One Indulgent Day in Paris

Words by Dalene Heck / Photography by Pete Heck
If you had one day in Paris to run around and do whatever you like, what would you do to treat yourself?

This was the question put to us by the folks at IHG Rewards, and it was one that we barely hesitated to answer. With over a quarter million points to burn – we looked beyond the usual offers of hotel stays and the like – and turned them into purely indulgent experiences.

first up, a macaroon class.

Is there anything more Parisian than the macaroon?

Chef Marthe Brohan has been perfecting her recipe for years, frequenting the shops of Pierre Hermé (the acclaimed “Picasso of Pastry”) to taste his wares and improve on them for herself. “He uses too much sugar in his raspberry macaroon,” she said confidently, and stepped up to prove her claim. For three hours we studied under her tutelage and got our hands dirty with the luscious pink and beige meringue.

The experience was…in a word…precise. Nothing about executing the recipe was too difficult, but needed to be done with great attention to detail. Thermometers needed to be watched for exact temperatures, the oven needed to be opened for a few seconds at a time to let the moisture out, and some ingredients should have been added in short stages and not all at once (learned that one the hard way).

This new skill (and expert recipe to keep!) is not something we will likely use in the near future – the equipment required is more than we can carry at this point – but it was an utterly extravagant afternoon (and next few days, as we ended up with 98 macaroons to consume).

“He uses too much sugar in his raspberry macaroon,” she said confidently, and stepped up to prove her claim. For three hours we studied under her tutelage and got our hands dirty with the luscious pink and beige meringue.

Macaron Meringue
Filling Macarons
Final Product from Macaron Class
Pink Macarons
Macron Box

and then, more food

Sweets must be balanced with something more hearty, right? If I’m not mistaken, that is an unbreakable rule.

While a fondue is more Swiss than it is French, being that we were in the center of the wine and cheese universe, we saw no reason why we couldn’t combine them both and still call it a Parisian experience.

(But just to be sure, we added more wine. And a cheese plate to start with.)

Fondue Dinner

one final shot of romance: up the eiffel tower for sunset

We had spent almost a month in Paris total, without partaking in this most touted experience.

I’m glad we waited. (But without waiting in line, our IHG Rewards points bought us skip-the-line passes.) The clouds that plagued most of our three weeks in the capital city broke that night, and we were rewarded with a dazzling array of oranges and purples as the sun descended. There truly is no better way to appreciate the City of Lights.

Eiffel Spotlight over Paris

how to do it

We admit to being total “travel hacking” virgins, but that obviously has to change.

IHG Rewards make it simple. We could earn through their expansive network of almost 5,000 hotels, plus via partner airlines and some other great businesses that span the globe.

And we don’t need to spend them on just airlines or hotels either. The macaroon class and skip-the-line passes were covered by their concierge service, and the dinner was paid for via a gift card issued with points. It really is that easy!

The points we used for this indulgent day in Paris were gifted to us by IHG Rewards Club. However, all opinions (and pounds gained, unfortunately), are all our own.

8 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • September 11 2014

    Great deal, and skipping the line is critical at the Eiffel Tower

  • Carmel
    September 11 2014

    Yeah, I could handle that day. 🙂 Did you happen to walk away with a recipe for those macaroons? It’s one of my fall/winter recipe goals.

  • September 12 2014

    I have what some might call a MACAROON PROBLEM and this post would probably be a trigger for me, if only macaroons were for sale anywhere within a thousand mile radius of Koh Tao, Thailand 🙂

    Luckily I ate a lifetime supply this summer in Belgium. It never occurred to me to take a class, but now I’m dying to!
    Alex recently posted..See the Mediterranean Sea: Diving in Malta

  • September 12 2014

    Beautiful photos of Paris! The rewards were definitely worth it!

    I used to make macaroons 3 times a week when I worked in restaurants. I think I’ve had my fill! 😉
    Joy @MyTravelingJoys recently posted..Market Mayhem in L’Isle sur la Sorgue, France

  • September 15 2014

    Macaroons are my favorite things! Never tried making them though, it seems so hard!
    Adrienne @ AdrienneAway recently posted..24 Hours in Avignon

  • September 15 2014

    I love macarons and fondue so much. Would love to learn how to make them! Excellent photos, by the way!

  • Diana Edelman
    September 15 2014

    That sounds incredibly indulgent. I am an awful travel hack but this sounds so perfect for a Paris vacation!!

  • September 16 2014

    Oooooooh la la! You had me at macaroon! I’m no chef, but the fact that you took home 98 macaroons might convince me to try this class next time I’m in Paris. Who knew you could use IHG Rewards like this?!

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