HOT SPOT: Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg, Paris

The former offices of French Marie Claire are now a fabulous, fashion-loving hotel – quelle bonne idée!

The former offices of French Marie Claire are now a fabulous, fashion-loving hotel – quelle bonne idée!

Why’s it hot? Just off the high fashion parade that is rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, a haughty 19th century building that was once home to the editorial offices of French Marie Claire for some twenty years has now become a zesty, five-star hotel. Relaunched in March following a vivacious makeover by Didier Gomez, a French interior designer who has worked with Yves St Laurent, Kenzo and Jean Paul Gaultier, it’s a dazzling new place to stay in the heart of the capital.

Eyes up: fashion photography is a star feature at Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg

What’s it got? Pizzazz. Tricked out in black, white and gold, there’s a stage-set feel to the hotel’s public areas which include a small library filled with fashion and design books which you could get lost in for days. Set over seven floors, the hotel has 147 rooms including 35 suites and a top-storey Couture Apartment. Interiors are inspired by the elegance of the 18th century and the modern-day fashion world. The entry-level superior and luxury rooms feature a glorious colour photograph of models in ballgowns taken by Cecil Beaton for US Vogue in 1948, and you’ll also get Hermès amenities, Bose sounds and the blissful MyBed (one of the best reasons to book into a Sofitel).

Wow factor:
Didier Gomez ramps up the glamour by using the work of famous fashion photographers in innovative ways – this is one hotel where you find won’t dark and boring corridors. Here these come lined with striking black and white images of models shot by famous snappers such as Horst P Horst and Irving Penn, which have been blown-up to create an enchanting walk-through catalogue of past elegance. In the same vein, the Bar du Faubourg is adorned with eye-catching shots from the Collection Pierre Cardin while the lobby has work by US photographer Genevieve Naylor.

Golden moment: be sure to dine at STAY Faubourg

A second thrill is the cuisine across the hotel, which is created by Yannick Alléno whose restaurant in the Champs-Élysées at Pavillon Ledoyen (pavillon-ledoyen.fr) has three Michelin stars. Here the flagship is the restaurant STAY Faubourg (stay-faubourg.com) where the décor features bold black and yellow seating (including a special stool for your trophy handbag) and a summer courtyard terrace with chairs sporting black and white houndstooth covers. This is the only STAY in Europe (there are others in Dubai, Taiwan and China) and the menu is inspired by Yannick Alléno’s globetrotting. Dishes include Sardinian pasta, Spanish sea bream and monkfish osso buco with Madras curry (£31), but save space for the wonderful creations made before your eyes in the ‘Pastry Library’, which this year included a ‘Haute Couture Summer Collection’ of treats (£10).

Need to know
: Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg is at 15 rue de Boissy d’Anglais in the 8th, nearest Metro Concorde or Madeleine. The street is next to the US Embassy so closed to traffic, although life isn’t as quiet as this suggests due to long-term construction work close by. Walk south and you’re in the vast cobblestone circus of place de la Concorde, bordering the Tuileries and River Seine. Head north and there’s the Hermès flagship store along with all the windows of wonder that make the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré such an enchanting place to stroll. All the top names are here from Valentino to Galliano but don’t miss the eternally uplifting Pierre Cardin at No. 59.

Clock that: cross the Seine and visit the Musée d’Orsay © Paris Tourist Office/Daniel Thierry

What’s on:
This is a bumper season for exhibitions. Top of your list should be the upcoming ‘Fashion Regained’ at the nearby Palais Galleria (7 November 2015-20 March 2016, palaisgalleria.paris.fr), which is devoted to the sensational wardrobe of society queen Élizabeth, Countess Greffulhe (1860-1952), with dresses by Worth, Fortuny and Lanvin. All eyes will also be on the Musée Rodin (musee-rodin.fr), where the sculptor worked until 1917, which re-opens on 12 November after a lengthy renovation. If you come by train, take advantage of the 2-for-1 entry offers available by showing your Eurostar ticket – two such exhibitions, just a stroll from the hotel, are ‘Astonish Me!’ (until 24 January 2016, jeudepaume.org) at the Jeu de Paume, featuring the celebrity and experimental photographer Philippe Halsman, and ‘Splendour and Misery’ (until 17 January 2016; musee-orsay.fr) which looks at prostitution in France between 1850 and 1910 through the work of artists such as Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso.

High church: you know you’re in Paris when you see the Madeleine © imagepalace.co.uk

Book now: Eurostar (eurostar.com) has rail services from London and the southeast to Paris, from £72 return. You can also fly from numerous UK airports (skyscanner.net). Double rooms at Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg (sofitel-paris-lefaubourg.com) cost from £231 including complimentary Wifi and use of a fitness centre and a small mixed sauna and hammam. Breakfast costs from £20, with a dreamily good buffet £33.

Info: Time Out Shortlist Paris (£7.99, Time Out) is a handy guide, while Parisian Chic City Guide (available from 12 November, £12.99, Flamarrion) is a new, handbag-sized address book listing favourite shops, restaurants, pâtisseries and hair salons selected by former Chanel model and fashion designer Ines de la Fressange. For more information see parisinfo.com.

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