The reputation of Paris’s luxury hotels – some of the most renowned in the world – is already well established. These exceptional hotels combine luxury and tradition and include famous names such as the Meurice or the Georges V in Paris but also the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz and Le Cheval Blanc in Courchevel.
Others exist all over the country, from the Riviera-Côte d'Azur to the Basque coast, and from Savoie to Normandy.
Luxury hotels are the prestigious representatives of the very best accommodation France has to offer. Each of these world-renowned hotels has its own history, decor and exceptional clientele.
Described by the experts as “unique and inimitable”, French luxury hotels have inherited the very special characteristics of some of the sumptuous establishments of the 19th century.
According to Dominique Fernandez, hotels awarded the palace label represent “a delicate balance of French-style know-how combined with universal culture that makes them shine in a way that is quite unique.”
The outstanding establishments in Paris invited to join this very exclusive club are the Meurice, the Bristol, the Georges V, the Plaza-Athénée and the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme. Outside the capital, the honour has been awarded to the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, the Grand Hôtel in Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat, and Les Airelles and Le Cheval Blanc in Courchevel.
The first plaque celebrating the new category was affixed to the wall of the Bristol, the meeting place of choice for ambassadors and diplomats from all over the world since the Second World War.
The flamboyant Second Empire Meurice, a jewel of classic 18th-century architecture just a stone’s throw from Place de la Concorde, played host to one of the last literary salons in France, thanks largely to its French and American patron Florence Gould.
Monarchs, aristocrats, writers and artists have all left their mark on the hotel. One of the most unusual guests was Salvador Dalí, who spent a month every year in the former Alphonse XIII royal suite and spattered the walls with flecks of paint.
The reputation of the Georges V, which is regularly described as the best hotel in the world, needs no introduction. Just a stone’s throw from the Champs Elysées and the Eiffel Tower, it has been the preferred choice of some of the biggest names in show-business since it opened in 1928.
The Plaza-Athénée, overlooking the banks of the Seine, is closely associated with the history of art and fashion. It is a popular spot with Parisians who come to enjoy a taste of the international atmosphere, the blue-themed bar or musical ambience. The very best of French gastronomy has pride of place in its prestigious restaurant, named after its famous chef, Alain Ducasse.
The Palais de Biarritz, on the Basque coast, enjoys a stunning location facing the ocean and was originally the home of Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, before being converted into a hotel in 1854.
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