There are numerous ways to plan a weekend in the city of lights, many of which are to be found on readily available travel guides but there is a certain charm of letting Paname have her way without a predefined itinerary. In this day and age of high speed modern train services we are travelling to Paris in what might be considered an old fashioned way stepping on board our British Airways plane step by step from the ground outside Heathrow Terminal 5 on a sunny December morning. Only two points are fixed for our stay in Paris, a visit to a renowned restaurant…. a modest host to many a dignitary with its charm and character, and the hotel where we are staying in this city of romance and glamour, the five-star Parisian hotel La Trémoille, an original 19th century Haussman building which was part of the renovation of Paris commissioned by Emperor Napoléon III and directed by the prefect of the Seine, Georges-Eugène Haussmann between 1853 and 1870. The project saw the demolition of crowded and unhealthy medieval neighbourhoods and the construction of wide avenues, park squares, fountains, aqueducts and new sewers. The street plan and distinctive appearance of the centre of Paris today is mainly thanks to the result of Haussmann's work.
As we enter this little gem of a hotel, located on a quiet street in the heart of Paris’ 8th district we immediately feel at ease greeted by a very welcoming staff. The hotel is situated in the centre of the famous ‘Golden Triangle’ bound by the Champs Elysees, Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V and offers exceptional value for this fashionable part of Paris. The Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Faubourg Saint-Honoré and Tuillerie Gardens are all close by.
When travelling to Paris on the spur of the moment, at least on short notice, playing it by ear seems to be the best way to go. Little did we know that our hotel of choice for this memorable weekend in December played host to many of the most prominent jazz musicians of the 20th Century, counting among its guests Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. In an art deco lobby with a grand sweeping staircase and marble fireplaces we are reminded of this time by large framed photographs of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong on the balcony of the hotel surrounded by a vast crowd of musicians and passers and what seem to be local shop keepers and as our very helpful concierge points out that in the 1960s, La Trémoille was the hub of the Paris jazz scene with a jazz club across the street now replaced by a very good sushi restaurant.
Celebrating this heritage the hotel makes sure that guests can enjoy live music with bubbles and jazz in the lounge where pianist Matthieu Naulleau will play your favorite. But for a more authentic jazz experience the concierge will guide you to one of Paris’ innumerable jazz venues and might just mention Le Caveau de la Huchette, still open today, one of the first cradles of bebop jazz in Paris where one of its pioneers, saxophonist and clarinettist Sydney Bechet, organised for New Orleans big bands to play hosting Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Art Blakey and Bill Coleman.
Built in 1883 as a private residence, La Trémoille was transformed into a hotel in 1923. The hotel and the street owe their name to Louis II de La Trémoille, a Chevalier in the French army during the Renaissance. La Trémoille re-opened in June 2002 following a €24 million investment and 18 month renovation period. The interiors of the hotel have been designed by interior architects Stephane Satorra and David Duron and take on a modern chic allure with very spacious guest rooms, a rare commodity in Paris, and a contemporary 1930's feel accentuated by shades of blues plums and gold with beautiful modern marble and chrome bathrooms, elegant interiors which complement the backdrop of original features with sculpted wrought iron balconies and ornate ceiling. Many of the suites also offer panoramic city views with private balconies and the sound-proofed rooms and gorgeous rich fabrics are an indication of the thought being put into every detail contributing to a restful stay we are more than happy to lay our heads down in this hidden gem of the 8th Arrondisement.
Hotel La Trémoille
British Airways flies nine times a day between London and Paris (Charles de Gaulle and Orly).