At the beginning of March is my fiancé’s birthday. March can be a humdrum time of the year, so it’s always great to have his birthday to break up the rainy Paris winter blues. This year I wanted to do something a little different than the usual gathering of friends at our place or at a bar. Besides, Chéri was turning the all-important…33 years old. It is apparently a year of great change and evolution in many people’s lives. Some call it the “Jesus year”.
In order to ring in his 33rd year with a spark, I needed inspiration. I got some, quite by accident one evening when I went to with my friend Kasia to a wine tasting at a boutique hôtel just around the corner from where I work. The hôtel du Ministère is full of contemporary charm and is a quiet haven for a cozy glass of wine, or…a 4 star hotel room tucked away on this quiet street of the 8th. And that is just what I got! I was the lucky winner of the raffle held at the wine tasting. The prize : a night in the hotel! I immediately thought it was perfect for Chéri’s birthday.
But just a hotel room….well, that’s not nearly fun enough for a 33 year-old! I needed a little more ambiance. So I called upon my friend Sofiane of Ambiancity for some room décor, rose petals (artificial so as not to destroy the white bed linens) and LED candles that have a flickering effect, (so as not to burn the hotel down).
And since this is the year of 3′s…a third element to complete the soirée : table reserved at La Vue, the newly renovated and re-opened bar on the 34th floor of the Conorde Lafayette tower at Porte Maillot.
Plus….the entire evening was a surprise! Chéri had no idea what I had planned!!!
Le lieu (the place) :
The hotel…was Oh! so nice. The décor is full of rich colors and a very contemporary design that borderlines on neo art deco, with geometric shapes and lines. In fact there is so much charm to the building and the rooms that it is really a perfect fusion of the old and the new. I was so pleased to have exposed beams in our room that date from who knows when! And what a treat to have a spacious modern bathroom (most Parisian apartments do NOT have spacious bathrooms) with two, yes TWO sinks. No fighting over who gets to spit first when brushing our teeth. There was a huge flat screen TV in the room which we took advantage of in the morning to watch news over breakfast (something we never do since we don’t have a tv at home). And the bed….oh my goodness the bed. It was GIANT and so soft. I slept like a lamb. Like a baby fluffy lamb without a care in the world and my dreams were of puffy clouds and seas of cotton… The bed was so divine I insisted we have breakfast in it the next morning…. I just didn’t want to leave that utterly blissful environment. Breakfast was brought on two silver trays, laden with everything we needed and then some. Croissants and fresh fruit, and fruit salad, and boiled eggs, and ham and cheese and tea and butter and jam and baguette and orange juice…
But the absolute best thing about the hotel was not the bed nor the breakfast, it was the staff. Judith at the wine bar and Mireille at the front desk were two of the most accommodating, generous and delightful people I can imagine. I couldn’t thank them enough for making Chéri’s birthday surprise go so smoothly.
L’ambiance (the ambiance) :
Sofiane of Ambiancity perfectly transformed the mood of the hotel room into what would help me make Chéri’s jaw drop! Red rose petals strewn all over the white bed covers, and several LED flickering candles circling a printed “parchment” paper, tied in a red ribbon, with my little love letter in guise of a birthday card. And then moi, sitting among it all dressed in hmmm mmm… well let’s just say I was wearing things from Aubade, Wolford and Louboutin…. It was picture perfect. And I could hardly believe how smoothly everything had gone! Sofiane sent me a message when the decoration was taken care of along with instructions on how to restart the candles if they “went out”. He was so polite and organized with myself and with the hotel staff (who also sang his praises to me that evening as we waited for our taxi). It’s important to have someone who is trustworthy and professional as well as kind-hearted for a service like this.
It was exactly what I had hoped for and it got the reaction I wanted when Chéri walked in the door… “Woooow”, his jaw practically to the floor. Nothing like a little ambiance and the element of surprise to make me feel like a goddess and turn Chéri’s knees to jello!
La Vue (The View) :
The evening continued as we were whisked away in a taxi to La Vue. I was highly anticipating this place as it just recently reopened after renovations and has a completely different type of ambiance. It was exactly what I wanted to complete my sultry birthday surprise for Chéri. Low tables for two line the bay windows that overlook the city of Paris, bar stools at counter tops are positioned just behind those, so that everyone gets to enjoy the view from where they sit. There is enough room to seat 180 people! The 15 meter long long bar runs along the back of the room, and the bar tenders deftly move from one end to the other in perfectly trained actions serving clients with poise and agility. The ceiling is covered in color-changing LED lights that modify with the rhythm of the music, set by a DJ. It was hard to figure out what was more interesting to watch, the view outside or the mesmerizing light show on the ceiling!
A pretty hostess led us to our window front table. The name of the restaurant is so very fitting. You just can’t get over the view of this place! I even forgot about my vertigo I was so enthralled with la vue.We pointed out monuments and landmarks to each other for the first five minutes, like a couple of tourists! See! Even Paris residents can marvel at the city over and over again.
The other attraction to this bar’s extensive cocktail menu. It has been created by award-winning mixologist Stephen Martin who was previously declared ‘Best Mixologist’ in France 2009. His authentic and innovative cocktails are designed to tease the imagination, with a menu of tantalizingly named delicacies to suit every palette including; Historically Yours, Parisienne, Roman Punch and Left Bank. He gave us the honor of advising us on what to drink, and I am glad he did, because he has this incredible passion for what he does, and is bursting to offer his knowledge to clients who are curious. He would have given us the entire history of the cocktail if we had asked. He even brought out some of his antique shakers and explained the different techniques of cocktail shaking. His bar, La Vue, is the only one to offer such authentic and perfected cocktails made with meticulous attention to detail.
To find out what we wanted, he started by asking us what we normally drink, and then after a question or two about what we don’t like, he came up with a cosmopolitan for me….BUT not just any cosmo, this was not a sticky sweet sex-in-the-city drink, this was smooth with a hint of bitterness and perfect for a pre-meal drink that was void of any sugary sweetness which I don’t like in my cocktails. And with Chéri, there was a conversation about whiskey, that lost me somewhere around the word “whisky” but they discussed flavors and aging processes for several minutes. I did taste Chéri’s drink and it was quite delicious, rich and full of flavor.
We nibbled on items form their small menu of things to eat inspired from different cuisines from around the world. And finished off the soirée with a bourbon for Chéri and a glass of pink champagne for myself. And the entire time we ogled the view and watched the Eiffel tower sparkle a few times.
Our evening was full of sparkle and fun and luxury, and was perfect for a seductive birthday celebration. It was a great way to be festive together and enjoy Paris to the utmost. I hope this post inspires many of you readers to organize a similar Paris evening to surprise your chéri or chérie!
Joyeux anniversaire mon amour!