Arts & Culture
Luxury lovers’ guide to Paris
If there’s one thing the French capital does better than romance, it’s luxury. From triple cream brie and mouthwatering macarons to haute-couture and designer boutiques, there’s no denying Parisians are connoisseurs of the finer things in life. So, don your best threads and your favourite beret as we hit the arrondissements of Paris for a good dose of luxury.
Mon Hotel Paris
A luxurious escape in the City of Lights demands a hotel that’s fit for a Queen. Where better than Mon Hotel Paris – a boutique hotel just a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe. My travel buddy and I do star jumps over our free room upgrade and decide that scoring a 25% discount is the perfect excuse to buy a killer pair of Christian Louboutin heels. No prizes for guessing our next stop.
A fashionista’s paradise
The shoe section at upmarket department store Galeries Lafayette is enough to make a shoe addict weak at the knees. Said to be the largest in the world, the plush showroom is home to 150 brands of shoes, 75 of which are exclusive to the store. Spending the entire day here is very tempting, but we have more shopping to do at the cooler-than-cool Haut Marais district around rue Charlot (3rd). The Marais is one of the city’s oldest and most gorgeous districts and immediately gets our seal of approval. Galleries, trendy eateries and artisan boutiques are all the rage here. For fashion worth swooning over, our top picks are Anikalena Skarstrom, Yves Andrieux & Vincent Jalbert and Pring. While in the area, we can’t resist picking up some fresh strawberries from one of the oldest markets in Paris (Marche des Enfants Rouges: 39, Rue de Bretagne).
According to British Francophile Rachel Khoo, the Marais district’s Place des Vosges is a picturesque picnic spot. She suggests grabbing a world-famous falafel wrap from the Rue des Rosiers and enjoying it by the fountains.
With food on the brain, we decide it’s time for some cheese. We are in the cheese capital of the world, after all. Our friends from Time Out send us to Fromagerie Quatrehomme for the best Beaufort and Saint Marcellin that money can buy. As we sink our teeth into the creamiest cheese of our lives, we ponder how French women manage to stay so trim. Good genes, perhaps? On that note, we decide to bypass Paris’ other cheese institution, Pascal Beillevaire in an attempt to save our appetites for one of the city’s most important patissiers, Pierre Hermé. Their milk chocolate and passionfruit macaron is heaven enveloped in a thin, crisp shell.
Check out the Paris Pastry app for recommendations on the best bakeries, pastry shops, tea salons and ice-cream shops in Paris.
Champagne at the Eiffel Tower
No trip to the City of Lights is complete without paying a visit to the most famous building in the world, the Eiffel Tower. We do a guided tour with a helping hand from the monument’s official smartphone app and then head to the champagne bar on the third floor to soak up panoramic views of the city.
Save time by purchasing tickets online or beat the queues by visiting at the end of the day once the tour groups have departed.
The panoramic views continue with cocktails at the Pompidou’s too-cool-for-school rooftop bar-cum-restaurant. Then it’s off to Verjus Wine Bar (near the elegant Palais Royal) for morsels of buttermilk fried chicken, butternut squash angliotti and crispy Basque pork belly – all washed down with a cheeky glass of vin rouge. With our appetites satiated, we cross the river to Trocadéro to watch the Eiffel Tower light up like a Christmas tree (for five mintues every hour, on the hour).
By Amy Compton, follow her on Google+.