Hôtel Wallace is on the Rue Fondary, a quiet street in the sometimes overlooked but not without its charms 15th arrondissement. It’s ideally positioned for Eiffel Tower views and is just a 20-minute stroll from the iconic landmark.
Orly Airport is the closest, a 30-minute drive away; it’s well-connected, with direct routes from the Americas, Africa, Middle East and all over Europe. Charles de Gaulle is an hour’s drive away, but flights arrive here from all over the world. The hotel can help to arrange transfers in a sedan or minivan.
Montparnasse is the closest overground station to the hotel, a 15-minute drive away, and is well-connected with other cities across France. For Eurostar arrivees, the Gare du Nord is a 40-minute drive away. The closest Metro station is Avenue Émile Zola, just down the road from the hotel or Cambronne for line 6, which rides all the way to Charles de Gaulle.
In Paris, flâneur-y will get you everywhere, and strolling the boulevards is a far more pleasant experience than driving and trying to park in Paris. Plus, you won’t have to brave the dreaded Périphérique. If you do drive in, there’s no parking onsite, but the hotel’s a 10-minute walk from Saemes Parking Mairie du 15ème, which charges €38 a day. And, if you’re using your own vehicle, you’ll need to register for a Crit'Air sticker. To reach the hotel, take the Porte de Versailles exit from the Périphérique, go along the Rue Vaugirard, turn left onto Rue Pasteur, Boulevard Garibaldi and Rue Frémicourt before turning left onto Rue Fondary.
Worth getting out of bed for
Spend a good chunk of time schwitzing, soaking and sunbathing on the hotel’s roof deck – a rare treat in the city. And, get to know the locals with cocktail mixers and mingled yoga sessions. It has to be said, the 15th arrondissement has a reputation as the black sheep of Parisian neighbourhoods. And, yes, it doesn’t have the postcard-making landmarks – indeed, the controversial tallest building in Paris, Tour Montparnasse rises gloomily above it (residents begrudge its existence) – and parts of it are less picturesque. But, it’s wonderfully authentic and feels like somewhere Parisians actually live, and so has fewer tourists; it’s gaining a reputation as a gastro hub (unsurprisingly, as its home to the Cordon Bleu Institute); and from here the Eiffel Tower is central to the viewline. And, there’s a lot going on, too. It’s cultural clout is evidenced by the likes of the Parc des Expositions, a sprawling event space (so big it has its own Metro stop) where shows and expos are held, or the Musée Bourdelle where sculptor Antoine Bourdelle lived and worked alongside famous friends such as Chagall, who’d paint in the garden. The Maison de la Culture du Japon spans a rich cultural scope of cinema, theatre, art, photography, craft and cookery, and holds tea ceremonies in its rooftop pavilion. And, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff might show scintillating modern-art shows, but during World War II it served as a hideout for members of the Resistance. And, you may pick up some culinary whizzkiddery on a tour of the Cordon Bleu Institute. The 15th also has green pockets for idling away in. The Île aux Cygnes, an artificial rectangular isle in the Seine, has running and biking routes, a climbing wall and a secret replica of the Statue of Liberty, a quarter of the size of New York’s. On the site of the old car-manufacturing plant, the Parc André Citroën has fountains to play in; lushly planted greenhouses; a kids’ area with toboggans, ping-pong tables and pitches for ball games; and a tethered hot-air balloon in which you can hover 150 metres up for spectacular city views. And, Parc Georges Brassens ideally combines a vintage book market and a secret vineyard (although the Clos des Morillons’ wine is only available at a yearly auction, we’re afraid). Next door, the vast Puces de Vanves flea market unearths both trash and treasure, but the fun is digging through them. A slightly more comprehensive shopping experience can be had at the Beaugrenelle centre, or along Rue de Commerce. And, yes, the Tour Montparnasse is more ‘I don’t know what they were thinking’ than ‘je ne sais quoi’, but the view is really something from the rooftop viewing deck, which becomes an ice-skating rink in winter. And, the glittering golden dome and Napoleonic mausoleum of Les Invalides, and needs-no-introduction Eiffel Tower are just a 20-minute walk away, so you may as well.
When you’re close to the gold standard Cordon Bleu Institute, you know the chefs cooking up a storm here will be the (ahem) toque of the town. Take Jérôme Bonnet, who has regressed to his South of France upbringing to recall dishes for Le Radis Beurre’s ardently gallic menu. Aside from its namesake snack, you can try buttery medleys of foraged fungi, the signature pan-fried pig's trotters with duck-foie-gras vinaigrette, and choux stuffed with praline cream and blackcurrants. From Sunday to Wednesday a three-course meal is only €38. Poetically named Neige d'été (Summer Snow) is equally lyrical in its Japanese culinary creations, crafted by chef Hideki Nishi. There are only tasting menus, largely focused on fish, but you’re in excellent hands, that make the likes of matured amberjack, dekopon orange and wasabi in a burrata sauce; scallops with kumquat; or abalone with shitake, red shiso and samphire in a langoustine consommé. And Abstinence firmly has tongue in cheek, with a menu embracing the decadent (hotdogs with Cantal cheese and apple ketchup, caviar-topped devilled eggs and soy-caramel kouign-amanns) and the drunken.
Low-key surf-themed O Coffee, with chipboard walls and mix-match graphic tiling, keeps the local hipsters happy. The ‘joe’ is on point, but you’ll want to pair it with something sweet – a pistachio brest maybe? Or a vegan meringue with mint-strawberry sorbet and lime? Or perhaps an oversized madeleine or profiterole? Choices, choices…
Wallace’s bar may well be the saviour of a somewhat sparse bar scene in the 15th. However, Rhinocéros Bar has live music, a heated terrace, happy hour and 2am kick-out time – all fine ingredients for a decent night. And then there’s La Cave de L'Os à Moelle (181 Rue de Lourmel), which has small-batch wines and – to keep things on an even keel – delightfully cheap classic French plates to pick at. You can also pick up a picnic here.