Not sure what to plan for your loved one this Valentine's Day? Jessica Harris has the perfect idea...
Although the mention of Paris on Valentine's Day may be conceived as a cliché, it is undeniably the most visited city on February 14th due to its glamour, decadence and total, utter romance.
When in Paris, there is no place more chic than the Mandarin Oriental Hotel to stay. Having opened a mere three years ago, the hotel is situated on the fashionable Rue Saint Honore and is surrounded by the very best in haute couture fashion houses. It exudes the sexy attributes you would only expect from a Mandarin Oriental; and with 99 rooms and 39 suites overlooking the beautiful landscaped gardens, the hotel is brilliantly serene throughout, despite its central location.
As well as providing a luxurious base for the duration of your stay, there is also plenty to explore within the hotel itself, including an indoor garden, a grand marble bar and, perhaps most pleasingly, an in-house patisserie, mastered by Executive Chef Thierry Marx.
Even if you don't stay the night, the hotel's spa is worth a visit. With Oriental wellbeing at the forefront of their ethos, I was fortunate enough to experience one of the spas signature 90-minute massages promising to leave you feeling relaxed and revitalised.
Kicking off with a short consultation, I learnt about the Mandarin’s house brand, Aromatherapy Associates, and the different qualities they possessed to alleviate stress, fatigue and improve circulation. After discussing my lifestyle and the strains it has on certain areas of the body, the massage targeted everywhere I needed it to and I was left feeling lighter than air and completely tension-free. Bliss.
The lover's guide to Paris: Valentine's edition
Although it's tempting to hole up in the luxuries of the Mandarin with your beau for the entire trip it's worth venturing out into the crisp air to explore the neighbouring areas brimming with culture. Not sure where to go? Here are five must-visit locations...
1. L’Coupe D’or
Just a short walk through the cobbled streets lays L'Coupe D'or; a quaint cafe brasserie that instantly throws you back to the 1920s heyday of Paris. Gaze into each other's eyes over a refreshing Snail and Goats Cheese salad, Truffle and Smoked Salmon Omlette or play it safe with a less-than-French, Cheeseburger with Pom Frites.
2. Musee de l'Orangerie
Bask in the incredible Nympheas water lilies by Monet at this beautiful sandstone museum. A permanent exhibition since 1927, eight wall murals circle the space around you and leave a calming peace in the air. As a surprisingly emotional viewing, you don't have to be an art lover to appreciate the beauty of Monets method and get swept away with the dreamy end result.
3. Pont Alexandre III Bridge
Adorned with gold leaf, the bridge is the scene of many romantic blockbusters and the pinnacle moment Big tells Carrie she's The One in the last ever Sex And a The City series. It is the perfect location to steal a kiss before meandering back to the hotel through the arches of the Rue de Rivoli and passing the home of Coco Chanel on rue Cambon.
4. Les Ombres
For a stunning top floor dinner next to the Eiffel Tower. Indulge in Hoi Sin stir-fried duck and potato fondant over a glass of full-bodied Merlot and Chocolate Soufflé whilst taking in the City of Lights below you.
5. Lovelock Bridge
Just a short walk from the Notre Dame lays the infamous Pont de l'Archevêché bridge. Filled with millions of declarations of love on a variety of different padlocks, you can join the masses and buy a padlock from a tout and write your message for the world to see.
easyJet flies to Paris Charles De Gaulle from London Gatwick, Luton, Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol and Belfast airports. Flight prices start from £23.74 per person (one-way, including taxes based on two people on the same booking). Rates at Mandarin Oriental, Paris start from £659 per night. For further information and bookings please call +33 (0) 1 70 98 78 88 or visit www.mandarinoriental.com/paris.