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Discover Paris, the back streets of Montmartre, the lavish L’Hotel and the sophisticated Parisian nightlife.
Having recently watched and loved Woody Allen?s new movie Midnight in Paris, I am reminded how beautiful the city is, and that I should really go back again soon, so I am now planning a weekend spent meandering around the boulevards, boutiques and bistros.
Whenever I go to Paris I can?t avoid the lure of the signature Parisian style so an afternoon or morning spent exploring the latest fashions is inevitable. Especially when I stay at Hotel Costes which is by now an institution but has not lost its edge and still draws the fashion set and Paris elite. The hotel has an amazing bar, is famed for its lounge music and late nights, and is ideally located in the chic fashion district of Faubourg Saint-Honoré where you can find the very latest designs in the boutiques. I love to wander amongst the artisans in the back streets of Montmartre for an alternative take on Parisian fashion and infinitely more relaxing browse of little boutiques. Whatever your preference, there can be no disputing that now is the ideal time to soak up the atmosphere with the temperature a little cooler and the crowds a little thinner.
My tip to get off the beaten track, is to head East to the oldest neighbourhoods, where their provincial charm is now fused with an edgy, urban style. Film buffs will love the Le Rendez-vous des Quais, a restaurant on the Quai de la Seine, which has a cinema and terrace-café overlooking the waterway, and the price of your lunch includes admission to a choice of 6 first-run films. Another great hotel located East is Mama Shelter. It too is very current and whilst I haven?t stayed there, the informal pizzeria has given me some great evenings spent with friends. Ask for the long shared table in the middle as it has the best atmosphere and allows you to practice your French with the native diners. If you do stay or dine at Mama Shelter, I recommend you make time to visit Edith Piaf?s grave, located in the Pierre Lachaise cemetery in the 20th arrondissement. Her understated black marble tombstone is always adorned with flowers laid by devoted followers, and makes a peaceful spot to go and see whilst exploring the area.
“Or get up that bit later and save your appetite for dinner at Derrière, a quirky restaurant literally tucked behind the back of 404 and Andy Whaloo.”
Another hotel I have visited and am keen to stay at is the lavish L?Hotel, located on the Left Bank and where Oscar Wilde spent his last few weeks. With just 20 rooms there is an immaculate attention to detail, but with a slightly risqué streak ? decadent leopard prints punctuate dark and romantic velvets in the stylish bar. L?Hotel is also brilliantly located for some of my favourite bistros and cafés such as La Palette, an old-time haunt of the literary set and known as a hot spot for after work drinks. It is ideal for an aperitif with hearty French canapés of cheese and delicious hams washed down with a carafe of wine, or for a pre party snack when you don?t want to feel weighed down by a heavy meal.If however, you have the time to savour a real dining experience near to L?Hotel, one of my favourite restaurants is Quai Quai, which specialises in a home cooked style of French food with a relaxed feel. Knowledge of its superb location hasn?t reached the tourists yet, its access is through an inconspicuous little doorway, and it is very popular with the locals so be sure to book a table if visiting at the weekend.
Paris is notorious for those tricky Sundays where much of the city isn?t open. One of my favourite ways to spend Sundays is exploring the old streets in le Marais (?the swamp? as it used to be under water), where you can explore the Marché des Enfant Rouge which is the oldest covered market in Paris. If you fancy a rest, just across from the market is Café Charlot which serves a great brunch with a traditional bistro feel. Or get up that bit later and save your appetite for dinner at Derrière, a quirky restaurant literally tucked behind the back of 404 and Andy Whaloo. A fashionable restaurant offering really good home cooked food, Derrière is again very popular so you will have to reserve a table, and when you’re there head to the back room with shared tables and outside seating, or for real atmosphere go upstairs to the smoking room where you pass through a mirrored wardrobe door into a room where the ceiling is decorated with suspended chairs and stuffed animals.Any grown up Harry Potter fans finding themselves in Le Marais will want to go to Nicolas Flamel?s Home, a restaurant housed quite literally in the house of Nicolas Flamel the French alchemist, whose now famous Sorcerer?s Stone is the source of immortality. The building was built in 1407 and it is claimed to be the oldest building in Paris so the setting oozes with heritage and wizardry… and the food is seriously good!
If you have time and haven?t eaten too much, the Paris nightlife is not to be missed. House parties are a big thing here meaning the latest ?hot spots? don?t move on as quickly as they do in London or New York, so whilst a couple of my favourite places have been around for a few years they still firmly hold their position on the nightlife scene.Prescription is a cocktail bar and club near L?Hotel and the ideal place to go for a couple of after dinner drinks, whilst those who are planning to make a night of it should try L?Arc where the party lasts well into the early hours of the morning. If you like the sound of a house party but are struggling to get an invitation then Cirque Bonheur is perfect ? a party that outgrew the house of its origins when the neighbours complained, this really does have a great atmosphere. You will need to register on the website and keep a vigilant eye out for their amazing summer parties… but be warned they are easier to get to than they are to get back from.
A weekend probably isn?t long enough but chartering a Mustang out of TAG?s private airport will help save time. For the ideal weekend, charter a Mustang with TAG Aviation for the short trip across the channel. Start your weekend with a Champagne Tasting Menu dining experience in the Brasserie and relaxing overnight stay in one of our Sky Suites. A weekend in Paris at one of my favourite hotels, with private transfer and chartered Mustang from TAG Farnborough Airport, and overnight stay at Aviator will cost approximately £9,960 for two or £11,190 for four.