Category Archives: Travel

Hôtel du Temps in Paris Stands Out as a Favourite Address

It began when a friend sent me a link for a photography contest that offered two roundtrips flights to Paris. I brushed off the idea and left the contest to the pros. But friends are persistent. She reminded me about it again, I entered, and won. The rules were simple: post a pic of Paris on any social media channel, tag the airline, and write one or two sentences about why the photo represents the city.

My entry:

I’m from France—I still hold dual citizenship—and I’ve been there many times, but always with my family. When I told a girlfriend we were combining the winning tickets with two others to take the kids on a quick trip she told me I was ridiculous. Two free flights are an unexpected bonus meant for parents to use to run away together, especially when those parents haven’t been away alone for over 16 years. She was right. My husband and I left the kids and the dog and our responsibilities in capable hands and left for Paris. The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.

Instead of spending the entire vacation with family, we planned three nights in the city. I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person so planning meant bookmarking tonnes of sites and talking A LOT about the kind of place we’d like to stay in, what area of the city we wanted to discover, and then waiting until three or four days before departure before actually booking our room. It works for us.

My husband booked our stay with clear direction, “I want a small and charming hotel kind of like Sabarot’s hotel in Saint Pierreville.” No pressure at all. You can keep your grand entrances and marble stairways and chandeliers. I want to sit at quiet tables and talk with the proprietors or just be left alone as I heap fresh apricot jam onto warm baguette at a sunny, corner table. Also, I don’t want crowds or tourists. Good luck with that in Paris, right? The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.

He found l’Hôtel du Temps in Paris (which is everything I pictured without having to say it) in the 9e arrondissement and it now stands out as a favourite address. It’s in a neighbourhood where there are more locals than visitors, and where you’ll find some of the best baguettes in Paris. The man did well.

The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.

L’Hôtel du Temps is on a quiet street that angles off from the larger Rue la Fayette and you need to know where to look in order to find it. There are no large signs posted out front to detract from the facade. It’s a clean and refurbished, 23-room hotel that backs onto a small courtyard, with a tiny entrance, a small and neat reception—that’s part of the café/bar area—and an old spiral staircase leading to a former cave/basement, which now has a second life as a cozy nightclub.
The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.

The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.

The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.
The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.
The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.

In the evenings the bartender serves cocktails at the main floor bar and on the weekend there’s music in the cave. The café area is tiled in green and white—the hotel’s colour scheme— there are old wooden floorboards in the bar, there’s a row of ETs (yes, the alien) peeking at patrons from the top shelf of the bar, and the entire hotel has a decidedly cool, art deco feel. In other words, it’s perfect and I didn’t want to leave.

The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.

The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.

The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.
Practical Info

Location: l’Hôtel du Temps is at 11 Rue de Montholon, Paris 9e

Good to know:

Breakfast is served every morning in the café/bar until 11am. A typical breakfast of croissants, baguettes, jams, fresh-squeezed juice, and good coffee for an extra 10€ per person. It’s worth it.

Be prepared for a classic, Parisian elevator (read, small), but the stairs are more fun to take anyway.

The staff is welcoming and accommodating, so ask if you want to know something.

In the area:

  • The hotel is a 15 minutes walk from either the Gare du Nord or Gare de l’Est.
  • The two metro stations steps from the front door are Cadet and Poissonière, both are on the 7 Line, and they’ll will take you anywhere in Paris.
  • L’Opéra is a 15 minute walk, Montmartre 30 minutes, and Jardin des Tuileries is a 45 minute walk. Walking in Paris is part of the attraction.
  • There are great restaurants in the area, but reserve a table because they’re popular. The restaurants are small and the food is delicious.
  • Bakeries, local shops, and parks all around.

Who it’s for: Couples, friends, or families with children old enough to have their own rooms.

My two cents: One of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in, with excellent and warm service. The Hôtel du Temps is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed, it's in a great, somewhat off-the-beaten path area of Paris, and welcomes guests with excellent service, delicious breakfast, and a funky vibe.

That Time Jason Priestley and I Went to Dominican Republic

In October 2014 I travelled to the Dominican Republic with Proctor & Gamble Children’s Safe Drinking Water program and, oh yes Jason Priestley. (Yes! THAT Jason Priestley for you 90210 fans.) We saw first-hand how desperate the need for clean drinking water is in many parts of the world and to learn what P&G CSDW is doing to help.

To help create more awareness about the program, P&G CSDW enlisted the help of Jason Priestley — father, actor, Canadian, and longstanding supporter of clean water issues –  and he’s been working with them since April 2014. Priestly hadn’t been to the field to see how the program worked in affected communities, and the new partnership in the D.R. between CSDW and BRA made it the perfect time for him to visit. So, yes, I did travel with Jason Priestley to the Dominican Republic and we had a drink (of clean water) together.

That Time Jason Priestley and I Went to Dominican Republic to take part in a P&G clean drinking water campaign for children and underprivileged communities. |humanitarian|social programs|philanthropy

 

The world is not black and white when it comes to helping people. When an organization whose business it is to succeed in business becomes involved in environmental or humanitarian causes their motives are questioned, and in certain instances the questions are justified. A business that profits from killing whales, for instance, cannot convince me they don’t conceal a murky agenda if they become involved in an oceans welfare campaign. Can huge, multinational corporations do social good through community outreach initiatives?

I went to observe and write about this initiative to deliver potable drinking water to communities in desperate need. But I went prepared to critique and watch closely, not write an advertorial; I wasn’t about to be wooed by a smooth-talking charlatan. To the huge benefit of the people who need safe drinking water — and for me — there weren’t any charlatans around, just genuinely concerned people, passionate about helping others.

That Time Jason Priestley and I Went to Dominican Republic to take part in a P&G clean drinking water campaign for children and underprivileged communities. |humanitarian|social programs|philanthropy

That Time Jason Priestley and I Went to Dominican Republic to take part in a P&G clean drinking water campaign for children and underprivileged communities. |humanitarian|social programs|philanthropy

I’ve travelled extensively all over the world, visiting remote and sometimes impoverished places to immerse myself in countries and their culture, but the disturbing gulf between the haves and have-nots in the Dominican Republic was eye opening.

The P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water (CSDW) program began ten years ago using water purification packets developed by P&G in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More children die from diseases caused by drinking dirty water than Malaria, HIV, and AIDS combined and nearly one billion people lack clean water worldwide. To date the CSDW Program has provided seven billion litres of clean, drinking water and saved an estimated 42,000 lives.

The leader of this program is Allison Tummon Kamphuis, who stepped in to lead the program in 2008 after her predecessor’s retirement. Tummon Kamphuis travels extensively to disaster-stricken and under-developed regions around the world, and she is passionate in her desire to see people everywhere have access to potable water. I had three days to talk with her and she’s one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. You know when someone vibrates with commitment and enthusiasm, yet still retains a realistic view of how the world works and how she needs to navigate it to bring about change? Tummon Kamphuis is exactly like that.

That Time Jason Priestley and I Went to Dominican Republic to take part in a P&G clean drinking water campaign for children and underprivileged communities. |humanitarian|social programs|philanthropy

A quick aside about the water purification packets: In essence it’s a powder that mimics what our water treatment plants do, but on a smaller scale. One packet can clean 10 litres of water — which is what a family of 4-5 uses daily — and make it potable. The powder removes waterborne bacteria, waterborne viruses, and protozoa, eliminates disease-causing microorganisms, reduces diarrheal disease incidences, and removes dirt and other pollutants. Cool, right? Cool doesn’t begin to describe actually seeing this in action or sharing a drink of cleaned water with community members and the rest of our group.

Allison Tummon Kamphuis is a member of the Clinton Initiative and met Ulrick Gaillard, founder of the Batey Relief Alliance (BRA) — members of the Clinton Initiative — when they both attended the Global Health Topic dinner in 2013 at the annual meeting in New York. Gaillard approached the CSDW and proposed incorporating clean water into the batey community programs BRA already had in place. The partnership between the CSDW and BRA began in the summer of 2014; it benefits 31,000 people, and is an ideal partnership, according to Tummon Kamphuis, because the BRA already has existing programs along with the trust of the community.

The batey communities we visited are all part of the larger community of Don Juan and approximately 1½ hours from Santo Domingo. They are made up of people who were former sugar cane plantation workers; most of them are Haitians or Dominicans of Haitian descent. They were left without work or resources when the sugar plantations folded or left the Dominican Republic and are some of the most marginalized people in the D.R. Unemployment is rampant, health care is difficult to come by and expensive, and the rate of disease — such as HIV/AIDS — is higher in these communities than elsewhere in the Dominican Republic. As a way to help, the Batey Relief Alliance was founded in 1997 and the community clinic opened in 2005. The clinic currently serves 12,000 families per year.

That Time Jason Priestley and I Went to Dominican Republic to take part in a P&G clean drinking water campaign for children and underprivileged communities. |humanitarian|social programs|philanthropy

We met three families who spoke to us of their experience using the clean water packets. The first family has been a part of the program since its introduction; we met Segunda Abad and her daughter, Odali Almarante at their home. Both women were keen to tell us about improvements they’ve noticed to their skin health as well as having fewer digestive issues and stomach pains. Abad has a spring on her land, which she shares with neighbours, and though the water looked clear when we visited, Almarante — who served as our guide around the property — told us that it is full of particles and pollutants following a rain. The BRA teaches community members how to use the packets and community members, like Almarante, pay it forward by becoming Community Health Promoters who help their neighbours learn how and why to use the packets.

I asked the families with children, “Do your children understand why you’re using the packets?” And they all do, as far as age allows. The moms — it was all moms and young women — who were demonstrating how the packets work and helping their neighbours learn how to make clean water, were just as invested in the why as the how.

To anyone who can’t look past a corporate giant being responsible for this campaign: Isn’t it time to leave thinking in absolutes to the adolescents? We’re adults who have the ability to discern a bigger picture. In this case the bigger picture is that there are people in the world — a few minutes outside that 5-star resort we’ve vacationed at — who cannot provide safe drinking water for their children. That means their children have less of a chance of being healthy, living to adulthood, finishing school, maybe continuing their education, and starting families, than our children do. The corporate giant has a valuable program in place and the clout to partner with governments, local humanitarian agencies, and other corporate giants to provide tangible help.

That Time Jason Priestley and I Went to Dominican Republic to take part in a P&G clean drinking water campaign for children and underprivileged communities. |humanitarian|social programs|philanthropy

What can we do?

Don’t stop going to 5-Star resorts, but be aware of what’s outside the walls and inform yourself of small ways — small measures create big change — you can help before leaving on a trip.

Look for social good campaigns that can easily be incorporated into your daily life. Not everyone can write a big cheque, but everyone can make decisions that have a big impact. P&G CSDW partnered with Walmart Canada Clean Water for one year — April 2014 to March 2015 — and for every purchase of a P&G household needs product from Walmart, a donation of one day of clean water will me made. The added benefit of this partnership is the awareness it raises for this global crisis.

Canada is water-rich and most Canadians have access to safe drinking water. Remember that, and value the resource. The more we value it, the more aware future generations will be that it’s something to protect and something everyone should have access to.

This article was originally published at yummymummyclub.ca.

Photo Escape: Mont-Chiran

Where should we escape to today? I’m in the mood for clean air and open spaces — it happens a lot — so let’s take off for the mountains and the observatory of Mont-Chiran in the Alpes de Haute Provence.

Come along …. you’re dawdling.

Mind the traffic; sheep are notorious road hogs. And stop to pick flowers on the drive, it’s a good way to get your mountain legs — same as sea legs only less wet.

Road to the Observatory on Mont-Chiran, , Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

Don’t forget to double-check signposts along the way. They almost certainly (fingers crossed) haven’t been turned around by the wind.

Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

You didn’t think you could drive the entire way, did you?

Gateway to Mont-Chiran Observatory and Refuge, Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

We’ve finally arrived! Let’s ask the resident astronomer to show us the telescope. During the day the sun puts on a solar flare light show, but it’s at night that the skies really show off.

Observatory, Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

Looking at stars is exhausting, so it’s a good thing the gîte tucked to the side of the observatory serves refreshments and keeps restorative games on hand. You can unroll your sleeping bag and spend the night if you’re too tired to wander back down the mountain.

Inside the Refuge at the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Observatory, Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

Bathroom break! X (or cloud) marks the spot.

Mont-Chiran Observatory lavatories, Inside the Refuge at the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Observatory, Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

It was worth the drive, wasn’t it?

compass, Inside the Refuge at the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Observatory, Road to the Observatory of Mont-Chiran, Alpes de Haute Provence, France, mountains, Verdon, photography

 

Where should we go next week?

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