Other than sitting at a computer all day this job does have some perks! I was recently invited to a series of three day events in Paris by the Paris-Ile-De-France Tourist Board to sample the hidden gems of La Ville-Lumière and the surrounding region.
They had come up with a cunning idea to piggy back on the vast numbers of visitors to the UK for the Olympics and hopefully get some to stop off in France on the way or the way home. The plan was simple – for very Gold Medal won by a British Athlete they would give a two day luxury trip to Paris for drawn from those registering on the promotion’s Facebook/Paris Tourisme. Couldn’t be simpler!
Now why were all the journalists given the trip to start with – well these lucky souls (including me) were to choose the final itinerary for the prize winners’ trip? Great idea … especially for the journalists.
As well as ‘tongue in cheek’ support for the British Olympics (please remember France was one of the losing bids for the 2012 event) it’s an open ended prize. If 20 Gold Medals are won by UK athletes, there will be 20 prizes (possible!) but if 50 Golds are won then there are 50 trips to be won (I know, we’re pushing the realms of credulity, but that is the prize fund.)
In total there are 20 partners involved in this promotion – everybody from Eurostar to Galeries Lafayette; Chateau de Fontainebleau to the Crazy Horse nightclub!
Each winner and guest will enjoy the following:
- A return ticket on Eurostar from London
- One night in a four star hotel with breakfast
- Passes for public transport, museums and monuments
- Admission to themed exhibitions
- A 2CV car tour to see the hiden side of Paris
- Lunch and dinners in quality restaurants
- A stop off at Galeries Lafayette with a gift card to shop with
- Finally a trip to the Ile-de-France
All entrants must British citizens and will need a Facebook account to enter – easy to set up so should be no impediment to entering. On registering you have to choose from three itineraries chosen by us lucky journalists! The one I went on was great and I saw things I had never seen in all the years of going to Paris and France.
On the first day we were met at Paris Nord station by a small fleet of Citroen 2CV cars (remember those – they were reputed to have large rubber bands for suspension) and given a whirlwind tour around the city stopping off at a really bizarre mini department store whose profits are all used to fund educational programmes in Madagascar – you should have seen the prices! Must have great education!
Off to lunch at the Park Hyatt Paris for a superb meal prepared by Executive Chef Jean Francios Rouquette. How come my food made with the same ingredients never looks or tastes the same? The meal was truly amazing as was the hotel – it has so many original paintings and sculpture you might as well be in the Louvre!
After this we were off again to Galeries Lafayette wine department to sample some fine vintages of great classic French wines. The hotel for the night was The Cube – I think it is best described as a boutique hotel. Dinner was preceded by a drink(s) in the Ice Bar – even the glasses are made of ice. I actually got used to drinking Peach Vodka at minus 22c
Being an ‘old fellow’ I dropped out of the visit to the Crazy Horse night club that evening but the rest of the gang must have had a wild time judging by their eyes at breakfast the following morning.
The next day were set off in our luxury mini coach and drove out of Paris to visit the home of Jean Cocteau at chateau Milly-la-Forêt, Essonne, France. It’s very strange and thoroughly enjoyable walking through the rooms of the home of a great artist and writer left exactly as they were when he died.
Our final stop was at a little village described as ‘the home of painters’ Barbizon which is about 50km south of Paris. Again we have the studios and living accommodation of Jean-Francois Millet and Theodore Rousseau. The village boasts a five star hotel with a Michelin restaurant a number of gites and bed and breakfast accommodations. I had a wonderful time here and would have happily spent the whole trip there.
Our trip was over and we were dropped back to the Eurostar Terminal for the return trip. Did I enjoy my two day – you bet I did. Is it a good prize – absolutely? Log on to Facebook/Paris Tourisme page and get your entry in – if you win you’ll have a great time.Last modified: June 10, 2021