Classic Parisian elegance
Stylish St Germain des Prés
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of champagne in your room on arrival
Rates from (ex tax)$270.79 If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days. Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR280.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.
If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.
Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR280.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.
Classic Parisian elegance
Stylish St Germain des Prés
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of champagne in your room on arrival
50, including five suites.
12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from $270.79 (€255), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.30 per person per night on check-out.
If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days. Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR280.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.
Rates exclude the Continental à la carte breakfast (€30 each).
Watch out for lively discussions and literary cocktails in June, when Montalembert hosts the Prix de la Romancière, a prize awarded to first-time female novelists. Pascal Allaman and Géraldine Prieur are the creative team behind the hotel's svelte style – their elegant design-solutions include splashes of gold and orange and TVs presented as works of art in gilded frames. Get cosy in the den between the patio and the restaurant, which is dressed in chartreuse and teal and has a toasty fireplace.
A cosy den, book and DVD library, free WiFi throughout, beauty treatments on request, laundry service. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, iPod and dock with Airplay-enabled speakers, minibar with free bottled water, air-conditioning, bath products, coffee machines (in suites).
We adore the eighth-floor suites not just their photographer-friendly views of the Eiffel Tower, but for their wonderful, apartment-like feel. You’ll want to take the super-comfortable Christian Liaigre sofabed home with you. The Contemporary and Classic rooms, though of bijou Parisian proportions, are beautifully decorated. All come with huge windows for surreptitious people-gazing.
There's no spa on site, but treatments, and access to a well-kitted-out gym, are available at Bel Ami, Montalembert's sister hotel. To book, have a word with the concierge.
Bring your loosest skirts or trousers – with L'Atelier du Joël Rubuchon and Pierre Gagnaire's Gaya right next door, you’re going to want to seriously indulge.
In-room massages are available with a day's notice in Deluxe Rooms and above. Smoking is not allowed in the hotel, but if you have a room with a balcony, feel free to step out for a smoke.
Small and well-behaved dogs are welcome, and will find a cosy dog basket, plate and bottle of dog shampoo waiting for them at Montalembert. The chef can prepare dog food on request, and dog-sitting and walking services can be organised. See more pet-friendly hotels in Paris.
Children are very welcome at the hotel; free cots, extra beds (€100 for over-12s) and babysitting services (€30 an hour, plus €25 taxi fee) are all available. Le Restaurant has a dedicated children’s menu.
Children are welcome. Cots are free and extra beds (€80 a night, free for under–12s) can be added to the larger rooms.
Babies and up – children of all ages are welcome.
With a bedroom that can be closed off from the living space, the Suites are ideally suited to families. Some have sofa beds that can comfortably sleep two children, others have space for a cot or extra bed.
The hotel has free iPods and child-friendly DVDs to borrow, and will happily arrange activities at nearby museums and sites for the whole family.
Children are welcome for all meals in the restaurant. There's a special menu for them, but budding gourmets can also order smaller dégustation portions from the main menu.
Babysitting services (€30 an hour, plus €25 taxi fee) is available; it's best to book a day in advance.
Mini bathrobes and slippers are available for little Smiths, who'll also find a teddy bear waiting for them in the room.
If it’s a sunny day or warm evening, ask for a table out on the terrace.
Think elegant and dark.
Le Restaurant serves up wonderful dishes with an Asian influence by chef David Maroleau – tiger-shrimp tartare with lemongrass broth, caramelised pork loin with Thai mango pickles – to a chic crowd. The four main categories of dishes – Terre, Mer, Végétal and Soleil – are available in either "dégustation" or "gourmet" size. The neutral decor of oak panels, cream walls and flooring, and a white Carrara marble bar allows the food to rightly take centre-stage. The attention to detail is impressive: the brass sconces were made in the workshop of François Pouénat, one of France's last traditional locksmiths.
Cocktails at the hotel's elegant marble bar are a medley of fresh fruit and aromatic plants, shaken and stirred by Jérôme Bréard, whose unique career has seen him helm the bar at Disneyland and invent the macaron cocktail at Ladurée on the Champs-Elysées.
Breakfast is served from 7am. The restaurant closes at 10.30pm, though you can carry on drinking in the bar till at least 1am.
Guests can order from a full menu between 12 noon and 10.30pm. After that, only drinks and lighter bites are available.
Montalembert is half an hour from both Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports. A taxi from Charles de Gaulle international airport to the centre costs about €50; buses and trains run regularly into town at a fraction of the cost. Both airports have links to line B of the RER (from Orly, take the shuttle bus to Antony); get off Cluny la Sorbonne, where you can change to metro line 10 to reach Mabillon, a 10-minute walk from the hotel.
The Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord is a 15-minute taxi ride from the hotel. Using the metro, it’s a short hop on line 4 from Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 10 minutes’ walk from Montalambert. Rue du Bac on line 12 is 200m away.
Montalembert is close to Boulevard Raspail and the Musée d’Orsay. There is a public car park at the street entrance that costs €35 a day.
The Louvre (+33 (0)1 40 20 51 77), with its world-famous art collection, is a hop and a skip across the river; the Musée d'Orsay (62 rue de Lille; +33 (0)1 40 49 48 14), which contains many of the Impressionists’ great works, is equally close. Don't miss a chance to visit Deyrolle (+33 (0)1 42 22 30 07), a legendary shop just across the road specialising in rare and collectable taxidermy.
Right next door to the hotel, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon (5-7 rue de Montalembert; +33 (0)1 42 22 56 56) is an elegant must-visit for culinary connoisseurs. Just a couple of minute’s walk away, Gaya Rive Gauche (44 rue Bac; +33 (0)1 45 44 73 73) is where superchef Pierre Gagnaire serves up delicious seafood at affordable prices.
The classic art deco interior of Café de Flore (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés; +33 (0)1 45 48 55 26), which hosted most of the French intellectuals during the post-war years, has changed little since World War II. It’s still a great spot for a meal. Its rival Les Deux Magots (6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés; +33 (0)1 45 48 55 25) has an even more enviable literary heritage. Famous boutique teahouse Ladurée (21 rue Bonaparte; +33 (0)1 44 07 64 87) is renowned for its flavoured macaroon, but nearby choux-pastry upstart La Pâtisserie des Rêves (93 rue du Bac; +33 (0)1 42 84 00 82) have our hearts a-flutter with beautiful éclairs and Paris-Brests.
Well, I can’t say that our weekend at the stylish Montalembert boutique hotel in Paris got off to a particularly brilliant start, with Mr Smith and I heading to St Pancras on separate Victoria Line tubes. We’re booked onto the last Eurostar into the French capital on the Friday evening and I am NOT risking missing out on a night at our chosen hotel.
We both make it (me in plenty of time, him by the skin of his teeth) and soon we’re pulling into Gare du Nord. Then it’s just a short hop on the Métro to St Germain and Montalembert, our home for the weekend. While I know Paris well, this is the first time we’ve stayed on the Left Bank and I’m really looking forward to exploring all that this quartier has to offer.
Montalembert, it transpires, is going to be the perfect base for doing exactly that. Everything about the hotel is refined and chic (personally, just the note I was looking to strike) in varying shades of grey. Even the so-tiny-it’s-barely-visible-on-a-map street doesn’t have room for any riff-raff. The hotel’s neighbour is destination concept restaurant L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and there’s really not much room for anyone else.
Despite the fact it’s past midnight when we check in, the high-ceilinged lobby is still buzzy and brightly lit (the restaurant and bar adjoin it in an open plan layout). We receive a warm and efficient welcome before shooting up to our room in one of those typically Parisian cage lifts, dropping off our bags and then immediately back out again in search of a nightcap. We settle for ‘nearest’ – the Café St Germain just round the corner on the rue du Bac – but spot several places on the nearby rue Jacob, which look like contenders for a suitably chic Rive Gauche drink. Mr Smith just needs to work on his detached air of existentialist angst first…
After a wonderful night’s sleep, we enjoy breakfast in bed at a very respectable 10.30am, and start to properly take stock of our surroundings. We booked a deluxe double, which gave us the choice of two styles of decor – contemporary (does what it says on the tin) or classic (a mixture of Louis-Philippe antiques and modern finishes). We felt the latter sounded more interesting, and are now feeling very pleased with our choice. As with most Parisian hotels, the dimensions are best described as ‘bijou’, but our room is undeniably stylish. The greys and taupes of the public spaces are continued seamlessly into the rooms, and are juxtaposed with the gorgeous antique polished-walnut bed and matching armoire, as well as the acres of crisp white linens that we are now rather un-chicly dropping croissant crumbs into. We’re up on the fifth floor, and our double window opens out onto a tiny Juliet balcony from which we can see the Eiffel Tower. The bathroom is also small but perfectly formed, although clever angles and sparkly surfaces distract you from its size – the zinc basin, mirrored walls and shiny marble really up the glamour factor.
By the time we tear ourselves away from our stylish cocoon there’s not an awful lot of the day left, but whilst Montalembert is smack bang in the heart of Left Bank antiques-ville, it’s also only a two minute walk to the Seine and straight across to the Louvre (if you’re culturally-minded) or the rue Saint-Honoré (if you’re after more commercial pursuits). We head for lifestyle emporium Colette, where we (almost literally) bump into Snoop Dogg, who is coming through the doors at the very same minute we go in – the backs of our heads definitely starred in more than one pap shot, and we wonder if this is the extent of our ‘15 minutes’.
Heading back to St Germain, Mr Smith is beside himself to find our route takes us via macaroon mecca Ladurée on the chic rue Jacob, and we stop for a tea in the stylish café opposite. Then it’s back to the hotel to chill out before dinner.
Our table in Le Restaurant is booked for 9pm, and we wander downstairs from our chambre into the compact but beautifully appointed dining room. Although it’s not particularly early, our fellow diners include several French families complete with cherubic, perfectly turned out enfants who behave impeccably throughout – Mr Smith and I wonder how we can ensure any future children of ours will behave anywhere near as well.
Though I had been slightly concerned that my veggie Mr Smith might not find the whole eating experience as enjoyable as I knew I would, I needn’t have worried. The menu turns out to be just as appealing for carnivores and carrot-lovers alike. As the dining room fills up with chic local couples, we enjoy chef David Maroleau’s refreshing take on Modern French cuisine, made with the highest-quality fresh ingredients, and wash it all down with a delicious bottle of Provençal rosé, as recommended by the charming maître d’. So, the food, the wine and the friendly service all get dix points from us, and we savour the fact that our stylish sleeping quarters are only floors above our heads – no inclement weather, no searching for a black cab – bliss.
Checking out the next morning, I can see why this hotel is a staunch favourite with fashion editors. It’s the hotel equivalent of an Armani suit; beautifully cut, not showy, but unapologetically classy – a work of art that also serves a practical purpose, We leave promising to return in the summer, when the outdoor terrace is the place to see and be seen. And, with that, we hop back on the Eurostar to St Pancras, on much friendlier terms by now. We even manage to get on the same tube home.
The gorgeous building and location in St-Germain.
A lot of space - the rooms are well designed but definitely bijoux!
The friendly welcome; the gorgeous neighbourhood from which we could walk almost anywhere and the complimentary champagne for our 20th wedding anniversary
a large lift
Good space in the room especially for Paris. The excellent welcoming service from the staff. Nothing was too much trouble for them.
They need a pillow menu. The synthetic pillows were so uncomfortable that I could not sleep The staff tried to help, but there was no choice of pillow. As I was staying 5 nights I had to go and purchase a feather pillow from Galeries Lafayette.
Size of elevators and rooms.
The hotel was beautifully decorated in an understated way. The staff were excellent, especially Sophie our concierge.
We had some trouble with the shower!