A weekend in Paris: Follow in the footsteps of fashion royalty
- Credit: Archant
Zoe spends a stylish weekend in Paris, visiting the newly opened Yves Saint Laurent museum
Paris: the city of light, love and looking sophisticated.
For the locals, anyway, sleek in their black and neutral winter colours. I, on the other hand, am waltzing around in a garish red jumpsuit and matching trainers –not so chic but very “London”.
It has been a few years since I was last in Paris and there couldn’t have been a better time to return. With the Yves Saint Laurent Museum recently opened and a colossal biopic of Christian Dior at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs running until January, there is more than enough to whet your sartorial appetite.
Where to go
It’s about time that Paris got its own permanent tribute to YSL and the couture house has drawn crowds around the block since opening in October. You might have to queue for a little while but, believe me, it’s worth it.
From Le Smoking to the Mondrian Collection, he was behind some of the most iconic style movements. Wind your way around the house through tuxedos, evening gowns and flamboyant capes – this one, I stared at in awe for quite some time – and end up in the centre of it all, where the magic happened: his studio.
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Learning from the best, he started his career under the tutelage of Dior, whose work as the Designer of Dreams is being exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Set aside a day for this: I didn’t realise how much there was to see until I reached the midway point. This is one to rival the V&A McQueen biopic of a couple of years ago.
If you want some more behind the scenes peeks into the fashion world, Paris Shopping Tours lead you on exclusive tours following in the footsteps of the likes of Coco Chanel, even visiting her apartment. (parisshoppingtour.com)
Other notable mentions: the Grand Musée du Parfum teaches you how to differentiate between your fragrances and even lets you have a go at making your own (though don’t get your hopes up about being discovered as a sensory genius – it takes 10 years of training to perfect the art).
Where to stay
The five star Grand Hotel du Palais Royal, just a stone’s throw from The Louvre, gives you a peaceful and luxurious place to rest your head after a long day of seeing the sights – or to laze around with breakfast in bed in the morning. With monochrome sophistication in the entrance and a light and airy feel in the bedrooms, the classic Parisian building is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, which also hold the compact but decadent San Regis in the Champs-Elysées district.
What to eat
The hotel restaurant Le Lulli serves up some delicious dishes in a beautiful setting. Close to the hotel is Spoon, a newly opened venture by celebrated chef Alain Ducasse, whose love of travel has inspired a fusion menu that takes you from Vietnam to Al-Magrib (spoon-restaurant.com/en).
For a brunch that will blow any London “bottomless” out of the water, the deep blue interior of Le So is the setting for the ultimate foodie dream: an endless buffet of savoury and sweet foods of all kinds, where they won’t kick you out after half an hour (le-so-resto.fr).
It’s no exaggeration to say that it couldn’t be easier to get there from St Pancras. As a 4-hours-early-to-the-airport kinda gal, it feels weird leaving my house an hour before the train departs, but it is really that simple and I’m in central Paris in around 2 hours, making it ideal for a winter weekend away.
Eurostar operates up to 21 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord return from £58. Tickets: eurostar.com or 03432 186 186.
Grand Hotel du Palais Royal: from EUR370 per night (two sharing), room only (slh.com/palaisroyal; 0800 0482 314). You can join INVITED, SLH’s new loyalty programme: slh.com/invited
Paris tourism information: parisinfo.com