Paris - a place where romance, fashion week and lots of wine drinking happens. This is true of many places but for some reason it's different in the capital of France. The atmosphere is just so deliciously louche and cooler-than-you.
So what could be more appropriate when you’re going to the Salvador Dali retrospective at the Pompidou than staying in the hotel the man himself used to reside? Le Meurice – the artist’s favourite address in Paris where he paid staff to bring him ants, painted his bedroom blue and reportedly had a pet goat - has helpfully created a Dali Experience package.
Within moments of arriving at the Rue de Rivoli, Louvre-facing hotel, a porter has relieved me of my luggage and Catherine Deneuve had trotted past with her dog. Being surrounded by Philippe Starck artwork and having a comfortable and beautiful chair to sit in while someone sorts out your key is incredibly happy making.
All of that taken care of (I run around my suite throwing myself on various cushioned surfaces in rapture, it’s so wonderful) lunch is served in the Michelin-starred Restaurant Le Meurice. I have champagne. I nibble a squash crisp. I eat artichoke like the French do. I chow down on fish so outrageously tasty I wonder if all this time I’ve been eating something that’s just calling itself a fish, but is actually garbage.
Later that day, I continue with Dali cocktails in the hotel’s Bar 228 – a potent mix that’s deliciously drinkable – followed by a dinner of vegetable dumplings at Restaurant Le Dali. I stretch out in my chair after eating, musing - glass of wine in hand – how possible moving into Le Meurice could be. Perhaps I’m the new Dali, I ponder, growing to adore the idea.
The following day, at the exhibition, I realise I am of course not the new Dali. Naturally seeing such a thorough retrospective of a ground-breaking artist is an education, but this is on another level entirely. His films play while you browse the work located at the top of the Pompidou overlooking all of Paris. The interesting thing is seeing how unique his style was and that it developed at every stage of his career. Early portraits of his family are wildly different to his surrealist landscapes and political pieces. As an artist, he always moved forward – there was no rehashing.
Amazing butternut squash appetiser at Restaurant Le Dali
You think you've tried fish? You haven't until you've tried this dish from Restaurant Le Dali
Lemony, zesty dessert - and it's decorated with actual gold!
After lunch macaroons. Nom.
Le Dali cocktail in Bar 228 - yummy and potent
Canapes! *Does fabulous face*
Pianist in Bar 228 - good tunes, and happily posed for pictures
I realise this as it’s time to leave for lunch – I have what shall forever be known as The Best Club Sandwich In The World back at Bar 228 – before jumping on the Eurostar and going back to London.
Do I think you should do the Dali Experience at Le Meurice? Yes. I think everyone should do it. I think we should all run off to Paris, move in to the hotel and paint our rooms blue like Dali while knocking back those cocktails. But that’s not practical – so just do this instead.
Find more information about the Dali Experience at Le Meurice here.
Flats by French Sole, £160
Knitted mix stitch shawl cardigan by Topshop, £42
Blocks pleated skirt by Mango, £29.99
Cut out embroidery blouse by H&M, £19.99
Rose puzzle print dress by Vivienne Westwood Anglomania, £540 from Matches
Vamp sandal by Zara, £49.99
Indigo wash dress by Topshop, £40
Gris by Dior, £17 at Selfridges
Blackberry And Bay cologne by Jo Malone, £38 to £76