Past and present co-exist imaginatively at Cour des Vosges, a hush-hush hotel that’s perfect for privacy seekers. This is the Paris pad for you if you’d rather steer clear of a scene and hole up in a historic mansion with a museum’s worth of artwork on its walls, sultry Seventies design and striking original features (special mention to the swoon-worthy painted wooden ceilings). Best of all? Each of the 12 rooms has its eyes set on the postcard-perfect Place des Vosges. Downstairs, you’ll find pastry perfection in the pâtisserie, a diminutive Roman bath for ablutions and the modish Marais on your doorstep.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of wine in your room on arrival and one €40 credit to spend on food and beverages
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both can be flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £512.75 (€600), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.75 per person per night on check-out.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast, which is served either in your room or downstairs in the pâtisserie. Choose from Continental or cooked options; prices range from €9 to €45.
It’s now one of the most fashionable districts on earth, but until religious orders arrived in the 12th century, the Marais was a muddy swamp. In fact, the word ‘marais’ literally translated means ‘marsh’.
At the hotel
Pȃtisserie, free WiFi, electric bicycles to borrow, on-site parking. In rooms: TV, free WiFi, Playstation, Guerlain bath products, air-conditioning and free bottled water.
Our favourite rooms
You can’t go wrong, as each spacious (especially by Paris standards) room has pinch-yourself views over the pretty Place des Vosges, with its pitched-roof mansions and wide, sandy avenues. To rev the romance, request a Deluxe Suite – they have 16-feet-high ceilings, canopy beds with sliding panels (ooh là là) and a fully equipped kitchenette, so there’s no need to ever leave your love nest.
The ground floor holds a surprising secret – behind a wrought-iron door, under a vaulted ceiling, is a toute petite heated pool in the style of a Roman bath.
Though there’s no spa, the hotel has designed its own range of facials and body treatments to have in your room. Choose from all-natural and vegan facials created by Orveda founder Sue Nabi or bodily ministrations designed by Jimmy Jarnet, a masterful masseur and personal trainer.
Reading glasses for getting lost in the selection of novels and arty tomes in your room. Plus, your most expensive pyjamas – it’s the kind of place that makes you want to look good even while unconscious.
Due to the building’s historic bones, the hotel is unfortunately unsuitable for wheelchair users.
Choose a seat outside under the arcades for top-tier people watching.
Match the desserts in pastel shades so sweet they’ll give you a toothache.
The Salon de Thé restaurant on the ground floor serves short menus of light gourmet fare for breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner: salads, quiches, an indecently delicious truffle croque-monsieur and boeuf bourguignon. In the corner is Brach-La Pâtisserie, a glass case of temptation filled with colourful creations, cakes and pastries by Yann Brys, the Evok Group’s star baker. After a nibble of his eclairs, you may be tempted to give him a Paul Hollywood-style handshake, but we don’t advise it.
There’s no bar at the hotel, but room service can deliver all types of tipples right to your door.
The restaurant is open from 7am to 10pm daily.
A room-service menu is available around the clock.
Cour des Vosges looks out over the fountains, trees and red-brick mansions of the Place des Vosges, a manicured square in the Marais.
Paris’ main air hubs, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, are 45 minutes and 35 minutes away by car respectively; the hotel can organise private transfers on request.
Gare du Nord, the busiest railway station in Europe, is three kilometres from the hotel, with services to London, Brussels and Amsterdam via the Eurostar and SNCF.
You won’t need a car to explore Paris, where ambling aimlessly is almost the entire point. If you do decide to brave the fearsome ring roads, on-site parking is available for €45 a day (subject to availability).
Worth getting out of bed for
The oldest planned square in Paris, Place des Vosges has been a bourgeois meeting spot since the 17th century, when it was inaugurated as an engagement present for Louis XIII. Its beauty hasn’t diminished in the intervening centuries and the gardens, avenues and fountains are still regarded as a crowning jewel in the fashion-forward Marais neighbourhood. So, whether you want to lounge on Louis’ lawns, stroll the arcaded streets or simply find a beauteous backdrop for your #ParisIsAlwaysAGoodIdea Instagram, you’ll be in excellent company.
To delve deeper into the history of the ancient area, the hotel can arrange a walking tour of the Marais or a Vespa tour of the city that includes a picnic by the Seine.
And, though there isn’t actually a hunchback in Notre-Dame, you can visit the former home of the famous French writer who created him – just across the square is the Maison de Victor Hugo, which houses fascinating collections of photographs, drawings and texts. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, march over to the Marché Couvert les Enfants Rouges to find a colourful range of food stalls and a buzzy atmosphere to boot.
Also in the Place des Vosges is legendary bistro Ma Bourgogne, which serves steak tartare and fabulous French wines on its see-and-be-seen terrace under the arcades.
If the sun is shining, take your biggest sunglasses to Jaja’s outdoor courtyard for a casual and rosé-fuelled lunch (‘Jaja’ is French slang for wine). And, to discover more of the Marais’ on-the-rise restaurant scene, stop in at Grand Coeur for a grown-up menu without the requisite pretension.
The naughtiest name in the Evok Group’s collection (and fellow Smith spot), Sinner Paris is the last word in cocktails round these parts.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this 17th-century mansion in the Marais and unpacked their flea-market finds and Yann Brys brioche, a full account of their discreet retreat will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Cour des Vosges in Paris…
Occupying a hôtel particulier on the namesake Marais square, Cour des Vosges is a sumptuously furnished Parisian pied à terre from Evok Hôtels. To say that the interiors show attention to detail would be like calling Da Vinci a promising scribbler – the hotel employed a coterie of curators, including a gung-ho gallerist and globetrotting bibliophile, to ensure that each wall was adorned with exquisite artwork and every bookshelf filled with first editions. Then there’s the design, by architect duo Lecoadic and Scotto, which mixes the building’s 17th-century features (beamed ceilings and terracotta floors) with seductive Seventies furniture (plush pastel armchairs and chrome finishes). The effect? Like you’ve entered the well-heeled home of an impeccable French dame… who hardly ever mentions she’s a minor princess.