Oscar Wilde, perhaps my favourite author, famously once said, “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” Taking his own words to heart, poverty-stricken and in Paris, dear Oscar, nearing the end of his days, moved into a hotel above his means and stayed there until his death in November 1900.
That hotel stands to this day, on the site of La Reine Margot’s Pavillon d’Amor, where it has been a fixture of the Parisian South Bank since 1828. In Oscar’s time, however, at the end of the 19th Century, it was known as Hotel d’Alsace before taking on the name that we’re familiar with today, L’Hotel, and becoming the place to be seen, in the beautiful area of Saint Germain, for the crème de la crème of Parisian society who so often rubbed shoulders with the Hollywood set that included Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, as well as Spanish master of Surrealist painting, Salvador Dali.
Though it may perhaps be the smallest luxury hotel in the city of love, for me L’Hotel will always remain the best luxury boutique hotel in Paris. I must however warn you though; I have a bias, as it’s where Mr de Merteuil and I spent our honeymoon after our whirlwind romance and wedding at London’s Chelsea Town Hall, following in the footsteps of Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. Nevertheless, I lay down my proud de Merteuil gauntlet to anyone who dares challenge that it is not a work of art, as each of the 20 guest rooms designed by one of my favourite interior designers, Jaques Garcia, can surely testify otherwise and if they don’t convince you then perhaps the underground vaulted-ceiling private swimming pool or the Michelin starred Le Restaurant will.
Be warned, however, L’Hotel is like another small Parisian delicacy, the magnificent Macaroon, which once tried its taste is never forgotten and it’s longed for forevermore. So, simply mentioning L’Hotel’s 13 Rue Des Beaux-Arts address is enough to send me into raptures and writing this now, my head is swimming, thinking of how I can persuade Mr de Merteuil to justify visiting it again… And again.
All pictures of the interiors of L’Hotel courtesy of A Curious Group Of Hotels.