I’ve always adored staying away from home: the escape from quotidian reality, the Room of One’s Own…really the appeal is endless. I can get joy from a humble room above a pub, or a seaside B&B, a tent in a field, or a shiny five star: to me they are all equally enjoyable.
So, whilst I always love a hotel stay, whether for work or play, I don’t generally fizz with anticipation, because I know it’s ten to one I’ll thoroughly enjoy myself. So, when I say that I was like a Mexican Jumping Bean en route to the Pavillon de La Reine in Paris, you’ll understand *just* how much i was looking forward to staying there.
It’s been on my wish list ever since I was an editor at Conde Nast Traveller all those years ago. It has always just looked so romantic, so lost in the mists of historical Paris, in the very heart of the Marais. One glance at that 18th century ivy covered frontage and I was light years away in an Hotel Particuliere in the France of Moliere, of Madame de Sevigne…
Normally my Parisian hotel choices are dictated by the pret a porter or couture schedules: I request a hotel in the 1e, or maybe in Saint Germain, an easy walk across the Seine to the Louvre and the Espace Ephemere in the Tulieries. Whilst I know the Marais well — Emma lived there for a time, it’s always seemed like my private part of Paris, somewhat unsullied by re-see appointments and mad dashes to fashion shows.
So when Ayla, Tara & I planned our little holiday in Paris, I knew immediately that there was only one hotel in which we should stay.
The Pavillon de La Reine gets booked up weeks in advance; it’s extraordinarily convenient location means it’s perfectly situated for long wandering walks around the quartier, exploring the museums, boutiques and charming restaurants that are all within minutes of the hotel. That makes it an excellent base for a two day trip such as ours. (And it’s just 15 minutes by cab from the Gare du Nord, and a brisk 5 minute walk from Bastille Metro.)
The hotel is in a private courtyard entered off the Place des Vosges, one of the most perfect squares in the world, and the oldest in Paris.
Looking back into the Place des Vosges from the hotel courtyard:
The courtyard as seen from our room:
So: Room 74. Our delicious sitting room under the eaves. (The sofa turns into a bed, if required.)
The hotel has just 54 rooms, and has been recently renovated by Didier Benderli in a lovely muted colour palette, which seems both wholly modern, but totally in harmony with the hotel’s historical atmosphere, along with the strategic counterpoint orchids. The elegant public rooms downstairs have both an honesty bar, (where we took an after dinner nightcap and came across a Very Famous actor chatting up his girlfriend) and deep sofas for gently idling away afternoons. (It’s a hotel that works as well on a blustery autumnal day, as it does on a scorching summer one.)
This is one of those rare hotels where even a brief one night stay makes you feel as though you have taken a holiday from your life into somewhere quite, quite different. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Hotel Pavillon de La Reine, 28 place des Vosges
75003 Paris Tel: 01 40 29 19 19
LLG, Ayla & Tara were guests of Hotel Pavilllon de La Reine for bed & breakfast for one night in October 2012