With its captivating combination of grandeur and timeless style, it's no wonder the French capital Paris is known as the City of Love
What do you want from a Paris hotel? Dazzle and devastating elegance, of course. And nowhere fits the bill quite like Le Bristol. Coco Chanel and Marilyn Monroe have sashayed through its marble-clad lobby. Pinch-yourself pretty in champagne-hued limestone, with ornate balconies and crystal chandeliers, its charming suites afford heart-stopping views across the city. A handsome swimming pool resembles the prow of a yacht and leads out onto a sun deck; outside in the courtyard gardens, you may spot the hotel's resident Birman cat, Fa-Raon, prowling around the flower beds. Le Bristol is iconic yet entirely unpretentious - c’est magnifique!
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Headed by Thierry Marx, the Camelia has dishes to match its incredibly sophisticated design – such as melt-in-the-mouth crab with tom kha broth, mango and parsley. Maison Plisson on Boulevard Beaumarchais is just right for a light lunch, and after dark, make a beeline for Candelaria, a dimly-lit drinking den hidden away inside a tiny taqueria.
Fashion houses line rue Saint-Honoré, while emerging designers occupy the independent boutiques of Le Marais. For vintage shopping, the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen has rare gems aplenty. Wind down afterwards with the Caviar Lift Facial at Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie, or slip into a silk kimono for a blow-dry at Christophe Robin's jewelbox-like salon in Montorgueil.
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From its grand avenues to its cobbled lanes, Paris is beguiling - and best explored on foot. Take in the lush Jardin du Luxembourg, geek out on contemporary art at the soaring Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton, or get to know the ultra-hip Pigalle neighbourhood at the foot of Montmartre. After dark, enjoy the Seine's lamplit bridges and the Eiffel Tower's glittering light display.
Rooms at Le Bristol begin at €910 (around £765) room only; visit lebristolparis.com. Eurostar runs services from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord with one-way fares starting from £29; visit eurostar.com.
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