On a recent Paris stay, I decided to try the Hôtel Sainte-Beuve. Since most of our readers love staying in the 6th Arrondissement or the Marais, hunting down another charmer on the left bank is always important. Nicholas Noonan is new to the Paris hotel business. As a recent investor in the Hôtel Sainte-Beuve, and owner of the Hôtel Verneuil, he is lucky to have partners and managers who have run these charming hotels smoothly and with kindness for years. The Sainte-Beuve doesn’t disappoint.
The hotel is located on the small and quiet rue Ste.-Beuve, a stone’s throw from the boulevard Montparnasse near the boulevard Raspail, and a block or two from the Luxembourg gardens. The nearest metro is Vavin, hence this area is known to locals as Vavin, a southern part of the 6th Arrondissement. Café Vavin is always hopping; there are tons of chic bohemian types at the local art cinema Le Lucernaire; and right on the very rue, Le Timbre and Moustache are great insider restaurant choices. Moustache offers French with an Asian twist, and Le Timbre (named thus as it is no larger than a postage stamp, or timbre) is a charming Le Fooding pick with a well-sourced, seasonal menu.
The suite I had was large by Paris standards and decorated in that “country chic” style. It was very charming indeed. But it was the personalized service that won me over. The staff truly made me feel at home, as no other hotel in recent memory had.
There is a plethora of hotels in Paris, but getting the wrong one can spell disaster for a trip to the City of Light. I am always on the hunt for hotels that are new or newly renovated, or that that I haven’t seen before.
The Hôtel le Relais Saint-Sulpice has been a perennial favorite of mine, as it is located directly behind the church of the same name and continues to be a great value for the tony 6th Arrondissement. I recently took a walk around and viewed some more rooms to see the renovations that had been done. Thankfully the hotel still has that perfect 1930s Parisian atelier feel that it always had, but now it’s been spruced up a bit.
I adore the old tile, the yellow walls and the striped fabrics, the mix of colors and the curved chairs from the ’30s or ’40s. The tiny outdoor terrace is oh so perfect, and the breakfast room is also charming, with interesting tiled floors. You feel as if you should tuck in and stay for a month here and write your next novel while sipping absinthe. Needless to say, this area of the 6th is one of the absolute best places to stay in Paris.
La Maison Champs Elysées is a very exciting newcomer to the scene. By a stroke of genius, the new owners asked Martin Margiela, the Belgium designer, to redesign and rethink this hotel, located on a quiet street in the 8th, and he has done an absolutely brilliant job.
The lobby and dining room that last year were drab are now done in white and crystal and are artistic and exciting. The use of black-and-white photographs of the spectacular Louis XIV ballroom upstairs as wallpaper downstairs is splendid. The completely unique two- or three-person chairs, the drama of the lighting and the completely reworked outdoor space of the dining room are genius.
I am amazed at how creative and interesting the Margiela rooms are. You’ll pay more for them than the others, which have received a good sprucing up, but his rooms are divine and uniquely designed. Each has its own personality, some for the art lover, some for a person with humor. Oh, and on the giant TVs you can surf the Internet, play games and watch hundreds of movies, all without charge! If you are into design and fashion, this is the hotel for you. And since it is newly launched, the prices are still quite reasonable—considering that you are a hop, skip and jump from the golden triangle, the Grand Palais and the Champs.
9, rue Ste.-Beuve, in the 6th Arrondissement. 01 45 48 20 07.
Rooms from 150 euros.
18, rue Vavin, in the 6th. 01 43 26 67 47.
53, rue Notre Dame des Champs, in the 6th. 01 42 22 26 50.
3, rue Ste.-Beuve, in the 6th. 01 45 49 10 40.
3, rue Ste.-Beuve, in the 6th. 01 42 22 56 65.
Hôtel le Relais Saint-Sulpice
3, rue Garancière, in the 6th. 01 46 33 99 00.
Rooms from 178 euros.
La Maison Champs Elysées
8, rue Jean Goujon, in the 8th. 01 40 74 64 65.
Rates from 367 euros per night.
Editor’s note: Download our revised St.-Dominique and Grenelle walking tour, which highlights the restaurants, shops and key finds on the two best streets in the tony 7th Arrondissement.
Tags: 6th Arrondissement, Café Vavin, Doni Belau, France, Hôtel le Relais Saint-Sulpice, Hôtel Sainte-Beuve, hotels, La Maison Champs Elysées, Le Lucernaire, Le Timbre, Martin Margiela, Paris, Restaurant Moustache, sleeping, travel