I spend a night in one of Paris’ chicest hotels.
Feeling bedraggled as I hauled my rolling suitcase up the gazillion steps in the Paris Metro (escalators are few and far between, elevators are practically non-existent), I stepped out of George V station and found myself on the Champs Elysées. It’s one of the most elegant places on earth, but I wasn’t feeling fancy in the least. After a mad dash to catch my train to Paris early that morning and a hot sweaty journey through the maze of Paris’ underground network, I was feeling ungainly and not very fresh. I was also late. I had a lunch date at 1 pm at one of the restaurants in the Fouquet’s Barriere, the chi chi Parisian hotel where I had been invited to stay the night.
Squinting in the spitting rain and rueing the overcast skies, I attempted to efficiently plot my next move. I didn’t have a map, nor much time — and the increasing wetness on my head and shoulders reminded me that I didn’t have an umbrella either. Luckily, my eagle eye soon spotted the street the hotel was on and a short while later I was beholding Fouquet’s in all its 5-star glory.
Extreme luxury in Paris
Luxury is a word I’ll probably use gratuitously in this review, for Fouquet’s Barrière is a luxury property in one of the most luxurious arrondissements of Paris. Beware, however, as all this luxury comes with a price tag not for the faint of heart. This is exacerbated by the location and clientele: kitty corner from the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs Elysées, the hotel’s guest list reads like a “who’s who” of European high society, with even former French President Nicolas Sarkozy having laid his head on a Fouquet’s pillow. The hotel, only built in 2006, is new but feels as established as any of Paris’ swanky older hotels. This could be because Fouquet’s brasserie, the site of my lunch date, bears an illustrious history: first opened in 1899, it’s known as much for its sparkling celebrity clientele as it is for its successful take on French gastronomy. Though sweaty and flustered, I was welcomed warmly by the staff at the reception and accompanied all the way to my room, where I had time to change into a dress and daub on some more deodorant before my lunch meeting.
I was upgraded to suite, but even the smallest room is an impressive 400 square feet in size — gargantuan when you consider that European hotel rooms are often so small that even turning around in a circle with arms outstretched is difficult. The decor is all bold gold and tassles, not really to my liking as my tastes lean more toward the modern and unostentatious, but the his-and-her sink in the washroom and separate shower stall and bathtub win me over. There are an abundance of towels (I hate when places skimp) and plush bathrobes, perfect for going to and from the indoor pool in the hotel’s basement. A nice touch is the box of French sablé cookies; I stuffed one into my mouth as I headed down to lunch.
French cuisine at Fouquet’s brasserie
Oh, the food! As much as people may hate on the French, one really cannot say anything negative about French food. Dare I say that you haven’t really eaten until you’ve sampled French gastronomy in France? Mais oui- it is simply something to do before you die and I highly advise you to make a reservation at Le Fouquet’s brasserie. I met with the hotel’s communication manager, and despite grand efforts on my part to maintain conversation, I was so enraptured by the food I had problems paying attention. Peep my pics below. Can you blame me?
Fouquet’s Barriere hotel isn’t rated #2 on TripAdvisor for nothing. If you’re an extreme luxury traveller who has money to burn, you’ll love this hotel: the rooms are big, the service is impeccable, the location prime. However, if your budget is a little more modest, be sure to at least sneak in a meal at the legendary Fouquet’s brasserie.
I was a guest of Fouquet’s Barrière, but all opinions are mine.