When you land in Charles de Gaulle airport, taxiing to the gate can feel longer than the flight. It’s big. And if it’s not a long taxi, it means you might be closer to home than the gate.

That was us on this trip. And unfortunately, before deplaning we had to wait until the wheelchairs were available. My daughter Izzy recently had ankle surgery from a cross country running injury, and much to her despair (“Dad it’s embarrassing”) we were on the wheelchair list. We were joined by all the other crips including an overweight gentleman crutching forward with a duty-free bag of smokes, chocolates, and whiskey.

Thankfully after we took a shuttle bus to the gate, we were met by our pre-booked Meet and Greet representative. He whisked us through customs, gathered our bags and introduced us to our driver.

In case you miss home, driving into Paris during rush hour is like Boston traffic with Star Wars speeder bikes from Return of the Jedi. Motorcyclists fly by as if you’re a tree on Endor. Horns beep, lights flash, and fenders, like ours, are boot-kicked to express displeasure. Bienvenue en France.

Arriving at Le Bristol Hotel you can take a deep breath and be thankful you’re there.

My in-laws Dick and Debbie Young met us in the lobby as we proceeded to glorious Café Antonia while waiting for our room. A Café crème and tomato and cheese omelet later, our room was ready. We unpacked a few items and kept moving. Because it’s always a good idea to keep moving on the first morning. Typically, we walk to lunch at the Mini Palais but this time (reminder, one of us is on crutches) we took a taxi to Paul Bert. 

“In another life, should I come back as a restaurant, I’d like to be the Bistrot Paul Bert, my idea of the quintessential Paris bistro,” explains Patricia Wells in her must-have Food Lover’s Guide to Paris app. “While meat and game reign here, fish lovers will also find a good selection—sole meuniere, scallops roasted whole in their shell…His classic version of steak frites is among the best in town.” You can see from my pics below why.

After lunch is always a good time to rest from a full night of travel in preparation for dinner. It’s also a nice time to stroll Saint Honore to work up your appetite. It would be a shame to show up to dinner stuffed like a goose.

To get the evening off on the right foot, the bar at Le Bristol is a perfect meeting place. If, for no other reason, to sip their house made rum cocktail—an amuse-bouche in a glass—to motivate an on-time rendezvous.

Our first dinner on this trip was at one of our favorites, the Shang Palace within the Shangri-La Hotel—a beautiful palace hotel located in the ritzy 16th arrondissement. On the Right Bank of the Seine, it overlooks the Eiffel Tower where after dinner, if you time it right, you’ll see it glitter with diamond-sparkling lights displayed every hour, on the hour, for five minutes.

Ordering at the Shang can be a challenge. Thankfully Becky ordered a number of dishes for the table, including the must have Peking duck. The wine list can be daunting too, but don’t be intimidated. The sommelier is there to guide you, as is the waiter. Relax. Enjoy your champagne. You’re in Paris.

Read more on my recent trip to Paris in my recent post: Paris Update: Notre-Dame, Protests and Your Survival Guy

Originally posted on Your Survival Guy.