Paris is not only one of the most romantic cities; it’s also the fashion capital of the world. Rodney Clark uncovers its highlights, from stylish boutiques and even more stylish hotels to international cuisine and red-carpet cultural events.
SLEEP There are many things that one will never want for in Paris—the perfect macaroon, a chilled glass of pink champagne and truly wonderful hotels. La Réserve Paris (www.lareserve-paris.com) is where those who want to live like a local stay when they are in town. Made up of 10 exquisite apartments, each is fully furnished with everything to make it feel like a home away from home. However, if you prefer to have the world’s most-sought-after luxury fashion boutiques on your doorstep, then the Mandarin Oriental on Rue Saint-Honoré (www.mandarinoriental.com/paris) is for you. Relax in the Jardin des Tuileries or take in the sights at the Louvre, which are both around the corner. And there is nowhere better to soak up a little Hollywood glamour than at Le Royal Monceau (www.leroyalmonceau.com). This could be Philippe Starck’s greatest achievement to date with a collection of chandeliers hung over the grand staircase, classic French muted tones in the bedrooms and playful signature touches throughout. And because the hotel is intrinsically connected to the film industry, don’t be surprised if you see an A-lister saddle up to Le Long Bar.
Soak up the spectacular views from your bedroom while living like a local at La Réserve Paris
EAT On a sunny summer afternoon, there is no place like the garden café at Ralph’s (www.ralphlaurenstgermain.com, located in Ralph Lauren’s flagship store), where Americana—and flawlessly executed classic American fare—is flecked with Parisian sensibility. The newly opened Gilles & Boissier-designed Kinugawa (www.kinugawa.fr) offers a modern take on traditional Japanese cuisine and serves up some of the best sushi and sashimi in the city. On Sundays, head to La Scène (www.restaurant-la-scene.fr) at the Prince de Galles hotel for an indulgent brunch that is a multi-room cornucopia of irresistible gourmet treats, including everything from fresh oysters, stone crab and beef sliders to eggs, crêpes, cheese, charcuterie and a dessert room that even Marie Antoinette would have approved of. Enjoy pre- or post-dinner drinks at Le Meurice’s Bar 228 (www.dorchestercollection.com). Take a seat at the bar and ask about the time Dalí took up residence at the hotel—you won’t be disappointed. And for a three-Michelin-star gastronomic journey that will not be easily forgotten, look no further than Epicure at Le Bristol (www.lebristolparis.com). Chef Éric Fréchon can do no wrong.
Dine on American fare with Parisian flair at Ralph’s, the restaurant at Ralph Lauren’s flagship in St Germain
SHOP Whether looking for haute couture, monogrammed luggage or gourmet delicacies, anything seems possible in Paris where each charming store, cobbled street and arrondissement offers something more wonderful than the last. The nicest shops are discovered while wandering through bustling neighbourhoods such as Abbesses in Montmartre and Le Marais, where vintage shopping is best done at a leisurely pace. Paris is the fashion capital of the world so you will never be far from your next purchase, but it’s some of the luxury brands’ flagships that are worth seeking out. Tiffany & Co. (www.tiffany.com) has its store on the Champs-Élysées, complete with six salons, private viewing rooms and a majestic, custom chandelier that is worth the visit alone. Don’t miss Hermès’ Left Bank boutique (17 Rue de Sèvres), located in the former art deco swimming pool of Hôtel Lutétia. Among the giant wooden cones you will find scarves, perfumes, jewellery, handbags and homewares as well as one-off pieces. Valentino’s first men’s-only store, Valentino Uomo (273 Rue Saint-Honoré) is also well worth a visit. And no trip to Paris is complete without a trip to Goyard (233 Rue Saint-Honoré), a favourite of the French aristocracy since the 18th century.
DO In Paris, the summer months are filled with exciting annual events and there is only one way to experience them, in style with Parnassus Luxury Travel (www.parnassustravel.com). Here, a concierge can accommodate nearly every whim—think VIP seating, exclusive entry into premieres and parties as well as private viewings and gourmet tours. Music aficionados won’t want to miss the Paris Jazz Festival (www.parisjazzfestival.fr), which takes place on Saturdays and Sundays in Parc Floral throughout June and July. Whether you prefer blockbusters or indie films, the Paris Cinéma International Film Festival (www.pariscinema.org) is quickly becoming one of the most important events on the international circuit with red carpets, premieres and glamorous parties galore.