Hotels with Character in Paris

Katie spent ages doing some research on hotels in Paris for a friend who is going on honeymoon. They are in the range 100-150 euro range, are independent and each has a character of its own.

Hotel Grandes Ecoles
113-138 Euros. Breakfast extra. Private parking 30 euros per day.
Latin Quarter. Very ‘french’ style – full on floral wallpapers, antique style beds. lovely looking courtyard garden. Is probably likely to be very busy. Gets good reviews, with people getting a bit anxious about booking it – so take special care about confirmation with this one I guess.

Hotel Chat Noir
About 160 euros. Breakfast extra.
Pigalle area – down the hill from Montmartre – it is the red light district, so perhaps not ideal! People say good things about it though, and it looks contemporary & quite stylish.

Hotel du Petit Moulin
From 190 euros. Breakfast extra. Free private parking.
Marais area. Design by Lacroix. I include this, as I am a bit obsessed with the cool website, and now want to stay there myself!

Hotel Eldorado
50-70 euros. Breakfast extra. Private parking 25 euros per 24hours
Place de Clichy area. ‘shabby chic’, looks a bit more like a B&B than a hotel. nice looking courtyard. ask for a room overlooking the courtyard, not the street. ‘ethnic’ decor.

Hotel Bretonnerie / Hotel Chopin
These 2 hotels share the same website. breakfast extra for both.
Bretonnerie: from 125 euros. Marais area. antique style furnishings, but quite plush/tasteful.
Chopin: 88-102 euros. opera/grand boulevards area. Quite simply furnished. Quiet rooms (none are street facing). bit more ‘budget’.

Hotel Saint Thomas d’Aquin
120-130 euros. breakfast extra. Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Looks nicely furnished, and in a nice area just south of the river on the left bank.

Hotel Therese
From 150 euros. Louvre area, very central. breakfast extra. Contemporary furnishing.

And finally…
This is a good article from the Guardian website, with a list of 10 good hotels in paris for about £100.

Identity confusion

We get more cold calls from our cable supplier (Virgin Media) than any other company. The only way of getting rid of them, at least until the start of their next campaign is to take the call. So I reluctantly listened through the spiel of the polite Indian girl, which went something like this:

“Shall I use your first or last name?”

“First name is fine.”

“Okay then Mr Edward…”

Making Music

As some people know, I spend much of my time engaged in making music. By that, I don’t necessarily mean actually doing anything like playing an instrument. No, most of the time my brain is just creating an eternal musical monologue. This occasionally spills out into the real world in the form of out-of-key ‘singing’, tapping and random (to everyone else) musical related comments and questions (“Is Steve Howe’s solo work as good as his early work with Yes?”). All of this is rather annoying, so it is always a pleasure when I get a chance to pick up a guitar and try to actually record something. Well, it’s a pleasure until I get into a complete knot doing 58 vocal takes all of which are out of key, time, and any normal definition of music.

I’ve gradually come to discover that some of my problem is due to the pressure which these sporadic burst of opportunity present. I must finish this track, now, faster and before my absurd self-imposed deadline. This often means recording a song which hasn’t been written, on an instrument which I haven’t yet learnt to play.

What is the solution to this? Well last night, I realised what most of the musical world worked out centuries ago – write the music first. I’m not great at writing music or remembering melody, chords, lyrics (though paper helps with that one), so I record it. This usually ends in the cycle described in the previous paragraph. Last night, however, I was recording ideas on my computer’s built in microphone, which is such poor quality that you could never dream of using it. Just to be sure, though, I pressed record just as the washing machine hit hyper-velocity spin cycle and for good measure checked that Katie was banging pots and pans in the kitchen.

The resulting demo makes recordings of Robert Johnson seem high-fidelity. The lyrics are unusable, the human beat-box a joke, and the guitar playing not exactly metronomic The melody as stable as the washing machine. But hey, it’s the longest thing I’ve recorded so far, it only took a couple of hours, and it’s escaped from my eternal internal musical monologue.

Now, how many songs did Roger Taylor write for Queen?