228 Rue de Rivoli, 1st
Taking up a large swath of the iconic Rue de Rivoli and facing the Tuileries garden, Hotel Le Meurice is a lot like the palace at Versailles, minus the train ride. Francophiles, understandably, will love it. The hotel is so grand and so ornate, each room brimming with Louis XVI furnishings—the holy grail of silks, gold, brocade, and crystal. While the suites are otherworldly, the classic rooms really hold their own, outfitted with French linen sheets, fresh flowers, floor-to-ceiling marble bathrooms, and beautiful artwork. If you can tear yourself away from those bathrooms, the Valmont spa (no one does toning treatments quite like the French), Philippe Starck–designed restaurant Le Dalí, and Alain Ducasse's Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Meurice Alain Ducasse—helmed by chef Jocelyn Herland, are all at your disposal. Oh, and you know those stunning, even-more-beautiful-than-real-life fruit-shaped desserts you've been seeing all over your Instagram feed? They are the creation of pastry chef Cédric Grolet, who's set up his patisserie right here in the hotel.
Hôtel du Rond Point des Champs-Élysées
10 Rue de Ponthieu, Champs-Elysées
This elegantly restored hotel is a mere five minutes from Paris’s center of gravity, the Champs-Élysées, which really means it’s five minutes from everything. The first thing to note is that there is an actual hammam in the basement. After a long day of sightseeing, a few laps in the pool followed by a steam is a healing balm for exhausted feet and sore muscles. Aesthetically, the Art Deco influence is quietly done and hidden in the details, like the lamps, the restrained use of marble (and the not-so-restrained use of stripes to beautiful results), pretty velvet upholstery, even the occasional in-room porthole. Unbeatable location aside, the attentive staff and excellent service catapult this new hotel to the top of the short list of excellent places to stay. The adorably small hotel bar and the sexy dining room make leaving that much harder.
16 Rue de la Pépinière, 8th Arrondissement
At Hotel Le Belleval the floral theme is obvious (the hallways are done in contrasting floral carpeting and wallpaper), but not overwhelming (the occasional petal-patterned cushion or upholstered armchair, the odd framed print of a rose or lily), just enough to pay homage to the botanist the hotel is dedicated to. All fifty-two guestrooms feel like a breath of fresh air with their elegant navy walls, floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the rooftops of Paris, and beautifully-outfitted bathrooms. The hotel restaurant is refreshingly low-key with a natural, mostly organic menu that is the perfect antidote to too many plates of steak-frites. Additional perks are the interior courtyard which feels like a secret garden in the middle of the city, and the library—a godsend for the traveler who needs to mix work with play.
Hotel Monte Cristo
20-22 Rue Pascal, 5th Arrondissement
A hotel inspired by the residences of great 19th century writers and thinkers like Alexandre Dumas—hence the Monte Cristo reference—seems fitting for the Left Bank location. (The neighborhood has long been considered the center of gravity for Parisian intellectuals.) Let's start at the bottom: the pool, surrounded by exotic plants and blue tile, is pretty, intimate, and so necessary after a day spent pounding the cobblestones. And the same goes fort the sauna. The guestrooms (go for the boudoir option) are quietly luxurious with rich navy carpets, beautiful frescoes behind the headboards, and the softest white sheets. Exotic touches like tapestries, sumptuous textiles, and painted wallpaper articulate the communal areas and look a lot like the furnishings the Count of Monte Cristo himself might have encountered during his travels. In a city where everyone goes out, staying in for a swim, a steam, and a rum cocktail at the hotel bar (On November 1st, it'l moonlight as a rum bar, aptly called Le 1802 Monte Cristo) is incredibly appealing. The breakfast spread is also worth mentioning. It's served at the bar and the pastry situation rivals that of the…
13 Rue des Beaux-Arts, 6th
Having “The smallest five-star hotel in Paris” for a tagline is pretty attractive, especially to the guest who prefers an under-the-radar, bespoke experience. With only twenty rooms, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and one of our favorite, hammam-style subterranean pools hidden beneath the building (for guests only), L’Hotel nails the bohemian vibe of the Left Bank. Guest rooms are what could be described as “intimate”, but the décor is so beautiful that you forget the square footage. With rich brocade wallpaper that looks like patterned velvet, antique furnishings, soft lamps, and supremely comfortable beds, no two rooms are the same. Book into the Oscar Wilde suite (the hotel’s most famous visitor was actually staying on the premises when he died) for the bathroom alone. The yellow and green tiles, emerald marble tub, and mahogany wall panels make a nightly bath mandatory, while the antique writing desk and private terrace ooze old-world allure.
Four Seasons Hotel Megève
373 Chemin des Follieres, Megève
The Four Seasons Megève offers all the trappings you'd expect from a Four Season's property (heated indoor/outdoor pool, an 18-hole golf course and, obviously, a ski concierge and valet) with the French Alps as its background. (Blessedly, it's also a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of nearby Courchevel). Each of the 55 rooms is thoughtfully considered, done up in dark wood, crisp linens, and heated floors in the bathroom, each one with its own stunning mountain views as well as ski-in/ski-out access to Mont d’Arbois. The concierge can set you up with a wide range of year-round activities, from golf and hiking in the spring, to skiing and dogsledding in the winter. Should you wish to venture outside of the hotel, Megève is a great place to explore and get your picturesque French village fix. Note the hotel is open from the beginning of December to April, and again from June to September.
The Cook’s Atelier
43 Rue de Lorraine, 21200 Beaune,
American mother-daughter duo Marjorie Taylor and Kendall Smith Franchini had a love for French cuisine and communal gatherings, so they decided to combine the two and create a space to learn in the French countryside.
La Colombe d’Or
06570 Place du Général de Gaulle, Saint-Paul de Vence
For a taste of the picturesque countryside, look no further than La Colombe d’Or in Provence. Tucked between the hills of Nice and Alps Maritimes, this family-run inn, once favored by the likes of Picasso and Matisse, prides itself on a discretion decidedly unusual for the South of France. Here, this quiet rustic hotel has amassed a museum-worthy art collection of 20th century masters—Chagall, Calder, Braque, Matisse, and Picasso—all of whom were regulars and donated works in exchange for a stay or a few meals. A large Calder mobile hangs over the swimming pool; there’s a Léger mosaic mural overlooking the terrace. The rooms, housed in a simple stone façade, have a quiet, understated beauty, with four-poster beds, white duvets, and worn-in Oriental rugs. La Colombe d’Or remains delightedly old school, and bookings must be made by phone or requested in writing. The hotel is closed from October through Christmas.
Chalet Les Brames
D90 Lottisement Les Brames, Méribel
Spoiler alert: Chalet Les Brames isn’t a hotel—it’s a private residence a quick drive from center of Meribel Village. The house itself sleeps up to twelve, and each room features floor-to-ceiling windows to better frame the property’s incredible views. (The master bedroom, which has its own floor, features a south-facing terrace with views of Mount Vallon.) The bedrooms are tastefully appointed and generously sized with nods to Alpine style—think faux-fur throws and rough-hewn wood furniture—and bathrooms feature soaking tubs to soothe achy ski legs. For the littles, there’s plenty to occupy them—from a library of movies to sleds, and lots of outdoor space for friendly snowball fights. Bonus: an outdoor hot tub at the end of a long day skiing, or doing Snowga, even, with one of the Chalet's own instructors.
Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat
71 Blvd. du Général de Gaulle, Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat
Strategically sprawled over an especially beautiful slice of the French Riviera between Nice and Monaco, this century-old palace-turned-hotel never offered guests much to complain about, yet now, with the Four Seasons group taking over operations, things are bound to get even more spectacular. The Pierre-Yves Rochon-designed mansion houses seventy-four guest rooms and suites, decked out in a minimalist-chic (for perpetually glam Côte d’Azur, at least) style that allows the lush surrounding and stunning views of the water do all the talking. Like the 17-acre property itself, the amenities cover a lot of ground: There’s Le Spa, a massive, opulent wellness oasis with its own gardens, world-class masseurs/aestheticians, and a tricked-out gym; a picturesque infinity pool (there’s a miniature version inside the spa); and several on-site restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Le Cap, plus a phenomenal room-service menu. So yes, you can leave the property to explore, but why would you want to?
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