The New Paris

Paris Stock Photo
Paris Stock Photo // Photo by Sean3810/iStock/Getty Images Plus

 

Le Royal Monceau
Le Royal Monceau imposes its former élan and continues to be the hottest kid on the hotel block in Paris.

 

There’s a new glow in the City of Lights and it’s emanating from city’s eclectic, youthful scene. Today’s luxury in Paris isn’t all about haute couture on the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, and it isn’t at the best table at L’Arepège (though these are still good places to visit). For a new take on luxury in Paris, we turn to this latest vibrant energy sweeping the city. Here is a look at the New Paris.

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Le Royal Monceau’s La Cuisine
Le Royal Monceau’s La Cuisine is a one Michelin-Star French restaurant with a friendly, artistic décor.

 

When checking into this city on the Seine we suggest booking Le Royal Monceau Raffles, which continues to be the hottest kid on the hotel block. Upon our very early morning check-in, which the hotel was able to accommodate, we were whisked up to the fabulous, and palatial, Ray Charles Suite. Inspired by the soul star himself, the foyer greets guests with a beautiful baby grand piano and life-size photos of Ray Charles. Nice Touch: In anticipation of our arrival, the hotel had a tray of fresh croissants, fruit, coffee and juices waiting for us in the living room. 

Pre-Dinner Cocktails

Before you head out into the New Paris, why not a visit to the Paris of luxury history? Le Bristol Paris is one of the city’s most iconic and raved-about luxury hotels (and a winner of one of Luxury Travel Advisor’s Awards of Excellence in 2013), with something new to show off. Last year the hotel reopened the Bristol Bar, a brainchild of Pierre-Yves Rochon and Maja Oetker. The renovated bar is the jewel in the crown of a $142-million project that took place throughout the hotel. We were lucky enough to pop by the redone space for a few cocktails and small bites before heading out to dinner, and we absolutely loved the new look. The feel is old France meets modern Paris, with Versailles oak parquet, 100-year-old pine paneling and Giacometti stools covered in leopard print silk. International DJs spin Thursday through Saturday nights, while Head Barman, Maxime Hoerth, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, shakes up a whole menu of specialty cocktails. Celeb Sighting: We were told to be on the lookout for David Beckham, as he was staying there while he played for Paris Saint-Germain, and sure enough, before the evening was out, the soccer legend himself showed up at the bar for a drink—swoon.

Contact Director of Sales and Marketing Caroline Goux ([email protected]; 011-33-01-5343-4467) with queries.

 

To say that this is one of the best suites we have ever seen is an understatement (and we have seen some swanky suites in our day). The space has a railroad-style layout that spans 914 square feet to 1,130 square feet, depending on whether or not you connect rooms, which is an acceptable request. From the foyer, guests can see directly through the open living/dining room into the master bedroom. The secret to the suite is in the details. Designer Philippe Starck took into consideration the life of Ray Charles and mixed that up nicely with Art Deco flourish. (The lampshade over the bedside lamp was a print of notes written by Ray Charles’ daughter.)

Le Royal Monceau
Le Royal Monceau boasts a fabulous and palatial Ray Charles Suite, inspired by the soul star himself.

Our favorite room, no doubt, was the sprawling bathroom, which was decked out in white marble and mirrors. There is a deep soaking tub along with a separate walk-in shower. Best part? From the window of the bathroom, guests have a spot-on view of the Eiffel Tower. We were told that this is the only room that offers a view of the Paris icon.

All questions can be addressed to Director of Sales and Marketing Florence Dubois ([email protected]; 011-33-06-8952-9056).

When you aren’t luxuriating in your king-sized bed watching the plasma screen TV (that turns into a mirror when it is switched off), then you should be down in The Spa My Blend by Clarins. This 16,000-square-foot oasis washed in white is the first spa for My Blend by Clarins. It has a 75-foot pool along with relaxation rooms including a hammam, laconium room and sauna and a team of personal trainers who are on hand at the fitness center. We hear that membership to the spa for non-hotel guests is one of the hardest spots to score in the city, so you will be lounging in the true lap of Parisian luxury during your stay. Nice Touch: The spa can be accessed directly from every floor. For spa reservations, reach out to Spa Manager Véronique Jacquet ([email protected]).

Prince de Galles’ L’Appartement Parisien
Prince de Galles’ L’Appartement Parisien has a Carrara marble bathroom and reflects the hotel’s Art Deco glory.

Paris has plenty of cuisine to tout, but travelers ought to know that both specialty restaurants at Le Royal Monceau, La Cuisine and Il Carpaccio, have earned coveted Michelin stars. (La Cuisine, the French restaurant, serves up a spectacular breakfast.) Raffles aficionados will love that the Long Bar (or Le Bar Long) has made the journey from Singapore over to the Paris outpost.

Le Royal Monceau is at 37 av. Hoche, just a stone’s throw from the Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe, making it a perfect homebase from which to explore the rest of the city. The staff at the hotel is on hand to craft a fabulous Paris experience. We hear that the hotel’s Head Sommelier surprised a wine-loving guest with a special trip to the Champagne vineyards on his birthday so that he could personally choose a rare vintage from his birth year. Another guest came into town for his wedding anniversary and once he got to the hotel with his wife he realized he had forgotten her gift at home. At his request, the hotel was able to accommodate an after-hours opening of the Louis Vuitton flagship store so he could buy her a surprise gift. 

Culinary Hot Spots

Culinary travel is still one of the hottest trends, and at the risk of being out of style, we made sure that Paris restaurants were at the top of our to-do list. First Up: Bones. The spartan décor might mislead you, but there is nothing bare about the food at this hot spot. Paris is going through its own hipster renaissance, much like the cosmopolitan scenes at home. We are happy to report that this restaurant is a must for your clients who have a flare for the next big thing.

In Paris’ 11th arrondissement (think the Brooklyn of Paris—gritty and sexy), amid streets flanked with youthful watering holes, where Parisian hipsters drink wine and smoke cigarettes in the open air, is an unassuming storefront that looks more like an art gallery than a restaurant. Inside, bare stone walls circle a wooden bar area packed to the top with French wine and liqueurs. The dining room seats no more than 50. A whole pig rested in a cast iron pan on the bar top. This is French dining for the 21st century. Bones is helmed by Aussie Chef James Henry, whose goal it was to create a restaurant with an attention to raw materials (hence, Bones). The menu is a no-choice tasting affair of approximately five courses (and a cheese course if you so choose), for approximately €40 per person. What is not made on premises is locally sourced. The bread is sliced tableside and the butter is warm, salty and addictive. The wine list, or should we say wine bible, is expansive and will leave your head spinning. Our meal began with a simple carpaccio of bracciole, followed by smoked oysters; a simple broth with chunks of tender pork, radish and mushrooms; asparagus with parmesan; duck breast on a bed of broccoli rabe; a selection of local French cheeses and a dessert of sorbet with raspberries and crunchy granola. Bones can be found at 43 rue Godefroy Cavaignac. It is best to book a few weeks in advance. Contact Florent Ciccoli ([email protected]) for reservations.

If you fall in love with the 11th arrondissement, as we did, visit La Pharmacie for lunch. The corner building with a turquoise façade is a bistro turning out classic French cooking with that new-age twist. The interior of the restaurant is French farmhouse-meets city bordello. The open kitchen looks more like a small hearth, but clearly, to the chef, size does not matter as he sends out plate after plate of delicious concoctions. The menu is subject to change, but we started with an appetizer of assorted smoked fish and moved on to a main course of grilled white fish and white rice. Another at our table opted for thinly-sliced beef with a side of salad and potatoes. A bottle of Cote du Rhone was ordered for the table and we were sleepy and satisfied.

During lunch hour, we suggest a stop at Bistrot Paul Bert, which sits on a tiny side street in the Marais. Why we love it: It has not changed in 50 years. This is the quintessential Parisian bistro. Picture chalkboards placed haphazardly around the dining room with the menu chicken-scratched, a wine list of epic proportions and a wait staff that simply wants you to sit back and enjoy. A traditional prix fixe lunch, which is the norm in Paris, will run you either €18 or €36, depending on how many courses you choose. The menu changes frequently, but we began with oeufs en meurette, steak frites, a cheese plate and a bottle of Bordeaux. Find Bistrot Paul Bert at 18 Rue Paul Bert.

 

Even more recent on the hotel scene is the reopening of the Prince de Galles, A Luxury Collection Hotel, which was brought back to its former Art Deco glory as part of the Collection’s recent renovations. Starwood brought on Pierre-Yves Rochon (of The Savoy and Shangri-La Paris fame) to helm the two-year restoration. Luxury Travel Advisor was able to snag a room at the hotel just two days after it opened its doors.

In a prime location on Avenue George V (you may know the hotel’s neighbor—Four Seasons, anyone?), the hotel is just round the corner from Champs-Élysées. We stayed in an Art Deco Deluxe Balcony Room, complete with a furnished terrace over the patio. The room was Art Deco at its finest (think blacks, gold and dark wood with mosaic tiles and chandeliers covered in gold leaf). 

ADVISOR INSIGHT:

Maggie Stein of In The Know Experiences recommends her clients to stay at Hôtel de Pourtalè. “Also referred to as No Address Hotel, this is an all-suite property with an amazing collection of contemporary art, in the heart of the Golden Triangle. Guests are accepted on a referral-only basis. To eat, I recommend Pirouette. This is a modern French restaurant with an excellent wine list from Chef Tomy Gousset, formerly of Le Meurice and Daniel Boulud. It is located just north of Les Halles. For after-dinner drinks, visit Prescription Cocktail Club. This is a hip cocktail bar with a speakeasy vibe on the Left Back from the same team behind the well-known Experimental Cocktail Club. To shop, visit Merci. This is a fabulous concept store in le Marais that donates the majority of their profits to charity. Shop for clothing (vintage and new), design home furnishings, jewelry and beauty products, or relax with an espresso and a second-hand art book in one of their cafés.”

 

For the best suite in the house, be sure to book the bi-level L’Appartement Parisien, which measures 1,776 square feet. The penthouse has a wine cellar, living room, dining room, private service elevator, Carrara marble bathrooms and a furnished terrace with expansive views across Paris.

General Manager Simon Rusconi ([email protected]) truly values luxury travel advisors and can be contacted for any requests for your VIP clients.

Wander downstairs to visit Bar Les Heures. Here, the scene is sexy international elite meets cocktail concoctions and fine wines, along with international fare. Cool Touch: Our first night we ordered a Dirty Martini, but as the hotel had just opened, the bar was not yet stocked with olives. Cut to our second night: The staff remembered our preferred drink and had olives on hand to make sure we weren’t disappointed a second time. That is luxury service. Tip: For more luxury service, reach out to Head Concierge Olivier Rouy ([email protected]) who is a wealth of information on Paris’ paths less traveled (think artisans’ workshops, off-beat museums and private gardens). We hear he can arrange for private cocktails on the roof of Opéra Garnier. He has been known to curate personalized itineraries for guests who were particularly interested in learning about Paris’ Art Deco movement.

PRINCE DE GALLES'
PRINCE DE GALLES' Art Deco Deluxe Balcony Room presents Art Deco at its finest and is complete with a furnished terrace over the patio.

Note: There is no spa at the Prince de Galles.

Restaurant La Scene Café and Bar is helmed by Chef Stéphanie Le Quellec, winner of Top Chef France in 2011. The show kitchen turns out cuisine from the South of France. A chef’s table can also be booked.

For more on Prince de Galles, see page 92. 

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