The Ritz Paris

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A brief his­tory of the grand ho­tel, which re­opens this month— from Proust and Hem­ing­way to Coco Chanel and Princess Diana. ÒWHEN I DREAM of an af­ter­life in heaven,” Ernest Hem­ing­way once wrote, “the ac­tion al­ways takes place at the Ritz Paris.” This month, af­ter a $220 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion, the leg­endary ho­tel will re­open af­ter four years and be­gin the next chap­ter in its rich 118-year his­tory. Mar­cel Proust and Coco Chanel once called the Ritz home, Sophia Loren con­sid­ered it “the most romantic ho­tel in the world,” and the Nazis took over sev­eral floors when they oc­cu­pied Paris dur­ing World War II.

Not ev­ery­one has ap­pre­ci­ated the many lux­u­ries that the Ritz has to of­fer, though. Soon af­ter it opened in 1898, Os­car Wilde com­plained that the el­e­va­tors moved too fast and the en suite bath­rooms were not his style: “Who wants an im­mov­able wash­ing basin in one’s room?” he sniffed. “I do not. Hide the thing. I pre­fer to ring for wa­ter when I need it.”

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