There remains no better way to travel from London to Paris than with Eurostar.
Be it for business or pleasure, the international rail service - which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2014 - whisks passengers seamlessly to the centre of their destination with no luggage restrictions, no maddening airport security queues, and, more simply, no fuss.
The service - which now transports more passengers each year than all its rival airlines combined - is one of the few remaining pleasures in international travel, whatever class you choose.
At the end of the line is Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière, recently recognised by the World Travel Awards as Europe’s Leading City Hotel. It is easy to see why.
Fouquet’s Restaurant has been at the centre of Parisian society for a century
The property opened in 2006 is the last remaining five-star hotel in French hands in Paris. For this reason it still welcomes hundreds of French guests each year, drawn by its reassuring history and reputation for outstanding service.
Operated by Casino giant Groupe Lucien Barrière, Fouquet’s traces its routes to the adjoining restaurant, which has been a bastion of French extravagance on the Champs-Élysées since 1899.
The first movie theatres in Paris were built on the famous avenue, with the stars of the silver screen still considering the hotel a home-from-home while in the city. Each year Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière welcomes the leading lights of the film industry as it hosts the after party for the César Award – the French answer to the Oscars.
Modern touches in reception at Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière
But the hotel does not merely trade on its heritage.
Its 81 spacious rooms and suites would make many a modern hotel blush, with state of the art technology meeting exquisite French design to create a tranquil, calming oasis just metres away from central Paris.
Turn one corner you are greeted with thoroughly modern sculpture, glamorous photography and avant garde furniture, the other with golden fixtures, plush red carpets and crystal chandeliers. It is this mixture of the contemporary and classic which defines the style of the hotel.
Location, location, location at Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière
Not that this all comes cheap - with rooms starting at €690 per night. But your money is well spent.
A few steps to the north is the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, while a few minutes in the opposite direct is the Eiffel Tower. You simply cannot get a better location in Paris.
Add to this the sumptuous spa, Michelin starred restaurant La Diane, magnificent gardens, and butler service and you can begin to see why Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière is rated so highly by the Paris elite.
Take in the €10,000 a night Presidential suite
On the top floor of the hotel is the 250m2 Presidential Suite overlooking Champs-Elysées.
Here white ostrich leather armchairs, mahogany bookcases, and beige and raspberry fabric covered walls in the reception area, as well as gold leaf covered pivotal doors, black velvet and damask chairs and sofas in the living quarters all give the feel of timeless opulence, while the views are unbeatable.
For wealthy families, or an exclusive function, an invitation to a party here would get any Parisian pulse racing.
Strong figures also suggest the property is doing something right.
Occupancy levels in 2013 were the highest since opening, despite the general weakness in the European market.
Style, it seems, never goes out of fashion.
Fine dining at La Petite Maison de Nicole, which opened just last year
Eurostar operates up to 18 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord with return fares from £69.
Eurostar also offers connecting fares from more than 300 stations in the UK, with the fastest London-Paris journey time just two hours and 15 minutes.
Travellers to Paris, Brussels and Lille can also take advantage of two-for-one entry into paying exhibitions and permanent collections at some of the city’s most popular museums and galleries, all by simply showing their Eurostar tickets at entry.
In Paris these include Musée d’Orsay les Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Le musée du quai Branly, la Cité de la musique, le Jeu de Paume, and le Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Tickets are available from the official website.
For more information on Hôtel Fouquet’s Barrière take a look here.