C’est la vie… C’est la vie!

Quintessentially Saves the Day

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As I was getting ready for my trip to Paris, I learned that my “little sister” Jeanette and I had been named “Match of the Month” by Big Brothers Big Sisters. Packing came to a halt and off we went to celebrate at Kitchen 305 in Sunny Isles Beach. They have scrumptious desserts, and we opted for their “cotton candy celebration,” a fabulously rich concoction served in a silver martini glass. A perfect send-off for my holiday in the City of Light!

We arrived just in time for Bastille Day, the equivalent to our 4th of July, and the festivities were happening right outside our hotel, in the heart of the city. There were tons of celebs and VIPs – we saw actor Gerard Depardieu, fashion photographer Mario Testino, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. In fact, the presidents of Israel, Bulgaria, and Egypt were all staying at our hotel so it was swarming with security. Crazy!

In between our dining and cultural excursions, I did what any normal girl would do in Paris… I shopped. My husband and I strolled the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the fashionable street of Lanvin (separate men’s and women’s stores), Hermes (yes, of the infamous Oprah incident), JP Tods, Cartier, John Galliano, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Hugo Boss. I felt like I could have been in the Bal Harbour Shops! Paris can be chilly in July, so to accommodate the weather I bought a beautiful Loro Piana cashmere trench.

At the top of our agenda was having drinks at Hôtel Costes, the famed Parisian hotel that compiles its own CDs of super hip lounge music mixed by DJ Stéphane Pompougnac (the CDs are available at Base on Lincoln Road, by the way). When we asked our hotel concierge to call ahead and let them know we were coming – can you believe it – he said he couldn’t do it! Hôtel Costes, he apologized, does not take reservations and we should just show up and try our luck.

Show up and try our luck? Je crois que non! I called my contact at Quintessentially, the members-only international concierge service that is tres magnifique. We hired the concierge service, which has a branch office in the Design District in Miami, shortly after they got a friend tickets to the invitation-only Elton John White Tie and Tiara Ball – the charity gala he hosted with Elle MacPherson and Elizabeth Hurley.

Quintessentally was truly “in the know,” and our contact there immediately called Hôtel Costes and spoke to a Mademoiselle D. on our behalf. When we arrived later that evening with my Belgian friend Hildegarde, a sharply dressed supermodel-in-training, a.k.a. doorperson, greeted us. I mentioned the call from Quintessentially, and sure enough, we were welcomed in and given carte blanche. Quintessentially had more juice than our 5-star hotel!

Quintessentially also arranged a private tour of The Louvre with its exquisite Renaissance paintings, Venus di Milo statue, Napolean III apartments, an underground moat, and of course, the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa was so crowded, you’d have sworn Madonna was in the house.

The next day, we jetted off to a castle owned by one of my husband’s fraternity brothers. The castle (and I mean really a castle with a moat, drawbridge, dungeon, and chapel) was located about two and a half hours south of Paris. Its gardens were just gorgeous. We plucked plump, red raspberries off the vines and ate ripe cherries right off the trees. Black swans, peacocks, pigs, ducks, ponies, and goats roamed the property. Daytime we lounged on the lawn and at night enjoyed candlelight dinners in front of the backlit castle. C’est la vie!

I wished I could have stayed longer, but all fabulous things must come to an end… to make room for more fabulous things!

Until next time, I bid you adieu.


P.S. For my next Paris trip, I may try one of these fabulous adventures Quintessentially recommended and can arrange for me:

  • Private helicopter transfer to Vaux-le-Vicomte (original chateau on which the design for Versaille was based), private tour of the chateau, candlelit salon with dinner, menu of their choice, string quartet, return to Paris with heli flight over the city, lit up at night.
  • Day with renowned chef Alain Passard at his cottage 1 hr outside of Paris. Tour of his garden with explanations about his produce. Private cooking lesson in his house and meal with the chef. Return transfer in Rolls Royce Phantom.
  • Two night stay in the Eiffel Suite at the Plaza Athenée, wine-tasting with the world’s best sommelier in a private wine cellar, private speedboat along the Seine, dinner at the Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel tower.
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