It’s early in the afternoon when I arrive at Gare du Nord and it’s a good kind of busy. The energy, the people, the smell… As soon as you’re in Paris you feel that je ne sais quoi. After managing to secure a taxi I don’t have to explain a thing to the chauffeur, Le Bristol is sufficient. Het notorious hotel situated at Rue du Fabourg Saint-Honoré is unmistakable; you can spot the iconic red awnings from a block away. The cab is barely at a stop before I already spot my luggage disappearing into the hotel. The doorman, dressed in a black, wool cape and black top hat, greets me with a friendly ‘Bonjour Madame’ and gives the revolving door a push so I won’t have to do the heavy work myself. As I come out on the other side, it seems as if I entered a different world. A world of luxury and lavishness as well as familiar cosiness. Gone is all the hustle and bustle of the big city, all that’s left is a gentle buzz. Everywhere I go I’m greeted with a friendly bonjour, to which I friendly bonjour right back. Strangely enough, I don’t even have to say my name while checking in as they already know who I am. Because I booked my stay via Leading Hotels of the World I’m lucky enough to get an upgrade to a Deluxe Junior Suite. And by lucky, I mean lucky.
As soon as you’re in Paris you feel that je ne sais quoi
My room is on the fourth floor, and with a big brass key that actually looks as if it’s straight from a fairytale, I open the door to my very own royal chamber. The suite is elegant and sophisticated and reflects the authentic Parisian character of the hotel. I have a separate living room with big French windows and a view on the glass dome of Salon Castellane.The marble bathroom is bigger than the average size hotel room and as icing the cake, the complete skincare collection of La Prairie is right there waiting for me. After I unpack my suitcase and change into something a little more Parisian (black pants, black turtleneck and black flats) I make my way down to the lobby for some teatime at Le Jardin Francais. I feel right at home in the classic and lavish tearoom as I sip my handpicked tea from a hand painted porcelain teacup. I get a friendly smile from a group of French Elite Women and their Birkin’s, who by judging on the shopping bags at the chair next to them are having a well deserved break after spending a small fortune on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
The royal treatment is the standard for every guest, so the fact that I suddenly feel like a big star isn’t all the strange. Keep in mind that the Beckham family called this very hotel their home for over six months and that the likes of Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are frequent guests. The hotel even made her film debut in the Woody Allen-Film Midnight in Paris.
To my big surprise, I’m awaited by a hord of paparazzi
I decided to go for some retailtherapy myself and head out. As I step out onto the beautiful Parisian street, to my big surprise, I’m awaited by a hord of paparazzi. My confusion as to how they figured out I’m here doesn’t last very long, since I’m being papped infront of the iconic Le Bristol which’ll make my coolfactor go up by a gazillion (and will also make for a fabulous Instagram post). When not a single click is heard and the photographers aren’t even looking at me, the sad reality slowly settles in that I am in fact not a celebrity. It turns out they’re waiting for Kate Moss who just arrived and somewhat dissapointed I slink off. My mood doesn’t very last long, within a 3 minute walk I’m surrounded by the most fashionable French: Chanel, Hèrmes, Lanvin and Dior.
The next two days are filled with nothing buy joy, luxury and that authentic Parisian vibe. Lavish breakfasts served on a trolly, complimented with a beautiful red rose, late night swimming in their rooftop pool, private cocktail parties and more joie de vivre than you can possibly imagine. After three wonderful days, my Parisian fairytale came to and end and it was time to head home. As I say my goodbyes to the staff, who actually feel more like old friends, I’m already dreaming of coming back which is why I won’t say Au Revoir, but Adieu.