So, you know that scene in Sex and the City, when Carrie arrives in Paris, steps out onto her balcony and squeals with joy when she first sees her a magnificent Eiffel Tower view? Well that was basically me last month.
After a very luxurious Gulf Air flight, we touched down in the City of Lights, and were soon welcomed to the Shangri-La Hotel Paris. Before I could drop my bags, I had dashed over to the window to take in the most spectacular view I have ever had in a hotel. Now, that might sound like hyperbole, but I am not sure that I will be going to sleep with a glittering view of the tour Eiffel again any time soon.
Once I had lifted my jaw from the ground, I indulged in some of the Shangri-La Hotel Paris hospitality, with a honey macaron and cup of green tea, which had been laid out to welcome me. Before making my way down to breakfast at La Bauhinia – somehow I had managed to wake-up in Paris, and I couldn’t have been happier about it!
Shangri-Ooh La La!
The hotel is utterly steeped in history, that is evident from the moment you step foot through the grand doors. Built in 1896 as the home of imperial Prince Roland Bonaparte – the great-nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte – every corner seems to house a historical artifact, it's almost like you're sleeping in a museum. A very high end musem!
Prince Roland was a keen scientist and botanist, and this is so evident in the hotel’s design, with lush greenery in La Bauhinia and an entire bar dedicated to botany, Bar Botaniste – that is the place to go for an exotically mixed drink!
On our first day at the hotel we were given a historical tour – which is open to any guests at the hotel – by resident historian, Tony Le Goff. He walked us through the hotel’s lively past as a society home, showing us the grand ballroom, which has been recreated to look as it did in the late 19th century, and the Salon de Famille – probably my favourite room in the house. He also pointed out the amazing works of art, new and old, as well as the detailed façades. The entire home is telling a story.
It was then time for me to get out and enjoy a day in Paris, with shopping on the Champs-Élysées, patisseries in Montparnasse and a quick visit to the Modus Art Gallery in Place de Vosges.
I finished my first day in the City of Lights in true Shangri-La style, with a tasting feast at the Michelin starred Shang Palace. The meal was exquisite from start to finish, offering us a taste of high-end Cantonese gastronomy. Our highlights had to be the fried oysters with caviar and the signature roasted whole Peking duck, which came first as sliced crispy duck skin with pancakes, then wok-fried minced duck breast wrapped with lettuce.
My second day began as all days should start, with French toast for breakfast at La Bauhinia, and then I stepped out into a brisk autumnal day for some very fashionable culture.
First stop was the Louvre Museum, where I made a touristy beeline for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
Then I paid a visit to the incredible Christian Dior, couturier du rêve exhibition at Les Arts Décoratifs.
A dream-like retrospective of Dior’s work as an individual and as a fashion house in the last 70 years. A fashion lover’s heaven, the dresses on show range from those worn by Britain’s Princess Margaret to Natalie Portman. The exhibition is only on until January 7, a must if you’re in Paris this winter.
Then came the highlight of my trip! Drinks and bubbles on the balcony of La Suite Shangri-La, which Beyonce and Jay Z stayed in and Instagrammed to death last summer!
We then enjoyed a stunning meal at two- Michelin Star restaurant, L’Abeille. A stunning autumnal menu was served up, ranging from foie gras tart with mushrooms to lobster and black rice. The cheese course is, frankly, unmissable, I mean, when in Paris! But make sure you also leave room for the dessert – which is regularly named the finest in Paris. The signature honey dessert comes complete with honeycomb, honey ice cream and stunning little blooms.
And just like that, it was time to say goodbye to a blissful weekend in Paris! Until next time…
Come Fly With Me
How we got there: Talk about travelling in style! I flew to Paris with Gulf Air, via Bahrain. Fly Business Class in under nine hours. The luxe airline treated us like royalty from the moment we arrived at the Falcon Lounge in Dubai's Terminal 1.
Then when we were on board we enjoyed a flat bed for the night to get us to and from the City of Lights, with incredible meals prepared by the on-board chef. The cheese board after lunch was a mile-high highlight! Business Class tickets from Dubai to Paris (via Bahrain) start from Dhs6,800. Visit gulfair.com
Contact: shangri-la.com/paris/shangrila, Tel: +33 1 5367 1998