Skylark Travels

Just Back From: The City of Light

By: Jes Ware

Jessica Ware is Skylark’s head of marketing and partnerships and our managing editor, but we know her around the office as the official hat rack (we’re a start-up—we all wear many hats.) We allowed her a quick trip to Paris, and after coming out of her butter and carb-induced coma, she’s ready to give her report.


A city blessed by whichever deity doles out effortless elegance and refined beauty, Paris has a reputation that wanders gracefully ahead of it. Describing why Paris is so alluring is a Sisyphean task, but Hemingway found a way to convey it: “Wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” I was lucky enough to catch the last bright days of the season in the City of Light. Gentle ripples in the Seine were illuminated by the crisp autumn sun, lovers young and old elevated simple, hand-holding strolls to rom-com levels of perfection and old ochre buildings were painted rose by the late afternoon light. Forget keychains and bottles of wine: The above images are the souvenirs that I have to take along with me for the rest of my life.


Left Bank or Right, the city is full of beautiful, romantic places to lay your head and the French powers that be have deemed the Parisian Palaces lovelier than any old five-star hotel. For this trip, I stayed at Le Royal Monceau.

It has the way-above-standard charm and grace in the expected ways: The staff is proud of their work and genuinely interested in making you comfortable, the building is meticulously maintained and every detail reflects careful thought. But it goes way further: Instead of just “calling a car”, a staff member went outside during rush hour to hail a cab. Philippe, the gentleman who runs the in-house cinema, happily indulged me with tales of his favorite films (stop by on a Sunday for the Film Club's weekly screening—while you watch a classic, you'll be treated to a glass of champagne and the house’s caramelized popcorn by Pierre Hermé). The wonderfully articulate and jovial Julie, the hotel's personal art concierge, devoted an hour of her day just to chatting about art and Paris and the importance of curation with me.

It's hard to put your finger on it, but there's a common thread that knits everything together and elevates this beyond 5-star hotel to a palace. From top to bottom, there is a genuine respect for beauty and art and a sincere appreciation of the effort that's found behind anything of quality. 


Brunch at the Royal Monceau’s La Cuisine is unfairly wonderful. Overseen by renowned pastry chef Pierre Hermé, the rose-perfumed biscuits, rainbow of macarons, raspberry-and-lychee croissants, and cakes made of chocolate, citrus, almond or rum posed one of the hardest questions imaginable: How many pastries can one person eat? I pondered that for a while before realizing I hadn’t even seen the rest of the menu.


Sitting in the bright autumn sunshine at a spindly legged, wrought iron sidewalk table in St. Germain, snippets of French chatter, laughter and espresso steam floating through the air—I was happily lost in the joie de vivre.