Hotel Review: Hotel Providence, Paris
Paris is cool again, according to Susan Gough Henly, who Checks into Hotel Providence in the heart of the action. From the moment we arrive at Hotel Providence, on cobblestoned rue René Boulanger in the hip 10th arrondissement, we are entranced. Wrought-iron balconies dot a cream limestone building adorned with delicate carvings. Metal tables and wicker chairs grace a tree-dotted terrace shaded with green awnings.   And just inside, a crackling fire warms a lobby cosy with leather smoking chairs and sink-into-me couches.   There are those who describe Paris as a museum piece with none of the edginess of Berlin or vibrancy of Madrid. They have clearly not spent time in the 10th arrondissement. This former working-class neighbourhood, still rich with immigrant diversity, is now the epicentre of hip and happening Paris.   Tech start-ups and boutique fashion labels perch beside African barber shops, artisan fromagers and hip bars. If you’re young or young at heart this is the place to explore.   Sit next to real Parisians at Melbourne-style cafes while you admire the exquisite symmetry of elegant Haussmann limestone buildings. That’s if you can bear to drag yourself away from the intimate environs of Hotel Providence.   The reception desk is next to the bar, right where I like it, and the very helpful receptionist says those magic words when you arrive before noon: “Yes, your room is available."   There are five categories among the 18 rooms: Mini, Classic, Superior, Deluxe and the top-floor Suite under the eaves of the mansard roof with views all the way to Sacré-Cœur.   Owners Pierre and Elodie Moussié and Sophie Richard have combined sumptuous velour wallpapers from House of Hackney with custom-designed bars (in each and every room) and antique gems from flea markets and second-hand stores that evoke an atmosphere of bohemian chic.   Our fourth-floor Classic room overlooks giant carved cherubs that adorn the theatre across the street. We can watch backstage staff haul up sets with a giant pulley but, we’re more entranced by the marble-topped bar with its antique cocktail shakers, martini glasses and jars of olives.   There’s a smart phone, chock full of insider Paris tips, which you can take with you during your stay. It even includes unlimited local and international calls.   The room, though compact, has oodles of charm, with deep forest-green velour wallpaper, a crystal chandelier, bronze storage rack and a metal-framed frosted-glass bathroom. The bathroom also has a vintage feel with old-fashioned white tiles yet its spacious glass stall complete with rain shower and high-quality toiletries is thoroughly up-to-date.   Come evening, the lobby bar has a warm glow. Locals and hotel guests are sitting at tables inside and on the terrace. We settle in to enjoy tuna tataki and avocado and a smoky roast lamb with an excellent, well-priced Bordeaux. Retiring to our sumptuous boudoir for the evening, in the interests of partial journalistic disclosure, all I can say is that the bedding is so sublime I order the sheets the next day.   Breakfast, which can be delivered to your room or enjoyed in the restaurant, is copious by French standards and includes excellent breads and pastries, cereals, yogurt, fruit and juice as well as hams, cheeses and boil-your-own eggs. Afterwards, we hop on a couple of the hotel’s comfortable bikes to pedal to the Canal Saint Martin. Nearby is one of the finest bakeries in France, Du Pain et Des Idees, as well as Holybelly, which takes its cues from a Melbourne-style cafe, where the coffee is excellent and the food inspired and affordable. Welcome to the new Paris. Details Hotel Providence 90 rue René Boulanger, 75010 Paris, France The IT verdict   Stylish boutique hotel with bundles of charm, perfect for young-at-heart Paris-bound travellers wanting to tap into the city’s design, fashion and tech scene.   Location: 8.5/10   Away from central (read touristy) Paris, the Hotel Providence is in a quiet nook of the uber-hip 10th arrondissement, chockablock with tiny boutiques and cafes.   Style/character: 10/10   Chic, stylish boutique hotel with a lot of attention to detail.   Service: 9/10   Front desk staff excellent. Some waiters could focus on client requests more attentively.   Rooms: 10/10   Whimsical and practical, each room had bucketloads of distinctive charm, plus a private cocktail bar. Bedding is sublime.   Food and drink: 9/10 Excellent expansive breakfast (for France) and an interesting range of tasty, reasonably priced dishes for lunch and dinner. There are plenty of excellent places to eat nearby too, such as Restaurant 52.   Value for money: 10/10 Exceptionally good value for money, especially on weeknights. We paid $338 per night. All IT reviews are conducted anonymously and our writers pay their own way – so we experience exactly what you would.
France nice luxury vintage nice Belle Époque hotel Le Negresco
Review: Le Negresco, Nice, France
Le Negresco, a grand old Belle Époque hotel, is the perfect venue for a girls’ weekend in Nice, finds Louise Reynolds.
French cruise boats towns canals train trips tour
Exploring France by canal boat: The art of slow travel
Celeste Mitchell slows her usual breakneck travel speed and finds the true rhythm of the French countryside. Mist hangs groggily around the avenue of trees that stretches out in front of us, and across the Earl Grey-coloured water. Burnished maple leaves lose their grip and pirouette onto the top deck where I stand with my mug of coffee. It’s 9am and we’re just waking up, but then things run at a slightly different pace when you’re cruising the waterways of France. [caption id="attachment_37125" align="alignnone" width="1500"] Drift down the canals of France.[/caption] We un-loop the ropes and pull out the metal pegs – our anchors to the bank – before opening the map to plot today’s course.   We’re on the ‘back roads’ of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine in France, following an 18-metre wide waterway downstream, past villages whose names previously held no meaning to us, but have now become our bible. We set our speed and position by them. We see them not as blur from a railway platform, but study them intimately, viewing them from water level; wandering their streets with nary another soul about. [caption id="attachment_37126" align="alignnone" width="1500"] Soak in the beauty of the old French towns and villages, so of which are centuries.[/caption] The train journey from Bordeaux took two hours. We’re spending seven days backtracking along the Canal Latéral à la Garonne on a boat called The Royal Mystique – our own floating palace, equipped with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. Motoring at a top speed of eight kilometres per hour, we’re inching our way along this marvel of engineering that was first revealed in full in 1856, having opened in three stages.   Before the railway, and before oversized Aldi trucks thundering along highways, this was part of the main artery of goods transportation in France. Grain, wood chips, paper and wine – crates and boxes were loaded onto barges and carried across the country from Toulouse to the Atlantic. Its construction was a colossal project – it changed the way the whole area worked – but it look so long to build, the canal suffered considerably as rail became the transport du jour. [caption id="attachment_37127" align="alignnone" width="1500"] See the breath-taking beauty of the old towns along the canals.[/caption] Sitting stagnant since the 1970s, the canals have experienced a renaissance over the past two decades or so. Just as the canal brought a change of pace to life in France, people are drawn to the rhythm of French life from centuries past. As fast-paced westerners, we wage an internal battle with ourselves over the first two days, trying to cram everything in. But just as lunch in these medieval villages becomes a celebration worthy of several hours, you can’t be in a hurry on a canal boat.   Our first lesson is learning the lilt of the locks – there are 57 in total along the length of the canal, with a total drop of 128 metres. Curious passers-by stop to watch our choreographed routine – wrapping the ropes around the bollards and pressing the button to start – before we slowly sink and bob like a rubber ducky in a giant draining bathtub.   Our speed is slowing, but we’re not in sync with rural France just yet. We ride bikes up to Auvillar, hailed as “one of the most beautiful villages in France”, and a stop along the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route, but as it’s Monday, it feels as though a zombie apocalypse could strike at any moment.   Detouring off the canal onto the River Baïse, we press on past two ancient villages in a rush to reach the third, losing sight of what is right in front of us. We decide to cut short our pursuit of Nerac, as pretty as we’re told it will be, and dock for the night outside the fortified bastide of Vianne. Having backtracked, we’ve arrived after lunchtime so settle into fresh goat’s cheese and baguettes on board.   If there’s one rhythm we find it easier to slip into, it’s the pulse of produce – where schedules revolve around weekly market days and the menu of the day celebrates the season.   This region is, in fact, an agricultural heartland, with row upon row of plum and walnut trees, grape vines and sunflowers. The farms in this fertile valley are responsible for a large proportion of France’s foie gras. In Agen, prunes are celebrated by covering them in chocolate or soaking them in liquer. In Buzet, we stumble upon the local wine co-operative and enjoy a free tasting – it may not have the fame of Bordeaux but bears an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) certification all the same.   Time grows sluggish, empty towns reveal as much beauty as bustling market stalls, and like the locals we pass, sitting on park benches enjoying the sunshine, we re-learn how to just ‘be’.   By the end, we’re content to achieve nothing more in a day than a memorable three-course lunch overlooking the canal in Buzet-sur-Baïse. After all, where else do we need to be? The details: France by canal boat Several boat companies operate from various points along the canals. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Canal du Midi is perhaps the most well-known, but Le Boat offers touring in 10 different regions in France. We travelled the Delicacies of Aquitaine route on the Canal Latéral à la Garonne. A Premier class boat starts from $3070. Things to note: - You don’t need a licence to hire a canal boat, but a general familiarity with boats helps. - The Le Boat staff gives a complete run through of your route and the technical aspects of the boat, and help you go through your first lock. - Stock up on groceries before you board or stop at one of the towns where a larger supermarket is located. It also pays to work your itinerary around the local market days. - Prepare for everything to be closed on Mondays and most businesses to close during lunchtime on other days. - Don’t try to do too much. The beauty of this kind of travel is the time to simply take in the scenery. - Book at least nine to 12 months in advance, especially if you want to travel between June and September, to get the boat you want.
Inside the four-person suite at Le Relais Madeleine
Review: Le Relais Madeleine, Paris
Leigh-Ann Pow ignores five-star options and discovers the perfect Paris bolthole worth bragging about. Having the name of the perfect little Parisian bolthole tucked into the pages of your leather address book is the equivalent of liquid gold.   The French capital is renowned for its luxurious five-star establishments (The Bristol, The Plaza Athenee, George V, The Peninsula, The Ritz, need I go on?), any one of which will drain the average bank balance of funds for little more than a two-night stay.   But knowing about a place that has welcoming, familiar service, chic yet unintimidating interiors and a pleasingly reasonable tariff gives you the ultimate in bragging rights: “Oh yes, I have a little place I stay in the 9th Arrondisement that I just adore.” The perfect place for many The four-star Le Relais Madeleine is just such a place, for a romantic couple's trip - or an escape with the girls.   I happened upon it via the web when I needed to book a couple of extra nights’ accommodation after spending a week in a fabulous Airbnb mews house just off the Champs Elysee.   The fact that it looked pretty and that it was available at short notice were the deciding factors; I ignored the comments on TripAdvisor about the sex shop on the corner. [caption id="attachment_21930" align="alignnone" width="668"] The spacious antique writing desk.[/caption] It was only a few nights after all.   I arrive at the unassuming front door of the 19th century building via a typically narrow Parisian street.   I can see the aforementioned sex shop off in the distance, but immediately surrounding the hotel are little tea salons and restaurants and a small super marche (the only place in the whole city I was able to find the Bonne Maman rhubarb preserve my sister had requested I bring home). The reception area Inside the reception area is a charming sitting room complete with overstuffed sofas, wingback chairs and a coffee table festooned with magazines and fresh flowers.   A deliciously scented candle burns on a side table.   Check-in is conducted at an antique desk by a charming, floppy haired young man who explains that breakfast can be taken in the small dining room in the basement, before directing me to the typically bijoux lift (the glass fronting on it does give it more of a sense of space, but during my stay I invariably take the lovely old wood and wrought iron staircase that winds its way up six flights) to the top floor.   There are 23 rooms in all at Le Relais Madeleine, all individually decorated, ranging from singles to superior doubles, as well as a four-person suite which is exactly where I have been directed. The room The room is actually the entire top floor, complete with a separate sauna and pretty terrace. [caption id="attachment_21929" align="alignnone" width="668"] The four-person top floor room is decorated with flamboyant floral fabric on the walls.[/caption] Entering the room I walk into a lovely living area with a sofa (this converts into the second bed in the room), full size antique writing desk and vintage chairs.   The walls are lined in an exuberant floral fabric in shades of cream, burgundy and blue, there are bookshelves lined with cloth- and leather-bound books (some dating back to the early 1800s, along with Dan Brown) and framed vintage prints and artworks dot the walls.   The bedroom, with its cloud soft queen bed, bookshelves and mini-bar — which is amazingly upholstered so as not to disturb the aesthetic of the room — is as light-filled as the living area thanks to generous French windows that can be thrown open to let in the sounds of the city below.   The room is tucked into the eaves of the building, with the slope of the ceiling evident throughout, lending a cosy feel to the generous space rather than making it feel cramped.   And the bathroom is vast by European standards, with a muted palette, separate shower and bath and more light streaming through more French windows. Just try not to go exploring I can’t resist the temptation to go exploring, heading across my own private landing to first unlock the pristine sauna, and then venture out on to the terrace, with its glimpses of the rooftops of Paris.   Further afoot, the location of the hotel is brilliantly central, with the imposing Le Madeleine, the Opera and Place de la Concorde a mere minute or two away, along with shopping and cafes and restaurants and museums in abundance.   (I avoid the sex shop on the corner by simply turning left when I leave the hotel – take that TripAdvisor!)   Le Relais Madeleine is one of four properties under the Le Relais banner, with sister hotels in equally evocative locations throughout the city – Montmarte, Les Halles, Saint Honore and the Louvre – ranging from three to four stars, and each with the same delightful approach to interiors.   In a city where individuality and style are part of the vernacular, the Le Relais group, and the wonderful Le Relais Madeleine in particular, really is worth knowing (and bragging) about.   Details Le Relais Madeleine   11 bis, rue Godot-de-Mauroy, Paris France,   hotel-relais-madeleine.com THE IT VERDICT   This place is the perfect base in Paris.   You won’t be able to stop crowing to your friends about it. Location = 8/10 Numerous landmarks just moments away, and lots of cafes and shopping nearby make this a quintessential Paris location. Style/Character = 8.5/10 With its charmingly upholstered walls (and bar fridges), vintage books, overstuffed sofas and gorgeous 19th century lines, it’s more stylish than a lot of generic five-stars. Service = 7/10 Discreet and friendly, the front desk staff were always ready to help, arranging taxis and advising on what to see in the vicinity. Rooms = 8/10 Staying in the top suite I got to see the very best, and boy was it good: a pretty room with a soft bed, big bathroom and all the amenities. Value for money =  8/10 I paid $386 for the four-person suite with its sauna and terrace for my exclusive use, which represents pretty good value in my book, especially in a city known for the quality (and price) of its hotels.
france luxury accommodation
Our list of the the five best beds in Bordeaux
After filling up on wine and cheese, a weary traveller needs a comfy place to recuperate.
Hotel Bachaumont's restaurant, Paris.
Hotel Bachaumont – Belle Époque Beauty
Entre nous: here, is your next Parisian bolthole. Words by Megan Arkinstall. Hotel Bachaumont was a Parisian institution at the beginning of the 20th century, located just minutes from Les Halles, then France’s largest market.   However, when the markets were demolished in the 1970s, the hotel also closed its doors and this beautiful building lived out its next few decades as a hospital, and radiology and x-ray centre. Pah!   Thankfully, 40 years on, a collaboration between La Clé Group and designer Dorothée Meilichzon has seen the building reborn as a splendid Art Deco boutique hotel. [caption id="attachment_24267" align="alignnone" width="1500"] First impressions last. Hotel Bachaumont’s striking Art Deco entrance.[/caption] It’s named after Louis Petit de Bachaumont, a writer who was attributed to Mémoires Secrets, an 18th-century chronicle disclosing sordid secrets about France at the time; but there’s nothing scandalous about the Hotel Bachaumont, its latest reincarnation a nod to the Belle Époque, the City of Light’s golden age.   Meilichzon describes the hotel’s style as a fresh twist on classic Paris chic. From the moment of arrival this is apparent, with its ornate, wrought-iron entrance, high ceilings, large mirrors and a monochrome marble floor casting a striking first impression, a hint of the hotel’s pared back elegance. [caption id="attachment_24269" align="alignnone" width="1500"] Hotel Bachaumont's restaurant.[/caption] Each of the unique guest rooms is resplendent in serene blue hues and neutral soft furnishings, complemented by Meilichzon’s trademark headboards covered in fabric by Pierre Frey, brass Stilnovo lamps, and bathrooms that are patterned with geometric and penny-round tiles. Some rooms boast petite terraces that look over the city’s rooftops (try to nab one of these, if you can). [caption id="attachment_24273" align="alignnone" width="1487"] Guest rooms are kept simple with a neutral colour scheme.[/caption] Meanwhile, the Restaurant Bauchaumont is an eclectic take on a traditional French brasserie, with a wonderful glass ceiling, wood-panelled walls, brass fittings, a brilliant clash of brightly printed fabric chairs, and backgammon-inspired dining tables. The open-plan kitchen allows you to watch as the menu of contemporary French gastronomy is prepared.   But perhaps the clincher for Hotel Bauchaumont is its superb location: nestled between the Louvre and the enchanting Le Marais in the second arrondissement, this pedestrian-only zone is a haven of boutiques stores and bustling cafes, perfect for exploring by foot (so no need to use the hotel’s gym to work off those pastries, non?).   The epitome of old-world Parisian charm and romance, Hotel Bauchaumont will delight nostalgics, but also possesses the right amount of contemporary cool for hip young things, too. De rien, dear reader.  
InterContinental Carlton Cannes, France.
Film, fashion and food: here’s Cannes in 30 seconds
Our mini-guide to France's city of film, culture and creativity. Your time starts...NOW!
Hotel Bourg Tibourg, Paris.
Review: Hotel Bourg Tibourg, Paris
Looking for a sexy Parisian bolthole that’ll reignite the spark? This boutique hotel in the heart of Le Marais has you covered, writes Rachel Smith. Some might say that Paris is perfect for lovers no matter where you stay.   But when you’re exhausted from travelling, tired of carting around luggage and, frankly, a bit sick of each other after 24/7 togetherness, I reckon you need just the right place to rediscover that lovin’ feeling.   Which posed the question upon our arrival in Paris: where should we lay our berets? Lively, youthful Saint-Germain? Champs-Élysées with its luxury stores and café culture? Or perhaps a cosy room from which to soak up the village vibe of Montmartre’s cobbled streets?   In the end, though, the Marais won out – not least because this funky little quarter of criss-crossing streets is about as central as it gets.   It’s also a precinct where late-night wine bars rub shoulders with bookshops and where you can get a goat’s cheese omelette at 2am. And best of all, it’s home to the seriously sexy Hotel Bourg Tibourg. Styled to perfection This is a doll’s house of a place, styled to perfection with its striped carpets, rich oriental fabrics, and a glamorous Gothic vibe that stops just short of being too much.   And, while many rooms at Tibourg would barely pass the swing-a-cat test, designer Jacques Garcia thought it’d be interesting to show that ‘small can become grand’. In these ambient, nook-like spaces, it seems he was right. [caption id="attachment_16749" align="alignnone" width="668"] One of many ambient nook-like spaces throughout Hotel Bourg Tibourg.[/caption] That said, if you want to swing a cat, your bags and maybe each other, opt for the junior suite.   It’s an attic sanctuary oozing seduction, with two sets of French windows with views of the beautiful square down the street and the rooftop garden of an apartment opposite.   The small but striking bathroom continues the moody vibe with mosaics, a black granite floor, decent-sized bathtub and Costes toiletries. There’s also free wi-fi and other mod-cons such as an iPad on request. So much Paris at every turn In the mornings, we fling open the windows and let the sounds of Paris float in while nibbling on breakfast in bed: pots of yoghurt, piles of berries, baguettes and lashings of butter, St-Marcellin cheeses and café au lait, all delivered on a groaning tray. Breakfast is available in your room until noon or a decadent 11:30am in the salon, the hotel’s medieval cellar.   Tibourg clearly understands that, sometimes, lovers need a luxuriously late start.   Beyond your room, there are lots of little secret spots to discover, including the ferny forest of the hotel’s colourful courtyard and the lush, library-esque sitting room off the lobby, where you might wish to nestle down on a comfy armchair and while away an hour with Oscar Wilde’s L’Éventail de Lady Windermere or Proust’s Les Plaisirs et les Jours.   There’s also a great library of films to borrow (and staff will even bring up popcorn on request). [caption id="attachment_16750" align="alignnone" width="668"] The exterior of Hotel Bourg Tibourg in Le Marais.[/caption] Of course, being in Paris one cannot laze about in bed all day, regardless of how beautiful one’s bedroom is. Luckily, we’re right in the thick of it, close to the Pompidou Centre, the Picasso Museum and Notre Dame. Pack in the culture There’s no time to add our lovers’ padlock to the thousands already swinging from the Pont des Arts, so keen are we to make it to the Louvre before lunch, but now I wish we had. At any rate, this beautiful bridge is well worth a stroll (and maybe even a stolen kiss).   The next morning we stay local, noshing on macarons at Pierre Hermé on rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, and wandering around the cobbled streets, famous Jewish bakeries and designer stores of rue de Rosiers.   Tea-lovers also shouldn’t miss iconic Mariage Frères on rue du Bourg-Tibourg, which features over 600 teas – each with its own specific steeping time! Indulge in typically Parisian fare When evening falls, the Marais comes alive. The hotel’s salon is perfect for an aperitif, or you might like to venture to wine bar/bookshop La Belle Hortense in rue Vieille du Temple for a vin and to browse the walls of tomes.   We opt for a pint-sized window table at rue de Bourg-Tibourg’s Lizard Lounge, a thriving little grunge bar. From here, it’s just a short walk to rue de Rivoli’s Le Gribouille, a little bistro where seemingly everyone waits for a table.   Once inside and dining on bien cuit steak and roast poulet with piles of potatoes, greens and classic French sauces, we’re in heaven.   All too soon, our escape from the real world is over, and it’s time for us to bid farewell to Tibourg’s tiny jewelled interiors and friendly staff.   We arrived frazzled, but are leaving loved-up and rich in memories, thanks in no small part to this beautiful hotel and its way of making us feel at home.   I’m guessing Jacques Garcia would be pretty happy about that. Details HÔtel Bourg Tibourg   19 Rue du Bourg-Tibourg, Paris   +331 4278 4739   bourgtibourg.com   The IT Verdict   It’s stylish and cool; the kind of place Francophiles would kill to stay. Location = 8/10 Le Marais is ripe for exploring. Style/character = 9/10 Seriously glam from the moment you step in the foyer. Service = 9/10 The friendly staff can’t do enough. Rooms = 7/10 Ours was a decent size, but be warned that most are teeny-tiny. Food and drink = 9/10 Room service ranges from sushi to fois gras – or a simple plate of macarons. Value for money = 9/10 At $576 for a junior suite, it’s on the pricey side, but an experience nevertheless.
The lavish new Peninsula Paris hotel.
The ultimate girls’ guide to Paris
Where to stay, what to read, eat, see and do for a suitably luxurious ladies retreat to Paris. Ladies, at the risk of preaching to the choir, it is incumbent on me to state something obvious right from the start: Paris has always done luxury oh-so well.   It has to do with the endless glorious architecture that sends a little frisson of excitement through your body as you stand in front of it, the dramatic history that has shaped the city for centuries, and, of course, the innate sense of style of the Parisians themselves. [caption id="attachment_16202" align="alignnone" width="460"] Angelina tea room on Rue de Rivoli.[/caption] For a city that boasts the very existence of The Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Luxembourg Gardens, Notre Dame – and the insanely indulgent Rue Saint-Honoré, because fashion is an essential part of the legend too – within its limits, it would be easy to forgive the powers that be if they simply decided to rest on their designer-clad laurels and bask in the reflected glow of what they already have.   But, non! Paris is constantly evolving our collective perception of what constitutes true luxury and the ultimate in chic.   So, in the interest of keeping up with this most aspirational of destinations we have pulled together the ultimate girls' guide to Paris, just for you. The Hotels It is a bold statement but perhaps nowhere on Earth rivals Paris when it comes to five-star hotels.   The impeccable service received at properties such as The George V and The Ritz is the benchmark by which all other hotels are judged. [caption id="attachment_16198" align="alignnone" width="1500"] The lavish new Peninsula Paris hotel.[/caption] Given the already expansive roster, it is essential for any newcomers to really 'bring it' when arriving in the City of Light.   Expectations were high for the new Peninsula Paris given the long established reputation of its flagship Hong Kong property, and the luxury brand has pulled out all stops in order not to disappoint.   Housed in a grand white Haussmannian building on Avenue Kléber, the former Majestic Hotel had a chequered past – it was converted into government offices during the 1930s and became the headquarters of the German Military High Command during the occupation of France by the Nazis in World War II – before being acquired by Peninsula and undergoing four years of meticulous, no-expense-spared restoration by a team of artisans.   The result of all this work and dedication is a grand property of 200 rooms, including 34 suites, a luscious 1800-metre spa and an impressive collection of restaurants and bar (including the rooftop L'Oiseau Blanc with its views to a certain tower of some repute) that is exquisite in its attention to detail, bien sur!   19 Avenue Kleber, Paris; paris.peninsula.com [caption id="attachment_16199" align="alignnone" width="1500"] The restaurant area at Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris.[/caption] With the bar raised that much higher thanks to The Peninsula, the facelift undertaken by another of the city's storied hotels needed to be all that and a little bit more in order to keep up.   Of course, given that we are talking about The Plaza Athénée (yes, the Sex and the City hotel) it was almost a given that it would succeed.   The revitalised property is now a breathtaking example of what a five-star offering should look like, with its 142 rooms and suites having been primped and preened to perfection – they even smell good, scented as they are with the subtle aroma of amber.   The hotel's five restaurants and bars have also undergone stunning transformations, nowhere more so than Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, the signature restaurant by the Michelin-starred superstar which is now a dreamscape of whiter-than-white fittings and sparkling metallic pod booths.   The overall effect throughout the hotel is nothing short of stunning, and will definitely please the well-heeled visitors checking into the rooms upstairs and the ladies who lunch, who’ve been bereft of their absolute favourite venue for too long.   25 avenue Montaigne, Paris; dorchestercollection.com The Book There’s quite the vogue right now for how-to books attempting to distill all that it means to be female and Parisian into 300-odd pages (including contents and index) – how to dress, how to raise your children, how to maintain your weight… you get the gist.   What makes How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are (Random House, $34.95) different from others in this lucrative genre is the intelligence and wit with which the four authors – Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret and Sophie Mas – approach the subject, and the subtext of what they are actually saying.   Described as “bohemian free-thinkers and iconoclasts”,  the women are clever, chic and well connected, the very definition of what it is to be a Parisian, in fact.   They dish on everything from the pieces no self-respecting Parisian will let near her wardrobe (“Ugg boots. Enough said. Don’t even ask.”) to how to answer the phone when he finally calls, to the many books on a Parisian's bookshelf [caption id="attachment_16197" align="alignnone" width="751"] 'How To Be A Parisian Wherever You Are' from Random House, $34.95.[/caption] (“The books you claim you've read so many times that you actually believe you have. The books you read in school of which you only remember the main character's name. The books that you've been promising yourself you'll read next summer... for the past 10 years. The books that you think make you cool. The books you keep for your children, just in case you ever have any. The books you own simply because you must and, taken together, form intangible proof that you are well read.”).   With this book in your bag you’re just a crash-course in the French language and a one-way ticket to Charles de Gaulle away from Parisian perfection. The Café Saunter down the Rue de Rivoli on a Sunday afternoon and you will be forced to do a detour to the edge of the wide pavement to get around the crowds patiently waiting for a table at Angelina.   Established in 1903 and housed in a glorious Belle Époque salon, the tea room is renowned as the purveyor of decadent pastries which lure locals and tourists alike. [caption id="attachment_16203" align="alignnone" width="458"] The renowned signature patisserie at Angelina - The Mont Blanc. A moorish mound of piped creme de marron (sweet chestnut puree) on a meringue base, sprinkled with icing sugar.[/caption] The Mont Blanc, a moorish mound of piped creme de marron (sweet chestnut purée) on a meringue base liberally sprinkled with icing sugar is its signature patisserie.   There is also a delightfully described 'salty menu' of savoury dishes available but it is the fantastical, pastel-hued sugary confections and the legendary hot chocolate that each and every person in the well-mannered queue is prepared to wait as long as it takes to sample.   226 rue de Rivoli; angelina-paris.fr The Museum Eight years in the making, the Louis Vuitton Foundation was unveiled to much fanfare during the recent spring 2015 ready-to-wear shows, with the latest collection from the French luxury house being staged within its klieg-bright glass walls.   The brainchild of LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault, an avid art collector himself, the Foundation was envisioned as a space that would allow for the group’s policy of art and culture patronage to flourish and prosper. [caption id="attachment_16200" align="alignnone" width="1067"] Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris.[/caption] Award-winning architect Frank Gehry has created a building of true beauty, one that is at once alien to its surroundings in the Bois de Boulogne but at the same time wonderfully complementary, the green of the gardens reflecting endlessly in the glass panels that forms its shell.   As well as providing an additional gallery in which to celebrate and encourage modern art, it has also endowed the city with another stunning landmark that is sure to hold its own next to the Eiffel Tower in years to come.
The Peninsula Hotel Paris
Where to stay in Paris
The IT edit of the best hotels in Paris; from the bucket-list icons and fashionista hangouts, to the cheap and chic. Plaza Athénée 25 avenue Montaigne Arr. 8   METRO: Alma-Marceau   Long one of the city's ultimate five-star establishments, the red-awninged Plaza Athénée has just reopened after a lovely refresh. Le Bristol Paris [caption id="attachment_13787" align="alignnone" width="964"] A classic right bank uber luxurious hotel with an unquestionable pedigree, its positioning on the revered Fauborg Saint-Honoré. A secret garden and rare for Paris, a pool, make it a firm member of the elite Parisian hotels. and a member of our 100 Best Hotels and Resorts in the World 2013.[/caption] 28 Place des Vosges Arr. 3   METRO: Chemin Vert [caption id="attachment_13788" align="alignnone" width="982"] No ordinary room at Le Bristol Paris, the Prestige Elysée Suite, when you absolutely positively have a limitless budget, or a special occasion.[/caption] A classic Right-Bank uber-luxurious hotel with an unquestionable pedigree, its positioning on the revered rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. A secret garden and - rare for Paris - a pool, make it a firm member of the elite Parisian hotels, and a member of our 100 Best Hotels and Resorts in the World 2013. [caption id="attachment_13793" align="alignnone" width="1500"] The garden terrace for an exquisite breakfast or lunch at Le Bristol[/caption] Hotel Washington Opéra 50 Rue De 50 Richelieu, Arr. 1   METRO: Pyramides   A former townhouse of Madame Pompidou, The Washington Opéra's position just off the Place Vendôme puts it right in the thick of things. Shangri-La Paris 10, avenue d'Léna Arr. 16   METRO: Léna   Housed in Napoleon III's grand-nephew's house, The Shangri-La Paris is a stunning proposition on a grand scale. The Peninsula 19 Avenue Kléber Arr. 16   METRO: Kléber   The latest luxury opening in the city, The Peninsula is housed in a grand Hausmann building and is all that the name implies; gorgeous rooftop bar and restaurant with the incredible views of the Eiffel Tower, cosy Le Bar Kleber and and the Lobby Lounge, the Peninsula is one of the finest palatial hotels in Paris. Le Relais Madeleine 11BIS Rue Godot de Mauroy Arr. 9   METRO: Madeleine   Le Relais Madeleine is a charming three-star boutique establishment, centrally located with individually decorated rooms and charming staff. The chain has similar properties scattered across the city. Hôtel Costes 239-241 Rue Saint-Honoré Arr. 1   METRO: Opéra / Concorde   If you are a dedicated follower of fashion then Hôtel Costes is for you - seriously chic and just plain cooler than cool. If you want to know that you have mixed with the hippest, coolest and most avant garde in Paris, this is your Parisian base. Le Meurice [caption id="attachment_13789" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Unbeatable positon opposite the Jardin des Tuileries, a Philippe Starck surrealist refurb mixed with its 18th century heritage, and Alain Ducasse overseeing the food and beverage offering, this is one of the grand dames of the Parisian hotels, particularly great for a special occasion. Little wonder it made our 100 Best Hotels and Resorts in the World 2013.[/caption] 228 rue de Rivoli Arr. 1   METRO: Tuileries [caption id="attachment_13790" align="alignnone" width="1000"] When you can splurge on a suite at Le Meurice, this is your living room.[/caption] Enjoying an unbeatable position opposite the Jardin des Tuileries, a Philippe Starck surrealist refurb mixed with its 18th century heritage, as well as Alain Ducasse overseeing the food and beverage offering, this is one of the grand dames of the Parisian hotels, particularly great for a special occasion. Little wonder it made our 100 Best Hotels and Resorts in the World 2013. Pavilion de la Reine 28 Place des Vosges Arr. 3   METRO: Chemin Vert   Discreetly tucked away behind the arch in the Place des Vosges, the ivy-drenched Pavilion de la Reine is a dream Parisian pied-à-terre. Mama Shelter [caption id="attachment_13708" align="alignnone" width="462"] The roof top terrace and bar perfect for the young at heart at Mama Shelter Paris[/caption] 109 Rue de Bagnolet Arr. 20   METRO: Rue Saint Maur [caption id="attachment_13707" align="alignnone" width="703"] The deluxe room at the Philippe Starck designed yet affordable Mama Shelter Paris[/caption] Philippe Starck's well-priced Mama Shelter Paris in the 20th arrondissement is fun and funky. Generator Paris 9-11 Place du Colonel Fabien Arr. 10   METRO: Colone Fabien   Opening in early 2015, Generator Paris is much anticipated in a city with a dearth of chic yet cheap hostel accommodation. Four Seasons Hotel George V [caption id="attachment_13785" align="alignnone" width="1500"] An art deco legend with a 2 Michelin Star restaurant, no wonder it is one of our 100 Best Hotels and Resorts 2013[/caption] 31 avenue George V Arr. 8 [caption id="attachment_13783" align="alignnone" width="1280"] A deluxe room at the Four Seasons Hotel George V[/caption] METRO: George V / Alma Marceau [caption id="attachment_13786" align="alignnone" width="1500"] The Le Galerie lounge at Four Seasons Hotel George V, an opulent place for an afternoon drink.[/caption] An art deco legend with a two-Michelin-Star restaurant, no wonder it is one of our 100 Best Hotels and Resorts 2013.
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d’Antibes, France
#1 hotel in the world: Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d’Antibes, France
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d’Antibes, France was ranked #1 in our countdown of the 100 Best Hotels and Resorts in the World.