LUXURY LIFESTYLES - LIMITLESS LIVING
We like to keep things simple, celebrate vintage values and incorporate a little glamour wherever possible. With this page we aim to serve you a little monthlyluxury living for a phenomenally stylish you! We know that the phenomenal Woman is a trailblazer and therefore does not 'follow fashion,' because she creates it! Ladies, we are here to help motivate you to do just that!
Welcome to the House of Divinity
Welcome to the special 'Spring time in Paris' April edition. A place where I get to indulge in all my favourite phenomenal things and also to share with you the hot picks my team and I have discovered along the way. Just call it my new phenomenal hobby.
As I am part French and spend a lot of time in Paris, it's apt that this month we celebrate 'April in Paris,' just like the song. It is also one of my favourite times of year to go and visit family and friends and soak up all the fantastic culture. Known for their food, art, literature, philosophy, fashion and open air concerts, Paris really is a culturally rich City and one that I hope you all get to visit one day, if you haven't already. It is as we say in France, formidable, and definitely the perfect place for a Phenomenal Woman weekend break. I hope you enjoy this months' offerings and that you will join me in the City of love and light soon.
This Month we are excited to be checking into the absolutely phenomenal Plaza Athenee hotel. In preparation for Phenomenal Women do Paris events, we are taking our research very seriously (of course) and making sure that every little piece of this superb hotel passes the phenomenal criteria we want to deliver for our clients. It is of course the hotel where Carrie stayed in the 'Sex in the City' does Paris episode. So if it's good enough for our lovely Carrie, then it's good enough for us. Check out all our finding below in the Luxury Living section.
This April, Paris sees the massive fun faire Foire du Trone arrive in the Bois de Vincennes park (always lots of fun for all the family) plus International pillow fight day is happening at the Place de la Republique, well what's not to love about that. I absolutely have to attend. Then there's the annual Banlieues Bleues Jazz Festival which can be enjoyed down by the river as well as a wonderful series of concerts hosted by the Musee d'Orsay centred around the works of French composer Francis Poulenc who was inspired by the lyrical poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire. As always, springtime in Paris is going to be phenomenal.
Ladies, bienvenue a Paris!
beauty & the french
Time to go shopping and get a little of that femme Francais allure. French women are well known for their fresh faced, lived in hair look much more than the whole 'contouring Kardashian craze' that's been spreading throughout the USA and the UK. You certainly won't find the french fretting over foundation or making any fake fixing faux pas. Oh no, the phenomenal french woman is all about simplicity, elegance and natural beauty. They actually love to grow old gracefully and appreciate the arrival of fine lines. So, for a little french beauty this month (which saves you time so you can actually hang out in Paris) lets look at some of their favourite skin care products. All of these can be bought at local pharmacies! Yes I said pharmacie, not department store. I've spent a lot of time in La Pharmacie in Paris and each time I come away with a variety of products, that although not particularly glamourous looking, don't break the bank and work like a treat. I love that I can pop across the road from our appartment and pick up something cheap and lovely. Parfait. So, why not spring clean your skin and take a leap in the French direction.
For a customised luxury experience head over to the Elss Collection on Rue Beaujon, just off the Champs Elysées. With a seemingly endless collection of this season’s luxury brands to rent, you can effortlessly put together a stunning outfit for your phenomenally glam evening in Paris. With in-house stylists, hair and makeup experts to craft a spectacular look for you and all your friends, Elss provide a luxury fashion and beauty experience that will definitely have you feeling like Cinderella on route to the ball. And after your fablous event is over, if you really can’t bear to part with your outfit, well relax, you actually have the option to buy it. Awesome.
I've been visiting Paris regularly since I was 18 years old and the first store I fell in love with has to be Galeries Lafayette. 25 years later, I am still totally in love with it. I guess it's Paris’ answer to Harrods or Selfridges (although you really can't compare these stores) where you will find it pretty much contains everything under one roof. It’s super busy of course, but if you're looking for a little Parisian fashion, designer shoes, a rare perfume or even an icecream, you will find it all here. Oh and come back at Christmas by the way, as the displays are totally fabulous. From upside down Christmas trees to dancing window displays, J'adore!
Didier Ludots' famous haute-couture vintage shop in the Jardins du Palais-Royal is where you'll find the perfect little black vintage dress. We think it’s superb and certainly had us feeling like Audrey Hepburn whilst browsing through the racks. With only the best labels, such as, Balenciaga, Dior, Chanel, Chloé and Hermès, this truly is a treasure trove of vintage chic that we think is phenomenal.
If you're looking for bargain vintage finds, check out Freestar P store in the Marais district (One of my favourite hangouts when in Paris, for pretty much everythin) http://www.freepstar.com
LIFESTYLE & CULTURE
By all means see Paris by boat (especially at night) or tour bus if you must, but the best way to see Paris like a Parisian is quite simply to walk. Everyday I go out (pending i'm not rushing to an appointment or meeting friends) I take a turn up a street I've never been along before. I've found some incredible shops, book stores and cafes this way. There's something about petite Paris and its maze of marvelous finds. My other favourite thing to do is walk from hotel de ville along the river to the Eiffel tower, arriving just as it lights up. Ps. Take a cab back after! The long walk back at 2am, not my best idea.
Le Sacre Couer may well be one of Paris' biggest tourist attractions, but situated in the aesthetic arrondissment of Monmatre, history and art are in abundance. It's what Paris is all about. It's also the location of my favourite films Amelie and An American in Paris. It's a bizarrely romantic spot too and takes me back 27 years to the first time I was seduced by this area. You'll still find me there in summer in a secluded spot simply writing and dreaming. Make sure you take a stroll through the back streets, browse the art in the square, relax with a coffee at one of the cafe's and just people watch. Delightful.
Enter into a time warp of old Paris and let your literary love roam free at the famous Shakespeare and company book store, where many writers have been known to bunk down and pen their masterpieces. Situated on Rue de la Bûcherie, with the seine, Notre Dame and the best iceceam in town only a stone's throw away, it's a wonderful area to while away an afternoon. Looking for something more modern? Then head over the river to Galignani's, 224 rue de Rivoli, where Karl Largerfeld is often seen browsing. NB: This month sees the International rare book fair at the fabulous Grand Palais 22- 24 April.
From the most popular swimming meet up of the 1930's/40's, the temple of the Paris underground to an artists haven, journey back to a parisian past and discover vintage and modern living in the newly refurbished Molitor Hotel. Why not book in for lunch, enjoy some art and stories and take a swim in this historical pool for your next break. I will definitely be checking in here for my novel writing getaway.
Dinner or lunch at The Lido is fabulous. The worlds most famous cabaret on the Champses Elysee (created in the 1900s) tempted the likes of the Bluebell Girls and Renee Fraday (the inventor of the ice rink). Lido's luxury immerses you into the wonderful world of music and dance and even gives you the opportunity to take a turn on the legendary stage before the curtain is raised and showtime begins.
There are many wonderful places to eat in Paris, but for fine dining in the heart of the eclectic Marais district, head to Georges, the trendy restaurant on the roof of the famous Pompidou centre. I recently had lunch there with family and loved the modern design. Oh and the model waiters were as deliscious looking as the food they served. Make sure to visit the exhibitions and shops below afterwards.
Why not discover the french art of chocolate by taking a street tour of the best chocolate and pastry shops paris has to offer. Or why not meet a master chocolatier, with a behind-the-scenes tour of a famous macaroon shop? You will also get to make and bring home some chocolatey souvenirs. Always a phenomenal idea.
For a sit down chocolate heaven experience, head to the chocolate bar at Un Dimanche à Paris For gourmet chocolate of all kinds and a hot chocolate salon to indulge in. We're loving this two level pastry shop that also offers gluten free options too. If there is one place to go chocco crazy in, this has to be it.
Laduree The famous luxury bakery and sweet shop that draws crowds to Paris worldwide, Ladurée may just be heaven on earth. Head to 75 Champses Elysees for a wonderful Salon du tea experience. Whether you are bringing home a box of sweet treats or taking time out to have a little tea in the salon, the experience is simply delightful.
Laduree have many gifts to take away, including candles and home fragrances. They also offer a bespoke hamper service enabling you to create your own box of luxury products to bring home. Phenomenal gift. I never leave Paris without my box of goodies for all the family. (online orders available).
La Pâtisserie des Rêves are offering up sweet gourmet childhood memories. It is literally like being a kid in a candy shop, but with cakes. Phenomenal. Walking into La Pâtisserie des Rêves is a magic experience. Here, a special world opens up (for adults and children). Pastries are given a theatrical setting and tell a story.
In this magical world you will find traditional treats like the Paris-Brest, the Saint Honoré and the Vanilla Mille-feuille. Eat in or take away a minature selection of your favouites in a pretty pink box, there is definitely something for everyone. A really sweet Parisian treat to bring home for you and your little ones.
Bar 8 at the Mandarin Oriental is elegant and inviting with its marble bar, Lalique crystal chandeliers, enchanting garden and more than 70 types of Champagne to choose from. Make sure you try the J’aime Paris - a delightful Champagne cocktail made with a splash of St. Germain liqueur. What’s not to love.
The Dokhan’s at the Radisson Blu. The super classy and vintage choice for the conoisseur. Dressed in 18th century attire and serving up over 200 champagnes, this is a bar that will whisk you away to the glamorous days of a time gone by. Dokhan's also offers monthly wine tastings and live jazz music. Perfect.
La Grande Dame Champagne Bar.
A Sexy little bar at the Hotel Sezz right across from the Eiffel Tower. Veuve Clicquot is the reigning diva at this bar and is a favourite among Parisians for an amorous tête-á-tête. Noir and hot pink decor, Champagne cocktails, sushi and salmon skewers and a spa, it’s a superb place for a weekend away.
CLASSIC COCKTAILS & PHENOMENAL VIEWS
Our four choices for cocktails, dinner and a phenomenal view. Paris may not necessarily be known for its high end cocktails (although they are getting better with every year) we always love the opportunity to look out over this beautiful City of light and share a little girly time in an extraordinary setting. Although the Shangri La rooftop lounge is only open in July and August, Bar de Ciel, Bar Vue and Kong are ready and waiting for your girly Parisian night out.
A phenomenal weekend on the fashionable Avenue Montaigne, yes we're off to the Plaza Athenee Hotel.
We are super excited to be checking out the phenomenal Plaza Athenee Hotel in central Paris for one of our Phenomenal Woman events. Following in Carrie's 'Sex in the City' Jimmy Choo'd footsteps, we too, will be kicking up our heels in the lap of luxury at one of Paris' most acclaimed hotels. With their delightful Haute Couture lunch and super classy Christian Dior Spa, both serving up memorable treats, the Plaza never fails to impress, rejuvenate and excite all at the same time. The ultimate in luxury living.
We're loving Le Bar du Plaza Athenee too, with its hot resident DJ, trademark blue lighting (that turns fire-red Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights) and their grand Marnier and Kahlua jelly shots, served like pieces of candy on ice. Cute touch. The hotels bar is also party central during Paris Fashion Week, as well as Vogue’s fashion night out. Strike a pose anyone?
But ladies, if you're up for some serious luxury living, why not sip your ducasse signature champagne (by Lanson) on the seine in the Plaza's very own mahogany and chrome luxury bateau. (1,100 Euros, available only to Hotel Guests.) For all round luxury and fabulous fun, we give the Plaza the phenomenal thumbs up and are already tripping over our manolo's to get back there.
THE GEORGE V HOTEL
What we love about the George V is its all round five star luxury all under one roof. We especially love the traditional french decor, the incredible ever-changing flower displays, vintage class, attention to detail and the unique experiences that the hotel offers. From a daily running tour of Paris for fitness buffs that like to rise at the crack of dawn, to chauffer driven trips to the Champagne region in a Hermes inspired Phantom Bentley, the hotel provides an exquisite service that leaves one feeling rather like Queen of the world.
One of our phenomenal women was lucky enough to stay here last year and experience the flower arranging master class with the hotels incredible artistic director Jeff Leatham and I was lucky enough to reap the benefits of this experience, with not just one, but a bunch of special orchids brought straight to my door. As the hotel choice of the phenomenally glamorous stars of the past, such as Elizabeth Taylor and a host of other celebrity guests today, the George V most definitely makes our luxury living list of phenomenal places to stay.
HUBERT DE GIVENCHY
If I could travel back to the 1950's (one of my favourite eras) I too would love nothing more than to be dressed by the one and only style genius Hubert de Givenchy - as was my female idol and Givenchy's muse Audrey Hepburn. "His are the only clothes in which I am myself. He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality," Hepburn is known to have said of her good friend. Givenchy was able to let Audrey be Audrey and designed beauitfully for her uniquely divine personality.
The style guru was responsible for designing the famous outfits seen in movies such as, Funny Face, Sabrina (which I adore) and of course, the iconic black dress we all want from 'Breakfast at Tiffanies.' What an amazing combination of style and grace they were. Givenchy was the also first couturier to create what is now known as the "little black dress'(especially with shorter hemlines, encouraging women to show a little more leg) and the first designer to present a luxury ready-to-wear line. His name and his legacy have been synonymous with Parisian chic for more than 50 years and continues to inspire a new generation today. Givenchy is therefore, this month's phenomenal designer. Maybe I'll take a little country detour after Paris and pay him a visit. Now that would be totally phenomenal!
Stay phenomenal and see you all in May!
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