We'll call this little travel series, "Postcards from Paris..."
People often ask us, since we travel to Paris a fair amount, about where we like to stay. The truth is that we Huffingtons are creatures of habit, and once we’ve established our little hotel routine, with the bakery, the metro, the favorite restaurants and even the hair dressers, it’s hard to try something new. It’s a great feeling to get to know a neighborhood and have people in the “quartier” treat you like a local, even though you live 3,000 miles away! So that’s part of the reason we stick to a very few, and why we’re more than happy to share them with you.
On this first installment of our favorite three hotels in Paris, here is Ann, reporting live from Le Duc de St. Simon, right off the rue du Bac, in Paris’ tony 7th Arrondissement:
It is a freezing cold February night, with a dusting of snow on the ground and a hefty wind blowing. But I am happily cozy and warm, in a cocoon-like room, with its pretty padded pink walls and timeless antiques in the lovely and elegant Hotel du Duc de St. Simon.
It’s a hotel I know well and one that comes stacked with years of memories, since I stayed here for the first time for a whole week when I was fourteen years old, and traveling to Paris my friend Muffie and her mother. La Muf and I had room #14, possibly the nicest room in the hotel with its own private terrace. The hotel has changed quite a bit since then, and along with picking up a duchy and a couple of extra stars (it used to be simply called “Le St. Simon,” ) it was renovated from scratch and to perfection several years ago.
Over the years, I’ve stayed in many different rooms: Some of them pink, some blue, some yellow; some small, some medium and some quite large. All of them are warm and elegant, with tufted walls, comfy bathrobes and the most sumptuous Italian cotton sheets, with matching color coordinated monograms depending on which room you stay in (such a nice touch). And all of them have a distinctly elegant feel of being more like a Parisian home than a hotel.
So here’s what I love about the Duc de St. Simon: It’s in a perfect location, or as they would say in Paris, “c’est le top top top.” Although it is steps away from the bustling Boulevard St. Germain and the elegant rue du Bac shopping district, as well as the metro and lots of bus lines, it’s quiet and quaint. With its cute little courtyard and few terraces, you could almost imagine being in the country instead of the heart of Paris.
I love the rooms. Yes, they’re small and some may say they’re a little dated now. But I think that like all fine design, they are timeless and have great bones. The walls are padded, the rooms are filled with antiques, the curtains are plush and the windows have the most wonderful hardware!! It’s an elegant combination of heavy iron and solid brass, and when you close the windows and eliminate any potential city noise, they make that satisfyingly substantial “umph” sound that you get with a really luxurious car. Although I sleep with the window open, I love to know that when I close it, in the morning, I’m going to hear the Umph!
I like the service. It is prompt, courteous and friendly. When you order your breakfast, you don’t have to wait: It comes quickly – and deliciously. On my plane on the way over here, I sat next to a delightful man from Asheville, who said, as he curled up to sleep after many glasses of champagne, “Just a few hours until croissant time!” I thought about him on my first morning of room service, since there’s nothing like the delicious croissants delivered to your room at the Duc de St. Simon: Luscious, buttery decadence at their best.
I love the details: The creaky stairs, the narrow halls, the marbleized floorboards and faux painted walls. I love the kilim lined elevator and the beautiful 19th century art.
I really love the luxurious Beltrami sheets which are soft and silky and so welcoming, especially during those first few jet lagged nights, when they stroke and soothe you at 4 a.m. and say, “roll over, night night, go back to sleep now” – and you do!! I love the front desk and the sitting room, which remind me of an imaginary aunt’s house, somewhere near Fontainebleau.
I love how the sun reflects against the white buildings surrounding us, and I love the view of the terraces. I love the courtyard , especially in the summer, when it is shaded, flowering and welcoming.
But most of all. I just love love love that when you walk out the front door and take a few steps down the street, you go from being in somebody’s elegant country house to the heart of the most fun and fashionable part of Paris.
Ta ta, bonne nuit,
PS: We will mention a couple of other favorite hotels in the next few months. But here is the info on the Duc de St. Simon:
14, rue St. Simon, 75007 Paris
PPS: Tell us about your favorite hotels too. But don’t be surprised if we just keep going back to the same ones over and over. Like so many things in life, once you establish that personal connection, everything else pales in comparison.