Art spills out beyond galleries, museums and exhibitions in Paris and into your hotels
Stepping into a hotel that is literally a work of art – now that’s special. Designer Christian Lacroix has designed this gem, so expect lavish corners, even if the rooms are a bit small. Why should art lovers flock here? The hotel is skipping distance from some of the best Parisian art galleries – Galerie Chantal Crousel, Galerie Frederic Giroux and the Passage de Retz, as well as Galerie Michel Rein and Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin. The Centre Pompidou and Musee Picasso are also short walks away. Once you’re back from gallery hopping, lie back on canopied beds with a faux fur throw.
Although not technically in Paris, the Les Etangs de Corot is an art lover’s paradise. It’s quite literally situated in one as well. French landscape painter Camille Corot was inspired by this little village, which has beautiful ponds fringed by forests. The hotel is just a half hour drive from Paris but if you take the Eurostar, they have offers that include a stay at Les Etangs de Corot and entry tickets to the Musée d’Orsay and Musée du Quai Branly. Remember to save your Eurostar ticket. The hotel also lets you sign up for a three-hour painting class.
The Hôtel le A looks a bit like an art gallery. The walls are a blinding white, where they are not covered by artist Fabrice Hybert’s sketches and drawings. The floors are polished and the lights are minimal but focussed. In addition to the art on the walls, the hotel has a brilliantly stocked library, which puts you in danger of not stepping out at all. The books here are all sumptuous tomes on art, design, architecture and style. The hotel is located near Champs Elysées, with galleries and museums all short walks away. Don’t let the 19th century façade fool you – once you step inside, it’s all modern décor and contemporary art. The Le A Champs Elysees offers an art lover with the perfect ambience to suit his aesthetic tastes. Book into this hotel and savour the lovely creations by Fabrice Hybert.
Yes there are stylish, comfortable hotels in Paris that will not max out your credit card. Hotel Georgette is a good example. Just around the corner is the Centre Pompidou, giving this space full marks on location, especially when you consider the many artsy highlights of Marais – the Renaissance collections depicting the history of Paris at the Musée Carnavalet, the oldest science museum Musée des Arts et Métiers, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP), arguably the city’s best exhibition space for photographs.
When you need to overdose on art, you must head to the Le Royal Monceau, Raffles to do it in style. It’s been redesigned and renovated by Philippe Starck and takes art very seriously. So much so, that there is an art concierge who creates menus of recommended shows and exhibitions for you. Don’t be too startled to find a handwritten note from Jean Cocteau framed in your bedroom, or a giant wrought iron teapot in the garden (that would be the work of Joana Vasconcelos). The hotel even has its own gallery – with works from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Dennis Hopper – making venturing out into the city itself quite a task. But if you still have the urge to visit the art works of the city, it is best to book into Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris as it is centrally located in the city of Paris and travelling to any part is easy.
While museum or gallery hopping, most forget or overlook a visit to the Musee de la Mode et du Textile. Fashion and textile is as much of a form of art, no less here in Paris. Here, besides ancient costumes, you can catch a glimpse of the works of Christian Dior, Paco Rabbane, Yves Saint Laurent and Elsa Schiaparelli among many other designers.
Summer in Paris (July-August) shows the city off at its best. Despite the chill, winter has its own delights, as the city lights up and shows off its fairytale side in superb form.