Virtuoso travel advisor Sarah Attaway recently spent a few days with a group exploring Paris and relaxing at an opulent estate outside the city. Her first pandemic-era trip to Europe proved hassle-free and inspiring. Here, a few of her insights for travelers contemplating a French sojourn.
Health Pass Ease
After checking into my hotel, I went to the pharmacy across the street to get my health pass (now called the pass vaccinal), which travelers need for entry to most public venues. Securing and using it is incredibly easy for fully vaccinated visitors and shouldn’t be viewed as a barrier to travel.
Fashion Fix In Paris
We visited the newly reopened Samaritaine department store to try out the personal-shopping experience that Virtuoso advisors can provide to our clients. There are four exclusive dressing rooms in the Prestige Lounge and a personal stylist who will preplan your visit and follow up afterward.
To keep with the day’s fashion focus, we visited the Musée des Arts Décoratifs with a private docent (highly recommended), who truly brought the exhibit on Thierry Mugler to life. It’s open through April 24. If you’re in Paris, don’t miss it.
Just over an hour west of Paris is Domaine de Primard, a newly opened, 39-room eighteenth-century estate. Its proximity to Paris makes it an easy addition to any itinerary. The house itself feels French and homey, but it’s also impeccably well appointed, from the custom Gien china and Pierre Frey fabrics to the art and photography handpicked for each room.
Primard changes with the seasons. It was rainy when we visited, which made the house cozier – great weather for visiting the Susanne Kaufmann spa. In the spring and summer, the gardens will be in bloom, and guests can bike around the property and lounge by the pool.
Suite to Book
Request the Signature Suite, with large windows looking out to the Eure River behind the house and the surrounding gardens. I preferred being in the main manor house, La Maison sur l’Eure (rooms are scattered among La Maison sur l’Eure, La Maison du Lac, La Maison du Verger with its two restaurants, and the Barn), and enjoying a glass of wine before dinner by the living room fireplace.
Primard is a country estate, so there’s no reason to get very dressed up. I forgot outdoor shoes, but luckily the property has a room full of rain boots for guest use.