If you don’t have time for a city break this autumn, why not enjoy the best bits in the comfort of your home town? With our help, you can experience a taste of Paris without leaving London.
Start your day with breakfast at one of London’s grand brasseries, inspired by the elegant all-day eateries in Paris. You can linger over coffee and pastries, or something more substantial, at The Delaunay in Covent Garden or The Balcon at the Sofitel St James. (Fans of Chanel might return later to the Sofitel’s bar which has been decorated with the designer’s glamorous 1920s apartment in mind).
If you’re in need of some retail therapy, head for Knightsbridge where Harrods and Harvey Nichols are both worthy rivals to the Galeries Lafayette. Don’t forget to pick up some of Laduree’s exquisite pastel-coloured macarons in the Harrods Food Hall. The area is also home to Franco-American restaurant Bar Boulud, where you can refuel with a glass of wine and some first class charcuterie.
A short walk away is South Kensington, home to one of the largest French communities outside France. At the lnstitut Francais, you can learn the language or just watch one of the latest French film releases at the Ciné Lumière. For lunch, head for Tartine, La Bouchee or Racine, where chef Henry Harris has been serving French classics for over a decade. The prix fixe offers three courses for £17.75 – a bargain in SW3, not to mention the City of Lights.
On a clear day, why not take a river cruise down the Thames? It might not be the Seine but as the sun sets over the London skyline, it’s just as picturesque. Jump off at Bankside Pier for a modern art fix at the Tate Modern. It’s blissfully quiet in the evenings and the sixth floor restaurant has a great view of the city across the Thames.
For dinner, you can keep it casual with wine and small plates at Terroirs or splash out on French fine dining at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Galvin La Chapelle or Alain Ducasse. For the classic ‘bistro’ experience, head for Otto’s, Le Café du Marche, or the Bleeding Heart. You can indulge your passion for fromage at Androuet in Spitalfields or impress someone special at Clos Maggiore, one of London’s most romantic restaurants. For a Parisian-inspired night to remember, the possibilities are endless!