The Hôtel Lutetia on the Left Bank of Paris became an icon as soon as it opened in 1910, founded by the Boucicaut family, owners of Le Bon Marché.
The hotel was built for the family’s customers, who only had to cross the street to shop at Le Bon Marché, the first and most elegant department stores’ in Paris.
Soon the hotel also became a meeting place for artists from all over the world. Literary greats like Hemingway and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry stayed here, and James Joyce wrote on his Ulysses at the hotel. Picasso and Matisse also settled here, and in the 1950s and beyond, the hotel and its bar became an important part of the birth and celebration of jazz. Today, this is as palpable in the hotel’s library as it is at the writer’s desk with a view of the Eiffel Tower to stimulate the creative senses.
Regulars such as Josephine Baker and later David Lynch, Serge Gainsbourg and Miles Davis were frequent guests. Sonia Rykiel accompanied the remodelling of the house in the 1980s. This artistic high nobility can still be felt today. Not only because of the international, not infrequently artistic audience, but also through original works of art throughout the hotel. A unique collaboration with Carré Rive Gauche – the leading alliance of art dealers on the Left Bank.
This is clearly felt in the presidential suite, which is more like a private museum, with works such as a first-century bodhisattva watching over two sapphire-blue Kangxi vases and a treasure trove of 17th-century sculptures outside the bathroom, to name just two examples of the selection of ancient artefacts and contemporary oil paintings.
There are many places in the hotel that invite you to spend time during your stay in Paris. The typical French barasserie on the corner, Brasserie Lutetia for lunch, meet your friends for tea in the Salon Saint-Germain, and lounge under the wall radiant glass ceiling by French artist Fabrice Hyper.
Bar Josephine, overlooking Boulevard Raspail, is perfect for an evening drink and features a magnificent historical fresco of grapes telling the story of the Lutetia, originally built on a vineyard.
Overall, the hotel has many historical facets, such as the sign of Paris, Le bateau, which sails on no matter what happens in the world.
And don’t forget to get up early to go for a swim at the Akasha Holistic Wellness Spa. The 17-metre pool is the perfect place to start the day or unwind after a busy day. The pool is bathed in natural light during the day, a rarity in Paris, which runs like a red ribbon throughout the house. Most rooms have balconies and large window fronts, and light comes from the ceilings and even from the windows of the lift, from where you have an overview of Paris, the city of lights.