One Night in Paris: a stay at Villa Marquis
The Eiffel Tower, fine dining and first-class digs. What could be better? Here, Sara Darling takes us through a whirlwind trip around the French capital
Paris is as much about where you stay as what you eat and do, and you can’t go wrong with the magnificent neoclassical Hotel Villa Marquis, a Meliá Collection hotel. With the glittering illumination of the Eiffel Tower caressing some bedroom windows, it offers a dreamy location for an early morning jog on the Seine, though the less exercise-conscious among us may prefer a coffee and croissant on the neighbouring Champs Elysées.
Whether you are channelling Coco Chanel, Edith Piaf or Ernest Hemmingway, this City of Lights has something for everyone, and the Villa Marquis will ensure you make the most of your stay. Set in 8th arrondissement on the Right Bank- known for its sophistication and elegance, it is home to many of the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods as well as the Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde and the Grand Palais, with the Alma-Marceau Metro Station within walking distance.
Considering the grandeur of the exterior, the hotel's atmosphere is surprisingly low-key with friendly bi-lingual staff on hand to answer any questions. With a modern unassuming foyer dominated by duck-egg blue, cream and gold, the luxe vibe continues to the 64 tastefully decorated rooms which are completed with mid century modern furniture, a bathtub and Rituals toiletries. Other perks include a state-of-the-art fitness centre, in-room coffee maker and full-height windows which are a treat for any Parisian abode.
Start your day with a buffet breakfast before sampling the best of Paris, and an unparalleled way to do this is by helicopter. The hotel can arrange for a private tour of Paris and its surroundings with a local pilot who will swoop you over the outskirts of Paris and onwards, concluding the adventure in one of the delightful chateaux which the region is renowned for.
Whether it’s your first visit, or fifteenth, the City of Lights will be a new adventure every time. If you want to set the scene for romance, Paris has a cornucopia of amorous spots for elicit soirees, whether that includes sipping cocktails on a rooftop beneath the stars; watching the world go by on a wicker chair outside an art nouveau cafe, or strolling hand in hand over one of Parisian’s lamplit bridges which span the Seine. Impress your lover by pointing out the Pont Alexandre III bridge, the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay or Grand Palais, whilst counting the 37 bridges and waving at the boats passing by.
While the Seine offers the perfect postcard setting for romance, you will find alternative adventures around the canals of l’Ourcq and Saint-Martin, which is where the cool kids hang out in the bustling bars, restaurants and boutiques which have sprung up, providing it with a cosmopolitan vibe; or for a step back in time, the Rue des Barres on the Right Bank is a charming street boasting wonky houses, gargoyle-adorned churches and teeny tea rooms which reflect traditional Parisian culture.
However, some might argue that the best way to see Paris is from above. Consider the amazing view from the aircraft window as your flight swoops into land at Charles De Galle airport and relive that excitement in a far more intimate format by booking an exclusive helicopter trip. Hotel Villa Marquis can arrange for up to six people to take a helicopter ride to the acclaimed Château de Cheverny in the Loire Valley, where you will stop to explore authentic 19th-century interiors and grounds complete with hunting hounds. Your pilot will also point out the city’s opulent landmarks and many parks as you float above them like a phoenix. With a variety of routes on offer this is a once in a lifetime experience that epitomises romantic Paris.
Back on solid ground, you can easily immerse yourself in the French capital ‘s diverse culture. Head to the opera house, Palais Garnier and witness the sumptuous ‘golden staircase’. If you don’t have time to watch an opera, you can have a tour of the breathtaking auditorium with its plush red seats and gold trimming during the day or just soak up the lavish library, impressive chandeliers and 300 years of history. Or perhaps you would like to watch a cancan show at Folies Bergère or catch the sunset over the French capital’s iconic skyline in a rooftop bar.
Paris is renowned for its monuments, history and shopping and you can end your day with a totally unique experience at the hotel’s Dos Almas restaurant. Once a month, professional dancer Ruben Molina will be performing live in an exclusive event that fuses the Spanish and French culture of the brand resulting in an inventive fusion of cultures that matches the mouthwatering menu, which is just the finale that any Parisian adventure should end with.
The Meliá Collection is Meliá Hotels International’s recently launched sub-brand (a portfolio of independent hotels each with their own personality and offer unique experiences for guests to truly discover the destination), with design inspired by the Eiffel Tower.