24 hours in Paris? Our PA to the Editor proves it can be done
Why not? It couldn’t be easier to have a night out in Paris thanks to the Eurostar, especially when tickets start from £29 each and the journey is only around two hours from St Pancras to Gare du Nord. There are a million reasons to fall in love with Paris – the food, the locals, the restaurants, the art, or even just to soak up a little effortless Parisian je ne sais quoi. In our case, a friend called to say she was DJing at nightclub Concrete and frankly, partying on the Seine was too much to resist.
The best time to go is June to August when temperatures sit in the 70’s. August is the month when Parisians escape city life so, depending on your preference for crowds or space, you can choose when suits you best. There’s rarely a bad time to see Paris, though.
We booked into the beautiful L’Hotel in Paris’s arty Left Bank. It’s incredible history gives an air of discreet glamour with Oscar Wilde taking up residence at the end of the 19th century and living there until his death. Other famous guests include Salvador Dali, Frank Sinatra, Jim Morrison and Elizabeth Taylor.
As you walk into the opulent entrance hall, you can see how architect Jacques Garcia has created an elegant yet decadent escape from reality. Walls are adorned with silk and velvet, and you can see why Paris’ glitterati come here to sip cocktails such as The Usual (Tilda Swinton’s fave) or The Dorian Gray a la Oscar Wilde in the chic Le Bar, open until 1am. The restaurant – Le Restaurant – is Michelin starred and opens onto a small terrace for hot summer days and nights.
The hotel, which is one of the luxury collection Small Luxury Hotels of the World, has only 20 rooms making it the smallest 5 star hotel in Paris. Our room was draped in deep purple velvet, satin and tassels. Very Moulin Rouge. The bed, beneath a glittering chandelier and huge Renaissance mirror on the opposite wall, is quite simply amazing.
Paris has a bustling café culture and we wandered along the Seine, taking in the buildings and boutiques before stopping outside Hotel du Nord
Le Bouillon Racine is also a very fabulous restaurant to try. The Art Nouveau décor takes you back to the beginning of the 20th century, fretted woodwork and bevelled mirrors reminiscent of Henri Privat-Livemont Absinthe posters. The menu changes seasonally and ranges from classic to modern all expertly executed. We chose tuna steak, fried seasonal vegetables and salad of seaweed and beef filet served with morels and green asparagus. It was the perfect end to our whirlwind trip.
Lastly, for premium people-watching head to La Societe. It was recommended to us by Marie Claire’s fashion team after quizzing them about Paris Fashion Week trips. Owned by the Costes Brothers this beautiful fash-pack destination is unbeatable for people watching, the menu ranging from organic steak tartare to avocado and grapefruit salad. We were looked after by model-like waiters as we sipped our coffee.
You really must…
One place not to miss is Merci Paris, situated opposite Saint Sébastien Froissart station, it’s a place where you develop a need for everything – homeware, fashion, books, amazing food, you could kit your whole life out from this place. Every item in store is carefully chosen for its laid back design without being pretentious.
Paris’ nightlife is so varied but we headed to Concrete on the banks of the Seine. The party was heaving, techno looping, girls with red lips and cute boys dancing until sunrise. We lasted until 4am and had a blast, but sleep in our temporary luxury abode was calling, so off we ran into the night. Until next time.
A good place to start with accumulating a little French style is perfume. and nowhere better than with cool new brand Le Labo. When you walk into the shop it’s like an early 20th century laboratory with experts on hand to help you choose a scent to suit you or they will mix a bespoke blend of notes for you. I went for Oud 27, a heady mix of incense, patchouli, black pepper and saffron. You then get to take your perfume home with you – complete with your name on the beautiful label.