Nestled in the heart of Paris’ Left Bank, amidst the cultural riches, bohemian soul and high fashion of St Germain-des-Pres, lies one of the most famous hotels and a secret hideaway for celebrities and Parisians: L’Hotel Paris.
L’Hotel Paris was originally part of the Place De La Reine Margot before being transformed into the Pavilion d’Amour (a pavilion of love) in the early 19th Century. Oscar Wilde resided here until his death, famously claiming to ‘live above his means’.
Luckily, the actual death chamber no longer exists; in 2006 L’Hotel Paris was refurbished and remodelled by designer Jaques Garcia, who swathed it from head to toe in his idea of luxury – lavish velvety fabrics kept in dark, warm tones and not one room is alike; each has been individually designed with particular attention to fine details.
We arrived on a sunny Sunday morning, soaking up that French charm and glamour that transforms this Parisian neighbourhood into a whole world of its own. Arriving three hours before check-in was no problem; the attendant had a room ready, and service was elegant and unobtrusive.
Our very generously sized Junior Suite on the top floor of L’Hotel Paris’s gorgeous 6 floor building, with stunning views of the gallery-peppered Rue de Beaux Arts, heavy curtains, velvet carpets and custom-made lavish furnishing took us on a journey back in time and made us feel like we were part of the Belle Époque.
The room at L’Hotel Paris offered everything one needs and more, with a personalised welcome letter waiting for us when we arrived: a nice touch but also expected from a hotel of this class.
The downstairs bar is set up as a library and the Michelin starred Le Restaurant is decorated like a former Parisian salon. Unfortunately, the restaurant is closed on Sundays so we had to find a nearby brasserie, which was not difficult with so many great eateries in the vicinity of the hotel.
After a quick dinner, we managed to get tickets for the Moulin Rouge. We didn’t have to queue up luckily and went straight in, but were surprised to see that we were packed in with 900 guests filling the venue during the performance. The show was fine, less burlesque and more cabaret, with the supporting acts being the highlight.
When we arrived back at L’Hotel Paris, the bed was turned down: the pillows stacked upright, the comforter removed, a note left on the sheets with tomorrow’s weather. Nice.
The only downside of our stay was breakfast: L’Hotel does skimp on its breakfast and you will only find a limited selection of cold meats, cheeses, hard-boiled eggs, fruit, rolls or cooked breakfast.
The verdict? L’Hotel is so much more than a fin-de-siècle relic. It is a place to be seen in Paris, with famous visitors to the city passing through its doors from Salvador Dali and Princess Grace to Frank Sinatra, Elisabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. No wonder that L’Hotel is one of Paris’ best loved hotels and has become famous around the globe for its discreet and glamorous charm.
It is a wonderful combination of luxury and cosiness, miles away from large, bland luxury hotels. It is located in what is most likely the most Parisian of Paris quarters.
Concierge’s Tip: The hotel has a hidden Hammam in the basement – the steam room and pool can be booked for complete private usage, perfect for couples!