Establishment neighborhood
Pink Mamma
20bis Rue de Douai, 9th Arrondissement
A new-ish sister to the absurdly popular Ober Mamma, Pink Mamma is a welcome Italian-centric addition to the very French dining scene in Pigalle. The four flights that take you up to the most Instagrammable dining room—it has a giant skylight for a roof!—are well worth the sore legs. There are plants everywhere, haphazardly placed furniture, mixed prints—in fact, the whole place might as well have been airlifted from Rome, right down to the menu. House-made pasta, grilled proteins, and really excellent pizza.
Le Meurice
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.
Le Belleval
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…
L’Institut du Luxembourg
19 Rue de Tournon, 6th
American friends who flock to Paris in the summer months swear by this discreet Saint-Germain spa. A session in the Iyashi Dôme after a long-haul flight feels like a reset and somehow really helps with the jet lag. The long, tubelike structure is inspired by the Japanese purification ritual of burying oneself in the sands of hot springs and is said to stimulate the metabolism and accelerate the removal of toxins with infrared rays. The firming facials—using Carita products—help depuff dehydrated skin (so symptomatic of too much time up in the air).
7 Rue de Lille, 7th
Karl Lagerfield is thoroughly modern polymath: He’s a fashion designer, photographer, illustrator, collaborator, and…bookworm. 7L is Lagerfeld’s very well-situated (the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, and Saint-Germain are all close by) shrine to design. The shelves stretch up the height of two floors and are heavy with books, which are stacked rather than lined up horizontally. After an hour or two spent rummaging for titles across interior and fashion design, photography, garden landscaping, and, of course, tomes produced under 7L’s own imprint, collapse into the long sofa and start reading.
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.
Studio Rituel
16 Rue de la Grande Chaumiere, 6th
Yoga, Gyrotonic, spinning, Reformer Pilates, and Xtend Barre all under one roof make Studio Rituel a popular wellness destination. And the location, a stone’s throw from the Luxembourg Gardens, doesn’t hurt. The Gyrotonic classes, which involve fluid movement and targeted stretches utilizing the seven natural elements of spinal movement, are particularly helpful if you plan to do a lot of walking. As the class ramps up, these stretches are more like a dance, and over time they dramatically increase your flexibility. The studio also offers holistic treatments like massage, reflexology, and Qigong.
À la Mère de Famille
35 Rue du Faubourg, 9th
The exterior of À la Mère de Famille—an emerald-green storefront with more windows than walls—looks like a jewelry box, or rather, a chocolate box; you can see the cakes and chocolates and towers of beautifully packaged bars from down the block. Open since 1761, one of the many pleasures of this particular confectioner is the breadth of old-world caramels, nougat, boiled sweets, and marshmallows. And nothing much has changed inside, either. Taking in the old tile floor, the floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with preserves and syrups, and the elaborate table displays as you make your way to the ice cream counter (go for the chocolate) is an exercise in both nostalgic pleasure and calorie control.
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