City of lights
Paris is heavenly at any time of year but these early summer months are divine for the gentle warm air that floats across the Seine, the squares that are lit with sunshine (perfect for some champagne drinking) and the Spring-Summer collections hanging in every boutique. Book a weekend away and hop on the Eurostar for a laid-back, relaxed weekend abroad without the hubbub of flying.
Where to stay
Paris’ first “literary” hotel, Le Pavillon des Lettres has 26 rooms, each dedicated to a letter of the alphabet and a famous published virtuoso whose name begins with that letter. Goethe and Voltaire are honoured in the G and V rooms, for example, and quotes from their famous works adorn each wall. Velvet, sleek wood and satin decorate every inch of these intimate, boutique rooms in the perfectly located 8th arrondissement.
Where to shop
Pavillon des Lettres is uber-central so it’s perfectly located near to the shopping haven of Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. Hip boutique Colette must be seen, even if you don’t end up purchasing, for its slick, nightclub decor, jam-packed with local and international designers of the coolest breed. Anyone able to flash the cash can while away hours on the endless Avenue des Champs Elysees where high street hits such as Zara stand alongside the old school Dior and Chanel. A gorgeously Parisian treat has always been buying sumptuous Diptyque candles from the original location at 34 Boulevard Saint Germain, but dedicated fans must check out the slick, sleek and modern store in the Le Marais district. Designed by Olivier Lempereur and full of all the classic Freesia, Basil and Rose-scented delights, this is a must for stocking up on bathside candlelight.
Where to eat
If you're looking for some seriously good, authentic Parisian dinner in a spot where the locals return time and again, the Hotel du Nord is not to be missed. French music whistles gently through this classic Parisian bistro, mixing beautifully with the aroma of perfect Coq au Vin and moules. Not a place for watching the waistline, but if you want maximum atmosphere with minimum tourists, this is the place. For lunch, Cojean Louvre (which made a cameo in Sex and the City) serves piping hot homemade soups and fresh Thai salads, organic yoghurts and hot healthy wraps, all served below bubblegum pink and spearmint green decor, 18th century chandeliers and stucco ceilings.
Where to play
Serving a splendid array of cocktails seven days a week until a respectable 5 a.m., Chacha Club is a bar-restaurant-club in the Louvre Rivoli district of the city that plays fantastic tunes in a quintessentially Parisian space of low, moody lighting, large wall-to-wall mirrors and leather seating.