Travel Survival Skills – Pink or Blue Currency?

Before any Journey departure, I have a long check list of what to do/what to take. Rarely do I arrive to a foreign country without local currency, VIP arrival translates to tipping, begging for unscheduled help translates to a gratuity, ie in Scotland, after 50+ days of travel, I injured my hip- I struggled with carry on bags on the tarmac at small airports – those steep stairs up to a plane in heat or rain were a challenge – local cash is always appreciated. At every airport, my pockets are stuffed with small bills. Traversing three countries with different currency presented its own challenges – memorizing each currency and value.

In Morocco the dizzying 30 day Camel Caravan Two schedule sometimes left me fatigued, my driver and I developed many code phrases for the Journey, we had a code phrase for please, let the guide go, I’m tired; for tipping, it was simple blue or pink – use the Blue currency for your gratuity. It made me slightly dependent, but it relieved me of calculating rates at the end of a strenuous hiking or sightseeing day!

Turkish Lira may prove more daunting – the 5 Lira note equals .30. When I’m on my own and language barriers are challenging, I’ve been known to just open my wallet and let people take the necessary amount, fresh oregano from a farmer provides immense pleasure when I’m home recreating a local dish – I’m sure they have never taken too many pink or blue notes.

A small spice shop in Marrakesh that I frequented would pick out coins in my wallet – currency is mostly manageable, but coins, takes me so long to read the small font, please take the coins! One of my favorite photos of me is on a country lane in France, me with wallet open ‘negotiating’ a bag of walnuts from a local farmer! I’ll never forget the experience!

Please just take the coins!

Memories and Experiences – are what I crave the most in my travel.

Pavillon Faubourg Saint-Germain, Oh Paris!

My introduction began with this family-owned property last November when a new friend invited me for lunch hosted by her friend, the owner of Pavillon de la Reine. We moseyed on a rainy Saturday to this timeless address, a haven of peace in the heart of the capital, surrounded by shady gardens. A small luxury hotel in the 3rd arrondissement. Sipping bubbly and chatting for hours before we enjoyed a mini-site inspection.

Library linking Les Parisiens restaurant to the hotel

Pavillon de la Queen & Spa owes its name to Anne of Austria, Queen of France who, in the 17th century, lived in the wing that separated the residence from the current Place des Vosges in the Marais district of Paris. It was also when her engagement to Louis XIII, in 1612, that the square was inaugurated. It then took the name of “Royal Square”. In 1800, it was baptized “Place des Vosges”. This is the oldest square in Paris. Over the centuries, it has hosted many famous residents such as Colette or Victor Hugo. It has thus contributed to the aura of the Marais, a district for which it is partly famous.

Pavillon Faubourg Saint-Germain

When I began plotting my current visit to Paris, I remembered Pavillon de la Reine family was in the midst of opening a new property. After two years of work, the Chevalier family has given a new lease of life to the hotel “Le Saint”, and renamed its boutique hotel the Pavillon Faubourg Saint-Germain, in reference to the Pavillon de la Reine on the Place des Vosges, and the Pavillon des Lettres opposite the Elysée. It has entrusted the keys to the renovation to the master of interior architecture Didier Benderli.

Pavillon Faubourg Saint-Germain, one would never know the property has been stitched together from three smaller hotels, while preserving the identity of the three distinct buildings connecting their interiors and redesigning them in a style that pays tribute to their 19th-century heritage.  Such Parisian details: a chic bistro, like a literary salon. A neighborhood sense of local life, between the Seine and the Café de Flore.

With its winter garden in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and its impeccable service, the Pavilion Faubourg Saint-Germain hotel is a haven of peace away from the paparazzi. It embodies elegant Parisian chic and serene luxury. Perfect location right on the corner of Rue du Pré aux Clercs and Rue de L’Université, just a few steps from Saint-Germain-des-Prés church.

The indoor swimming pool, spa, bar, and restaurant are all reasons to never leave this dreamy haven where you can enjoy peace or gaiety depending on your mood.

The hotel is cozy and warm, the public spaces are very inviting – a library is a wonderful place for breakfast or working if you must! The bistro, Les Parisiens, and snug James Joyce bar were great fun, I was the first lunch customer, and my two meals were delicious! In keeping with the tribute paid to James Joyce, the bar at the Pavillon Faubourg Saint-Germain has the distinctive warmth of a private English club. Yet it is a very chic Parisian spot. The young waiter, of course, translated for me, and the chef was kind enough to eliminate the dreaded anchovies from my yummy chicken with a delicious lemon Béarnaise sauce. My Britany lobster dinner was equally as divine – waiter made sure there were no lobster eyes observing me!

The Left Bank neighborhood is a treasure trove of charming boutiques, bakeries, fine antique stores and a very charming vintage jewelry store as well as high end jewelry…I spent a couple of hours wandering the streets…we have clients staying in June and I think they will adore Pavillon Faubourg Saint-Germain. Highly Recommend!

Pavillon Saint-Germain-Des-Prés hotel Paris
Charm at every corner!