So now with as much stowed away as possible and before Master Starke moves out, there's a little time to share those bubbles.
Paris wasn't the first stop on the journey. It had started in Brussels. A very quick whirl through, time to catch up with old friends, eat some mussels and stock up on chocolate. We didn't really do it justice only managing to scratch the surface and it seemed well worth a second look.
Our bed at The Royal Windsor was very comfortable and if the turn down treat wasn't as big as the one here it was still pretty tasty.
The hotel was just off the Grand Place and close to the Galleries St Hubert, a great place for chocolate and accessory shopping, though the former could challenge your waistline and the latter your wallet.
With Mr Starke busy elsewhere I visited the Beaux Arts Museum. I loved the old Flemish Masters and the new exhibitions.
Paris. Many visits but this was the first solely for leisure, and also the first at a five star hotel. It was a very tranquil way to arrive. Taxi swooshing from the Gare du Nord through (for Paris) fairly traffic free streets, out past some Paris icons to the 16th and a relaxed check in and Earl Grey tea while our bags found their way to our room.
The hotel Raphael ( or Chevalier, if you're a fan of Wes Anderson)
And yes I know it's kitschy and cliched but the view of the golden twinkling tower from the rooftop terrace just can't be beaten. No photos, that one is for your imagination. The terrace was officially closed for the winter but we were encouraged to wrap up warm and go up for a look. We arrived at the stroke of the hour. Sometimes things just fall into place. Five minutes of sparkle.
This doesn't capture it at all