One night in Paris: Luxury and glamour awaits those visiting the French capital
Spring is renowned as being the best time of year to visit Paris; however on a recent trip I came to the conclusion that the French capital is wonderfully alluring throughout the year. It is filled with exquisite restaurants and vibrant shows whilst also rich in culture and history. Hosting many of the Europe’s flagship designer shops, this city is architecturally stunning and has plenty to occupy the inquisitive traveller.
One of the most appealing aspects of visiting Paris for a short break is that the Eurostar provides an easy and convenient method of transport. Travelling across the English Channel has become so effortless that even just one night in the city of romance is certainly achievable. If you leave London from St Pancras International at around noon, you will arrive in Paris during the late afternoon and have plenty of time to unwind before an evening of entertainment. The journey is swift, relatively hassle-free and when you appear from the other side of the tunnel you are met with views of vast French farmland as you head towards the capital.
The impressive Avenue des Champs-Élysées is the most famous street in Paris. With the Arc de Triomphe sitting proudly at the west end, this sweeping avenue is framed with luxury boutiques and upmarket cafés. Marriott own the only five star hotel with the prestigious Champs-Élysées address and this naturally places the hotel as one of the most desirable destinations to reside in the city. The notable building once hosted Europe’s chief Louis Vuitton store and is incredibly popular throughout the year. The relatively discreet entrance welcomes guests to the opulent hideaway and an escalator immediately whisks arrivals up towards a sleek bar area where the dramatic façade of the building can be openly admired.
As the impeccable staff organise your check in, I would highly recommend pausing for a glass of champagne accompanied by either a platter of fresh strawberries or divinely soft macaroons. Whilst it is located on one of the busiest and notable streets in Paris, the hotel stretches deep behind the Champs-Élysées and the rooms are extremely peaceful. Ours overlooked a Parisian terrace and as the sunshine streamed through the large windows it felt as though we were deep in the South of France on a warm summer day.
Whilst you may choose to relax in the luxurious surroundings of your room before venturing out for dinner, I would recommend a leisurely stroll towards the Arc de Triomphe. This impressive landmark will really bring home the fact you have arrived in one of Europe’s finest destinations.
There are a number of glamorous restaurants and bars to sample as darkness arrives but one of the most talked about venues at the moment is Le Bristol. Whilst the Marriott’s five star hotel on the Champs-Élysées offers a wonderful base for your stay due to its unrivalled location, it is certainly worth popping into Le Bristol to enjoy an early evening cocktail in the newly opened and very plush bar. This venue is a favourite with the Beckham family who take up residence here when in Paris and the sophisticated setting features traditional and striking décor.
The hotel also hosts a breathtaking three star Michelin restaurant, as well as a brassiere that also holds one of these accolades. The brassiere is vibrant and less formal; however the clientele are chic and fashionable. The food is utterly exquisite and I opted for seafood dishes that included crab encased in an egg where a laser had been used to immaculately remove the top of the shell. This was followed by delicious scallops and a variety of sorbets to freshen my palette; the coconut option was especially delicious. The wine list is extensive and the presentation of the food particularly notable. As you dine, a pianist can be heard serenading guests in the lavish hotel hobby and this prestigious setting lends itself well to a special occasion.
Paris has always been considered the city of celebration and entertainment, hence one of its titles, “City of Light”. With this in mind, an evening would not be complete without experiencing a traditional cabaret. Whether you venture onwards to the famous Moulin Rouge on the Blvd de Clichy in Montmartre or return back towards the Paris Marriott on the Champs Elysees to sample the younger Lido, which is a stone’s throw away from the hotel, you simply must experience a show.
The Moulin Rouge opened its doors in 1889 and it is the birthplace of the ‘Cancan’, whereas the Lido opened in 1946 and although the two shows are similar it is only at the Moulin Rouge where you will see the French Cancan performed. The entertainment varies from dancing, acrobats, clowns, ice skaters at the Lido and even underwater dancing with Pythons at The Moulin Rouge. Both venues have an equestrian moment with Falabellas at Moulin and a Spanish Lipizzaner at the Lido. With two shows every night throughout the year, you have a choice of a 9:00pm or 11:00pm sitting. A three-course dinner is served before the 9:00pm performance and this is accompanied by plenty of champagne.
It is advisable to arrive with time to spare as the waiting lines are quite long but both venues are very efficient seating their audiences. The slightly steeper tiered seating at the Moulin Rouge means that you will have an uninterrupted view of the stage and this perhaps gives it the edge if you only have time to visit one venue. The costumes are breathtaking and really add glamour to the shows. The skill and agility of the acrobats at the Moulin Rouge was outstanding. For those fortunate enough to be sitting near the front, you will really feel part of the show and could well end up as part of the show as members of the audience are encouraged to participate at some point.
If you enjoy a late evening, then a lie in before your trip home is probably on the cards. However, you cannot leave Paris without sampling some culture and enjoying some of the world famous sites. A trip on a river boat along the Seine will give you fabulous views from the water of the Notre Dame, Louvre and Eiffel Tower. A stroll though the cobbled streets of the quaint district of Montmartre where you can admire artists painting on the street and visit the Sacre Coeur should also be high on the agenda.
Whether you are looking for a glamorous break or a chance to relax in beautiful city surroundings, Paris ticks all the boxes. The elegant French capital is certainly one of Europe’s most desirable destinations and is more accessible than ever to the London crowd.
The Sloaney team travelled on Eurostar and you can book Business Class and Economy return fares on their website. We stayed at the luxurious Marriott Champs Elysees Hotel in Paris and reservations can be made online here. To dine at Le Bristol, visit their website here. We also recommend visiting the Moulin Rouge show and Lido, if time allows.