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Stay and Play - Raffles offers all sorts of exciting things for children to see, do, make - and eat

STAY AND PLAY

Words: Eloise Schaw Miller    

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It’s not all for the grown-ups! Raffles offers all sorts of exciting things for
children to see, do, make – and eat. Ten-year-old Eloise Schaw Miller shares
her experiences at Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris

“That’s service for you,” remarked an American lady, when a uniformed man bearing a sign “Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris” boarded our train at La Gare du Nord in Paris. We had travelled in style on Eurostar from London. On the platform, I was presented with balloons by Maria de la Chica, the Kids’ Manager from the hotel. We drove through the streets of Paris to the magnificent hotel. This was the first time I had visited Paris and I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was.

Arriving in style: Eloise receives a Raffles-style welcome to the the city

On arrival I was whisked to my room, a Junior Suite. I saw the most appetising tea on the table, made entirely of sweets and chocolate, and there was even a chocolate sign, saying “Welcome Eloise”! On my bed there was a cute little bear. I named it Starckie after the famous Philippe Starck, who designed the hotel.

Then it was time for my cooking class with the Head Chef of the hotel, Chef Laurent André. I was handed an apron with a cat on it and embroidered with ELOISE in fancy writing. I asked him what food he cooks for children and he said: “Everything! We have a children’s menu, but the best is when I go to the table and ask what would you like? We have everything. I love cooking for children.” He told me how he was born in a hotel and would go into the kitchen every day to taste all the dishes. I asked him how many chefs they have. “Too many! We have 80 chefs. It’s a big hotel!”

We have a children’s menu, but the best is when I go to the table and ask what would you like? We have everything. I love cooking for children.

Fun with food:Eloise joins Head Chef Laurent André for a pizza-making class

I strolled outside to the terrace to find a table with two balls of dough and some delicious toppings in small bowls. Chef Laurent and I rolled out our dough and covered the base with passata and various toppings. He told me that hands are the best utensils for cooking. There are six kitchens and I was struck by how hot it must be to work in a hotel kitchen. We ate our pizzas on the terrace. Mine was delicious.

That evening we had a scrumptious meal at La Cuisine, which is a Michelin-starred restaurant. I decided to be adventurous and ask if they could make up a cocktail – without alcohol, of course – for me. It was delicious. We were served some pistachio pastry fingers, which we had seen the pastry chef making earlier. For my starter I ordered a slow-cooked egg with whipped French asparagus, spring vegetables and herb cream. It was exquisite. For the main course I ordered the roast saddle of lamb, white asparagus and morel mushrooms. I would recommend this dish for children even though quite a few don’t like mushrooms. The lamb was tender and the sauce was velvety and sweet. The mushrooms were soft and smooth.

Paris pleasures:Eloise enjoyed sightseeing, an art class and a smiley face breakfast

Breakfast the next day was an incredible spread in a buffet. The first section was pastries made by the famous patîssier Pierre Hermé, and his own version of chocolate spread. My favourite was the eggs counter where a chef makes any type of egg you ask for. He made a smiley face for me with two fried eggs and a sausage.

After breakfast I looked around the amazing cinema, which is one of the most modern in the world. There are 99 seats and one red seat – another Philippe Starck touch. I watched a few trailers and tucked into some delicious Pierre Hermé popcorn. We visited the bar where there are 300 vintage glasses. I reserved a high-heeled glass shoe that reminded me of Cinderella. Then I went for a swim in the spa where they play music you can only hear underwater. The roof is made from glass panels on the terrace, so sometimes you see people looking down.

After breakfast I looked around the cinema, which is one of the most modern in the world

The hotel is well placed for seeing Paris. At one end of the road is the Arc de Triomphe and at the other the marvellous Parc Monceau. We went to the Jardins des Tuileries near Le Louvre and Le Palais Royal. Back at the hotel, I had dinner at the bar, where I ordered tapas and they brought me my cocktail (non-alcoholic!) in the shoe glass. I had a chat with the DJ, Jean-Edouard Lipa, who plays a lot of classical, jazz and triphop, which is a mixture of lounge and soul music.

New experiences:from special (non-alcoholic!) cocktails to meeting the dj, Eloise had lots of fun on her trip

The next day was the day for an art workshop with Julie Eugène. She is very special in being an art concierge of a hotel because no one else in the world has that job. Our task was to design a fan and I used feathers, pens and watercolour pencils to make a pattern. Julie also pointed out the giant teapot that you can sit inside on the terrace. It is inspired by Alice in Wonderland and was made by Joana Vasconcelos.

I couldn’t bear to leave this wonderful hotel. All the staff were so kind and I felt I would never stay in a hotel like this again. We were whisked back to London on the wonderful Eurostar. Back to school and reality!

Eloise travelled to Paris with Eurostar from London St Pancras. Child fares start from £49 return. Tickets are available from eurostar.com or 08432 186 186

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