Lifestyle Fast Tracks the September 2019 issue

Stay, Eat, Do > Paris

Try these hotel, restaurant and entertainment options.
By Carrie Williamson

1

Hotel Lutetia

Hotel Lutetia 

  • Originally opened in 1910 by the founders of Le Bon Marché, this hotel in Saint-Germain-des-Prés reopened in 2018 after a four-year, top-to-bottom restoration as the only grand hotel on the Left Bank. 
  • The 184 rooms and suite are now more spacious and the epitome of understated elegance—tinted oak floors, Murano glass lights, custom furniture, Statuario marble bathrooms with Hermès amenities. Splurge for a room with a balcony overlooking the Eiffel Tower. 
  • The Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Center boasts a spa (one of the masseurs treats the Opera’s corps de danse), Turkish steam bath, gym and lap pool. 
  • Brunch at L’Orangerie, steak tartare and frites under the colorful glass ceiling at Le Saint-Germain, and seafood specialties by Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passedat at Brasserie Lutetia are three good reasons to dine in.

2

Hôtel Providence

Hôtel Providence 

  • Hôtel Providence, housed in a 19th-century Haussmann townhouse and decorated with velvet wallpaper, bespoke furniture and vintage pieces, might remind you of a chic pied-à-terre, albeit with a friendly and helpful staff. 
  • The décor varies in the 18 rooms and suites, but all have artful touches like gold fan headboards, art deco light fixtures and 19th-century art, as well as iMac televisions and iPhone docking stations.  Hôtel Providence, housed in a 19th-century Haussmann townhouse and decorated with velvet wallpaper, bespoke furniture and vintage pieces, might remind you of a chic pied-à-terre, albeit with a friendly and helpful staff. 
  • Book a superior room or higher category for more space and bathrooms with wow features like walls and floors covered in saffron and white tiles or clawfoot bathtubs. Request one with a balcony that has a bistro table and chairs, where you can linger over room-service breakfast or pre-dinner drinks prepared from the in-room cocktail bar, while gazing over the rooftops.  

3

  • Painted on the belle époque tiles on the wall behind the bar is a scene of clowns clowning around, a nod to this monument historique, which was once the canteen for clowns who worked the circus next door.
  • Founder and chef Sota Atsumi has left to open a new restaurant this fall, but his successor, chef Axel Gallart, continues to perfectly execute Atsumi’s knock-your-socks-off dishes that has made this restaurant a pilgrimage for visiting chefs.
  • The limited à la carte menu of starters, mains, desserts and cheeses has received accolades for its adventurous offerings—poached veal brains in Ponzu sauce, squid ink sardine beignets, and a rich and delicious duck and foie gras pie.
  • Like many neo bistros in the 11th arrondissement, it has an outstanding natural wine list.

4

  • This small and lively bar is popular with foodies and French hipsters. The towers of oysters, shrimp, clams and other seasonal seafood and creative small plates change daily, depending on what is delivered from the coast.
  • James Beard Award-winning chef Kelly Fields, of Willa Jean restaurant in New Orleans, recently raved about the scallop with yuzu (Japanese mandarin), olive oil and salt, and a “nuanced and surprising” cauliflower dumpling.
  • All produce comes from sustainable sources, and everyone loves the cult-favorite maple syrup tart with Chantilly cream, a menu staple.
  • No reservations, so go early, go late or put your name on the list and go across the street to Septime La Cave for a glass of wine while you wait.

5

Escargots at Benoit

Benoit

  • Chef Alain Ducasse took over this Michelin-starred bistro near the Marais from lifelong owners the Petit family a few years ago. Open since 1912—and on le weekend!—Benoit is as popular as ever among Parisians.
  • The décor is as classic as the food—tiled floors, dark wood and brass fixtures, red velvet banquettes and engraved windows, oversize mirrors and oil paintings. 
  • The French cuisine—paté en croûte, snails in garlic butter, pan-seared John Dory with fennel, homemade cassoulet—is served on fine china and presented formally, crayfish soup poured in a terrine and bordelaise sauce laced on a beef filet tableside.
  • The wine list features more than 500 selections from some of France’s most prestigious vineyards.

6

Wine department at Le Bon Marché 

Do! Do! Do!

  • Shop at Le Bon Marché. You could while away hours in the fashion building (or the spectacular women’s shoe room alone!), but don’t miss perusing the gourmet food, fine-wine cellar and luxury home goods at La Grande Épicerie de Paris across the street.
  • Visit the Louvre. The museum’s upcoming special exhibit marks the 500-year anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci and will include 22 of his drawings. Reservations for a specific time slot are required.
  • Take a walking tour. Context Travel’s tours are led by architects, historians, chefs and scholars, who cover history, literature, art, fashion and food. Tours range from the quintessential experience (Gothic Architecture) to the lesser known (Walking with Hemingway).
  • Bring home a box of macarons from Ladurée. The subtle coconut and feather-light macarons come in flavors such as citron, pistachio and raspberry and are packaged in boxes as exquisite as the patisserie. With a dozen stores throughout Paris, you’re bound to run across one as you wander.

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