Mary Antoinette maintained one of the most luxurious -- and fastidious -- beauty regimes in Parisian history. Anyone seeking to follow in her delicate-slippered footsteps would do well to take a carriage to Four Season's Hotel on the avenue George V.
The first efflux of sweet amber hits the second the elevator doors open. Bespoke scented candles bearing the first of many sensory-rich details reminiscent of the former Queen of France's "perfumed court" at Versailles.
Instantly, I'm surrounded by eighteenth century powdered pastels and elegant staff. Fresh ginger tea awaits--deeply aromatic, of course-- plus cascades of fresh fruit and dried figs. The view is of a decadent marble pool. Fit for a courtly dip. Alas, it's a mere wall mural to non-residents. Only guests of the hotel are permitted its use.
What non-residents can experience, however, are the lavish pampering journeys this award-winning spa is famous for.
"A stroll through Versailles," (€350) is an opulent two and a half hour homage to the deposed Queen's love affair with flowers--specifically the orange blossom. Each treatment has been lovingly inspired by her personal beauty secrets, and the attention to detail shows. Luxuriate in a specially-designed steamed body scrub and warm shea butter massage, followed by a heavenly milky facial.
As Baroque music falls from the walls of the 'budoir' styled treatment room, one cannot help but be lulled into delusions of regal grandeur. A dream briefly perpetuated by the delectable tower of gold-leaf macaroons and pot of orange blossom tea at its conclusion.
“I put on my rouge and wash my hands in front of the whole world.” Antoinette once wrote. Fortunately for me, the discreet romance of the George V spa is more like a cocoon. One from which I emerge to my waiting public with sparkling floral radiance, plus a cute little take away box for my let-them-eat cakes.