Where to stay: The year-old Hotel de Russie
(39-06-32-88-81; pictured below), near Piazza del Popolo, is the hot hotel
right now. Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, and their entire families checked
in the day we checked out. For something more intimate, there's the five-room
Casa Howard (39-06-6992-5555), near the Spanish Steps; just a year
old, but it's already about to expand.
Dining out: Not far from the Pantheon, the Riccioli
Cafe (39-06-821-0313), formerly Hemingway's pub, has been reborn as
an oyster and champagne bar with pasta-free dishes like sea bass with mango.
Maccheroni down the street (39-06-6830-7895) is the place for modelizers
hoping to spot that up-and-coming Sophia Loren.
Nightlife: Black Planet in funky Testaccio
is where the Eternal City's black-clad youth dance till dawn. SARAH
Where to stay: While Claridge's and the Dorchester
are better known, newer London boutiques like the Sanderson (44-207-300-1420)
and Metropolitan (44-207-447-1000) are getting all the attention
lately, along with boutique-hotel bars like the Berkeley's newly renovated
Blue Bar (44-207-201-1680) and the Sanderson's Long Bar.
Dining out: The Ivy and Quaglino's, two of the
city's old standbys, finally have some competition: Hungry Londoners are
lining up for salted-duck-egg-and-hot-chili relish at Nahm (44-207-333-1234),
a recently opened Thai restaurant in the Halkin Hotel . There's also plenty
of buzz about Hakkasan (44-207-927-7000), a new underground
Chinese spot near Tottenham Court Road that serves up modern fare to the
beat of a resident D.J. on weekend nights.
Hot ticket: Any London theatergoer can
tell you that Mamma Mia! is so last year. This winter's must-see
is Luther "It's all about that smoldering Rufus Sewell,"
sighs one satisfied customer. TARA MANDY
Where to stay: The big news this winter
is that those ferociously chic Costes brothers are opening a design shop
in their flagship Hotel Costes (33-1-42-44-50-50). Expect lots
of accessories and housewares a very serious challenge to reigning
retailer Colette. In the meantime, the hottest hotel opening this fall
is Pershing Hall (33-1-58-36-58-00), decked out with interiors
by Andrée Putman.
Dining out: Nobu (33-1-56-89-53-53) finally
hit Paris a few months ago, and has become an instant hit. Across the
river, fashion folk like Tom Ford and Donna Karan continue to fill the
banquettes at the rive gauche classic Le Voltaire (33-1-42-61-17-49).
And you can't go wrong getting a plate of couscous at the deceptively
down-home Chez Omar (33-1-42-72-36-26) in the Marais. Ask Omar
to see his celebrity sketchbook, filled with impromptu drawings by notable
Nightlife: Le Nouveau Casino
(33-1-43-57-57-40), behind the Café Charbon on the Rue Oberkampf,
is gaining steam. But as any seasoned Parisian night owl can tell you,
plus ça change: The venerable Les Bains (33-1-48-87-01-80)
is still the nightclub of record. Going dancing at Queen
(33-1-53-89-08-90) on Sunday night will help you get over the demise of
Twilo. And mark those calendars: This January, Terence Conran opens a
new club called Wagg in the old Whiskey-a-Go-Go space. AMY