Paris: City of Grandeur

Le Pont RoyalGaspard Gobaut (1814-1882), Bibliothèque nationale de France

"Oh to wander Paris! Such a lovely, delectable experience. Strolling is a science, gastronomy for the eye. To walk is merely to exist, strolling is living." - Honoré de Balzac

For me, Paris is the most alluring and the most magical of all cities. It is ancient but still vital, romantic, elegant, and a treasure for lovers of exquisite art, style, architecture and food. But Paris is also a city with a rich and fascinating history.

Situated on both sides of the Seine river, Paris is a 2,000 year old city founded by a Gallic tribe known as the Parisii. Conquered by Romans and then the Gaul, it was eventually established as the capital of France in 987.

Paris is often referred to as "La Ville-Lumière" ("The City of Light"), because in the nineteenth century, it was one of the first cities that started street lightning. During the Age of Enlightenment it also became a centre of education, learning and philosophy. It was seen as an "enlightened" place to be.

Today, The City of Light is one of the world's leading business and cultural centers and has a population of more than 2.2 million people. In 2013, 47 million tourists visited Paris and the Paris region (including Disneyland Paris and Versailles).

A few weeks ago I travelled to Paris for a three day luxury trip with one goal in mind: to get inspired by the luxury lifestyle of the parisians. I slept in two new boutique hotels, sipped on steamy cocktails in trendy hotel bars, visited a museum, dined in one of Paris's most esteemed restaurants, shopped in the ultra-chic rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré street and did some overnight sightseeing.

I'm based in the Netherlands, so for me, the most convenient and comfortable way to travel to Paris is by Thalys. It took me approximately 3 hours to get there. During my journey I enjoyed some unique benefits with my Comfort 1 ticket. You can check out the benefits of a Comfort 1 ticket here.

High-speed rail operator Thalys offers a vast choice of beautiful destinations in Europe. You can travel fast and comfortably between the capital cities of the Netherlands, Belgium and France, or between many other important cities such as Cologne, Rotterdam and Antwerp. In April 2014, Thalys expanded its network with Lille as a new destination. Reservations for the Thalys need to be made in advance. Explore more on: www.thalys.com/destinations

Day 1
13:35: Arrival Thalys - Paris Nord station, taxi to Hotel Dupond-Smith

15:00: Check-in Hotel Dupond-Smith, "John Doe" suite...

Entrance alcove, John Doe suite.
My Moon My Mirror by Diesel Creative Team for Moroso | Villa Rose console by François Azambourg for Ligne Roset | Arnaud trinket tray lamp by Arnaud Lapierre for Ligne Roset | Ro armchair by Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen

Bathroom, John Doe suite.
Vidrepur wall ceramics, Saloni | Terre nero ceramic flooring, Iris | Stone One freestanding bath, Aquamass | Quadri fittings, Ondyna

Living Room, John Doe suite.
AK 1330 desk by Ebbe Gehl for Naver | Ro armchair by Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen | Tessali couch in variations of green, specially commissioned for Dupond-Smith by Peyroux&Thisy | Modular Chair by Verner Panton, Verpan | Moebius table, Objekto | Grasshopper floor lamp by Greta Magnusson Grossman, Gubi

Hotel Dupond-Smith

: 5* boutique hotel, 5 rooms, 3 suites
Where: 2, rue des Guillemites, Paris
Architects: Anne Peyroux and Emmanuèle Thisy
Rates: from €380

If you're looking for a new boutique hotel which offers you absolute discretion and privacy, then go for Hotel Dupond-Smith. Located within the heart of Paris's trendy Marais quarter and nestled in a 17th-century hôtel particulier, this intimate hotel has the secretive atmosphere of a private club. The hotel has five rooms and three suites, each beautifully designed and named after an well-known artistic pseudonym.

What I liked
Staff (warm and friendly), colors, king-size bed, DressingIn room, individual air-conditioning control, bathroom accessories, breakfast, roomservice

Very Good

17:00: Exploring Le Marais neighborhood

20:00: Diner at 'La Petite Maison de Nicole'...

Hôtel Fouquet's La Petite Maison de Nicole restaurant

What: Tradional Mediterranean cuisine, festive dining. The Parisian interpretation of the mythical namesake restaurant in Nice.
Where: 46 avenue George V * Paris 8th district

La Petite Maison de Nicole is a playful and charming Niçois restaurant located in the prestigious Hôtel Fouquet's Barrière and situated on the corner of the famous avenue George V. On the menu: tastes from Nice, Italian flavours and generous portions. Jean-Yves Leuranguer -  Executive Chef of the Hotel Fouquet's Barrière - and his team delight their customers with dishes as delicate deep-fried marrow flowers, petits farcis niçois (vegetables stuffed with
veal), purple artichoke salad, truffled scrambled eggs, fried local red mullet and roast
Mediterranean lobster. The restaurant is a celeb hangout, so don't be surprised if you sit beside a film star. 

The Space
Elegant space decorated in white and beige, system of sliding curtains. Atmosphere changes every evening, with lighting +
decoration by Jacqueline Morabito. Number of seated places: 80.

The Crowd
Most diners are in their 30s and 40s, couples, foursomes and some families, comfortably-chic dressed. Waiters are professional and friendly.

The Bill
Wine Meerbault Les Tillets, Bourgogne Pierre Labet, €27 per glass, 2 x
Starter Purple artichoke salad and his archoyade, €19
Fish Fillet of Sea Bass 'cooked the way we like it', €59
Dessert White chocolate mousse with Raspberries, €17
Cappuccino, €10
Major credit cards accepted.

What I liked
View, music, Bread & Roses's petit pains, fillet of sea bass, white chocolate mousse, wine.

If you go
Reservations recommended. Open everyday from 8pm to midnight. Metro stop closeby and a taxi stop out front.

Very Good

21:30: Tour inside Hôtel Fouquet's Barrière and cocktails at Bar Le Lucien...

Hôtel Fouquet's Barrière's grande entrance

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world... 

Le Lucien's Parisian atmosphere and outdoor terrace with magnificent garden, make the bar one of the premier establishments in the 8th arrondissement.

Day 2
08:00: Breakfast - Hotel Dupond-Smith...

Breakfast at Hotel Dupond-Smith is served in the lounge or in-room all day. 

09:30: Visit Le Musée des Archives nationales...

Outside Le Musée des Archives nationales

12:00: Check-out Hotel Dupond-Smith

15:00: Check-in Hotel Chavanel...

Lobby, Hotel Chavanel.
Reception desk: Custom-designed by Peyroux & Thisy in Krion Porcelanosa  | Blown-glass hanging lamps Melt Down by Lindstén Form Studio

VIP welcome in my suite. What a lovely surprise!

One of Chavanel's deluxe rooms

The bathroom in the Junior Suite features a wonderful hydro-massage bath that is perfect for relaxing after a heavy day of shopping.

What: 4* Boutique Hotel, part of the Châteaux et Hôtels Collection, 25 rooms (standard, superior, deluxe), 2 suites
Where: 22, rue Tronchet Paris. Between the Madeleine quarter and boulevard Haussmann.
ArchitectsAnne Peyroux et Emmanuèle Thisy
Rates: from €280

 After several months of renovation and refurbishment, Hotel Chavanel recently reopened its doors. Ideally situated in the fashionable La Madeleine area, this boutique hotel is the right place for fashionistas and fashionistos. The stylish 'Junior Suites' are located on the sixth (top) floor and offering a beautiful view across the rooftops of Paris. They are designed in a superb contemporary style and breathe an air of comfort, quality and tranquility. Hotel Chavanel serves a 100% organic breakfast in a stone walled vaulted cellar on the lower ground floor.

What I liked 
Location, lobby (peaceful atmosphere), VIP welcome, bathroom by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, breakfast


17:00: Exploring La Madeleine area 

Fauchon Paris, 30 Place de La Madeleine 

19:00: Drinks at Hotel Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme's Le Bar

Day 3 
09:00: Breakfast - Hotel Chavanel

10:30: Press Appointment APR18 Rue Du Chateau

APR (Alexandra Public Relations) office

13:00: Shopping in rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré + lunch

16:00: Private view, Vertu Boutique, 18 rue Royale

Vertu's new Signature Touch phone

18:00: Check-out Hotel Chavanel and taxi to Paris Nord station

19:24: Departure Thalys to Amsterdam Central Station

Tips when visiting Paris
* The Metro is the ideal way to get around Paris fast and easily. Above ground, you are never far from a station. A single ticket costs 1,70 euro. It is valid for one and half hours from first validation. A 10 ride ticket can be purchased for 13,70 euro. More info: www.ratp.fr

* Below the City of Light's 12million residents lie the remains of 6million others - known as France's Empire of the Dead. If you're fascinated with dead, than these catacombs are definitely worth visiting. More info: www.catacombes.paris.fr

* When you make a pit stop at Bar Le Lucien and want to treat yourself to a taste of the Parisian luxury lifestyle, order the amazing 'Bombay Fouquet's cocktail', priced at 27. This juicy summer cocktail is invented by head bartender Stéphane Ginouvès (voted France's Best Barman in 2011).