Backstory Once the glamorous leading lady of 19th-century society, this 1889 Haussmann-era landmark was designed to house the throngs of tourists pouring in to visit the Exposition Universelle—the world’s fair for which the Eiffel Tower was famously (and, at the time, controversially) constructed. Now, thanks to a $50 million renovation and grand reopening in January, the 268-room classic is getting the encore it deserves, complete with a host of era-appropriate trappings like granite columns, bronze statues and crystal chandeliers by Baccarat.
Best Place to Hang Out The Belle Époque Grand Salon space buzzes with Parisians sipping espressos and craft cocktails beneath a stunning ceiling of original hand-painted frescoes atop a Corinthian colonnade. Legend has it that the ceiling’s painter went unpaid for a day and showed his displeasure by leaving his infelicitous mark on the mural: Try to find the one cherub showing off his backside to the crowd below.
What You’ll Find Just Outside Located in the dynamic Opéra district, the hotel is an ideal jumping-off point for the Champs-Élysées and iconic department stores such as the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps Haussmann. More important, it’s less than a ten-minute stroll from the neighborhood’s namesake Opéra Garnier, home to Gaston Leroux’s (and later Andrew Lloyd Webber’s) tragic Phantom.