A trip to Paris: Where to eat, sleep and shop in the City of Light

Rosie Paterson walked in Audrey Hepburn's footsteps and explored the food, sights and museums of Paris.

If Audrey Hepburn is to be believed, Paris is always a good idea. The line comes from the 1954 film Sabrina, in which Miss Hepburn plays the film’s titular character, who goes to the French capital to find herself and returns self-assured and elegant.

I might not have come back transformed, but there’s something about the City of Light that makes you stand a little taller, slow down and savour time and food. In May 2020, museums will throw open their doors free of charge until late into the evening, alongside a series of specially organised activities. An exceptional exhibition marking the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death is at the Louvre until February 24, 2020.

Where to stay

Hotel Molitor has a sense of calm and holiday spirit you won’t find further in. Celebrating its 90th birthday this year, the building was once an art deco lido and the rooms are now arranged around the central pool.

Before becoming a hotel, the abandoned pool was used as an exhibition space by street artists and a selection of art is on display in the lobby. I fell for the ochre rooftop terrace with views across to the Eiffel Tower, and a Clarins spa worthy of a stay alone. I tried the swim-inspired treatment and slept for nine hours.

Rooms from £198, www.mltr.fr 

What to do

Explore the myriad shops. Couleurs Vernis Brosserie sells irresistible homeware; a cascading shell waterfall from Christian Jacquey Antiquites would be mine if I could get it home; the fanciest feet always sport a pair of Chatelles shoes (you can have them personalised) on Rue du Bac.

Courtyard cafe at Ralph Lauren Boutique, Saint Germain-des-Pres, Paris, France.

The Ralph Lauren flagship store is home to wood-panelled restaurant, Ralph’s. Finally, Citypharma is a treasure trove of discounted beauty and pharmaceutical brands.

Where to eat

Camelia at the Mandarin Oriental spills out into an exotic courtyard and service is second to none. I can recommend the grilled sea bream and homemade tagliatelle. For French classics, dine at Brasserie Lipp, in the Saint-Germain area.

‘No salad as a meal’ appears at the top of every menu and the rule is thoroughly enforced. The colourful Café Boheme is the place to go for Sunday brunch.