Ah, Paris. The City of Light – of romance, of style, of beauty. Her people are effortlessly chic, her buildings extraordinary in their splendour.
The food, the art, the shopping, the theatre… whether strolling along the Seine on a spring afternoon or wiling away an evening people watching on a bistro terrace with a carafe of wine, the French capital is an exceptional place to spend some time.
Considering it’s only two hours from St Pancras on the Eurostar, it’s the ideal destination for a quick escape from London life.
Here are some of the best hotels Paris has to offer.
Hôtel Plaza Athénée
25 Avenue Montaigne, Paris 8th
The avenue Montaigne, marking the southern edge of Paris’ ‘Golden Triangle’, is a globally important fashion destination, and the scarlet awnings and 1,900 red geraniums decorating the front of the Hôtel Plaza Athénée are probably its most recognisable feature.
The ornate stone carving and ironwork of the façade set the tone for the exquisite design work of the interior, from the modern cool of Le Bar to the traditional Parisian garden aesthetic of La Cour Jardin.
Rooms and suites offer levels of luxury you would expect from a member of Dorchester Collection, and the views of the Eiffel Tower from the balconies at the front are breath-taking.
Complete a visit with classic French cuisine from Jean Imbert in the evening and a morning in the Dior Spa to refresh the body and mind.
Fauchon L'Hôtel Paris
4 Boulevard Malesherbes, Paris 8th
There probably aren’t many places better to treat yourself than a luxury hotel from a world-famous maker of delicious sweets and pastries. The Fauchon brand has been famous for its macaroons and chocolates since Victorian times, and Fauchon L'Hôtel has that excellence at its core – rooms feature their own, customisable Fauchon Gourmet bars in place of the traditional minibar, and meals can all be moved to the adjoining Grand Café Fauchon.
The location, just next to the Place de la Madeleine and its incredible church, is a perfect launchpad for exploring the local Haussmannian boulevards and a visit to the Opéra Garnier.
If all that local discovery sounds like a lot of work, just remember there are plenty of massage treatments available at the in-house wellness centre, plus you’ll have the perfect excuse for one or two more trips to the pastry counter.
228 Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1st
The second Parisian member of The Dorchester Collection is found on one of the most celebrated streets in Paris, and has been a luxury hotel for almost 200 years.
he list of notable figures who have visited Le Meurice in that time is a long one, and when you consider the view across the Jardin Des Tuileries it is not hard to imagine why.
The Louvre is on your doorstep when staying here, the high-end brands of Rue St Honoré a gentle stroll away and the river and Notre Dame almost within touching distance. In the property, the baroque opulence and Michelin-starred dining of Alain Ducasse can be followed by digestifs and live jazz at the Bar 228, before retiring in sheer luxury to rooms and suites which rival any in the city for sheer space and comfort.
The crowing glory of the hotel is the Belle Etoile penthouse suite, whose sprawling roof terrace has to be seen to be believed. The views across the city are unrivalled.
112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris 8th
Few hotels in Paris boast their own rooftop pool, or their own live-in cat who greets guests as they arrive – Le Bristol has both.
This sprawling property also boasts three different restaurants, a chic and modern bar area which remains lively until the small hours every weekend, and an extraordinary garden, recently re-designed by renowned designer Lady Arabella Lennox-Boyd.
Spend an afternoon browsing the modern art galleries which fill the rest of the street, indulge yourself at the three-star Epicure restaurant then wind down with a few laps of the pool as you enjoy the views of the sun setting over the city rooftops to the west.
La Maison Champs-Elysées
8 rue Jean Goujon, Paris 8th
Another Golden Triangle hotel with fashion at its core. The interior of La Maison Champs-Elysées was designed by Maison Margiela, and is quite simply stunning.
Margiela is known for using the contrast of black-on-white and this is evident throughout the property, from the deliberately disordered flagstones on the lobby floor to the way the White Room - a space just off the lobby for guests and locals alike to grab a moment of respite - is directly opposed in both location and aesthetic by the sumptuous Black Cigar Bar.
To say this place is cool is an understatement - your only issue will be dragging yourself outside to explore the rest of the city.
45 Boulevard Raspail, Paris 6th
The Left Bank is also home to some magnificent hotels, with none more deserving of the title than the spectacular Hotel Lutetia.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés is known as a home of art and creativity, and this hotel seeks to celebrate that reputation, with nods to local heritage throughout its corridors and a signature suite designed in collaboration with Carré Rive Gauche, the local association of art and antique dealers.
The central restaurant, Le Saint-Germain, is dressed with artworks by Fabrice Hyber and crowned by an astonishing stained-glass roof, while twi chic and modern bars offer secluded spots to unwind with a cocktail after a long day.
If the 1st, 2nd and 8th arrondissements of Paris have long been considered the centre of the city’s high society, the bohemian atmosphere of the 6th has its own considerable charm, and is just as capable of offering luxury to its guests. The Lutetia is the shining example of this.
13 Rue des Beaux Arts, Paris 6th
A mere 20 rooms make this property a true boutique hotel. The simplicity of the name L’Hotel belies the extravagance of the design inside; textured wallpaper, exquisite silk drapes and all manner of hidden details are to be found on closer inspection.
True to the artistic heritage of the local area, this was the final home of Oscar Wilde – a fact which is celebrated in their cosy cocktail bar. Use of the basement hammam, with pool and steam room, is reserved to guests and private appointments are included with every stay.
This may not be the largest hotel in the city, but it’s certainly one of the most welcoming.
Le 5 Codet
5 Rue Louis Codet, Paris 7th
A beautiful art-deco building that once housed a telephone exchange is now home to Le 5 Codet, situated perfectly between the stunning Hôtel des Invalides and the iconic Eiffel Tower.
Crisp modernity is on display in every aspect of this hotel, from the design of the rooms and public areas to the menu in David Maroleau’s Chiquette restaurant. This may be a lesser-known area of town than some other parts of the city centre, but it’s still within easy reach of all the main sights, shops, galleries and destinations.
The service provided by the Clefs d’Or-approved concierge team is subtle but attentive, the patio is perfect for relaxing on when the afternoons get too hot and, if you go for a suite, the view of the gold dome of Les Invalides never gets old.
Best get in quick before that lesser-known status disappears.