Just Back: Paris, Versailles and the French Countryside

Stacy Fischer-Rosenthal of Fischer Travel provides us with the latest on the "City of Light." Read her report here.

The summer sun was shining as I landed and my first stop was at Le Meurice, where I enjoyed lunch, a quick tour of the hotel, and views from the lovely Signature Suite terrace—the largest in all of Paris. A stay at La Reserve Paris Hotel was also on my itinerary. Intimate and bespoke, this hotel boasts butler services and overlooks the Grand Palais and the Eiffel Tower. I was also extremely pleased with the visit to the newly renovated Four Seasons George V. The rooms and suites are lighter and the spa fresher. Their new restaurant Le George, with light and modern Mediterranean-style cuisine, was lively with both locals and hotel guests. 

Finally, a trip to the "City of Light" would not be complete without a visit to the recently renovated and most iconic Ritz Paris where I enjoyed afternoon tea with decadent macarons and evening cocktails at the Hemingway Bar.

While most of the world was on pause, Paris was putting the final touches on a couple of hotels. Joining brand properties in St. Barths, St. Tropez, the Maldives and Courchevel, the hotly anticipated Cheval Blanc Paris has opened its doors. Facing the Pont-Neuf and just steps from the Louvre and the Marais, the hotel’s 72 rooms and suites feature Art Deco design with views of the Seine and some of the most recognizable buildings of Paris. I loved the sophisticated atmosphere and contemporary artwork found throughout the hotel. Featuring the timeless décor found in brand properties in Rome and Capri, the J.K. Place Paris, which opened in January of 2020, is a boutique property with only 29 rooms and suites that are said to bring “La Dolce Vita to the Rive Gauche.” Here, I dined at an outpost of the familiar Casa Tua Restaurant found in Miami and Aspen.

Although Paris was perfect, the true highlight of my trip was an excursion to Versailles and a stay at Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, and overnight at Domaine de Primard in the French countryside. 

Consisting of three historic buildings that date back to 1681, Le Grand Contrôle, located inside Chateau de Versailles opened on June 1. With views over the Chateau de Versailles, the Orangery and Pièce d’Eau des Suisses, guests here will enjoy exclusive access to the Chateau and rooms in the museum normally closed to the public. The 14 rooms and suites feature authentic period furniture, high ceilings and parquet floors. Electric boats and golf carts are available for exploration of the Grand Canal and gardens. Culinary offerings are expertly overseen by Alain Ducasse and the spa, with an indoor pool, features the Valmont skincare brand.

There are a host of specially curated experiences to choose from. One might opt to dine like royalty in Salle des Hoquetons with an intimate dinner for two in the former apartment of Louis XV’s daughters or trace Marie-Antoinette’s fashionable footsteps with a day packed full of the former Queen’s favorites. Begin with a costume fitting in your suite followed by a private tour around the Estate of Trianon, the Love Monument and the much talked about Grotto. In the afternoon, enjoy an exclusive Signature treatment inspired by Marie-Antoinette’s legendary beauty rituals in the Valmont Spa followed by a macaron tasting session—served with cake, too!

Domaine de Primard

Once Catherine Deneuve’s weekend home, Domaine de Primard has thrown its gilded doors open to guests this summer. This Relais & Châteaux boutique property is the ideal place to unwind. On a 100-acre estate spanning both sides of the Eure River, and just under an hour’s drive to the west of Paris, Château de Primard, is a stunningly well-preserved 18th-century Directoire-style house that was, until recently, a private home. As of 2021, the magnificent Primard is now an intimate 40-room luxury hotel complete with a destination-worthy restaurant and the first Susanne Kaufmann spa in France. It’s a member of the Domaines de Fontenille hotel group whose Luberon hotel of the same name, seamlessly combines historical atmosphere with contemporary luxury.

The estate’s gastronomic restaurant, under the direction of the celebrated chef Éric Fréchon, makes extensive use of produce grown in the hotel’s own magnificent gardens. The bistro, located on a terrace surrounded by fruit trees, presents a slightly more casual aspect of the same vision. Leisure offerings include a heated outdoor pool, ample opportunity for walking and hiking, horseback riding, and golf nearby at the highly regarded Robert Hersant course.  

Related Articles

Hôtel Madame Rêve to Open in Paris’ Louvre Post Office Building

Air France Unveils its First Airbus A220-300

Palace Suites in Paris

Cheval Blanc Paris Shares More Details Ahead of Opening