EAT in Paris:
You can't help but suspect that it's impossible to find a restaurant smaller than this on in Paris. More than 30 guests couldn't dine here, at least, not at the same time. It brings truth to the name and creates a very cosy atmosphere. As long as it doesn't distub you that private discussion might have to be saved for another night. We find that it's actually beneficial to be able to clearly see your neighbour's plate. That way you can get a good idea of what interesting creations are on offer, without having to order everything on the menu. How does the ocean perch in chocolate sauce look? 3 courses for ?35 is not to be missed. So put together your own set menu from a range of four entrées, four main meals and four desserts.
The Kong polarises at the highest niveau: Whilst some love it and simply can't get enough, there are others that hate it because it is simply too snobby. Those who do like the Kong can spend their entire evening in posh ambience; there's fantastic food in the restaurant, and great drinks at the bar. After a while, it's only a few steps to the dance floor. Whether you find the music so good that you want to buy the CD to take home is purely a matter of taste. Indisputable however, is the fact that the Kong possesses this finest view of the Parisian night sky that you will ever experience. So head high, there's no ceiling above you, but a glass dome.
She has designed carpets for W Hotels and developed graphic concepts for Lacoste. With the Sure Mesure, a restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Paris is added to the portfolio of Norwegian Heidi Winge Ström. Ström wraps the venue on Rue Saint-Honoré - according to Wallpaper*s Design Awards the best new restaurant in 2012 - in white textile walls, structured tablecloths and napkins and creates tableware which is referred to by Mandarin Oriental as high fashion jewel. The concept was provided by the designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku. For the design on the plates, the restaurant sends Thierry Marx on the catwalk. The chef and Bruce Willis lookalike has been awarded multiple prizes and is devoted to experimental, Japanese cuisine. The result: soy risotto with black truffles or poached fig with Banyuls and ginger sorbet. Likewise some form of design.
STAY in Paris:
Vice Versa Hotel
Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. These are the seven deadly sins. And have served as inspiration for the new project of interior designer Chantal Thomass. The result: a comprehensive redesign of the Vice Versa Hotel in Paris. Each and every flower ornament, butterfly pattern and lace ribbon has been conceived by the renowned designer herself. The same applies to the furniture, beds and fauteuils, wallpapers, fabrics and curtains. Afterwards Thomass has put everything into the rooms of the seven floors and painted them with matching colours: mellow in beige, sensual in black, or playful in sugar pink. In addition Thomass glued notes to the wall, painted oversized cutlery on the carpets and screwed tea pots to the ceiling as light fixtures. In order to avoid an explosion of colour there are cosy sofas in white in the entrance area. Parts of the hotel mutate into a Etruscan palace. That is inciting indeed - but not necessarily to sleep!
Villa St. Germain
Wengé wood, marble and precious materials. Those who place value in sophisticated and exclusive design will be spellbound in the Villa Saint Germain, established by Marie Christine Dorner. This dame learnt from one of the best: she was a pupil of Philippe Starck, the most famous French designer of all time. The Villa is fantastic and exudes an elegance of excellence. Harmonie and simplicity, clear lines and soft colours set the tone here. And it's all found in the picturesque Saint Germain des Prés, right next to the Louvre and the Museum d'Orsay. As a tip, order a glass of champagne or a whisky and soak in the ambience at the hotel Jazz bar, even if you're not staying overnight. Double rooms from 270 euros per night.
The Hotel Pavillon de la Reine, styled like a chateau, is blessed with a remarkably good location on the Place des Vosges. It is in the middle of Marais, which is the heart of historical Paris. Behind the façade of the Place des Vosges is a magnificient garden which hosts a royal pavillion. Gobelin tapestry, avenues of oak trees, wall panelling out of the most exquisite materials, striped antique furniture, oil paintings and open fireplaces evoke a unique atmosphere that permeates the entire house. Breakfast is served in the tastefully decorated cellar-vault, after which guests can make their way to the magnificient sights of Marais within short walking distance. Suites for 4 to 5 people are also available for families. Double rooms are available from ?330 a night
SIGHTS in Paris:
As hard as it is, you have to ask your way to Rue Montorgueil. The unpronouncable district is the hippest in the whole city of Paris. Where the fish traders once did their business, those in the scene have now settled in and it's actually the same as it always has been: The houses are still yet to be renovated, the rental prices are still cheaper as elsewhere and the young and the creative are inevitably drawn here in droves. Sundays present a great opportunity to take a leisurely stroll through the area. The bars and cafés are full of people having a relaxed chat. Even the delicatessens are open on Sundays. Those that want to go home as a complete insider should come on a Saturday and visit the fashion boutiques in the golden shopping triangle between rue Montmartre and Rue du Jour. Even the lively Rue Tiquetonne boasts numerous stores, tattoo parlours, restaurants and bars. Head to one of the cafés or a bar to enjoy a comfortable end to your day. Ask around, because the top spots change quicker than you can drink a glass of wine. And don't leave without visitng the traditional Stohrer chocolate store. The quirky specialty here is La Réligieuse à l'ancienne, a church spire made from coffee and chocolate eclairs.
The Centre Pompidou is an absolute must! You have to witness this cultural centre at least from the outside. The fascinating blue stems from the pens of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers and won the covetted 2007 Pritzker prize. If you take the time to visit the inner halls of the building, then you will be rewarded with the most innovative cultural program the city has to offer. It's all about contemporary art; encompassing theater, music, visual arts, film and literature. Access to the rooftop terrace is also included in the entry rpices. Through the transparent pipes, escalators take you all the way to the top level at a height of 35 metres. Sounds high? The view is well worth the trip!
A stroll over the Champs Elysées is not to be missed. There's countless noble boutiques and trendy people to be seen. Shiny eyes are on the cards, and once you've had enough of looking at the luxury on display, then you've probably already reached the Arc de Triomphe. Only a few take the time to ascend the arches, probably because of the 300 steps involved. However, the view from the Arc de Triomphe is almost better than the Eiffel Tower. The city doesn't seem so far away from the 50 metre height and you can still spot all the sights with ease. Inside the arch, there's a museum dedicated to the city's history and a changing historical exhibition.
SHOPPING in Paris:
Jeanne Lanvin founded the Lanvin label in 1889, when she was only 22 years old. Forget the mother-daughter collection that brought the label into the limelight, Lanvin is already over that. The Paris elite didn't want to wait around for mama and baby: they all wanted to wear the latest from Jeanne. That is still the case today, and it could be because Lanvin never jumps on a trend, but rather set the trend themselves. Not loud and piercing, but with decent, modest and emphatic elegance. The boutique, which was designed in the 1920's by Albert-Armand Rateau is still at the original address on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
At Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse in Paris you can dive into a world of chocolate. Wholeheartedly. Cocoa beans from all over the world - from Peru to Vietnam - are transformed by Nicolas Berger, chef confectioner at Alain Ducasse's worldwide gourmet empire on Rue de la Roquette, into chocolate truffles, bars or ganache. For his restaurants Ducasse wanted his own chocolate line, beyond industrially produced chocolate masses. That's how the manufacture came into existence, where he serves as the artistic mastermind of taste. Berger provides for the sweet fine-tuning. In a former bank branch behind thick steel doors Berger experiments with an old coffee bean roaster. Not only the equipment is ancient which was specially made for the manufacture, also the interior of the chocolaterie has an antique touch. Both Berger and Ducasse are vintage fans. At Le Chocolat they fulfil their chocolatey promise of felicity - at 100 per cent.
A chamber of horrors for some, a storytale wonderland for others. The items sold here are really a matter of taste, as stuffed animals are involved. The curiousities-cabinet is full off exquisite works of art. Next to the bits and pieces, such as bugs and butterflies suspended on needles, there are unmissable stuffed giraffes, tigers and zebras. Many items are sold straight out of the yard. If you're not sure if the proud horse will fit in your living room, why not take it home for the weekend? Larger items can be rented before purchase!