L’Hôtel in Saint Germaine

Sadly, we couldn’t stay at George V for most of our stay in Paris; two reasons really… primarily because it’s far too costly for us for an every day stay, but also because it’s in not an arrondissement that I feel represents Real Paris™️, overly well. So we moved across to Saint Germaine to a cool little boutique hotel called, (simply enough!), L’Hôtel on the Rue des Beaux Arts, near the Musée D’Orsay and a bunch of really cool and well known cafés and restaurants.

L’Hôtel claims to be the world’s first boutique hotel, and is the ‘epitome of French style’. It was also the last home of Oscar Wilde and has a restaurant and bar named for him on the premises, with an impressive cocktail list, and a huge wall displaying all the famous people who have stayed here. I chose it because it sounded like staying in a quaint little piedaterre with it’s own story.

The street frontage is super discreet… no noticeable signage at all, our cab driver nearly missed it entirely.

The concierge, Antonia, and I became fast friends as she complimented me on my Rammstein t-shirt and was so excited to be seeing them in concert this year. Her eyes went the size of saucers when I told her I came to see them in 2022 – all the way from Australia! She was really nice and welcoming. Our room is a ‘chic’ room on the fourth floor of the building. The lift is so tiny, that it fits two people or two pieces of luggage – but not both! 🙂

A couple of the small waiting areas near the reception…

The Wilde’s Lounge… which has a spectacular, and ever changing cocktail list. We’ve noticed that there are a more French people staying here than foreigners, and it seems to be a favourite hang out of businessmen meeting over drinks. There is a definitely French ambiance permeating the entire hotel.

Some of little cosy nooks in the Wilde’s Lounge.

The view down into the stairwell is a little daunting…

Et voilà! Our chambre for the remainder of our stay; it’s called the Mata Hari room, though I am not sure why.

It’s filled with antique furniture and has fabric draped on the walls (to tone the pink down to a dark aubergine, one assumes), the decor is definitely not the style of your run of the mill chain hotel – bit of a minimalist’s nightmare, and not a piece of IKEA furniture in sight! But I think it will do very well for us for the rest of the week.

Beautiful pink orchids, and a wee gift it would seem… macarons from Richarts? Don’t mind if we do!

Richart’s is just around the corner and is on my list for a stop on the way out the door on Sunday to try and take some home.

I wonder if Mr K will go into some Pepto Bismol induced trauma by the end of the week.

The restaurant is cool little brasserie space that opens out onto a terrace and small garden in fine weather.

The one upside of staying at the Georges V? Everything else seem super affordable. Eggs Benedict for breakfast for €14? Sure!

We’ve been out and about in the neighbourhood quite a bit already, and have found this little landmark (/piece of graffiti?) to be the coolest indicator that our street, Le Rue des Beaux Arts, is the next right! It’s a cute little tiled piece. 🙂

The days have been full of work, meetings in the CBD (which is nothing like the rest of this beautiful historic city and looks like the downtown of nearly any modern city in the world really – boring towers of glass office blocks.

So in between meetings, we have been trying to catch an hour here and there to see some of the sights, and have purchased a few French champagnes that we’ve not seen at home to try. Gods help us if we like any of them, they probably won’t be available at home at all! This Nicholas Feuillatte Grand Reserve Brut was €43 (just for my future reference), bought from a local grocery store. Really delicious bubbly, with a strong but not overpowering flavour and slightly leaning towards that creaminess I like.

We chose to have breakfast at the hotel again – as we had to set out early for meetings. The eggs Benedict was so good, I opted for the salmon version this time.

Definitely can’t do this every day!

Time for another champagne interlude – this bottle of Alfred Rothschild was €34… very nice indeed. Crisp and light, not as brut de brut as some that are so dry you wonder if you are drinking, but lacking that creamy texture that I’ve come to really enjoy in my bubbles.

The rounded hallways keep throwing me off… maybe it’s the sheer amount of wine being consumed with most meals!

L’Hôtel has another unique feature that we thought we’d check out – a ‘hammam’ in the cellar! I was looking forward to this! Guests can use the hammam an hour a day free of charge, just need to schedule in private use of the space. There are showers, toilets, toiletries, massive plush towels and bathrobes available for use. A sauna and a plunge pool!

Which looked sooooo inviting….

… until I discovered the water temperature was about 20°C! Jesus titty fucking Christ! Who wants to get in and have a soak in that. 😐 We did wonder if it was here when Oscar Wilde and his ‘friends’ were living in the hotel; if these walls could talk!

Either way, this is clearly for those Northern European polar bear types. Managed to get my feet wet for a while before beating a hasty and sensible retreat – like any self respecting Queensland’s would do!

Decided on a soak in the decidedly 19th century tub in our room instead… fabulous.

The next evening’s champagne interlude: a Pierre Mignon Grande Reserve Brut – €35 from the Cave de Chat. Well rounded and a bit more brut de brut than some of the others we have tried this week. Really nice though. Don’t suppose it’s acceptable to come home with a AUD$70 a day champagne habit, is it?

Tomorrow, we check out and start the transit home. But before we go… one final glass of Jean Josselin champagne in the lovely restuarant while we wait for our car.

I ❤️ Paris and could totally get used to the, ‘You walked across the road? You got out of bed? Champagne!’, lifestyle. 😀 It’s been a lovely stay, we got heaps of work done and gleaned so much useful information, and I feel like we smashed in as much fun and sight seeing as we could between meetings, visiting transport venues and seeking out transit operations.

We are looking forward to seeing how the Paris 2024 Olympics and Para-Olympics pans out in the transport sectors and see what we can learn to make sure Brisbane 2032 does it better… I have made a bunch of contacts with locals to follow up with them after the games, so it’ll be interesting to see what non-transport industry people make of how things go. At the moment, they all sound like they want to flee the city and rent their houses out. 🙂