My Intro to Paris with MHIF Le Marais

When we first decided to go to Paris and I started looking at hotels, it was only a matter of hours until I felt totally overwhelmed.  That is truly saying something, because I generally love travel research.  Exploring the options and possibilities beforehand is all part of the excitement of a trip for me, but when faced with the hundreds and hundreds of Parisian hotels, all of a sudden it wasn’t fun anymore.  This was my first trip to Paris, and it was a short one, so I felt pressure to choose the best location.  I decided to take a step away from Tripadvisor and ask a friend and former Parisian, Clementine Desseaux.  Without a moment’s hesitation, she immediately said “Stay in the Marais.”  As soon as I heard that, I knew which hotel I wanted: My Hotel in France Le Marais.

This was one that I kept seeing on my initial searches, and when I went back to look at the map after hearing about what to look for from Clem, I had a great feeling about it.  I’m happy to have been able to partner with MHIF Le Marais to review it for you lovely readers.

Due to dangerously high winds in Lisbon, we were trapped at the airport for over 9 hours (in the benighted, depressing Terminal 2 where all the budget intra-Europe airlines are housed) and didn’t land in Paris until almost midnight.  I actually had an evening meeting with a Parisian brand that I had to miss because of the weather delay, so I was in full-on stress mode by the time we landed.  We took a taxi to the hotel (Parisian cabs have flat 35€ rate to the Right Bank from Orly – cheaper than an Uber pool), and the cabbie’s very speedy driving did nothing to ease my tension.  Walking into the warm lobby of MHIF Le Marais was the first indication that things were on the upswing.

The check in process was pleasant and painless, and when I mentioned our horrible delay and how disappointed I was to have missed the nightly complimentary wine and cheese hour, the man at the front desk took note and went to find a bottle after getting us in our room.

Standing at our Juliette balcony and sipping fantastic French wine, I was able to take a breath and relax.  The warm welcome at MHIF Le Marais finally soothed my frayed nerves.

We spent some time unwinding on the incredibly comfortable bed, enjoying the wine and the fresh night air (the Marais is a quiet area with no fume-ridden highways around).  Properly refreshed and relaxed, we started thinking about where to head next – it was Friday night in Paris, after all!

The prime location of MHIF Le Marais was apparent almost immediately, as there were tons of options for dinner and drinks within minutes of the front door, even well after midnight.  We ended up at PasDeLoup, a chic cocktail bar with delicious natural juice concoctions (and very attractive French bartenders!) that was literally a 3 minute walk away.  We were too tired from our travel ordeal to stay out for more than a couple of drinks, and that heavenly MHIF bed was calling us, so we headed back for an excellent night’s sleep.

The next morning, our walk to breakfast was even shorter – just down the stairs!

The hotel breakfast had a lovely variety of sweet and savory food options, and a cappuccino machine I soon fell in love with.

The croissants at the MHIF breakfast were everything I hoped for from fresh Parisian baked goods.  I was happy to indulge 🙂

My handsome breakfast date

With a belly full of buttery goodness and my new favorite (pear juice!), we went out to explore the Marais in the daylight.  I was immediately charmed by the neighborhood, even on a grey and gloomy day.

The shopping by the hotel was excellent: Comptoir des Cotonniers was down the street, and we literally stumbled across the new boutique for one of my favorite shoe brands, Miista, without even looking for it.

Le monde est si petite, indeed!  Wearing my Encircled multiway kimono sleeve dress

Due to jet lag and the packed day we had ahead of us, we were out too early to really shop, but I loved peering in the windows and looking at all the gorgeous architectural details and whimsical street art (spot the floppy-eared pup in the mural above!)

MHIF Le Marais is also right around the corner from the Marche des Enfants Rouge, the longest standing covered market in Paris at over 400 years old (it was established by commissioners of Louis XIII!)

The market has fresh fruit and gorgeous flowers, but its true strength is the food stalls.  We were still stuffed from our delicious breakfast, but my husband couldn’t resist the call of the boulangerie stand.

The enticing scents floating up from the lunch options starting their daily prep put this market on my “must-return-to” list.

The weather was a bit chillier than I expected, so we went back to the hotel to change before going farther afield.  While there, I took full advantage of the plentiful charging outlets.  We did bring our euro cord converter this time, but I really appreciate that MHIF Le Marais has built in USB chargers so you won’t be screwed if you forget yours.

I couldn’t get enough of our little Juliette balcony – I forgot how much I love having one

Charged and changed, we hopped on the nearby subway to head to Champs Elysees.  It was convenient and easy to navigate, but as a New Yorker who takes the subway every day, I was not prepared for Parisian train culture: It is SO quiet!  I didn’t hear a single person speak in anything above a whisper in the cars.  Maybe I’m weird, but I was happy to get back out onto the bustling boulevard.

The famous Champs Elysees is known for its shopping, but the stretch we perused had more international chains than I would have expected – this gorgeous door was on what looked like a palace housing an Abercrombie, of all things!

My outfit for the afternoon was my See Rose Go button down tunic and leather pants with Adidas.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was inadvertently dressed like the chic local women.  Apparently French-girl style is a white shirt, ankle pants, and white sneakers.

We planned on lunching at Mini Palais, just off Champs Elysees, but the wait was too long for our impatient stomachs to bear.  Fortunately, we were right next to the Seine, with beautiful views and a crepes cart that I may have conjured by sheer force of longing.

So many fantastic things in one pic!

I went with the classic citron et sucre (lemon and sugar), and ate it while strolling along the river with my love.  This was basically my fantasy of Paris happening IRL, so I was in a fantastic mood.  The crepe was absurdly cheap and delicious too, especially for what I’m sure is a tourist area. Since the sun was now out and the view was great, we kept walking along the Seine towards our destination, the Eiffel Tower.  We spotted a couple of unexpected sights along the way:

All this walking worked up an appetite, but the options right on the Seine are all too rich for our blood, so we headed away from the river towards the Galleria area where there were a few promising cafes.  It was about then that we discovered the standard Parisian lunch period ends at 2:30 pm, and many restaurants close up shop accordingly.

Paris Tip: Plan to sit down to lunch before 2:00 pm!

Our late lunching worked out in our favor though.  We were more than ready for substantial food and a long sit by the time we came across the still-bustling Le Galliera brasserie, and I honestly wasn’t expecting much from our desperation pick, especially considering the kitschy Art Deco vibe.  I was heartened to hear only French from our fellow diners once we sat down – I’m a firm believer in listening to the locals.  Then the food came and dispelled any notions I had about this being a tourist trap.  I got the truffle risotto and my husband got the penne arrabiata.  Both were absolutely delicious, with beautifully harmonious flavors and textures, and the portions were very generous, especially considering the reasonable prices (lunch was 30€ for the two of us).

Le Galliera was a stone’s throw from its namesake, the fashion museum Palais Galliera (another place on my must-return-to list).

Though I was sorely tempted by the current Margiela exhibit (I’ve been dying to go since I saw it on Chromat’s IG stories), we neither had the energy nor the daylight to do both the museum and the Tour Eiffel.  Since this was our first time in Paris, the iconic tower of course won out.

I know the change into a tulle gown was more than a bit Carrie Bradshaw of me, but I promise I had no shame 🙂  I don’t get to shoot in front of the Eiffel Tower every day, after all!  I love the romance of this off the shoulder tulle-lined number from Torrid, and I’ll be doing a separate post with more from this shoot soon (without the surprise pigeon cameo!)

This askew selfie might be my favorite pic though!

I could have probably stayed in the Jardins du Trocadero taking pics for hours longer, much to my husband’s chagrin, but the skies grew increasingly dramatic until rain drops sent us sprinting to the Metro.  By the time we got back to our stop, we were very grateful for MHIF‘s proximity to the subway – every step saved was a blessing for our tired feet.

We had time for a quick nap (the siren song of that bed was real!) before MHIF Le Marais‘ complimentary wine and cheese happy hour (every night from 6-8).  The wine changes nightly, and the fromage was excellent.  We ended up chatting with a couple from London, and it was lovely.  All hotels should have this tradition – it is such a great way to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.

When it was time for dinner, we decided to explore more of the Marais.  This area has a ton of local character, and I especially loved the street art adorning the walls.

We had dinner at Benedict, another spot packed with locals.  There was a 20 minute wait (that ended up being more like 15), but it was SO worth it.  Le Galliera was my husband’s favorite meal in Paris, but this was definitely mine.  This beef tartare was the best I’ve ever had, and there wasn’t a bad bite to be had on the table – even my side sweet potato was groan-inducingly delicious.  After dinner, we headed to Lizard Lounge, a dive bar with a subterranean lounge that looks like it was scooped out of ancient tunnels.  The prime location of MHIF Le Marais was again appreciated on our tipsy walk home after a few excellent cocktails.

The next morning, I was greeted with a rainbow view from my window before we partook in another yummy MHIF breakfast.

We had a little extra time to lounge in our room before checking out and heading to the train station (super convenient to the hotel), and I definitely considered extending our stay.   We stayed in the single room, which is small (as is the case with most rooms in Paris), but the thoughtful details like the USB ports and super soft bedding made it warm and welcoming.  I would say that the single room is best for couples – the shower is visible from the bed after all!  MHIF Le Marais was my favorite hotel of our trip by far, both for the immensely comfortable mattress (seriously, I WANT it) and the excellent location.  Their rates are super affordable, especially given the chic neighborhood.  The customer service was also consistently genuine and friendly, which makes such a difference.  So if, like me, you are overwhelmed by your Paris hotel hunt, just stop looking, take my recommendation, and stay at My Hotel In France Le Marais (and make sure you take advantage of the free wine and cheese!)

I will definitely be back to this charming hotel in the Marais – I’m already plotting on how I can justify another Paris trip this year!

Disclosure: I partnered with MHIF Le Marais for this review.  All thoughts and opinions my own, as always!