RO­MANCE

Luxe et volupte

Chic & Country - - Season -

If you strolling along the Left Bank close to Sain­tGer­maine-des-Prés in search of a chic and in­ti­mate ho­tel, then look no fur­ther. Re­lais Chris­tine

(www.re­lais-chris­tine.com) has been fam­ily owned since it orig­i­nally opened and it shows in its style and ap­proach. It is wel­com­ing, and yet dis­crete, with lots of cubby holes and un­der­stated charm. It has a fan­tas­tic his­tory - in the early 13th-cen­tury it was the site of Saint-De­nis Col­lege of the Grands-Au­gustins Abbey. It seeks to evoke a homely en­vi­ron­ment and there is also a won­der­ful seren­ity that you sense per­haps comes from its ori­gins. Those in search of some­thing dif­fer­ent, and we mean dif­fer­ent, should seek out Mai­son Sou­quet (www. maison­sou­quet.com) Its lo­ca­tion in the Mont­martre gives the game away, as do the two red lanterns invit­ing you in, and the ho­tel does ap­pear to be some­what of a tem­ple to he­do­nism.

The ho­tel is noth­ing if not di­rect in its mes­sag­ing and in pro­mot­ing its his­tory (the site was a former ‘house of plea­sure’ as the ho­tel’s web­site eu­phemisti­cally de­scribes it). How­ever, its ap­proach and style is typ­i­cally and unashamedly Parisian. The sump­tu­ous­ness of the fur­nish­ings, and the lux­ury of the rooms and the spa (which even guests need to specif­i­cally re­quest the key for) trans­port you into another world and high­light just how evoca­tive and in­spir­ing is the work of the renowned French in­te­rior de­signer, Jac­ques Gar­cia. Pre­pare for plenty of lush vel­vet, flam­boy­ant wall­pa­pers, dark wood, at­mo­spheric light­ing and oil paint­ings of women in se­duc­tive poses.

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