Posts Tagged: Paris


10
Dec 12

My Parisian apartment

I love Paris. I really do. I love to walk along the banks of the Seine marvelling at the Eiffel Tower and to flutter around its giant department stores stopping for champagne and cake along the way. But I’m ashamed to say that that’s really all I’ve seen. I’ve visited three or four times over the years but have generally orbited around the big tourist attractions and then, before I know it, it’s been  time to say au revoir.

This time though, I really wanted to immerse myself in local life so during my recent vintage shopping trip to Paris I plumped for an apartment – handily the folks at Housetrip.com have thousands of properties to choose from all over the world and the booking process couldn’t be easier. For a change, I decided to venture into unchartered territory, staying near the Place de Clichy, on the edge of the city’s 17th arrondissement – just a hop, skip and a jump away from the artsy Montematre district, and a few minutes walk from the kitschy colourful Moulin Rouge. I liked the area; there were virtually no tourists but it was still buzzy with plenty of bars, cafes and quirky shops to choose from.

 

My apartment in Paris – it was really lovely. Unfortunately I forgot my camera and had to make do with my phone and Instagram.

The apartment itself was spacious with three good-sized bedrooms – the master bedroom had its own bathroom and a sauna too – quelle surprise!  It also had a smart fitted kitchen with every appliance you could possibly need, and an airy lounge with huge TV. There was a little terrace too if you fancied breakfast al fresco. Even though I arrived late at night, it was easy to check-in. I was met by one of their cheerful staff, swapped keys and got that essential wi-fi password.

My morning coffee and croissant spot in Paris.

So for the next few days, I wandered the area, hopped on and off the Metro and made the most of all those fabulous cafes on my doorstep. And although I love nothing better than staying at a gorgeous hotel, I have to say that if you really want to get under the skin of a city then an apartment is definitely the way to go.

GO THERE

HouseTrip.com has over 3,500 private rentals to choose from in Paris. The average price for a two bedroom apartment is around £84 per night, however, they have a range of apartments, houses and houseboats available starting from just £19 per night. To book a stay visit www.housetrip.com/en/Paris

15
Nov 12

Vintage shopping in Paris

Paris plus vintage shopping – could there be a more perfect travel amalgamation? I think not. And it’s certainly a favourite combination for celebrities and famous fashion faces too. Parisians, of course, take their fashion very seriously, so this is an amazing city to just stroll and shop, but if you really want to know where to go for those amazing one-off fashion finds you’ll need your own personal shopper.

Tara Munro is a vintage shopping specialist and her company Ooh La La Vintage in Paris has worked with everyone from Hollywood costume departments to TV stylists and A-list celebrities. The world’s top fashion houses including Lacroix, Karl Lagerfield, Chanel, Nina Ricci and Marc Jacobs have also come knocking at her door, seeking inspiration from Tara’s amazing retro collections.

Ooh La La’s services aren’t restricted to the red carpet and catwalk though, it’s also perfect for women who are looking for that gorgeous one-of-kind item. And at £45 for a tailor-made tour it’s not as expenses as you might think either. So,eager to sharpen my sartorial skills, I settled in for a clothing master class.

Tea and macarons set the scene

It’s entirely up to you how you arrange to spend your two hours. I was staying at an apartment in Paris with the lovely folks from Housetrip so it made sense to start our session there. While Tara set-up, we sipped tea (then champagne) and tucked into some magical little macarons.

Victorian jacket

Tara’s collection extends right back to Victorian times so not only did we get to ooh and aah over some amazing  frocks and fabrics, we also got a bit of fashion history lesson too.

Loved this shimmery number from the Twenties

The Thirties: this two-piece looks like it came straight from the set of Boardwalk Empire

Tara tells us how material was scarce during the war years but that didn’t stop fashion  - a dedicated dress-maker made this little number from discarded snooker table fabric.

Just peachy 1950s evening dress –  I so wanted to try this on and pretend I was Grace Kelly

Eat your heart out Peggy Olson.

On to the sleeker side of the Seventies.

Ending with some 1980s excess

Presentation over, we were given the chance to try on any pieces that we fancied before taking our newly-found fashion knowledge on to the street. Naturally, Tara knew all the best spots in town to bag a vintage bargain, and I have to say, there is no way I would have found these little shopping gems without her.

Mamie Blue

Mamie Blue was my favourite and the place where I picked up a gorgeous little Mad Men-esque gold lamé top for just 20 Euros. Brimming over with a dizzying array of clothes, hats, shoes, jewellery and accessories, it’s like a big decades-old dressing up box where you could easily stay for a year and still find things to play with.

 

 

 

 

 

This was definitely one of the most enjoyable days out I have had in Paris; champagne, pastries and a little bit of a history lesson all neatly tied up with the possibility of picking up a little bit of treasure for yourself at the end of the day. A winning combination indeed and not one that’s just for celebrities either.

GO THERE

HouseTrip.com has over 3,500 private rentals to choose from in Paris. The average price for a two bedroom apartment is around £84 per night, however, they have a range of apartments, houses and houseboats available starting from just £19 per night. To book a stay visit www.housetrip.com/en/Paris

 

 


18
Jan 11

Celebrity Romance in Rome, Prague, and Paris

 

It’s my anniversary this month! On the 23rd of January I will have been married for two years and I’m pleased to say that we still don’t go to bed angry – we prefer to stay up and fight! Oh, just joking, I’m still mad about the boy and am prone to getting a bit misty-eyed when I think about my beautiful wedding day and honeymoon.

After giving an emphatic “YES!” to my sweetheart’s impromptu proposal – in Venice under a star-filled sky – my bambino and I organised our wedding at lightning speed and married just four months later in beautiful Lake Garda. Anxiety-ridden brides-to-be are always amazed when I tell them that I just turned up with my dress and shoes but that’s pretty much the truth. My husband-to-be was living in Italy at the time so it was down to him to organise the Big Day. I didn’t see where I was getting married until I arrived outside the beautiful Baroque town hall of Arco del Garda with my bouquet in one hand and my Dad holding the other, and I didn’t know where the reception was being held until my new husband and I were winding our way up the side of the Rochetta mountain to the Il Ristorante Belvedere al Bastione, an extraordinary eatery located in a sixteenth-century fortification overlooking the lakeside town of Riva del
Garda.


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I always dreamed my wedding pictures would grace the (web) pages of HELLO!

 

The whole day bloomed with romance. The food, the wine, the scenery, the culture, the look in his eyes – everything was perfetto. Anyway, the point of my romantic remembrances is not only so that I can swim happily in the still clear waters of my memory but also to tell you about three exquisite European hotels that celebrity couples love to nest away in – and one of which I was lucky enough to spend my honeymoon in.

 

Where: Rome Cavalieri

This hotel is top of my romantic hot spots, partly because it is the gloriously beautiful hotel that I honeymooned in but also because it has been attracting celebrity clientele for decades. Located in the hills overlooking Rome, the Cavalieri was built in the 1960s to attract the elegant cocktail set of La Dolce Vita and still tingles with that magical A-list allure. Every inch of the Cavalieri positively exudes beauty, romance and lashings of luxury from its impressive art collection, to its decadent Grand Spa, three Michelin star restaurant, La Pergola, and its luxurious rooms and suites.

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The Cavalieri’s rooftop restaurant, La Pergola

As neither my husband or I have a film deal, trust fund, or are major shareholders in Apple we couldn’t quite afford the $20,000 a night Penthouse suite but our Imperial room still exceeded all of our expectations and was the perfect little pleasure palace for our honeymoon. Awaiting us in our mahogany-filled, richly-draped room was an enormous bed fitted out with sheets any pharaoh would be happy with, a travertine marble bathroom stocked with Hermès toiletries, and a view over the city that was so spectacular that, when we stepped onto the balcony for the first time, I actually cried a little bit!

 

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Who: Amongst an illustrious guest list that includes heads of state, diplomats, and foreign royalty, George Clooney, and girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis, are rumoured to be regular guests. John Travolta and Kelly Preston are also thought to be big fans of the Cavalieri’s charms. Queen of the love song, Celine Dion, and unashamed king of
the ballad, Gary Barlow have also checked in to the Cavalieri for some Roman-style romancing. And Julia Roberts checked in for a whole month while filming Eat, Pray, Love.

Why: The saying goes that “You’ve never lived until you’ve loved in Rome” and the Eternal City certainly doesn’t disappoint. Whether you are lounging amongst the lovers on the Spanish Steps, ambling around ancient ruins, shopping along the Via del Corso, having a tipple in Trastevere, or watching the sun come up over the Trevi Fountain the sound of lovers footsteps from centuries past resonate everywhere. Kissing and cuddling seem almost to be obligatory in this city and even celebrities get caught up in the city’s unrelenting passion – Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were caught smooching in the street, as were Julia Roberts and husband, Danny Moder.

 

 

Where: Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague

 

The last few years have seen an ever-increasing list of celebrity visitors flocking to the cultural capital of the Czech Republic, with many of them making their way to one of the very desirable rooms at the Buddha-Bar Hotel. The hotel is located along a charming wee street near the Charles Bridge and Old Town and is considered to be one of the best boutique hotels in Europe. Like the sultry restaurant chain of the same name, Buddha-Bar Hotel is a grand homage to oriental splendour. All of the rooms are decked out in the style of a luxurious opium den, some come with private terraces or Japanese gardens, all come with baths big enough for two and the three show-stopping suites are a heaven-sent for hedonists. This hotel is for all about pleasure seeking and is packed with hot young things and beautiful people. And if they’re not checking in, then they can be found enjoying the “Eatmosphere” at the sophisticated Siddharta Cafe.

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The blissful bathroom at the Buddha-Bar Hotel Prague

 

 

 

 

Who: They were never going to give me their guest list – they’re far too cool for that – but my sources tell me that, since its opening in 2009, Matt Damon and his wife, Luciana, have been regular guests at the Buddha-Bar. Other star couples that have been spotted in the area include Kanye West and girlfriend, Amber Rose, Brangelina, Gwen Stefani and husband, Gavin Rossdale, and Kylie Minogue and Spanish sweetheart, Andres Velencoso.

Why: If you’re looking for old-fashioned fairy tale romance then you really can’t do much better than picture-perfect Prague. Take a wander through the city’s cobblestone streets and admire its wedding cake architecture, magical gardens and magnificent Charles Bridge. The Rooneys chose this destination for last year’s make-it or break-it holiday. Bill and Hillary Clinton apparently adore the city and have been spotted more than once having a romantic meal at the gorgeous Kampa Park restaurant, that overlooks the river.

 

Where: Paris Park Hyatt Vendôme

No romantic getaway list would be complete without including the world’s capital of romance, Paris. When celebrity couples are in the mood for love they head to the City of Lights and celebrity couples in need of a measure of red-hot Parisian passion can more often than not be found at the lush Park Hyatt Vendôme. Located just a (precious) stone’s throw from the Place Vendôme, the Place de L’Opera and the city’s exquisite jewellery stores, this beautiful Haussman period building is all about luxury, seduction, and style. The Imperial Suite at the PH is one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world, with multiple rooms for eating, sleeping and entertaining including an in-room spa, and is mainly reserved for celebrities and visiting dignitaries. Mere mortals however can stay in one of the Rue de la Paix facing lux rooms to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the heart of Paris.

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Gorgeous guest rooms at the Park Hyatt Vendôme


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Who: It might not have worked out for Eva Longoria and soon-to-be ex-husband Tony Parker, who were regular guests at the PH, and lodged their wedding guests here, but plenty other celebrities like the lovely Lily Allen and Sam Cooper, Rihanna and latest beau, Matt Kemp, and power couple Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones swear by the Park Hyatt’s amorous atmosphere. And Sting and wife, Trudi, who are, of course, well known for their sizzling sex life apparently check in for weeks at a time!

 

 

 

 

Why: For nearly a millennium Paris has been famed as a city of lovers and it’s easy to see why. Whether it’s walking hand in hand along the Seine like Demi and Ashton, sauntering around the fabulous shops (Dior in Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr’s case), or just soaking up the sights; lovers of all ages, and celebrity statuses can immerse themselves in the same romantic Parisian atmosphere that has inspired centuries of literature, painting and poetry.

 

 

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