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A Sense of Place

5 Different Sides of the Right Bank
  • Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal

    Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal

  • Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal

    Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal

  • Marquis Faubourg Saint-Honoré

    Marquis Faubourg Saint-Honoré

  • Marquis Faubourg Saint-Honoré

    Marquis Faubourg Saint-Honoré

  • Hôtel de Nell

    La Régalade Conservatoire, Hôtel de Nell

  • Hôtel de Nell

    Hôtel de Nell

  • Hôtel Paradis Paris

    Hôtel Paradis Paris

  • Hôtel Paradis Paris

    Hôtel Paradis Paris

  • Hôtel Marignan Paris

    Hôtel Marignan Paris

  • Hôtel Marignan Paris

    Hôtel Marignan Paris

CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

Western Europe, smack in the middle of France’s northern half, bisected by the River Seine.

WHY GO

Because any way you cut it, Paris is among the truly great cities. If you’ve got any appetite at all for fashion, food, art, wine, architecture, culture or intellectual history, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself drawn into its orbit.

HOW

From elsewhere in Europe, rail is by far the most humane option. From farther afield, Charles de Gaulle is among Europe’s busiest airports, directly connected to just about everywhere — it’s not hard to wrangle a Parisian stopover.

TABLET TIP

Once you’re in town: consider walking. It’s a more compact city than you might think. Though if you’re in a hurry, the Metro, with its distinctive visual style, eccentric manual latched doors and near-silent rubber-tired cars works well, while Vélib’, the public bike-sharing program, is another excellent above-ground option — just don’t bother with the taxis.

Paris, October, 2013

In Paris, perhaps more than anywhere else, a sense of place is integral to the appeal of the best hotels. Thus the maniacal obsession with the quintessentially Parisian detail —  a certain tactile correctness about the wallpaper, the perfect bistro tile, the mandatory view over the famous Parisian rooftops. But beyond that, of course, each part of town has a character of its own, and all the more so on the Right Bank. Here we present five hotels demonstrating that the Right Bank truly has many sides, meanwhile begging the question: does the neighborhood make the hotel, or does the hotel make the neighborhood?

Palais-Royal
In an area that’s home to the most avant-garde designers, and where a trendy wine bar or hot new noodle house seems to open every month, the timeless Grand Hôtel Palais Royal has returned, its historic elegance revived and reinvented by Pierre-Yves Rochon. Behind the classic façade, the hotel’s modern Haussmannian interior is ornamented with flourishes from any number of eras: busts bearing the signatures of the Louvre’s molding shops, erotic drawings by the 18th-century painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard and abstract collages by the contemporary artist Fitzia, furniture by Philippe Hurel alongside Louis XVI cabrioles. It all feels like an outgrowth of conceptual artist Daniel Buren’s controversial installation at the Palais Royal itself, a few steps from the hotel, where in the 1980s the centuries-old Cour Carée was transformed into a canvas of sorts for the highly controversial Colonnes de Buren.

Madeleine
Mansions line Le Faubourg Saint-Honoré like so many high-stacked wedding cakes. Among the extravagant old aristocratic homes we find the new Marquis Faubourg Saint-Honoré. An 18th-century townhouse steeped in history, the hotel was brought up to date by the Florentine designer Michele Bönan. The result: fifteen masterfully opulent suites, for a look that’s utterly haute couture. Which here, just steps from Dior, Hermès and Saint-Laurent, is entirely in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.

Champs-Élysées
An 18th-century hotel particulier near the Champs-Élysées, and home to a succession of notable Parisian families and generals of the First Empire, Hôtel Marignan has been transformed into a haven of contemporary luxury by architect Vincent Bastie and decorator Peter Yovanovitch. Behind an Art Deco façade made largely (and unexpectedly) from Zimbabwe stone, the hotel exudes the serenity and elegance of a well-kept residence. Never gaudy, they’ve resisted the temptation to fully bling it out — for that, you’ve got the jewelers of the nearby Avenue Montaigne. With its straight lines, smooth curves and big proportions, Hôtel Marignan is like urban zen on steroids.

Faubourg-Montmartre
There are some hotels whose attention to detail is enough to make your head spin, among them the Hôtel de Nell. In a neighborhood, home to the old Folies Bergère cabaret, that’s once again on the rise, designer Jean-Michel Wilmotte’s calm, minimalist spaces are a balm to the Parisian eye. It’s hard not to love the purity of the hotel’s lines, the gentleness of its colors, the expertly chosen materials, all of which make its rooms feel like silk-lined cocoons — powerfully relaxing. And then there’s the hotel’s restaurant Le Régalade. The third of its kind from chef Bruno Doucet, it’s wildly popular for its seemingly impossible combination of haute cuisine and bistro prices.

Porte Saint-Denis
The brand-new Hôtel Paradis is much like its neighborhood: artistic, affordable, dynamic, and in the heart of the coolest part of town. Lodged between Rue du Faubourg Poissonnière and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, this boutique hotel could nearly get by on atmosphere alone. Fortunately, it’s given form by decorator Dorothée Meilichzon, who breezes effortlessly from style to style — here a glass-cased loft, there a reclaimed atelier, suddenly a note of Scandinavian retro — without turning it into a patchwork. It feels like a visit to a friend’s place, on the way out to sample the gastronomic charms of the adjoining streets — your choice, Vivant Cave, Nanashi or Abri. Afterward, it’s back to a mansard-roofed suite with a view of the Sacré-Coeur and the hippest of rooftops in Paris.

Dante Nolleau

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CHEAT SHEET
WHERE

Western Europe, smack in the middle of France’s northern half, bisected by the River Seine.

WHY GO

Because any way you cut it, Paris is among the truly great cities. If you’ve got any appetite at all for fashion, food, art, wine, architecture, culture or intellectual history, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself drawn into its orbit.

HOW

From elsewhere in Europe, rail is by far the most humane option. From farther afield, Charles de Gaulle is among Europe’s busiest airports, directly connected to just about everywhere — it’s not hard to wrangle a Parisian stopover.

TABLET TIP

Once you’re in town: consider walking. It’s a more compact city than you might think. Though if you’re in a hurry, the Metro, with its distinctive visual style, eccentric manual latched doors and near-silent rubber-tired cars works well, while Vélib’, the public bike-sharing program, is another excellent above-ground option — just don’t bother with the taxis.


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