Style secrets of the French by Casilda Grigg
1. Sip a cucumber martini in the seductive, low-lit bar of the Hôtel Costes, the achingly trendy hotel beloved of everyone from Catherine Deneuve to Posh and Becks. If you can afford it stay the night (the sumptuous rooms, pictured left) cost from a jaw dropping 500 euros) and the hotel, which has just bought the building next door, boasts a hammam and one of the best pools in Paris. Hôtel Costes is at 239-241 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001, tel: 33 1 42 44 50 00.
2. Make time for the Musée Jacquemart-André, the 19-century mansion whose collection was assembled by banking heir Édouard André and his painter wife Nélie Jacquemart. The Italian room is ravishing (Bellini, Botticelli, Uccello) and the museum has a wonderful tearoom. Musée Jacquemart-André is at 158 Boulevard Haussmann, 75008, tel: 33 1 45 62 11 59, and is open from 10-6pm daily. In addition to the permanent collection there’s a Watteau to Fragonard exhibition (ends July). Skip the queues by booking online.
3. Take your children to see Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood) at the puppet theatre in the Champ de Mars (near the Eiffel Tower). Performances are at 3.15 and 4pm and tickets, which cost just 3.5 euros, are sold at the box office just before each performance. The theatre has been run by Luigi Tirelli since 1954 – he makes the puppets, paints the sets and performs the plays. Les Marionnettes du Champs de Mars is 500m from the Eiffel Tower.
4. Visit Chocolats Foucher at 30 Avenue de l’Opéra in the 2nd arrondissement. Not only are the chocolates delicious but the Art Deco packaging, which dates back to the 1920s, is possibly the prettiest in Paris. The shop is run by the seventh generation of the same family. Foucher has a second branch at 134 rue du Bac (in the 7th) with a tearoom.
5. Book a table for lunch at Le Fumoir near the Louvre. This sleek book-lined restaurant is consistently good and remarkably not touristy at all. Dishes on the current menu include sirloin steak with roast potatoes and rhubarb compote with cardamom ice cream and it’s 22.5 euros for two courses, 26 euros for three. Or go for the 26 euro Sunday brunch (eggs Benedict, chocolate cake). Le Fumoir is at 6 rue de l’Amiral de Coligny, 75001, tel: 33 1 42 92 00 24.