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Emily: My partner Alfy and I wanted to take a summer vacation, so we planned a visit to France. We paid ~$410 each for our family of 4 to fly round-trip to France in Business Class. And had a luxurious stay in a ~$1,600 per night suite for ~$160 TOTAL.
This series of posts will highlight our trip, and give you step-by-step instructions so that you too can go to Europe using miles and points! Plus, I’ll share my tips for the cheapest car rentals and the BEST credit cards to use when traveling internationally.
My cousin, Jered, and his wife had never traveled to France before (and neither had Alfy!), so we invited them to join us! The trip turned into a long double date to France on miles & points! We decided on our own “tour de France” and visited 5 cities in ~2.5 weeks.
Using Miles & Points to Visit France Trip Report Index:
- Part 1 – Introduction and Planning
- Part 2 – How to Book 4 Round-Trip Business Class Flights to Europe for ~$410 per Person
- Part 3 – United Airlines Business Class Flight Review – Newark to Paris
- Part 4 – What To Do in France
- Part 5 – Our Favorite Restaurants & Cafes
- Part 6 – Where to Stay
Where We Stayed in France
Our favorite stay was at the Hyatt in Nice, where Jered and Jen stayed in a ~$1,600 per night suite for 5 nights, for $160 TOTAL.
We used a mix of hotel points and Airbnbs for our stays in France. Hotels are ideal for overnight stays or if you want a bit of pampering. Airbnbs are perfect when traveling with groups – I love that we had breakfast together each day and saved money by stocking our fridge with snacks!
Jered: We think Airbnb is the way to go when exploring new cities – personally, we prefer it to the hotel experience because with the global proliferation of Airbnb these days, you can often find gems in the center of more residential neighborhoods that provide you with a truly local (and authentic!) experience.
The Hyatt Nice: We Saved THOUSANDS on a 5-Night Stay!
We stayed at the majestic Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée, where we used a combination of Hyatt points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Our 5-night stay only cost us ~$160 for this amazing 5-star hotel, that was right on the coast!
How to Stay at the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée with Hotel Points
I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio, used 1 free night certificate, and Daraius shared another free night certificate with us.
A room at the Hyatt Regency Nice costs 25,000 Hyatt points per night. I booked the hotel using Daraius’ account so that we could use his Diamond (now Globalist) status. Regular rooms start at ~$420+ per night!
Jen: When we were en route from Paris to Nice, Emily kept warning us that the hotel “wasn’t too nice.” Jered and I thought to ourselves – “Okay, what’s ‘not nice’ to Emily may just be mid-level to us.” Then, we got to the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée – clearly one of the nicer hotels on the Nice beach strip, with high-rising columns topped by Egyptian-esque motifs at the top.
While waiting for Emily to check in, we sat upon the plump sofa in the grandiose lounge and thought, “Okay, seriously, what is ‘not nice’ to Emily must be actually really nice to us!” And then we rode the elevator to the 7th floor, walked down the hallway to the very end, and unlocked the door to a suite bigger than our home apartment in Oakland.
It was magnificent – and so generous of Emily and Daraius to give such a gift to us as a belated wedding present since they were not able to physically attend our wedding in August 2015.
Aside from the king bed, there was an entire hallway dedicated to a walk-in closet, fully furnished living room and fully furnished dining room, and 2 toilet rooms! For those not married, you may think, “Whatever, what’s the big deal?” But let me tell you, as a married person, sometimes separate toilet and sink areas are extremely helpful. Haha!
Jered: It was soooo luxurious. For those of you who remember my comments in the Paris section about not preferring hotels –– true, I don’t prefer hotels on the average basis. But when someone offers me a suite at a Hyatt, it is certainly nicer than an Airbnb! 😉
Our Airbnb in Moustiers: The Pool Was a Nice Perk
Our Airbnb, nestled in the small town of Moustiers, was spectacular! Moustiers is located in the mountainous area of Verdon Gorge. The highlight of staying here was taking a boat out to explore the river canyon.
The Airbnb came with a small pool, and we enjoyed going for a few refreshing dips during our stay.
There were 2 bedrooms that came with queen-sized beds. Each bedroom had an en-suite bathroom.
The apartment itself was nestled between two large boulders, so we had a beautiful view.
Our Airbnb In Provence: An Old Wheat Mill From the 1500s
Jen: This house was so cool! When the host was showing us around, I felt like I was in a murder mystery movie. We went up several floors and through several doors and rooms, ending up in a back part of the house that must have been the old servants’ quarters.
With the original stonework and unique labyrinth-like layout, there was almost a spooky quality to it. I’m pretty sure all four of us made sure to turn on every light ahead of us when walking through the corridors and stairways. 😉
Our Airbnb in Paris: We Enjoyed a View of the Eiffel Tower
Jen: Our Airbnb in Paris was located on Boulevard Richard Lenoir in Bastille, a historic neighborhood that Emily recommended, and that I fell in love with right away.
I loved the classic architecture of the buildings, the winding alleyways, and the bountiful green spaces and gardens. Having lived in the almost completely concrete and metal New York City, I particularly appreciated a city’s ability to integrate nature into its urban design.
Emily: I also loved the Airbnb itself! Our flat was located on the top floor of one of Bastille’s historic residential buildings. A tiny elevator (not for the claustrophobic!) took us to the 4th floor, and we climbed a narrow but carpeted stairway to the 5th floor.
It was a 2 bedroom loft. Jen and Jered stayed in the loft since there was a climb up a steel ladder. And I didn’t want to risk it being 5 months pregnant.
Our Airbnb in Antibes: A Luxurious Retreat
Our final stop during the trip was in Antibes, which is a sleepy coastal town near Nice. I MUCH preferred it to Nice because of its more relaxed, less touristy nature.
We booked this Airbnb 2 days before our arrival, and it was the perfect place to end our trip.
I also loved the unique architectural elements in this flat. And it even came with an outdoor patio with a grill and dining table. It doesn’t get much better than this!
If you use my Airbnb referral link, you can get $40 off your next rental!
It cost ~$1,640 for the 4 of us to fly round-trip in Business Class from New York to Europe. I used a combination of miles & points from different programs to book flights for me and my family. Including AMEX Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
During our trip, we used a mix of hotel points and Airbnbs for our stays. Our favorite stay was at the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée. Jered and Jen stayed in a ~$1,600 per night suite for 5 nights, for $160 TOTAL!
Hotels are ideal if you want a bit of pampering. Airbnbs are perfect when traveling with groups. I love that during our Airbnb stays, we had breakfast together each day and saved money by stocking our fridge with snacks!
Do you have any favorite hotels or Airbnbs in France…specifically in Paris or in the South of France? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!