Hôtel Le Bristol, Paris, France

Hôtel Le Bristol, Paris, France

Sophisticated and serene, Paris’ grande dame hotel seduces with regal elegance, discreet service and discerning opulence.

overwhelming is the ambient presence of France’s long-removed
royalty in this prestigious Parisian pad that guests’ encounters
with the magnanimous gaze of Marie Antoinette over a breakfast of
truffled scrambled eggs comes as no sudden surprise. Drouais’
opulent portrait of the Austrian princess is the raspberry atop the
millefeuille of monarchist nods in Le Bristol. We’d call the 85-year-old crash pad a
French sonnet to the Bourbon aesthetic, with its lengthy facelift,
finished a few years ago, having restored its polished aristocratic

Despite Le Bristol’s regal whims, the property is decidedly
younger than the historic sites that keep it company in guidebooks
to the French capital. Forget Les Invalides and La Conciergerie –
this hotel is a relic of France’s jazz age, marking the return of
extravagance. The medley of cherry-picked Gallic history is
situated a brisk two minutes’ walk down the Rue du Faubourg
Saint-Honoré from the Élysée Palace. An icon of French elegance,
the hotel’s designation as “palace” by the French Ministry of
Tourism denotes the perceived embodiment of French excellence found
beneath its gilded awning.

A baby blue bedroom  at Hotel Le Bristol in Paris
Powder blue suite interiors at Le Bristol

Swirl through the regency elegance of the reception (stepping
gingerly over the fluffy white hotel feline, Socrate, who hails
from a dynasty of Le Bristol cats), ascend to the upper floors via
the original 1940s elevator (designed by Jewish architect Léo
Lerman, who was hidden within the hotel during the Nazi occupation)
and begin exploring this sprawling 190-key stay. Telephones in the
corridors nod to the building’s maze-like complexity; you can call
down to reception for instructions if you’re lost, swallowed up by
the same Parisian sophistication that enchanted Pablo Picasso,
Cristóbal Balenciaga, Salvador Dalí and Princess Grace of Monaco,
and that continues to beguile Céline Dion (a regular). It’s lush;
it’s lavish; it’s ridiculous. It’s oh-so-very French.

Staff coo “enchanté”, and work to the Napoleonic motto
“impossible n’est pas Français”. Rumours swirl of Versailles
carriages conjured up for opera-goers seeking an amusing taxi ride.
The effortless, oozing French charm of this stately stay? It’s all
maintained by their discreet, discerning service.

A stay at Le Bristol is a splash-out – but those pretty pennies
are worth a night’s soirée, if only to feel like a grandee living
the Parisian good life.

The candy cane awnings of Hotel Le Bristol in Paris
Tea time at Hôtel Le Bristol, Paris


Vast, sumptuous and some with views of the Eiffel Tower – the
kind of extravagance that once caused revolutions. Suites are
furnished with a contemporary take on Louis XV and Louis XVI style,
borrowing from the pastel colours of a Ladurée macaron selection:
raspberry floral curtains, powder-blue chairs, crinoline cream
walls and delicate pistachio creme bedspreads. There’s no need for
silken slippers: carpets are plush. Bathrooms – all marble –
feature heated floors, rainfall showers and deep baths.

Some might find it a little l’ancienne, with all the gilded
mirrors, toile de Jouy accents and effervescent flower arrangements
as dramatic as Marie Anoinette’s wig designs, but it never felt
fusty to us.

What’s for breakfast?

We took our petit dejeuner at the frivolously frilled Café
Antonia, under frescoed walls, glinting chandeliers and that prized
Drouais portrait of Marie Antoinette (one of several in the Le
Bristol private collection). The selection is aristocratic, with
continental, American and Japanese morning menus on offer: try the
truffled scrambled eggs or opt for the yoghurt, which arrives
beneath a silver cloche.

Lunch and dinner?

Ridiculously opulent and ridiculously good – the hotel has four
Michelin stars to its name. Chef Eric Frechon’s Épicure – Paris’
place to be seen – greedily holds three for its en-pointe fine
dining. At one-star 114 Faubourg, you’ll find a marginally more
casual affair, although in true Parisian style, the menu is
dastardly rich – think langoustine ravioli, foie gras-blanket
pigeon, and a vanilla millefeuille with unctuous salted butter
caramel. Parisians are regular diners at both – allegedly enamoured
by the daily baked bread and viennoiserie made from flour milled in
the hotel’s basement.

Is there a bar?

Oui. The crisp-cut Le Bar du Bristol transforms under the
cerulean glow of neon lighting into a DJ-led dancehall come
nightfall on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.


Swan through the luscious 1,207sq m courtyard garden, which in
summer swims with the honeyed scent of blousy orange blossom, or
head to the sixth floor to find a fully equipped gym and the famed
sailing boat-themed pool, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows
offering skyline views you’d normally only spot on tea towels.
Designed by the same man who decked out the Onassis’ yacht, it’s
akin to a swim on a Côte d’Azur ketch. There’s a light-filled spa,
too, offering La Prairie and Tata Harper treatments. In keeping
with the opulence, we’d recommend the lifting caviar facial paired
with a chef-crafted vitamin cocktail.

What are the hotel’s eco-credentials like?

Smart changes here and there. There’s a waste-minimising rubbish
programme, and the hotel uses a water-only stain-removal system on
linens, plus all light bulbs are LED. Rolling up in your electric
Porsche? You’ll be able to charge it – or your Tesla or BMW – while
you stay. In the garden, you might spot a few insect hotels.

What about accessibility?

There are five adapted rooms and the spa has an accessible

What’s the crowd like?

Visitors sport the kind of glow only achieved through regular
dermatology appointments. Well-heeled Europeans leave their
offspring in the capable hands of the children’s club – but they’re
also welcome in the spa for unique parent-and-child treatments
(some of which involve snacks from master pastry chef Pascal

Within a short walk I can find…

Step past the hat-doffing doormen and you might fall into step
with President Macron (the Élysée Palace is next door). Otherwise,
Paris first-timers will find all guidebook must-sees a stroll

Things I should know

Don’t bother bringing a book – you’ll find plenty of reading
material in the suites, including short stories from the literary
lord of the jazz age, F Scott Fitzgerald.

The Lowdown

Rooms cost from £1,031 a night.

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