Sneak Peek of The Peninsula Paris

An artisan working on restoration of The Peninsula Paris (photo courtesy of the Peninsula Paris)

An artisan working on restoration of The Peninsula Hotel (photo courtesy of The Peninsula Paris)

For the curious, Paris proves an unending playground. Hidden courtyards, secret gardens, covered passageways.

Even structures in plain sight hold countless stories. I’m not exactly dispensing an amazing revelation to say the City of Light is architecturally stunning. Simply walking through certain parts of town I think that each building might be famous.

One of my favorite pastimes is dipping into experiences that are normally far from my daily life.

And so it was that I stumbled out onto Avenue Kleber a few weeks ago and stood before a soon-to-open luxury hotel.

Staff lined up to greet invited guests at The Peninsula Hotel.

Staff lined up to greet invited guests at The Peninsula Hotel.

Why I’d received an invitation to a pre-launch press conference, I hadn’t a clue. But did I want to see the fancy hotel? Indeed.

I felt like something of an imposter as my name was checked off the list. I was sought out immediately by the director of communications and handed a glass of champagne and a selection of sweets to enjoy on the outdoor terrace.

Peninsula Outdoor terrace

I soon settled in and pretended I belonged. After some mingling we were ushered into the Grand Lobby for a presentation, then given a private tour of the hotel.

It’s gorgeous.

Lasvit chandelier called "Dancing Leaves" in the second grand entrance

Lasvit chandelier called “Dancing Leaves” in the second grand entrance comprises 800 individual hand-blown crystal leaves (The Peninsula Paris)

One of the premier rooms

One of the premier rooms (The Peninsula Paris)

In case you don't catch all the details here: marble bathroom, deep soaking tub, flat-screen TV and separate rain showers (picture not big enough to show that!)

In case you don’t catch all the details here: marble bathroom, deep soaking tub, flat-screen TV and separate rain showers (The Peninsula Paris)

There are Peninsula Hotels in a few cities in the world. The Peninsula Paris, which opens this Friday, August 1, is the tenth Peninsula Hotel and the very first in Europe.

A classic 19th century French building with Haussman and Neo-classic details was chosen for the honor. The building first opened as the Hotel Majestic in 1908.

The building back in the day.

The building back in the day (The Peninsula Paris)

Historical - Lobby

George Gershwin wrote “An American in Paris” in the hotel. And in 1922, 5 great artists ate a late supper together: James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Pablo Piasso, Sergei Diaghilev and Igor Stravinsky. Wow! To be a fly on the wall during that conversation!

The property served as a luxe hotel until it was sold to the French government in 1936. It then became the UNESCO Head Office and then the International Conference Center for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Among other treaties, the agreement to end the Vietnam War was signed by Henry Kissinger here).

Restoration work.

Restoration work (The Peninsula Paris)

In short, it’s a pretty historic place. An extensive restoration effort ensued when it was tapped to become the new Peninsula Hotel. Expert artisans who had previously worked on projects at Versailles and the Louvre were brought in.

Lots of hand-painted details. (photos courtesy of The Peninsula Paris).

Lots of hand-painted details. (photos courtesy of The Peninsula Paris).

Julien Alvarez, pastry chef (Peninsula Paris)

Julien Alvarez, pastry chef (The Peninsula Paris)

In addition to sumptuous rooms and suites (a few with private gardens!), the hotel also houses 6 dining and bar options, including a rooftop restaurant with incredible views and a Chinese restaurant with opera-inspired decor serving refined Cantonese cuisine.

During the tour we were treated to rose-infused goat cheese thanks to 3 master cheesemakers and a delicious basil/strawberry dessert by master pastry chef Julien Alvarez.

I’ll have to think of a *really* big occasion to come for a full meal as it’s not exactly the kind of place within my budget. But if anyone wants to invite me, avec plaisir ; )

There are a ton of other details I could share (the spa! the vintage Rolls Royce! the staff has their own relaxation room and personal chef causing me to wonder if I can get a job there!), but I think you get the idea.

(The Peninsula Paris)

(The Peninsula Paris)

The hotel is a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe so it’s close to several sites. You could slip in for afternoon tea and do as I did. Just for a moment dream its your life.

The Peninsula Hotel opens on August 1, 2014.

5 Responses to “Sneak Peek of The Peninsula Paris”

  1. 1 PreteMoiParis (Melissa) July 28, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    It sounds divine. I remember observing construction on their rooftop while I was sitting on the Rooftop of the Hotel Raphael which is nearly nextdoor. I should go for a visit!


  2. 3 I Say Oui July 28, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    The “Dancing Leaves” are pretty!


  1. 1 Paris in 6 Links at 300 Stations, Friday, August 15, 2014 - 300 Stations Trackback on August 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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