Paris, a city of over two million, has 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods) in its inner circle. The Cathedral of Notre Dame, on Isle de la Cite (1st a), is considered the center of Paris, with each arrondissement spiraling like a snail’s shell from there. Use the Notre Dame as your base for understanding Paris’s layout and calculating distances.
The 8th arrondissement, on the right bank (Rive Droit), is the province of many of Paris’s Palace hotels. It’s also home to The Elysee Palace (presidential palace), the iconic Champs de l’Elyse (now overrun), and the majority of haute couture houses—including such legends as Chanel, St. Laurent, Dior, Prada and Valentino.
The grand hotels of Paris are designated by an official agency of France as Palace hotels. A bronze plaque at the main entrance denotes the hotel as an exquisite masterpiece of French construction. For example, Debbie and I love Boston, but Boston does not have a single hotel that could be considered, even under the loosest evaluation, a Palace hotel.
Hotel ratings in Paris rank from one to five, with the Palace hotel designation in a class of its own. There are fewer than a dozen Paris Palace hotel designations.
Fifteen visits later in over ten years, Debbie and I have meticulously researched this exalted club. We have stayed, dined in, or visited all. Each detailed trip to Paris has broadened our understanding. It’s fair to say that we can offer you the finest Palace hotel intelligence available. What little you might find on the internet is not particularly user friendly or more often in need of updating.
First understand that the minuscule roster of Palaces is not the stomping ground of the budget constrained, the bargain hunter, or those not willing to embrace French decorum, unfortunately not universally practiced. Big money frequently is the sidekick of dreadful taste. In contrast, British and Japanese travelers are not usually amongst the “corked bottle” roster members.
Each Palace hotel tends to be home base for travelers from specific countries. Only individual first-hand experience will allow you to form your own guidelines. Undoubtedly, you will have a personal bias toward a particular hotel.
Also, no apologies for the breathtaking bill upon checking out of a Paris Palace hotel. And room charges easily can be matched by dinning in a Palace three-star restaurant. You also can appreciate that the world’s finest wine lists of Grand Cru, Premier Cru and grower Champaign do not arrive tableside without the appropriate price tags. On the other hand, in a recently opened Palace hotel, the young sommelier gave me a great tip on a grower I was unfamiliar with, and it was not a bank account breaker.
My Palace hotel features at richardcyoung.com will continue with more than sufficient detail and breadth to make you feel comfortable that when you head to Paris, you’ll be fortified with updated, on-the-ground intelligence that will allow you to have a memorable Paris Palace hotel experience.
Read the entire series here.
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