Though Paris is best though of in the springtime, we say the City of Light is lovely at any time of year. Here's the top news coming out of Paris this week.
The Daily Mail is reporting that a train on the main rapid transit system in Paris, the RER, has undergone a "dramatic refurbishment" to resemble the rooms of the Palace of Versailles, which was once the center of political power in France. Passengers who take a journey on the RER C line between the Palace, which is several miles south-west of Paris, and the center of the capital do so in lavish surroundings. Ornate paintings and golden sculptures line the aisles and even the ceilings are intricately designed. Other improvements include the creation of a mock library in one of the carriages. The refurbishments are designed to evoke memories of seven different areas of the royal chateau and its grounds, including the Hall of Mirrors, the Gallery of Battles and Marie-Antoniette's estate. The changes, which were funded by the Palace of Versailles, involved layering the interior walls of the train with a high-tech plastic film. Check out more pictures here, and get ready to take the train to Versailles!
In the hotel world, the Prince de Galles will reopen in May 2013 after a two-year, top-to-bottom overhaul that aims to restore it to its original “Art Deco splendor” under the expert guidance of designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. Restaurant buzz: the hotel’s executive chef will be Stéphanie Le Quellec, winner of the popular TV show, Top Chef (the French version). Built in 1928 during the Art Deco movement, the Prince de Galles is located on Avenue George V in the heart of the prestigious “Golden Triangle” in Paris. For more information, visit www.princedegallesparis.com.
There’s a swank new spa opening soon in Paris, and Luxury Travel Advisor has the skinny. Earlier this month we went behind-the-scenes of the Shangri-La Hotel—and if you’re in Paris this season-- the holiday decorations are alone worth making a trip to the palace hotel. By the end of the month, the Shangri-La will open a 16-meter indoor swimming pool that’s one of the prettiest in the city. We got a glimpse, and even though it’s not filled with water yet, we fell in love with the tiled mosaic, marble columns, and outdoor teak patio. Housed in the former stables of Prince Roland Bonaparte, the pool will be illuminated with natural light from expansive windows. The two spa treatment rooms are just as lovely, accented with back-lit sculpture reliefs, and equipped with hammam showers. (An additional three treatment rooms will open next September.) A range of exclusive Carita therapies will be available. The hotel is located at 10 Avenue d’Iéna in the 16th arrondissement, overlooking the Eiffel Tower. For more information, visit www.shangri-la.com/paris
The holiday season ushered in a new wave of pop-up restaurants in Paris (Bonjour, Nobu!), and chief among those is the new lounge on the 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower. (The restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel is currently closed while the floor is redeveloped.) Open until March, the new lounge spot is an affordable alternative to Le Jules Verne, the gastronomic restaurant by Alain Ducasse on the tower’s top floor. Entirely glassed-in, the pop-up lounge has a back-lit cocktail bar and a terrace with gorgeous views over the Champ de Mars. Lunch menu from €31.90, including your Eiffel Tower elevator ticket. The three-course dinner menu-- including a glass of Champagne, 1/3 bottle of wine, mineral water, coffee and elevator ticket-- is priced at €85.50 Reservations are essential. A big perk: Diners have priority access to the elevator to ascend the Eiffel Tower. Translation: No waiting in the big line that usually snakes around the ticket booth at the base of the tower. For more information and reservations, visit www.restaurants-toureiffel.com.
Calling all shopaholics in Paris. Chloé is celebrating its 60th anniversary in a big way; the French fashion house is opening a brand new flagship on the chic rue Saint-Honoré in the heart of the city. (Chloé already has a store on the Avenue Montaigne; this is the 50th store location worldwide.)Designed by the interior architect Joseph Dirand, the boutique offers the brand’s ready-to-wear collection and sought-after accessories. Just for the occasion, fashionable shoppers can snag one of the 30 limited-edition Stem Ginger/Gold Savannah colored Alice handbags, available exclusively at the 253 rue Saint-Honoré store. (Each of the handbags is numbered and engraved.) For more information, visit www.chloe.fr.