The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

PIERRE Cardin’s for­mer Haussmann-style man­sion, tucked away in Paris’s de­sir­able 8th ar­rondisse­ment mo­ments from the Champs-El­y­sees, has been re­born as a drop-dead gor­geous ho­tel par­ti­c­ulier with sump­tu­ous sa­lons and more suites than rooms.

With only 40 of each ac­com­mo­da­tion style, La Re­serve Paris Ho­tel & Spa has the feel of a pri­vate, chic club of­fer­ing views of the Eif­fel Tower and Grand Palais and fea­tur­ing an in­door swim­ming pool, small day spa, li­brary and smok­ing room.

The am­bi­tious two-year restora­tion project was un­der­taken by Michel Rey­bier, who owns ho­tels in Geneva and Ra­mat­uelle, near St-Tropez, work­ing with his favourite dec­o­ra­tor Jac­ques Garcia. With a gen­er­ous bud­get and in­spired by James Tis­sot’s can­vases de­pict­ing 19th-cen­tury Parisian bour­geois life, Garcia em­ployed more than 120 spe­cial­ist ar­ti­sans and shipped in 250 tonnes of Ital­ian mar­ble and more than 6km of fab­ric to re­alise his vi­sion.

The spa­cious suites out­num­ber rooms al­most two to one and even come equipped with wine cel­lars, but all gue­strooms are lav­ishly kit­ted out with Car­rara and Turquin mar­bles, oak par­quet floor­ing and da­m­a­scene bro­cade drapes. The mood is re­strained belle epoque, that’s if the belle epoque era were to have in­cluded flat-screen tele­vi­sions, Wi-Fi and tablet tech­nol­ogy.

DON’T MISS: The chance to re­live the World War II lib­er­a­tion of Paris in a tour of the city in Gen­eral de Gaulle’s car, one of many spe­cial­ist tour­ing op­tions of­fered by the ho­tel.

DINING IN: Ex­ec­u­tive chef Jerome Banc­tel over­sees the el­e­gant Restau­rant Le Gabriel, where sig­na­ture dishes in­clude the likes of squab marinated in co­coa with or­ganic buck­wheat tagli­atelle. And be­cause this is a ho­tel that’s meant to feel like a pri­vate home, guests are wel­come to dine in the li­brary, their gue­stroom or just about wher­ever they wish. DINING OUT: A few steps from the ho­tel, Le Grif­fon­nier is a typ­i­cal Parisian bistro, while within 10 min­utes on foot is the leg­endary tem­ple of jazz, Le Boeuf sur le Toit. Also nearby is La Can­tine du Faubourg, which gives a mod­ern twist to French clas­sics; or pop into Mini Palais (in The Grand Palais), claim­ing one of the most at­trac­tive dining ter­races in the city.

ASK THE CONCIERGE: Spe­cial guest ex­pe­ri­ences in­clude a pri­vate visit to Yves Saint Lau­rent’s stu­dio (trav­el­ling in the late designer’s Jaguar); or how about cre­at­ing your own fragrance with the help of a fa­mous “nose”.

CHECK­ING IN: From €750 ($1090), in­clud­ing break­fast, tax and ser­vices. More: lare­

ALSO TRY: Chateau Gutsch, Lucerne; Brown’s Ho­tel, Lon­don; L’Ho­tel, Paris.


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