Fancy a dose of high romance? Book that train, pack your most understated and refined ensembles and run off to Paris for a couple of days. Hop on the ole Eurostar and in less than two and a half hours you’ll be sipping champagne with your amour in arguably Europe’s most beautiful city; the city where people go to fall in love, the place of romantic fairytales and of hotels so divine that you’ll never want to leave.
Built in 1758, the Hôtel de Crillon is the place when hip and historical meet with perfect harmony. From Paris’ most fashionable crowd to world leaders, everybody who is anybody stays here. The ornate ceilings and glittering chandeliers of the lobby hint towards the grandeur to come. The contemporary finishing touches to the building’s Louis XV-style décor and rich history, appeals not only to the style-conscious, but also those eager to sleep in a building rich in French history. Even the most exquisite of ball gowns would have to work extra hard to fit in here. A superior duplex suite overlooking the tranquil courtyard offers both the luxury and secluded romance every loved up couple craves.
Of all the fashion capitals, Paris is the most understated but have no doubt, luxury is the only way to go here. Place Vendôme is synonymous with elegance, class and sheer indulgence. The Ritz Paris is by far the world’s most famous hotel, and exceptional in every possible manner. The serenity is surprising, the grandiose atmosphere and the top-notch service ensure that this phenomenal institute feels less hotel-like and much more like a comfortable private residence, which explains why the clientèle return time and time again. If working up a sweat with your honey is a must, head down to the state-of-the-art health club which boasts the most stunning indoor swimming pool you can imagine. If the harmonic frescos are lost on you, the underwater music will have you swaying your hips as you swim.
Set aside from the boutiques of Paris’ most famous shopping street, the Plaza Athénée is the place you want to call “home” for a long weekend. Whist the hotel has everything from an Alain Ducasse restaurant to a Christian Dior spa, the location is unbeatable, particularly for those planning a shopping trip. The Plaza Athénée is a place of unabashed luxury so be prepared to be pampered, and relax knowing that the staff are dedicated to providing everything you need before you even know that you need it. If you’re planning to propose, why not choose the “Marry Me” package. A champagne breakfast and a three-course dinner via room-service are included in this package, so get practising that one-knee move! If you’re not quite there yet, this home-away-from-home offers another package that will no doubt leave singletons gasping for a mate! Not only do you get two nights in a stunning suite, the hotel offers a private mini-yacht complete with captain and champagne. Now if I only I knew how to say “Ahoy captain” in French…
If you manage to leave your hotel, you’ll discover that not all clichés are exaggerated. When it comes to France and food, this is one cliché to believe. The French know how to cook and despite their perfectly-portioned frames, they also like to eat. Whatever you think you dislike, try it in Paris and if you’re on a diet, stay the hell at home! This is not the time to count calories or worry about what you’re tasting. Get a fork and tuck in! Whilst I recommend that you steer clear of tourist-traps, why not choose a lovely little bistro to dine at as you stroll through Paris? If, however, you’re looking for a sophisticated and centrally-located eatery, I particularly recommend Market, a French-Asian fusion restaurant which offers belt-loosening dishes and intimacy in equal measure. The foie gras and fig dish is a pairing made for the Gods!
No trip to Paris would be complete without an afternoon indulgence in the form of what is arguably France’s most famous sweet – le macaron. With branches all over the city, Ladurée is the place on every sweet freak’s list. Pair the traditional flavours with packaging so pretty and you’ll end up buying 30 tasty delights just to have the box! Pierre Hermé on the other hand is known for his innovative creations. Olive oil and passion fruit, anyone? Yes, please! One tip: don’t even consider trying these without a glass of champagne. It’s simply not done here.
Hôtel de Crillon, 10, Place De La Concorde, 75008 Paris, +33 1 44 71 15 00. Website.
Hôtel Ritz Paris, 15, Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris, +33 1 43 16 30 30. Website.
Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 25, Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, +33 1 53 67 66 65. Website.
Market, 15, Avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris, +33 1 56 43 40 90. Website.
Ladurée, 16, rue Royale, 75008 Paris, +33 1 42 60 21 79. Website.
Pierre Hermé, 4, Rue Cambon, 75001 Paris, +33 1 43 54 47 77. Website.