Being a king or queen for a day is entirely possible in Paris, you just need to check in to your palace. No, not the English meaning of the word (unless you do actually have a castle) but the French “palace”, used to describe the crème de la crème of the country’s hotels.
The hotels that are classed as palaces all adhere to strict criteria (38 in total) and are selected by a distinguished committee. The label isn’t permanent: most recently there was outrage when a few of Paris’ most prestigious hotels were stripped of their palace status. This led to a sudden flurry of renovation work which is still going on today.
Now, while you might not be able to afford to stay at a palace – the very minimum is at least 500€/night – you can still experience the luxury by having a drink at your chosen hotel. Prices may be unsurprisingly steep, but the opulent surroundings and feeling of being a VIP make it worth it!
So, which Parisian palace will you be gracing with your presence…? Here are our four favorites!
228 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Escape the crowds on the rue de Rivoli and relax at the Meurice’s Bar 228, famous for its cocktails, especially the Bellini. It oozes old-school charm and sophistication, and the evening jazz music makes for a very special evening with a loved-one. If you can afford it, the Alain Ducasse restaurant is reputed for being superb.
Le Plaza Athenée
25 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris
The hotel’s location just down from the Champs Elysees is perfect for after a day of sightseeing, however it appears that small-scale renovation work is still taking place – so stick to an evening visit when the workers have packed up. The bar attracts a trendy crowd thanks to its DJ, and drinks come in three sizes, so you don’t have to splash out (too much) if you’ve just come for the ambiance.
Le Royal Monceau
37 Avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris
Another palace in Paris’ super-chic 8th arrondissement is the Royal Monceau. Phillippe Starck recently oversaw the redecoration of the hotel, giving it a contemporary yet classy edge. The spa and swimming pool are said to be fabulous – if you were thinking about some Paris pampering…
112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris
Last but certainly not least, the Bristol is popular among visitors who’ve come for some retail therapy, and is one of Paris’ most famous palaces. The courtyard garden is stunning, and the Bristol Bar has to be seen to be believed. It’s also the ideal place for celebrity-spotting!
If you’re a lover of luxury, you should know about our fabulous champagne river cruise followed by a trip to the Eiffel Tower, no queuing included!