Paris 2016: Day One

The first night was all about saying goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016 in good spirits. And we did it well.

December 31, 2015

We arrived in Charles de Gaulle Airport at about 17:30 on Thursday, December 31st, 2015. Our flight was pleasant enough and with no delays, but an even more pleasant surprise was waiting for us on the ground. Apparently, the good city of Paris has the healthy habit of allowing free use of all public transportation systems during New Year’s Eve so, much to our delight, we found we could take a free train that would take us straight to our hotel.

We took Line B of the RER until we reached the station of Châtelet-Les Halles, which is only 100 meters away from the Best Western Ducs de Bourgogne hotel, where we stayed for the duration of our trip.

A quick aside on the hotel: this particular Best Western is an excellent deal for the money, offering clean and spacious rooms that are decorated in a classic style that fits Paris very well.

The Best Western Ducs de Bourgogne is a classic hotel and a pretty good deal overall. Photo credit: official website.

Location-wise, this hotel is pretty hard to beat. Rue du Pont Neuf is right in the middle of the 1st arrondissement, a mere five-minute walk away from Musée du Louvre and right across the street from the mythical Pont Neuf and the Cathédral de Notre-Dame, besides of course the aforementioned direct train that connects the hotel with Charles de Gaulle airport.

The hotel is located in the 1st arrondissement, just a 5-minute walk away from Musée du Louvre.

Breakfast was also very good, and quite affordable compared to most other hotels in the city, which is always a nice thing. If you’re looking for a moderately priced hotel that doesn’t compromise on the essential, I can’t recommend this one enough.

Anyway, once we checked into the hotel, we had just enough time to get ready for dinner, so we freshened up a bit, got all dressed up and headed out on our way to the restaurant.

We had made a special dinner reservation in advance at Chez Claude, a quaint little restaurant in Rue Saint-Honoré, just a short walk away from the hotel. They had a New Year’s special dinner menu, which included a complimentary glass of champagne, a bottle of red wine, and a couple choices for the entrées, main courses and desserts each. Between Miriam and myself we ordered all six possible dishes on the menu, and I’m happy to say they were all delicious.

I ordered a block of foie gras as my entrée, followed by a wonderful steak — rare, of course. Miriam on the other hand ordered classic French snails and the gilthead fillet, which were both great. Finally, I had the fruit crumble for dessert, and she had a spectacular chocolate cake.

After dinner and the obligatory cup of coffee, I decided to send off 2015 in style by ordering my last glass of whisky for the year. Of course, not just any whisky would suffice for such a distinguished occasion, so I took a good look at the many offerings the restaurant had and opted for a wonderful Glenfiddich 18 Years Old, which I had never tasted before. In a word: sublime.

Then, as midnight drew closer, we were offered another complimentary glass of champagne and everybody in the small restaurant — most of which were no doubt employees with their families — started dancing and properly celebrating the arrival of 2016.

When you’re drinking whisky like a sir, the moustache is not optional.

From then on, it was all laughter until we eventually called it a night and headed back to our hotel to have a good night’s sleep and prepare for an exciting few days ahead in the City of Light.