Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

french_flag_arc_de_triompheIf you recall we did an article about passengers may having to pay to use the toilet with certain airlines. Now it seems as though it may be difficult to use the facility in another locale when nature calls! Read on to look at the challenges you may have in France.

Using a toilet may sound like the simplest of tasks, but if you aren’t used to France’s plumbing it can be an experience. The public toilets in France are often broken down and sometimes a little scary. You need to know how to flush, how much it will cost you and other secrets to using the restroom.

Here is your toilet guide information on how to answer natures call:

  1. Find a bathroom. This isn’t always that easy, as public restrooms aren’t necessarily plentiful. Shopping centers or malls usually have a public restroom, as do some popular outdoor areas. Parks tend to have the public restroom pods. Worst case scenario, pop into a cafe, order a coffee and use their facilities. If you’re bold, march into a busy one and go straight back to the bathroom, then leave and save yourself a couple euros. Look for signs saying, “toilettes” or “W.C.”
  2. Look over the bathroom once you enter. While it is much less common these days, some have a glorified hole in the floor. You are supposed to squat and hover how would you handle this with arthritis and nature is calling? I guess the answer would be excitable!! This is one that I wouldn’t recommend.
  3. Flush. The flushing mechanisms on French toilets are almost never on the back. Sometimes there is a chain pully from above, sometimes a foot petal on the ground. Sometimes there is a button on top, sometimes two (pushing both will make the toilet keep flushing). Often, there is a large, rectangular bar on the back wall. Push or pull whatever you find.
  4. If you encounter an outdoor public pod-style restroom, they are a bit of their own category, and can be rather intimidating and confusing. Simply step up and look to see whether it’s occupied (red or green dot by the door). Put in your change, and wait for the door to automatically open. Step in, and the door automatically closes. Some individuals like to take a book or magazine with them when nature calls. But if you use this particular facility if you are there 15 minutes or more, the door WILL open. No book or magazine for this one!! These seem dirty, but they actually are disinfected after each use.
  5. Always have small change on you. Many restrooms are pay, sometimes manned by an attendant and sometimes accepting change to enter. The outdoor restroom pods require exact change, so have 5- and 10-centime pieces.
  6. Don’t be surprised by unisex bathrooms, or men’s and women’s rooms with a common lobby. The French are not nearly as hung up about separate restrooms as, say, the Americans.
  7. Before you enter, check to see if toilet paper is outside the stall. Sometimes, there are dispensers in the sink and mirror area, but no paper inside the stall.
  8. If you are visiting busy fast food restaurants, SAVE YOUR RECEIPT. It usually contains a code to get into the restroom there.
  9. Don’t be surprised if the outdoor pod-style public bathroom is broken down. Go to the next park

Wishing you the best with this nature call because really it is a travel experience!!

“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”
– Michael J. Fox


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The Ritz Paris

The Ritz Paris

If you’re going to visit the luscious city of Paris and you have the means, why not do it in true style at a Parisian luxury hotel? Paris has some of the world’s finest, most luxurious hotels. This is a city that is well-suited to upscale services.

Four Season George V Luxury Hotel
A stay at the George V (pronounced George Sank) is the ultimate Parisian experience. This luxurious hotel near the Champs Elysees has long been famous for catering to its guests. With private terraces that command all Paris; 17th-century tapestries, lovingly restored; and a spirit that lives on in thoroughly reborn, highly advanced spaces, Four Seasons George V Paris redefines luxury service in the City of Light.

There is something about the Jess Leathan flower arrangements and the world renowned Sodashi Spa that resonate luxury and opulence across the globe. You may also recognize its delicately appointed lobby, which was the setting for a scene in the film, “French Kiss.”

Paris Le-Grand
The Inter-Continental is another of Paris’ best addresses. The hotel, already upper crust, recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that kept it closed for a year and a half. The best part is, with the newly-unveiled hotel, there are some deals that make this upscale hotel within the price range of some commoners, at least for a night. Inside the lavish hotel you will find the legendary Café de la Paix, which is renowned for classic French cuisine and since the hotel is a historic monument in France the whole building is brimming with timeless beauty.

Victoria Palace Hotel
The Victoria Palace in Paris is a delicately-appointed oasis in the city’s hip Montparnasse neighborhood. While it isn’t in the center of Paris, it is close to Luxembourg Gardens and St. Germain de Pres. The hotel has been a landmark on the Left Bank since 1913 and served as Parisian home to such major figures as the Irish writer James Joyce and the Italian painter Giorgio De Chirico. The rooms are rather large, especially for Paris.

The four-star hotel has several nice touches such as the weather report delivered nightly to your room and the welcome package given to all children staying for at least two nights ages 4-12. It’s the little things and the outstanding services that make visitors feel like royalty.

Ritz Paris
Feel like royalty, if for a brief time, with a stay at the infinitely regal Ritz Paris. The rooms and the hotel itself are like a mini visit to Versailles and the food has been legendary in France for decades. The first head chef of the Ritz, Auguste Escoffier, was the creator of Peach Melba and many other dishes that became the epitome of fine French cuisine. The Ritz continues that tradition with the Auguste Escoffier School by creating future generation of five star chefs.

If you truly have the means, splurge for one of the prestige suites like the Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel or Elton John. This is also the ultimate place for families. Children are indulged, with a welcome gift, pint-sized robes and a cuddly toy. Little ones can also take swimming or cooking lessons.

Park Hyatt Paris Vendome
The Park Hyatt Paris Vendome is not just any hotel. It’s a fantastic, artfully decorated, courteously staffed hotel, with a newly renovated, gorgeous site that has been brilliantly constructed out of five different buildings. The Park Hyatt Paris Vendome offers guests every amenity possible. From cocktail courses for the budding hostess to the Universe of Senses stay for any luxury traveler. The neighborhood is first-class, a brisk walk from some of the most chi-chi shops in all of Paris, and so is the staff.

Chateau d’Esclimont
There are few things more indulgent than staying in an actual castle. Live like royalty at magnificent Renaissance château and former home of the La Rochefoucauld family, Château d’Esclimont, just an hour from Paris. The rooms are beautifully decorated, and the 150-acre grounds are ideal for walking. The restaurant has fine, memorable cuisine. It is, however, in an ideal for location for exploring Versailles, Chartres and the lovely, chateau-filled Loire Valley possibly with a hot-air balloon ride or helicopter flight and see the château and surrounding area, in all its magnificence, from the air.

From the towers, belfries and delightful grounds to the pretty bedrooms with fresh flowers, balconies with filigree railings and the calming moat below – everything here has a sense of true romance, and all with typical French flourish.

Have a luxurious travel experience!!

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast.”

-Ernest Hemingway

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