Paris is well known for its passionate demeanor, beautiful artwork and powerful architecture. Many are of the opinion that the quality of French food has declined in the past few years. The portions might be smaller and the prices might be higher but Paris still offers 10 three Michelin star restaurants, 13 two stars and 42 one stars.
This creates an entire constellation for any traveller to choose from.
So where to go?
You can “test drive” one of France’s top chefs without breaking the bank, says The Sunday Times, by visiting Alain Ducasse’s bistro Benoit (20 Rue St-Martin) at lunchtime and having his three-course set menu. Otherwise, you could try Senderens (9 Place de la Madeleine). It is run by Alain Senderens, who is “famous for handing back his three Michelin stars in order to produce heartier food in a less formal setting”
Alain Ducasse’s bistro Benoit
However, Paris isn’t just a city for foodies. It is also a city for lovers. And lovers – after a visit to the “pastoral oasis” of the Musée de la Vie Romantique (16 Rue Chaptal); a quick trip to view The Kiss at The Rodin Museum (79 Rue de Varenne)’ and the purchase of a few “exotic slinkies” at lingerie shop Le Boudoir de Chantal Thomass (211 Rue St-Honoré) – will want to stay the night.
The Sunday Times suggests doing so at the Hotel Balzac (www.hotelbalzac.com), with its opulent open spaces and view of the Eiffel Tower. For those who have spent most of their cash on lunch, the Hotel Amour – “once a Pigalle house of ill repute”, now a charming boutique – offers doubles from $107 a night (www.hotelamour.com). However, those after real luxury might prefer the new Park Hyatt Vendome (www.hyatt.com). Decorated by American designer Ed Tuttle, and combining an unrivalled location between Cartier on Rue de la Paix and Place Vendôme, the hotel boasts huge rooms; specially commissioned products from renowned parfumier Blaise Mautin; open and covered gardens; a fully-equipped spa and a buzzy restaurant – Les Orchidées – which is open into the small hours. This doesn’t come cheap (doubles start from around $600), but then it is the City of Light’s only “Palace” (French for five-star hotel).