be France’s new First Lady (if she isnt’ already).

Fidelity is a fuzzy topic in France except when it comes to hotels. Why do people insist on returning to the same hotel over and over again? Is it just because we’re creatures of habit – or sentimental fools? The truth is remaining faithful to your Paris hotel makes good sense. It just keeps getting better. And you become an ‘insider’. A hotel receptionist who recognizes you as a regular will start to fill you in on the best days to get the best rates.

When booking a hotel in Paris, think of your hotel as a door, not a room for the night. Your hotel is your door to Paris – not for a week – but possibly for a lifetime. This will be the hotel where you develop a good rapport so that you can return year after year and be greeted as a ‘regular’.

The reason I’m insisting on this idea of fidelity is because the concept is very important in France – when it comes to business relationships – and commerce. You know that the first time you stay at a hotel, chances are the stay will not be perfect in every way, but when you return for future visits people get to know you and understand your preferences. You will start to feel more at home. And, you will no longer be an ‘etranger’ or stranger.

After a while, a hotels peculiarities gain an endearing quality that you wouldn’t want changed after all is said and done.

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“When I go to Paris, I always go to the Lutetia.” So, says a fellow traveler we’ve met on a recent Silk Road train trip.

“When we go to Paris, we like to stay at the Hotel Langlois.” That was the choice of another frequent visitor to Paris.

Hotel du Lys was the choice of a university alumnus.

For our first trips to Paris we used to continually return to the Hotel Orleans Palace, a modest 3-star in the Left Bank Porte d’Orleans neighborhood. It catered to group tours, but when we arrived as a couple, we always felt at home.

Smaller, family run hotels still exist in Paris and in a quickly changing world, it’s nice to return to places where you’ll find a familiar face.

Polyandry trivia:

“Lady Montagu noted in 1716 in Vienna that many women of the nobility there had two “husbands”–one for the name, the other for the “game.” It was considered gauche not to invite all three to dinner.”