Ho­tels that’ll put the ooh la la in your Paris get­away

Ex­pe­ri­ence the lap of lux­ury while tak­ing in the city of lights

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Content - Francesca Syz

IT’S NOT DIF­FI­CULT to imag­ine Mar­lene Di­et­rich hold­ing court in Fou­quet’s, the fa­mous Paris bistro where the Champs-elysées meets Av­enue Ge­orge V; nor James Joyce, who would sit there for days on end drink­ing white wine and writ­ing Fin­negans Wake, only break­ing off when friends such as Sa­muel Beck­ett would pull up a chair.

The bistro, which opened in 1899, re­mains a Paris in­sti­tu­tion, its spirit in­tact de­spite sev­eral re­fur­bish­ments. In 2006, the build­ing be­came the très chic Hô­tel Bar­rière Le Fou­quet’s. The fol­low­ing year, Ni­co­las Sarkozy cel­e­brated his pres­i­den­tial vic­tory there.

The ho­tel’s im­pos­ing Hauss­mann-style façade isn’t let down by its in­te­rior, orig­i­nally by Edouard François and Jac­ques Gar­cia, who over­saw an­other re­fur­bish­ment last year. The softly lit en­trance lobby – a co­coon of Louis XIV fur­ni­ture in red, gold, silk and vel­vet – is suit­ably deca­dent. But Gar­cia played a clever hand by also in­ject­ing a con­tem­po­rary fresh­ness.

Fou­quet’s is now over­seen by cel­e­brated chef Pierre Gag­naire, or you can dine at the more ca­sual Le Joy, which opens out on to the gar­den. There’s also the wood-pan­elled L’es­cadrille bar and an­other hid­den-away op­tion be­hind a book­shelf door, Le Marta, for tea by the fire or cock­tails into the early hours.

The ho­tel’s sub­ter­ranean spa has a 15m swim­ming pool and, after a day’s sight­see­ing, you can’t beat a pre-bed trip to its sauna (it’s open un­til 10pm).

We re­cently checked in to two other Paris gems that are well worth a men­tion. L’hô­tel du Col­lec­tion­neur, housed in a re­stored art-deco build­ing near Parc Mon­ceau and the Arc de Tri­om­phe in the eighth ar­rondisse­ment, em­braces its roots with a strik­ing gold, black and tan colour scheme and a re­peated mag­pie mo­tif. Its restau­rant, by chef Joël Veyssière, re­opened last sum­mer after a com­plete re­fur­bish­ment, with in­door or out­door ta­bles in a leafy court­yard and a sea­sonal, seafood-lean­ing Mediter­ranean menu that also in­cludes ce­viche and pad thai. Whether you book an ex­ec­u­tive Eif­fel-fac­ing room or go all out with the two-bed­room, dou­ble-ter­raced prési­den­tielle suite, the tower views are ex­cep­tional.

Mean­while, com­bin­ing the el­e­gance of a grand palace ho­tel with the in­ti­macy of a pri­vate home, fam­ily-run Pavil­lon de la Reine is an ivy-cov­ered aris­to­cratic man­sion ac­cessed through a gar­den just off the gor­geous Place des Vos­ges in Le Marais. It opened its first restau­rant this au­tumn, the hotly an­tic­i­pated Anne, by chef Mathieu Pa­caud, which serves clas­sic French dishes with a con­tem­po­rary twist and is the per­fect spot for a cosy lunch. C’est im­pec­ca­ble.

Clock­wise from be­low left L’es­cadrille and Le Marta at Hô­tel Bar­rière Le Fou­quet’s; Hô­tel du Col­lec­tion­neur; Anne at Pavil­lon de la Reine 1. Hô­tel Bar­rière Le Fou­quet’s Dou­bles from £560 (ho­tels­bar­riere.com)

3. Pavil­lon de la Reine Dou­bles from £290 (pavil­lon-de-la-reine.com)

2. L’hô­tel du Col­lec­tion­neur Dou­bles from £260 (hotel­ducol­lec­tion­neur.com)

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