They say that Paris is for romantics, but we say you needn’t bring your amour when you’re at Hotel du Petit Moulin.
Here in this charming city there are plenty of ways to get blissfully swept up in an oh-so-sweet Parisian dream. And if waking up in a Christian Lacroix-designed boudoir isn’t one of them, returning home with a suitcase full of macarons and your hauls from the rue Saint-Honoré will certainly have you seeing la vie en rose.
But what do you take with you on your Parisian weekend getaway? Channel your inner French girl, with our Paris packing edit.
Bakery-turned-boutique hotel, Hotel du Petit Moulin, Paris
Mornings in Paris’ Marais district are rather wonderful. Whether you’re strolling through the Place des Vosges or dipping in and out of the concept stores and high-end galleries of this historic quartier, it won’t be long before you pick up the divine, buttery scent of freshly-baked croissants. And if you’re anywhere near Hotel du Petit Moulin when hunger strikes, you’d be forgiven for popping your head in to satisfy those carb carvings. With an original façade convincing enough to fool anyone on a pastry mission, you might be surprised to find less of a bakery within the crooked walls of what was once Paris’ very first boulangerie, and more of an exquisite boutique hotel.
They say that Victor Hugo would stop by for his baguettes back in the 19th century; today, this bakery-turned-boutique hotel attracts a different kind of clientele – once bread-buyers have become frequent-flyers; chic, design-loving city slickers with a fine taste in uber-sophisticated hotels. But if you do have a penchant for patisserie, you’re in luck – Hotel du Petit Moulin is going back to its baking roots.
Who hasn’t at one point in time daydreamed about whipping up a batch of perfect macarons? They’re Paris’ most iconic yet notoriously complex treats; divine to eat but devilish to make – when you’re following a Google recipe, that is. In a new partnership with La Cuisine Paris – one of the city’s best cooking schools, Hotel du Petit Moulin makes it all seem a piece of cake.
At the nearby school, sweet-toothed guests of the hotel are just a quick workshop away from perfecting their macaron batter, baking and piping techniques alongside an expert confectioner. Over two hours (ambitious, we know), you’ll have mastered the Italian Meringue, created two types of fillings and have skilfully filled up a big old box of your very own creations – enjoy them in the nearby Jardin du Luxembourg or cart them back to Hotel du Petit Moulin for a sweet turndown treat.
With a name like Petit Moulin, or Little Mill, you might expect something cute and quaint of this 17-room hotel. With every corner designed to perfection by none other than Christian Lacroix, what you actually get with this true “couture” hotel is a whole lot of theatre. Oozing style, atmosphere and playfulness, it sure sets the scene for a sexy Parisian experience.
While you’ll spot pockets of history about the place, the vibe is really all about bold modernity, daring colourful design and bohemian quirkiness. No two rooms are the same here, but there’s a uniting chicness verging on wildness to them all. Animal prints and loud patterns are favoured over demure Parisian pastels, but that’s not to say you won’t feel a strong sense of place – just put on some soft French jazz et voila.
As far as the bathrooms go, we say oh la la. There’s plenty of space, beautiful amenities, salon-quality hairdryers and bubble baths to rest your weary feet. Whether you choose to tourist hard or stylishly strut your stuff around Saint-Germain-des-Prés, you’ll be thankful for a nice soak – grab a drink from the hotel’s honesty bar, keep your box of macarons close by and call it the perfect night in.
Breakfasts at Hotel du Petit Moulin are as French as you’d expect – croissants and coffee are the name of the game and we wouldn’t want it any other way. You could happily stay in bed for hours leafing through Le Monde and sipping on freshly squeezed orange juice, but if you prefer your warm pastries with a side of people-watching, you’d do better to pick out a cute terrace somewhere in the neighbourhood. Order in a coffee or two, sit back with your sunglasses on and enjoy a slow, indulgent morning. In Le Marais, watching the world go by is charming and endlessly entertaining.
Travelling to Paris by Eurostar from London St Pancras? All glamorous trips should begin with a long, leisurely stop at the one and only Champagne Bar. This summer they’ve partnered with Perrier-Jouët to create the pop-up Club 150, inspired by the famous beach bars of the French Riviera. Here until 16th September, order in the oyster beignets, the divine native shellfish sharer and of course a “Champagne Trio of the Month” to wash it all down. Just make sure you’re in no rush whatsoever.
Need to hit the ground running in Paris? Squeeze in an express 20-minute style session at the Chop Chop salon in the Departures Lounge and you’ll be stepping out into the French capital feeling très chic.
Take an insider tour of Paris with Courvoisier’s Rebecca Asseline