24-Hour Room Service: Hotel Fouquet's Barrière Paris

A missing passport, the return Eurostar ticket safely tucked inside it: not what you need on a weekend's Christmas shopping trip to Paris.

Was it dippily left on the train in the crumpled almond croissant bag, or was it slipped from an open-topped handbag on the Métro? Either way, it meant oiling rusty French in a police station, perfecting the teary-eyed look at the British Embassy and a sheepish return to the Gare du Nord.

It also meant that we tested the service at the Hotel Fouquet's Barrière, the latest five-star hotel to open in Paris, a little more thoroughly than usual. And, as the concierge even offered to send a bellboy to the Eurostar office, in terms of service it gets full marks.

And the rest? The location is cliché-perfect.The hotel is made up of five grand Haussmann-style buildings on the corner of Avenue George V and the Champs-Elysées.At night we could see the illuminated Eiffel Tower reflected in the windows of the building opposite.

And style?The interiors are the creation of famous Parisian designer Jacques Garcia. Opulent, with a hint of Versace-esque theatricality, the colour scheme is a palette of rich chocolate, cream and gold, the materials velvet, leather, marble and crystal.


46 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris, France (00 33 1 40 70 05 05; www.fouquets-barriere.com).

Time to international airport: a taxi to Charles de Gaulle takes around 50 minutes and costs about €60 (£43). To the Gare du Nord, it's 25 minutes and €10 (£7).


There's one butler to every eight guests. The rooms are luxurious but quite masculine with ceiling-high padded headboards in shiny gold. Useful for when you're bouncing off the walls trying to figure out the remote control. The hi-tech credentials include a plasma screen hidden in the mirror and digital TV with 100 channels. While not difficult to understand, the controls are impossible to use.

Freebies: soft drink mini bar

Keeping in touch: telephones and high-speed internet connection.


Doubles from €671 (£493) through Leading Hotels of the World (00800 2888 8882; www.lhw.com) with breakfast and cocktail. Eurostar (08705 186 186; www.eurostar.com); return fares from £59.

I'm not paying that: Hotel Bourg Tibourg (00 33 1 42 78 47 39; www.hotelbourg-tibourg.com) has double rooms from €220 (£157) excluding breakfast.