THE WEEKEND: Long-stemmed Jacqueminot roses. Flutes of fizzing Feuillatte. Boxes of bonbons by Belgian chocolatiers. A romantic weekend in Paris. You may call it cliché, but I call it classic. Besides, everyone knows Paris is a good idea—especially now, when there are new reasons to pay a visit to the City of Love.
THE STAY: The bar for hotels is set high in Paris, especially with new openings to try; however, it’s impossible to top a long-standing love affair, and it doesn’t get more romantic than the grandest grand dame of them all, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée.
From its signature red awnings and Haussmann façade to its opulent Belle Epoque suites with balconies of curlicuing wrought-iron and Eiffel Tower views, everything about Plaza Athénée screams true love. In fact, the famous 1,900 geraniums that adorn the hotel’s flowerboxes are reputedly a tribute to the fling between old Hollywood glam girl Marlene Dietrich and French cinema star Jean Gabin.
Of the 208 keys, the most magical is the pretty-in-pink Haute Couture Eiffel Suite, a masterclass in allure with silk pillows, sprays of fresh florals and even a baby grand piano.
Celebrating its 110th year, there are new delights too, like an ice rink, hidden in the hotel’s centre courtyard and a pop-up, winter chalet for champagne and fondue.
THE FOOD: Last year, Jean Imbert au Plaza Athénée—the hotel’s new flagship restaurant—won its first Michelin star, just nine short weeks after opening its gilded doors. With taper candles, oversized vases of pink hydrangeas, and a massive antique Breccia marble table, this is the spot for fine French gastronomy with history (some of Imbert’s recipes are 250 years old) and style (see: the surrealist Langouste en Bellevue dish).
For something more casual, head to the hotel’s high-end Art Deco bistro, Le Relais Plaza, where the menu was also revamped by Imbert (don’t miss the sea bream gratin, inspired by a recipe from Imbert’s grand-mère).
Beyond the hotel, Paris has plenty of new hotspots like the zero-waste, set- menu restaurant Granite by former Anne-Sophie Pic sous-chef Tom Mayer, and stock up on sweet treats at Alain Ducasse’s new dessert shop, Le Biscuit Alain Ducasse.
ASK ABOUT: Spread out over two floors, Mondaine de Pariso is an ultra- plush new live music venue and neo-cabaret straight out of the seventies. The vibe is sumptuous, sexy, and upscale; it’s the kind of place Serge Gainsbourg might have frequented in his heyday. The cocktails are killer; try the Gimme Gimme, with pear brandy, peach, and cider. Pavillon Faubourg Saint-Germain is another new opening to keep on your radar; every month they host a live jazz night in their James Joyce Bar. a tribute to the Irish novelist who lived onsite while penning Ulysses. The next jazz night falls on Valentine’s Day.
DO IT YOURSELF: Nightly rates at Plaza Athénée start from £1,950 Book online at Dorchestercollection.com or call +33 1 53 67 66 65