The Spectacular Art of Paris

Pont des Arts, Paris

Paris Passerelle des Arts by Mbzt – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Today I thought about the many fabulous Paris museums – grand and petite – that we have had the privilege and pleasure to visit. From the monumental Louvre to the petite Musée Rodin, any visitor may relish some of the world’s finest art treasures in the City of Light.

As always though, my thoughts wandered directly to the art of the entire city – in the gardens, supporting building columns, gracing bridges and soaring upward in grand old department stores. One tiny memory surfaced, when my dear friend led me like a gently-tethered pet to catch glimpses of grandeur in her adopted city.

Paris 5-star hotel

Stunning L’Hotel Staircase

During an evening walk, we crossed Pont des Arts headed directly toward the magnificent gilded cupola of the Institut de France. Stunning enough, I would say, but no. My friend said, “We need to duck around here to the hotel where Oscar Wilde lived.”

I needed no prompting, as we worked our way behind the Institut to rue des Beaux Arts and stepped into one of the most charming venues of Paris. Before extolling the hotel’s virtues, I have to share the moment of beauty that seared itself indelibly in my memory – the six-story staircase that winds like an elegant serpent upward to the twenty rooms above in such a quietly spectacular manner.

L'Hotel, Paris

Oscar Wilde’s apartment view

How hard can it be to take in such a visual feast and imagine the moments enjoyed here by the likes of Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace and Salvador Dali? Yes, I would very much welcome my husband and I adding our names to that esteemed guest register!

Fortunately, genuine connoisseurs understand the subtle blend of opulent and understated. L’Hotel is one such place, a timeless jewel – the smallest, 5-star hotel in Paris. The name itself speaks volumes – a simple, refined statement for a far-from-ordinary hotel.

Left Bank Paris hotels

Chambre, L’Hotel, Paris

In this case, pictures are well worth thousands of words, so step through the hotel with me to take in the venue that has presented privileged Paris visitors with stellar hospitality for over two centuries. And, by the way, regardless of room rates, I love the fact that L’Hotel doesn’t quibble over details, offering a complimentary continental breakfast.

Is it any wonder that Oscar Wilde, claiming to ‘live above his means’, chose to live out his days at L’Hotel at the end of the 19th century?
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