Charley Boorman is an ambassador for the American Express® Platinum Card and a Cardmember. Here he shares his experiences and the one thing to do in Paris.
The French capital is a melting pot of cultural diversity and is jam-packed with things to do and see. It is little wonder then that 45 million people visit the City of Light every year. ‘Whenever I journey away from home, I am always looking for new and exciting adventures,’ says Charley. ‘I love seeing cities and places from a different perspective. On a recent trip to Paris, I discovered the one thing you just can’t miss if you are in town: a private tour of the city in a quintessentially French car, the Citroën 2CV. ‘First, we did the classics. My guide drove me straight up to the Arc de Triomphe, Paris’s monument to those who fought for France from the time of the Napoleonic Wars and which stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle. Although circling the hair-raising roundabout with the car’s top down is certainly not for the faint-hearted, for me it was a really fun way to see this famous monument.
‘Next we headed to the Eiffel Tower. Finished in 1889 for the World’s Fair, the 1,063ft iron structure is the tallest building in Paris. Considered something of an eyesore by Parisians of the day, the Eiffel Tower has since become one of the world’s most recognised and best-loved landmarks. Driving around the Eiffel Tower in the Citroën was something else. I could really see all the intricate details that ordinarily I would never have the opportunity to see.
‘The best thing about this private tour is that it offers a chance to see a side of Paris you might not otherwise see. My driver knew all the hidden gems and secret places tucked away down side streets that aren’t on the usual traveller’s itinerary. One of my favourite was a patisserie called Ladurée Bonaparte, located in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés district. Founded in 1862, this patisserie and tea room produces the capital’s finest sweet treats. Their macaroons come highly recommended so we popped in for a box. Apparently the French macaroon differs from others as it is filled with cream or butter, like a sandwich cookie. ‘Other highlights of my journey included getting up close to Opéra Garnier, one of the architectural masterpieces of the 19th century. According to my guide, in 1896, the opera house’s grand chandelier fell when a counterweight failed, killing someone in the audience but inspiring Gaston Leroux to write his novel The Phantom of the Opera.
‘The great thing about the tour was that we got far away from the mobs of tourists and managed to dodge the infamous Parisian traffic. I really can’t recommend this way of seeing the city enough. As distinctive in Paris as a yellow cab in New York or a gondola in Venice, you really feel like a Parisian when you’re zooming around the city with the car’s roof open. The tour offers panoramic views of the city and your private guide will accommodate your every whim – be it a photo stop or a crêpe along the way.
‘Thank goodness for my American Express Platinum Card and the team who arranged my entire trip to Paris. I would never have known about this great way to tour the city without them, and it really is the one thing you have to do.’
For more information on the tours, visit: 4roues-sous-1parapluie.com
I arrived in Paris, thanks to my Platinum Card, in truly stress-free style. The team planned and arranged my whole trip, sorted out a seriously great hotel, not to mention a room upgrade, which gave me the most stunning views of the city. All I had to do was turn up at the airport, where they had of course given me access to the lounge.
I understand the time and energy that goes into travelling both for work and personally. With the Platinum Card your precious time is freed up because the team will organise everything for you.
Time is always precious. When you’re travelling, it’s invaluable. For business, pleasure, or both, make the most of your travelling time with the American Express Platinum Card.
Let the Platinum Service plan your journey with precision, opening doors to a more enriched travelling experience. Enjoy the flexibility of a broad range of rewards and the peace of mind that comes with comprehensive travel protection.
For more information, visit amex.co.uk/platinum
The only way to travel
Spend £1,500 on The Platinum Card® in the first three months and earn enough Membership Rewards® points1 for a return flight to New York* or two return flights to Europe.**
The Platinum Card is the ultimate travel companion for affluent professionals seeking premium service and protection at home and abroad.
It’s the one thing you’ll want to take when you travel. It comes with a dedicated, responsive and knowledgeable holiday planning service.
The Platinum Card offers:
• tailored holiday planning, car hire, preferential hotel rooms and rates and access to over 600 airport lounges worldwide
• time-saving services, from booking theatre and concert tickets to securing travel reservations
• Membership Rewards points that you earn as you use the Card and can redeem on both luxury and everyday items
• extensive insurance benefits for you and your family and up to five supplementary Cardmembers and their families.
For more information, visit: amex.co.uk/platinum
* Return flight to New York — Example based on airline transfer redemption with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club as of 14 June 2010. Normal redemption passenger taxes, fees, charges and surcharges apply (subject to change). All travel is strictly subject to availability. The number of redemption seats available on each flight is restricted and it is possible that the seats allocated on a particular flight may be fully booked, even though seats are still available in other booking classes. Some flights may have no availability on certain routes, and popular dates (i.e. weekends, school and public holidays) will fill quickly and Virgin Atlantic cannot guarantee availability. Membership Rewards Points can also be used to pay for tickets and packages, including taxes and surcharges and on any airline that is offered through American Express Travel. Certain airlines are not available through American Express Travel. They can also be used in part payment for a ticket.
** European flights — Based on airline transfer redemption with British Airways Executive Club as of 14 June 2010. Excludes taxes, fees, charges and surcharges. Terms and Conditions apply. Membership Rewards Points can also be used to pay for tickets and packages, including taxes and surcharges and on any airline that is offered through American Express Travel. Certain airlines are not available through American Express Travel. They can also be used in part payment for a ticket.
The Platinum Charge Card is provided by American Express Services Europe Limited. Registered Office: Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 9AX. American Express Services Europe Limited is authorised in the United Kingdom by the Financial Services Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009 (reference number 415532) for the provision of payment services
1 For the Platinum Card, the 40,000 Membership Rewards bonus points will be awarded onto your account once you have been approved and you have spent and charged £1,500 within the first three months of Cardmembership. Please note that it can take up to one month for bonus points to be awarded to your account. Valid until midnight on 26 July 2010.Terms and Conditions of Membership Rewards apply.