Cafe de la Paix
Next to the Opera house in Paris. © Cafe de la Paix

Pirouetting straight to the point, I’ve always dreamed of becoming a prima donna in a bigwig corps de ballet (not said in a Zelda Fitzgerald sort of way!). So I’ve choreographed a decadent day of pampering in Paris for my inner Black Swan. Setting the stage with champagne, heady scents, and bolts of tulle, along with some grands jetés and pas de bourrées, I will seek and find artistic perfection. Donning wings of a sylphide on fire, I will either fly… or sigh trying. As Charles Garnier himself once said, “The style I use is my own!”

Phantom of the Opéra

Don’t leave Paris without taking a self-guided tour of my secret fairyland, the Palaïs Opéra Garnier. Clutching rococo to your bosom, explore the ornate salons and reception halls at your own pace. You’ll feel like you have the house to yourself. Per person €11. www.operadeparis.fr

grand staircase at the Opera in Paris
grand staircase at the Opera in Paris

Let them eat cake

Your heart will swell as you get merry on the terrace at the Café de la Paix, sipping champagne, nibbling on a sweet treat and taking in a sublime view of the Palaïs Opéra – where gilded sculptures symbolizing harmony and poetry glitter with the stars above just before twilight. Glass of champagne €18, Histoire d’amour dessert with fruits and chocolate €19.www.cafedelapaix.fr

Petal Pusher

I often hotfoot it to Annick Goutal’s flagship on Rue de Bellechasse. Here, fragrance consultant Marie has been holding court since 1981. Recently, she recommended “Grand Amour”. Worthy of an Audrey Hepburn stylish tiptoe down the stairs at the Opéra, its blend of lilies and vanilla sent me over the moon. €210. www.annickgoutal.com

Maison Popincourt
Aqua-biking, photo courtesy of Maison Popincourt

Million Euro Bébé

Maison Popincourt is another favourite haven of mine. Located on Rue de Verneuil, here is where I cross-train by pedalling underwater for a nice session of aqua biking. Each time I do it I feel like the world famous Lilly Yokoi (a.k.a., the “Ballerina on the Golden Bicycle”). This year, the studio will start offering aqua boxing too. Per person, per hour €30.www.lamaisonpopincourt.com

I spy

Opéra Glasses purchased at the Porte de Vanves Flea Market, handy for viewing art whilst soaring through the wings of the Palaïs Opéra. Once you reach the top of the grand staircase, look up at the four-ceiling tableaux by Isadore-Alexandre Pils. Spotting Apollo gazing down, you’ll feel rejuvenated. €100. www.pucesdevanves.typepad.com

vintage opera glasses from the flea market
vintage opera glasses from the flea market

It’s in the bag

Never a thumping bore, decades-old Longchamp launched a special Saint-Valentine’s Day XOXO Pliage messenger bag, perfect for stashing lipstick, rendezvous addresses, and mad money for a second glass of champagne. As Millie, my friend Paul’s mum, says, “You only live once in a while!” €160. www.fr.longchamp.com

Gilding the Lily

After spotting Marie Antoinette in the vitrine of Trudon, the oldest candle shop in Paris, I threw down the plastic without even peeking at the wickedly expensive price tag, because, well, she lifted my spirits. As writer and dancer Colette once wrote, “Being happy is one way of being wise!” €125. www.trudon.com

dancer key chains at the Opera boutique in Paris
dancer key chains at the Opera boutique in Paris

Tiny Dancer

Keeping time with a swirling soubrette, dainty dancers strike fourth position at the gift boutique at the Opéra. Glitter abounds, so keep your head! Have I mentioned that this place makes me divinely and utterly happy? Sweetening the deal, they now also sell honey made from the hives on the roof. Keychain €6, Honey €15. www.boutique.operadeparis.fr

Paging Cendrillon

This little devil wears Repetto, not Prada. I’m cuckoo for their tutu and “Brigitte” Ballet Slippers – a closet staple since 1956, when Brigitte Bardot asked Rose Repetto to make a street shoe model of the classic ballet flat in red while filming of And God Created Woman. Tutu €105, Shoes €225. www.repetto.com

Marie Antoinette film
© Columbia Pictures/ Marie Antoinette

Following Suit

Marie Antoinette also liked to channel her alter-egos, performing as milkmaids, shepherdesses, or village maidens. Studying ballet, she fine-tuned her craft while building her own idyllic world. I can relate. Columbia Pictures director Sofia Coppola featured the Palaïs Opéra in her 2006 biopic Marie Antoinette. €3 www.ebay.com

From France Today magazine

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