“Paris is always a good idea” – Audrey Hepburn’s Paris
Audrey Hepburn is synonymous with everything we love about Paris – enchanted, graceful, regal and sophisticated.
So it comes as no surprise that Audrey herself loved Paris, and leapt at any opportunity to visit her favourite places in the French capital.
This extravagant, family-owned Hotel Raphaël was Audrey’s home during the many Parisian films that she shot during her career.
Rumour has it that the actress had her suite at Raphaël specially decorated to pacify her homesickness whilst shooting overseas. She originally chose the hotel for its proximity to the upcoming designer, Givenchy, whose store was located on avenue George V, and who was responsible (but not credited) for the resplendent robes she wore in ‘Sabrina’.
The hotel has a private rooftop garden with views of the Paris skyline, including the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower, which you can just imagine Audrey gazing out over after a long day in front of the camera.
The deep, dark mahogany walls of the hotel could speak great tales of famous guests that have also toed its corridors, such as Marlon Brando, Ava Gardner and Serge Gainsbourg. The hotel is stylish yet humbly welcoming to all its guests, and should you be so lucky as to spend a night here, you will leave feeling like you too are a star.
When she wasn’t prancing about the staircases of the Louvre in red dresses, Audrey could be found sipping from a cup of Angelina’s coveted hot chocolate.
The ancient salon de thé oozes Audrey allure with its art gallery-esque wall murals, and its Belle Époque gilded ironwork, mirrors and marble tabletops.
If you are to indulge in one thing in Paris, let it be the thick richness of Angelina’s secret recipe, African hot chocolate, accompanied by Angelina’s signature Mont Blanc, which is a delicious tower of cream, meringue and chestnut puree vermicelli.
Be sure to breathe in the sweet, sugary air of the salon in the hope of taking in a little of Audrey’s presence.
When Audrey first came to Paris for her ‘Sabrina’ wardrobe fittings, she was yet to become a Hollywood icon and was a practical nobody. So much so that when Hubert Givenchy was told that he had an appointment with ‘Miss Hepburn’ he expected to be greeted by Katharine Hepburn, rather than the then unknown Audrey.
Nonetheless, this first meeting was the beginning of a strong tie between the fashion designer and actress, Hepburn having him design much of her personal and professional wardrobe from that moment.
Givenchy was, after all, the man behind the little black dress that began the LBD movement, having designed the gown that appeared in the opening scene of arguably Hepburn’s greatest film, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’.
Givenchy’s celebrated dress was chosen in 2010 as the best dress ever worn by an actress in a film, and in 2006 it was sold for the grand sum of £467, 200.
Whilst Audrey was often seen in a Givenchy designed number, it was her scent that truly defined her. ‘L’Interdit’ was the perfume created just for her by Givenchy, and she wore it for a great many years before it was finally released to the public in the 1960s.
The scent is still available today in Givenchy boutiques where you can browse the racks of Audrey’s favourite label, and perhaps purchase yourself a little piece of her style.
What is your favourite Audrey film set in Paris?References:
1. Audrey Hepburn, on Wikipedia.
2. Hubert de Givenchy, on Wikipedia. Image credits:
1. Audrey Hepburn, by Fred Baby via Flickr.
2. Hotel Raphaël, via TripAdvisor.
3. Angelina Cafe Paris, via Wikimedia.
4. The Glorious Angelina’s Hot Chocolate, by ingridf_nl via Flickr.
5. Audrey Hepburn Givenchy, by joanetteh_32 via Flickr.
6. La Maison Givenchy, by Charlievdb via Flickr.