The London List Abroad: Gig Review: Beach House At La Cigale, ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 3 Apr 2013

Sometimes you’ll start to fall in love with a band, but it doesn’t really hit home until you see them live, after their show at the glorious La Cigale in Paris, I think it’s fair to say I’m now entirely wooed by Beach House. Show the rest of this post…

Largely mixing tracks from their breakthrough third album, Teen Dream, and last year’s Bloom, the dream pop duo were simply mesmerising with every kick of drum and call of Victoria Legrand’s ranging vocals hitting hard.

Enticing the crowd with perfect French in between tracks, Beach House filled the big La Cigale space with ease, with all of the balcony on their feet and the stalls jumping up and down before you knew if. The biggest reactions were reserved for tracks Zebra, Norway and Myth, the latter being particularly booming, and when the band at last ran out of time on stage there was a wave of disappointment across the crowd that it was over. I bought a t-shirt too, it was that good.

The London List Abroad Review: Artus Hotel, ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 2 Apr 2013

Paris is fantastic as a tourist destination for many reasons, but while the city boasts an embarrassment of riches when it comes to hotels, finding one you’ll really like in amongst 1001 options can be something of a problem. Show the rest of this post…

The 4* Artus Hotel offers style and substance, a delightfully decorated and welcoming hotel awash with comforts and amenities to make your stay as enjoyable, relaxing and easy as possible.

Location

Located just off Boulevard Saint-Germain at the centre of the well to-do neighbourhood, the Artus Hotel is handily just five minutes walk from Saint-Germain-des-Prés (M4) and barely two minutes walk from Mabilon (M10) Metro stations. On the nearby streets you’ll find everything you need for a last minute present buy, to stock up with snacks or grab a drink and bite to eat. Small restaurants and bars flood Rue de Seine and Rue de Buci, plus a supermarket, chocolatier and mini market for bread and fruit.

Further afield, Saint Germain is known for its excellent shopping opportunities. With luxury brands flooding the main Boulevard, side-streets to the south specialise in small shoe boutiques, and art and book stores to the north.

Rooms

More than amply-sized for a couple, our room was filled with exciting colours and clean lines, with the décor across the whole hotel evoking 1950s Paris without ever feeling too busy. The room creates an atmosphere for guests and you’ll feel at home with reds and yellows bringing instant warmth. After forgetting power adapters we were delighted to see UK mains supply right there on the wall too, though the front desk have them to borrow if you still need a couple more.

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The bed was firm, as is often the case in Europe, but every night we got a very good sleep, with two fluffy pillows proving more than adequate. A gorgeous little chair sits at the desk (which we really wanted to bring home with us) and you’ll be able to access free WiFi from you room and throughout the hotel.

A big flatscreen TV shouldn’t come as a surprise for a 4* hotel but having BBC 1, 2 & 3 was a nice little extra, the easy to use Bose iPhone dock speaker made it super easy to listen to music while getting ready each day too.

Bathrooms

In the adjoining bathroom, a very large shower with a huge showerhead meant we didn’t miss not having a full bath. Big enough for couples to share, it brings even more romance to the room. The towels were fluffy and luxurious, with a dressing gown each for relaxing in the room. Toiletteries provided might not be everything you need for the whole stay, but with more than the essentials, you need not worry about anything for the shower, while travellers are often happier with their own beauty products and toothbrush anyway.

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Amenities

The concierge were second to none, supremely helpful with any of our queries and going out of their way in helping us get around Paris for the day and suggest good spots for shopping and eating, etc.

The hotel bar is a cosy cocktail lounge, and open to guests and non-residents, the fact it was busy every evening of our entire stay is testament to its pull. You’ll easily find yourself seeking a nightcap before heading up to your room, with an impressive range of favourites and signature cocktails.

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For guests only, the hotel boasts a small but very functional wellbeing centre, with a two-person sauna plus exercise bike, stepper and masseuse bookable through the concierge. With a few pounds burnt off, a really excellent room service menu might tempt you, though we didn’t try any of the dishes ourselves.

Breakfast

Breakfast is included in the standard room rate and you’d be a fool to not make the most of it. While you can order from a select menu to your room (and until a very generous 11am) the buffet in the Artus’ light and airy basement breakfast room offers delicious squeezed juices, fresh fruit, meats, cheese and fresh bread, while for the more adventurous, tasty mini croissants, donuts, waffles and bacon and eggs.

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Verdict

Checking out after three wonderful nights at the boutique Artus Hotel, we really can’t recommend it enough. Sitting very nicely as a 4* hotel, the detailed and inviting décor and supremely helpful staff will make you feel welcome the minute you walk into the foyer. Our room was romantic and intimate, perfect for couples exploring the city of love or families and solo travellers wanting life from their hotel rather than the inadventure you often get from similar or more expensive hotels.

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Rooms at the Artus run from €345 to €600 a night on the rate card but they offer up to a 50% discount for early booking and their website guarantee the best available prices anywhere on the internet.

Visit the Artus Hotel website for booking enquiries and the best rates on current availability: http://www.artushotel.com/
Artus Hôtel, 34 rue de Buci, 75006, Paris

The London List Abroad: The Vendôme Suite at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 29 Mar 2013

Nicknamed the Federer Suite as the Swiss tennis star always stays in the room while in Paris for Roland Garros, Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme’s expansive Vendôme Suite is the cream of the crop of one of the city’s finest hotels. Show the rest of this post…

Spanning much of the fifth floor, the suite boasts a balcony onto the great Place Vendôme (though thanks to super insulated windows, you could be in the middle of the countryside so subdued is the sound) but that’s not even the half of its amenities. Able to be converted into a 4 king bedroom suite with large living and dining room areas, bar and kitchen space, Bang & Olufsen TV and Hi-Fi systems, plus computer, whirlpool bath and steam room shower, guests are also treated to a complementary massage in the hotel spa and return airport transfers. To say guests will be staying in the lap of luxury would be an understatement. Stylish subdued décor runs throughout, with gorgeous golden details in the numerous bathrooms. There’s a fairly substantial nightly rate that accompanies the luxury, but if you’re looking for the stay of a lifetime (or if you’re Roger Federer, every Roland Garros), it’s tough to look beyond the Vendôme Suite at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme.

For booking availabilitiy head over to the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme site: http://paris.vendome.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels-paris-vendome/rooms/room-description.jsp?chooseLocale=&start=13&hyattprop=yes

Le Spa, Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome 5 Rue de la Paix, Paris, 75002, France

The London List Abroad: Le Spa at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 29 Mar 2013

Catering for the full hotel, we were a little worried Le Spa would be busy with guests relaxing after a busy day at the shops, but in the basement floor of the luxurious Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, for our three hour relaxation, we had it all to ourselves. Show the rest of this post…

Offering a whirlpool bath, excellent sauna and steam rooms and four idyllic treatment rooms, stepping into Le Spa couldn’t be any more different to the bustle and busyness of Paris.

After almost an hour dotting between the bath and two hot rooms it was time for our massage. Welcomed to the Duo Room, though for more specialist treatments like hot stone massage, otherwise the masseurs are happy to tailor your massage with you as they start, focusing on any particular areas of discomfort and if you prefer any specific level of pressure.

While I took in a really fantastic relaxation massage, my partner had been experiencing pain in her neck, which was entirely cured by a more vigorous deep tissue massage.

We were in Paris, so perhaps we shouldn’t have been entirely surprised, but greeted with an after-massage macaroon and juice in the main room was a revelation. So relaxed after an hour-long treatment, to drape over the big chairs to the backdrop of swooshing water, macaroon and drink in hand, is ideal.

With guests invited to enjoy the facilities for as long and they desire after treatments, it was at least another hour before we at last jumped out of the whirlpool and got ready to leave.

Attention to detail at Le Spa is really second to none and the recently refurbished interior and facilities gleam of luxury and comfort. Matching the features in the rest of the hotel, the gold fixtures and fittings are exquisite, with staff speedily tidying up wet towels and empty glasses to keep the spa spotless.

Finally a word on the changing rooms, which are somehow just as impressive as the actual treatments themselves. Never mind one of the largest showers I’ve ever seen, aside the big sinks lies a lavish collection of toiletries, beauty products, body washes and in the men’s, a mini shaving pack including a travel size Avène shaving gel, which is a dream.

Le Spa is a simply first-rate spa experience, from front to back, you’ll have a wonderfully relaxing trip booking a treatment if you’re not staying at the hotel, though if you are, you’d be a fool not to give at least a couple of hours of your week to the hideaway in the basement of the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme.

You can find out more and make your reservation here: http://paris.vendome.hyatt.com/hyatt/pure/spas/

Le Spa, Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome 5 Rue de la Paix, Paris, 75002, France

The London List Abroad: Du Pain et des Idées, The Best Boulangerie in ParisThe London List

By Sam Bathe on 29 Mar 2013

Just five minutes north of Place de la République, at the corner of rue Yves Toudic and rue de Marseille lies the wonderful boulangerie Du Pain et des Idées. Show the rest of this post…

Specialising in fantastic breads, from sourdough to olive oil to baguettes and soft brioche, owner Christophe Vasseur comes from a long line of bakers, while the corner location has been home to a bakery since 1889, and the tradition shines through. However, it’s the wonderful croissants that really impressed. Alongside a playful range of escargots with praline, pistachio, nougat, cassis and raisin fillings, I picked out a banana pain au chocolat, which was quite simply the best pastry of my entire life. I’ll be going back, for every breakfast next time.

Du Pain et des Idées, 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010, Paris

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

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