New in Paris: April Edition
Taking its cue from the Opéra district, where it’s located, the Hôtel Athénée Paris is showing off its new decor with an operatic touch, courtesy of Jacques Garcia, who took his inspiration from the romanticism of 19th-century Italy. One of the best features of the Paris hotel is its luxuriously cozy Red Bar, which is decorated in deep purple and crimson tones, with plush and luxurious velvet couches and walls lined with original photos signed by the greatest opera stars. The bar offers the comfort of a private lounge and serves predinner drinks and cocktails. Each of the 20 guest rooms has its own unique score inspired by 4 timeless operas. Each room is graced with walls decorated by the Maison Pierre Frey, bespoke furniture, velvet and taffeta furnishings, a safe, a minibar, air-conditioning and an LED satellite TV. Gorgeous Bisazza mosaic glass tiles line the bathrooms. The hotel also features free Wi-Fi, luxury concierge service and a smoking lounge. Rates for doubles begin at 230 euros.
The Hôtel du Triangle d’Or, a new three-star Paris hotel, was inspired by both music and musicians. Located in the Madeleine district, in the 9th Arrondissement, the hotel was designed by architect Philippe Maidenberg in collaboration with five international musicians, each representing a specific music style. This musical inspiration can be seen throughout the hotel: in the amazing reception area shaped like a flight case; in the multimedia area, with headphones and CDs for guests; and at the “on tour” office reception, with bright lights that create the impression of being in a recording studio. Each of the 45 guest rooms reflects a musical theme and is decorated with star-scattered gray carpet, drawings and photos on white walls, and details like black trompe l’œil LPs on shelves. Rooms are equipped with high-tech audio and video, LCD TV and an iPod dock. Hotel amenities include a bar serving light snacks, a 20-person meeting room, Wi-Fi and a wellness center that offers massages and has a Turkish hammam. Rates begin at 189 euros.
New Museums and Exhibitions
The Château de Versailles is the perfect royal setting to host the exhibition “Thrones in Majesty.” Until June 19, 40 emblematic thrones from different periods and civilizations are on display in the stunning Grand Apartments. These exceptional seats and footstools, many of which are on loan from the Vatican and other royal palaces, are crafted in mediums including wood, metal and stone, and covered in silk and velvet fabrics with bead and feather finishings. Thrones belonging to world-renowned nobility—such as King Dagobert, Napoleon, King Ghézo, Louis XVIII, Pope Pius VII and the Buddha—range from the most basic to ornate, with exquisite carving and intricate detailing.
Through June 2, the Louvre, in collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale, is presenting a special exhibition called “Egypt in Stone, Egypt in Paper.” Prisse d’Avennes, who traveled and explored the country on two separate but lengthy trips during the first half of the 19th century, amassed a large collection of material, much of which he left behind. But some of the manuscript notes, graphic works, tracings, inscriptions, watercolors, prints and photographs from his travels are on display.
The Petit Palais is hosting “The Parisian Comedy” until June 5. The exhibition showcases the work of artist Jean-Louis Forain, most famous for his iconic, socially satiric caricatures that appeared in Le Monde Parisien and Le Figaro. Influenced by Degas and other Impressionists, Forain depicted scenes from everyday Parisian life—busy cafés, horse races and elegant society events from the Belle Epoque era through the Roaring Twenties. Over 200 watercolor and oil paintings, pastels, engravings and drawings are on display.
The Paris Expo at the Porte de Versailles will play host to the Foire de Paris. From April 28 to May 8, this mega trade show will showcase tourism, multimedia and gastronomy from around the world. Over 1,000 exhibitors from 70 countries will offer up food, wine, events and freebies around the themes of home and environment, well-being and leisure, and world cultures.
The Salon des Réalités Nouvelles runs until April 17 among the colorful gardens in the Parc Floral de Paris, in the 12th Arrondissement. This annual abstract-art festival features over 400 up-and-coming artists and a range of artwork, including sculptures, paintings, engravings, lithographs and photography.
High-end shoe designer Annabel Winship has opened her first boutique in Paris, on the rue du Dragon in the St.-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood. The shop is adorned with white walls and pink velvet bench seats, and features Winship’s signature themed collections that are comfortable, colorful and stylish. The selection of ankle boots, ballerinas and round-toed heels made from leather, suede and liberty fabrics can be worn all day long.
Luxury brand Bally has opened a new boutique in the 8th Arrondissement on the rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré. Founded in Switzerland in 1851 as an elegant women’s shoe brand, it has now expanded to include handbags, accessories and ready-to-wear. The chic and subtle gray-and-white decor and white couches in the two-story space are the perfect backdrop for the men’s and women’s collections.
A bespoke organic cosmetic company, Boutique-Atelier de la Souris Verte, has opened a boutique and workshop space on the rue Taylor in the République district. Men, women and children can attend workshops on well-being and skin, body and hair care, and can even learn to make their own custom cosmetics using homemade natural ingredients.
New Paris Reads
Stephen Clarke, the bestselling author of popular books about France, including A Year in the Merde and Talk to the Snail, has just released another juicy tome, this time about Paris. Paris Revealed: The Secret Life of a City is a close-up and very personal view of the city he has called home for over 17 years. Clarke shares fun, witty and informative anecdotes on everything from Parisians’ obsession with food and art to the do’s and don’ts of the Paris metro.
New for Jet-setters
The five-star Hôtel de Toiras, part of the renowned Relais and Châteaux collection, is opening a sister property named Villa Clarisse in St.-Martin-de-Ré, on the southern coast of France. This intimate 10-room property, which occupies a 17th-century house, has been lovingly refurbished by Pierre-Yves Rochon. Amenities include a spa located in the gardens, a pool, a hammam and a tea hall. The opening is slated for May 2011. Rates begin at 175 euros.
Hôtel Athénée Paris
Hôtel du Triangle d’Or
Château de Versailles
Foire de Paris
Salon des Réalités Nouvelles
Boutique-Atelier de la Souris Verte
Hôtel de Toiras
Editor’s note: To book a lovely hotel for your trip to Paris, please consult our hand-selected hotels section.