Wondering where to stay in Paris? I describe the night I spent in one of Paris’ chicest hotels.
A visit to Paris usually brings me immense joy, but today I was feeling anything but. Feeling bedraggled as I hauled my rolling suitcase up the gazillion steps in the Metro (first-time visitors to Paris will immediately note that escalators are few and far between and elevators are practically non-existent), I stepped out of George V station and found myself on the Champs Elysées. Aside from being considered one of the best neighbourhoods in Paris, it’s one of the most elegant places on earth, but I wasn’t feeling fancy in the least. That’s because my trip to Paris wasn’t without it’s hiccups: after a mad dash to catch my train to Paris early that morning and a hot sweaty journey through the maze of Paris’ underground network, I was feeling ungainly and not very fresh. I was also late. I had a lunch date at 1 pm at one of the restaurants in the Fouquet’s Barriere, the chi chi Parisian hotel where I had been invited to stay the night.
Squinting in the spitting rain and rueing the overcast skies, I attempted to efficiently plot my next move. I didn’t have much time, I had (in)conveniently forgotten my map, and the increasing wetness on my head and shoulders reminded me that I didn’t have an umbrella either. Would this trip to Paris be a bust? Luckily, my eagle eye soon spotted the street the hotel was on and a short while later I was beholding Fouquet’s in all its 5-star glory.
Extreme luxury: this is where to stay on a trip to Paris
Luxury is a word I’ll probably use gratuitously in this review, for Fouquet’s Barrière is a luxury property in one of the most luxurious arrondissements to stay in Paris. Beware, however, as all this luxury comes with a price tag not for the faint of heart. This is exacerbated by the location and clientele: kitty corner from the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs Elysées, the hotel’s guest list reads like a “who’s who” of European high society, with even former French President Nicolas Sarkozy having laid his head on a Fouquet’s pillow. The hotel, only built in 2006, is new but feels as established as any of Paris’ swanky older hotels. This could be because Fouquet’s brasserie, the site of my lunch date, bears an illustrious history: first opened in 1899, it’s known as much for its sparkling celebrity clientele as it is for its successful take on French gastronomy. Though sweaty and flustered, I was welcomed warmly by the staff at the reception and accompanied all the way to my room, where I had time to change into a dress and daub on some more deodorant before my lunch meeting.
The Room: excellent for your visit to Paris
I was upgraded to a suite, but even the smallest room is an impressive 400 square feet in size — gargantuan when you consider that European hotel rooms are often so small that even turning around in a circle with arms outstretched is difficult. The decor is all bold gold and tassles, not really to my liking as my tastes lean more toward the modern and unostentatious, but the his-and-her sink in the washroom and separate shower stall and bathtub win me over. There are an abundance of towels (I hate when places skimp) and plush bathrobes, perfect for going to and from the indoor pool in the hotel’s basement. A nice touch is the box of French sablé cookies; I stuffed one into my mouth as I headed down to lunch.
Exquisite French cuisine in Paris at Fouquet’s brasserie
Oh, the food! A trip to Paris isn’t complete without indulging in French fare. As much as people may hate on the French, one really cannot say anything negative about French food. Dare I say that you haven’t really eaten until you’ve sampled French gastronomy in France? Mais oui- it is simply something to do before you die and I highly advise you to make a reservation at Le Fouquet’s brasserie. I met with the hotel’s communication manager, and despite grand efforts on my part to maintain conversation, I was so enraptured by the food I had problems paying attention. Peep my pics below. Can you blame me?
The Verdict: This is where to stay in Paris
Fouquet’s Barriere hotel isn’t rated #2 on TripAdvisor for nothing. If you’re an extreme luxury traveller who has money to burn, you’ll love this Parisian hotel: the rooms are big, the service is impeccable, the location prime. However, if your budget is a little more modest, be sure to stop by at least once during your trip to Paris at least sneak in a meal at the legendary Fouquet’s brasserie.
I was a guest of Fouquet’s Barrière, but all opinions are mine.