Guest Post: Glimpsing the Past: A Guide to Historical Hotels in Paris

Written by Heather

Topics: Experiences Abroad


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to travel back in time and see Paris as it was in the past?

The film “Midnight ian Paris” renewed a passion and an interest in many travellers for the historic side of Paris. In the film, Owen Wilson’s character gets magically swept away to the world of 1920s Paris. He falls in love with this exciting and important time period and mingles with some of the most influential artistic and literary names of the time including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Gertrude Stein and Cole Porter. The film celebrates the allure of the past, with the clothing, architecture and art of the glamourous time. It’s hard not to want to magically slip away, like the film depicts, into another time.

Although time travel does not yet exist, some of the historical Parisian hotels offer you the best possible glimpse into the glamour of old-fashioned Paris. These buildings have been around for decades and they retain most of their original details.
The following are a few of the most impressive, historical hotels in Paris. Some of these buildings might be too expensive for the budget traveller to stay at, but you can wander into the lobby and get a taste of elegance.

The Ritz Hotel
This legendary hotel was opened by Cesar Ritz in 1898. Since then, it has become synonymous with luxury. This hotel is where the word “ritzy” and the expression “puttin’ on the Ritz” come from. It is home to the famous Ritz Escoffier Cooking School, where the fine art of French cuisine is studied as well as the Ritz Lounge Bar and the Hemingway Bar. Coco Chanel lived here for nearly 40 years, from 1934 until her death in 1971. The cheapest rooms go for €550, but if you can’t afford to stay the night you can drink a toast to Hemingway at his namesake bar.

L’Hotel Paris
This hotel is on the Left Bank of the Seine and is one of the most well-known historical hotels in the city, especially since Oscar Wilde lived there during the last years of his life. It was Room 16 where he took his last breath in 1900, uttering the famous line, “Either this wallpaper goes, or I do.” This four-star hotel also offers a Michelin-starred restaurant and a bar, so even if you are not staying at the hotel you can stop by for a drink to soak up the atmosphere.

The Aviatic Saint Germain
This beautiful hotel, situated between St. Germain des Pres and Montparnasse, was once the home of the children of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan. They were raised here by the Marquise de Maintenon in the late 17th century. Now, it boasts 42 beautiful guest rooms.

Hotel D’Angleterre
This hotel dates back to the 18th century and was once home to the British Embassy. Hotel D’Angleterre is located on the left bank in walking distance of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and the banks of the Seine.

The building is not only beautiful, but it has important historical significance. It was where the preparation of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 was completed. The treaty proclaimed the independence of the Federal Republic of the United States, and during these preparations, Benjamin Franklin stayed in the building. Ernest Hemingway was also a guest of this hotel; he is thought to have stayed in Room 14.

Although you won’t be able to time-travel during your Parisian trip, by visiting these beautiful hotels, you will get a glimpse into the past of this amazing city.

Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons

About the Author: Kate Edwards is a travel writer who focuses on historical attractions in Europe. She loves wandering into beautiful Paris hotels that are historic and sipping a drink while imagining what life was like in another time.

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