| 12.1°C Dublin

A five-star fling in Paris: 'Living like the other half comes highly recommended'

A stay at the Mandarin Oriental gives Anna Coogan a trip to Paris like she never experienced before

Close

Paris. We say yes

Paris. We say yes

Life is sweet in the Penthouse suite

Life is sweet in the Penthouse suite

Anna enjoys the indoor garden in the Mandarin Oriental Paris

Anna enjoys the indoor garden in the Mandarin Oriental Paris

/

Paris. We say yes

Elizabeth, a young woman with a French fringe and a slash of red lipstick - who looks like she's just stepped out of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's film Amelie - meets me off the plane in Charles de Gaulle.

Her sole purpose is to guide me through the airport, and introduce me to my driver who'll whisk me away to my hotel.

The duo is the welcome party of the five-star Mandarin Oriental Paris, and immediately I know this is a trip to Paris like I've never experienced before.

Living like the other half takes a little getting used to, too. Like knowing when to surrender my wheelie bag. I decline Elizabeth's offer to carry it, only to discover it's hard work walking briskly while pulling a wheelie bag and chatting cheerfully about my plans in Paris all at the same time.

So I hand the bag over the minute the chauffeur asks for it and enjoy what turns out to be one of the most pleasant car spins ever - in no time at all Haussmann's 19th-Century architecture in all its epic grandeur is gliding past the car windows.

The Mandarin Oriental prides itself on being an ultra-stylish five-star bolthole for its guests, and it is in walking distance of many of Paris's awe-inspiring monuments. Also, located on Rue Saint-Honore - one of Europe's top designer shopping streets - you're only ever a short walk away from Guerlain, Miu Miu, Christian Louboutin, Dior and Givenchy if you've a grá for designer shopping. And just around the corner, you'll find the elegant Jardin des Tuileries.

Close

Life is sweet in the Penthouse suite

Life is sweet in the Penthouse suite

Life is sweet in the Penthouse suite

Guests are greeted like old friends, and many are here because the hotel has some of the largest deluxe rooms in Paris, a real selling point in city where hotel rooms are often on the petite side.

The interiors are upliftingly light-filled and every inch of the hotel's designer beauty gleams in the way that, well, only serious money can make a thing gleam. My hotel suite is thoroughly modern, with sliding doors between the living area and bedroom giving a feeling of both privacy and space, with a frosted glass divide between my beyond-comfortable bed and a freestanding bath, so there's no fear I'll get lost.

The hotel recently paired up with Do It In Paris, an online magazine which has given itself the remit of providing discerning visitors with the best addresses in Paris, should they want their hair styled, or to visit a leading couturier, or discover some of the beauty secrets which French women are said to rely on for their legendary allure.

We head off to visit the apartment in the Le Marais district where the Do It In Paris's editorial team is based. Elodie Rouge, editor-in-chief and journalist Clemence Renoux explain how their food, fashion and beauty recommendations give every woman the chance to live and feel like a true Parisian.

Travel Insider

From staycation secrets to the return of overseas holidays, our free newsletter brings you the latest in travel every Wednesday.

This field is required

They, and their stylised apartment/office, are intimidatingly chic and cool, so of course they have no problem leaving us wanting a taste of their lifestyle - and if you need any more convincing, go and check out doitinparis.com.

We decide to take up their recommendation of a trip to Maison Rabih Kayrouz, the workshop of leading Lebanese couturier Rabih Kayrouz on Boulevard Raspail. Here, we find a seamstress constructing an intricate dress of gold threads on a tailor's dummy. It's traffic-stopping beautiful.

I ask how much? Following a long pause, I'm told €20,000. So I order... five.

A bit more affordable for my everyday purse is Buly on rue de Saintonge, a charming dispensary which dates back to the turn of the 19th Century and has beautifully preserved glass-panelled oak cabinets and cosmetic counters containing fragrant soaps, creams, oils and perfumes.

Living like a true Parisian is turning out to be one of the better assignments. Never mind walking like an Egyptian, when your decree is to live like you're Paris born and bred, you do begin to walk with a certain air of je ne sais quoi.

You eat well too. Superlative cooking is a big part of the appeal of Mandarin Oriental Paris - one of France's most distinguished chefs, Thierry Marx, described as a pioneer of molecular gastronomy, orchestrates its three restaurants. Tonight we have a fantastic dinner at Camelia, including roasted cod with orange braised butternut squash and creamy curry.

Though of course the star of the show is the two-Michelin star Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx, a restaurant with an ethereal all-white decor which offers "a complete sensory experience for gourmands". Lunch here is an experience-and-a-half for the taste buds - including soy and oysters risotto, shellfish mousse, multi-coloured octopus, line-caught yellow pollack and conical quail tangine. To be honest, the pain- staking effort that goes into the picturesque presentation of the dishes is even more memorable than the extraordinary taste.

The hotel's new Parisian Apartment is located on the sixth floor, and we take up the offer of a peek, and again the presentation turns out to be nothing less than perfection. It is 430 sqm in size and has four bedrooms - or five if you include the one for the nanny or bodyguard - a dining room and lounge, a kitchen and a large terrace with a pergola. It's where serious wealth sleeps while in Paris. I ask what nationality I'm likely to be if I am sleeping in the apartment. American and Russian are mentioned.

We decide to take up another recommendation from our Do It In Paris pals. Christophe Nicolas Biot is a hair stylist who is popular with Parisian celebrities, and his salon, Atelier BioT is located on Rue Royal. A vegan hair salon - Biot is a specialist in plant colouring - its clients are stylish and self-possessed. While having what turns out to be a very glossy blow-dry, the stylist doesn't ask where I'm going on holidays which is sad, because it's my chance to say "I am on holidays".

It is also very easy to recommend an Oriental Essence treatment in the Spa at the Mandarin Oriental which turns out to be very relaxing after a busy weekend of sightseeing.

Our second and, sadly, last night is spent enjoying aperitifs in the hotel's Bar 8, where guests and chic Parisians enjoy cocktails. We follow it with dinner at Malro in Le Marais, a neo-brewery with a Mediterranean cuisine which is hopping with large groups of trendy locals, and we find room for even more great food.

Living like the other half comes highly recommended, as does the Mandarin Oriental Paris.

Get there

Close

Anna enjoys the indoor garden in the Mandarin Oriental Paris

Anna enjoys the indoor garden in the Mandarin Oriental Paris

Anna enjoys the indoor garden in the Mandarin Oriental Paris

* Rates for Mandarin Oriental, Paris start from €914 per room per night. For more information, please call or visit www.mandarinoriental.com/paris

* More information about the Parisian Apartment mandarinoriental.com/paris/place-vendome/luxury-hotel/accommodations/the-parisian-apartment


Most Watched





Privacy