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Boutique Hotel in the 8ième Arrondissement Paris – Le Pavillon des Lettres.
Any regular visitor to Paris will have their favourite Arrondissement. Mine has always been the 6ième – Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Latin Quarter and the Luxembourg Gardens- an area full of cafés with history, old churches and heritage. I seldom stray – this time, tempted by a review in the ultra chic 8ième. But, perhaps I’m missing out? The 8ième is quiet, charming and full of wonderful shops and arcades. If you ever wanted to understand Paris fashion, this arrondissement, straddled by the Champs Élysées and Boulevard Haussmann isn’t a bad place to start. Rue Faubourg St Honoré and some of the city’s best shopping. Or how about the luxurious shops of the Avenue Montaigne. You’ll find a wealth of ultra-expensive five-star hotels too. Government offices, embassies and more.
Tucked away on Rue des Saussaies is Le Pavillon des Lettres, a charming and elegant boutique hotel in the 8th arrondissement. The name is intriguing at first glance. The House of Letters? It turns out that there are 26 rooms, each named after a different author and each individually decorated with phrases from the relevant author’s works on wall coverings above the bed.
Kafka, where I spent my first night, was just a little more masculine in styling with dark plaid wall coverings than Flaubert with a light, slightly decadent feel thanks to floor to ceiling satin curtains and a tiny balcony looking out over the Paris rooftops. I could just see the Eiffel tower too (I believe there’s a suite with an even more impressive view).
A four-star hotel in an area of ultra-luxury could seem like a compromise, but not here, where staying in a boutique hotel can be a lot more relaxing. The bathrooms at Pavillon des Lettres are immaculate with quality fittings, large bathtubs, overhead rainforest showers and, joy of joys, a hand shower fitted at the right level to use either in the bath or if you were using the shower. Massive contemporary styled sinks, fluffy towels and bespoke French toiletries.
The beds in this intimate boutique hotel are large and comfy – with nicely positioned reading lights to complement the main room lighting. It’s the kind of place that, as a solo traveller, I was quite happy to curl up for the evening, relax and read a book. Complimentary water and a pretty ‘book-box’ of iced French biscuits on my table, a neat turn-down service every night together with an immaculately clean room made this the kind of place you just don’t need to leave. Someone had thought through every detail – from hidden closets with full-length mirrors, well-placed sockets to plug in your laptop and do some work, compact yet comfortable chairs to relax and that little balcony in Flaubert.
Apart from a paperback by the appropriate author in each room, there was a small library downstairs and a comfy lounge with an honesty bar. That in itself was a good testimony to the quality of the hotel. A couple of bottles of white wine, a couple of reds and some champagne sat alongside the spirits and mixers. Not just any wine and champagne though, Billecart-Salmon Champagne (one of my favourite boutique houses) and Grand Crus wines made this somewhere I really didn’t want to leave.
And, every evening, trays of bread, ham, cheese, crisps and nuts appeared – enough for anyone who had overindulged during the day to enjoy as a light supper along with a glass of good quality wine. A 24-hour restaurant room service meant anyone wanting a hot or cold meal could order from the menu and enjoy their food either in the comfort of their own room or downstairs in the lounge.
Breakfast was available daily downstairs in the lounge or in your room. I tried and enjoyed the lounge option at Pavillon des Lettres for the first morning but once I had a balcony, feel a need to enjoy those Parisian rooftops.
There really is something quite special about a steaming hot cup of coffee and a fresh croissant sitting outside watching the world go by. If I’d had more time and been a bit braver I’d have borrowed one of the hotel bikes too. But as it was, everything I needed was within easy walking distance of the hotel.
As I quickly discovered you could spend a week in the 8ième and still not have seen everything. Famous places to visit in the 8ième including iconic sights like the Arc de Triomphe, the Place de la Concorde and the Avenue des Champs-Élysées are within a ten-minute walk. The Élysée Palace (residence of the French President) is close by and Pavillon des Lettres is around the corner from the Ministry of Intérieur (Hôtel Beauvau).
The Pont Alexandre III is the nearest bridge over the Seine. A Beaux-Art style bridge with Art Noveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses, it was built between 1896 and 1900 and is a now a classified historic monument. A single span steel arch, 6 metres high, it was designed by Joseph Cassien Barnard and Gaston Cousin to ensure that the bridge itself didn’t obscure the view of the Champs-Élysées or Invalides.
Nearby the Petit-Palais, originally built as an exhibition hall to complement the Grand-Palais is now a museum of Beaux-Arts which I have yet to visit. And, the Grand-Palais itself is home to some of Paris’s most iconic events, including fashion week catwalks! There are some stunning churches to visit; l’Eglise de la Madeleine, the St-Augustin church and the Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral. And, if the sun is shining then Parc Monceau is a lovely place to relax. originally created by Phillippe d’Orléans in 1778, was intended as an English Garden in Anglo-Chinese Style. Or, just a few minutes in the opposite direction is the Tuileries
If that’s not enough the hotel is within easy reach of many other landmarks. You can walk across the bridge to my favourite art gallery in Paris, Musee d’Orsay for example.
Then, at the end of the day, what’s better than returning to the comfort of a hotel that aims to feel like a home from home and, for me manages to do just that.
Pavillon des Lettres
12 rue des Saussaies
Disclosure: I was a guest of Pavillon des Lettres – all content is editorially given
Pavillon des Lettres is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
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