Were you standing on the banks of the Seine around 50 BC, you might have heard the lamentations of the freshly conquered Parisii tribe, watching in vain as engineers of the Roman legions set about constructing camp on the left bank of the river. Little did those Romans know that the settlement they would initially name Lutetia would go on to become one of the world's treasure troves of culture, cuisine and all things beautiful.
Fast forward two millennia, via some pesky Viking and Prussian interruptions, and that diminutive settlement became Paris, the left bank morphing into the modern Rive Gauche. Despite the many embellishments that subsequently sprung up - the Louvre, Notre Dame, Montmartre, the Arc de Triomphe - the French capital hasn't been able to offer ample space to visitors since the Parisiis scrambled over the Seine's banks. Ask any seasoned Paris traveller and they'll tell you the difficulties in finding a suitable pied-à-terre at which to base yourself - one that embraces you as a Parisian, rather than a tourist. A home-from-home residence that sleeps six? They'd be laughing.
Fortunately, Pied à Terre was founded with this in mind. Thoughtfully designed by the Parisian duo behind Necchi Architecture to express the comforts and convenience of a family townhouse, the residence on Rue du Marché Saint-Honoré, close to the Tuileries Garden - one of a handful of properties owned by the same group - opened this year. Forget ducking into a poky chambre de bonne (maid's room) and sharing your bed with your carry-on: a stay here feels like borrowing a well-heeled Parisian's generously proportioned pad for the week, with both the concierge services of a hotel and the stylish interiors and amenities of an extremely chic home.
Located through a discreet street-front portal that opens into a charming courtyard, the property's private front door gives way to an open-plan kitchen and breakfast area, perfect for accommodating the troops before you all head out for your morning coffee and croissant. The house provides two generous double rooms, with space to bed down additional guests via cleverly hidden pull-out beds. The decor is modern, with just a hint of the good bits of 1970s design: think pale pink walls, warm carpets underfoot, earthy colour tones and the occasional flash of animal print.
The two bathrooms are graced with Aesop goodies. Each bedroom is kitted out with TVs, adjustable lighting and underfloor heating (useful if your Parisian spring fling doesn't deliver balmy weather). Dining in is almost a sin in Paris, but if you're in town for an extended stay, the kitchen is fully equipped, should you wish to whip up an artichoke and steak tartare lunch.
Where should we go for a food shop?
Just the usual for Paris - within 50m of your front door, you'll find a boucherie, offering fresh meats, pâtés and cold cuts, a seafood café specialising in plump oysters, a chocolatier and two bistros. The adjoining streets provide patisseries and grocery stores galore, for all your immediate needs.
Any essentials we need to pack?
Not really - Pied à Terre has thought of everything, including artistically curated reading material, slick stovetop coffee makers and fresh spring blooms on the coffee table.
How about green credentials?
None at present, but they told us they're working on it.
What about accessibility?
Ground-floor access is straightforward, albeit with a few tricky ledges to navigate. We'd speak to the team at Pied à Terre for options - they'll be happy to help.
Who should I bring?
There's space here for all the family - and you're close enough to the Louvre for an early-morning dash to skip the queues, take in the Eiffel Tower and land at Loulou in time for lunch - but it's a sophisticated space in which to entertain friends, too (even Parisians), with easy access to excellent strolls, bistro dining and some of the city's best bars.
From £460 a night, sleeping six.
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