La Belle Epoque
A cultural hub for artists and aristocrats eager to hobnob at the 1889 Paris world’s fair, the Grand Hotel Terminus was also the entry point for another subset of travelers: Tourists, primarily from the U.S., England and Normandy, would frequent the elegant hotel due to its direct link to Paris’ largest railway station, Gare Saint Lazare.
Today that hotel, now known as the Hilton Paris Opera, is busier than ever and more beautiful, thanks to a $50 million renovation completed in 2015.
For my recent hosted stay, the flight from New York to Paris Orly West via British Airways subsidiary OpenSkies proved to be a convenient option for getting to and from the City of Light. While Gare
Saint Lazare remains one of the city’s main transportation hubs, it’s the area that’s emerged around the property that continues to draw tourists and business travelers alike.
Considered the heart of Paris’ shopping district in the 9th arrondissement, the Opera Garnier neighborhood is home to two of the city’s largest department stores, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, as well as the beautifully preserved Palais Garnier opera house, all of which are a short stroll from the hotel.
A mix of modern-day Paris and its belle epoque decor, the hotel’s signature Le Grand Salon — adorned head to toe in hand-painted frescoes, Corinthian colonnades and original balustrades — has been pristinely preserved to evoke Paris’ golden age.
The salon also happens to be the perfect place to post up and enjoy a glass of Sazerac or Calvados (try the Calvados mule for something truly special) while attempting to find the “naughty angel” lurking along the upper arcades of the room. The salon also features a blend of bar bites and Parisian croque-monsieurs with ham or salmon, burgers, club sandwiches and seasonal quiches and salads among other notable dishes.
Le Petit Bar, or LPB for short, is a diminutive speakeasy-style spot that’s tucked away near the hotel’s front entrance. The bar serves a bit of privacy along with vintage-inspired cocktails served in mugs and teacups.