Le Fouquet’s brasserie was a tavern during the Belle Epoque – today the brasserie is still there, now a listed historic monument
Plus there’s a fabulously elegant 5-Star hotel. Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière Paris has stylish rooms, the dreamiest spa, sophisticated bar and a restaurant that’s like a little oasis in the heart of Paris.
Le Fouquet’s brasserie
In 1899, a lemonade maker called Louis Fouquet bought The Criterion Tavern, a Hausmann-style building at the corner of avenue George V and the Champs-Elysées. It was the only café on the avenue on those days and little could he know that it would become one of the most upmarket restaurants of Paris. It was a meeting place for aviators in the first World Way. The Césars awards are held here (the French Oscars). And it’s long been popular with politicians, actors, celebrities and artists. It’s also where Le Cercle MBC Paris meet, a group of several hundred influential French businesspeople. In the entrance of the hotel, you’ll notice a display cabinet of silver napkin holders. Club members have their own unique holder with their name engraved which is used when they dine there, either with the club or as individuals!
In 1998, Fouquet’s was bought by the Barrière hotel group. And, after an eight-year project, they opened a hotel at the side of the Brasserie. It was an extraordinary undertaking. The outside of the building completely matches the Haussmann style. Whilst inside an opulent reception is open to a bar that’s warm and welcoming – the epitome of Paris chic, a blend of old and new.
The large fabulously plush and comfortable rooms with king-sized beds have been exquisitely designed by star French designer Jacques Garcia. He was involved in every detail from bathrooms to door handles. The result is elegant, not at all flashy, contemporary and superbly stylish in muted colours. Even though I was in Paris for just 24 hours, I spent more time in the room (overlooking the Champs-Elysées) than I normally would, simply luxuriating! I managed to get a peek at one of the suites, let’s just say if I had enough money, I’d live there.
Mini-bars and mirrors
The rooms have minibars with a range of wine, drinks and snacks which are all inclusive. ‘We want people to feel really special’ I was told, ‘and any way we can do that, we will.’ When I saw a photo of my kittens Tigger and Pooh in the room, I couldn’t disagree. ‘Well, I follow you on Instagram where I saw your cute kittens’ said Claire Coste, an executive assistant at the hotel. ‘We thought you’d like the photo.’ It’s little touches like this that make you realise just how much attention to detail Le Fouquet’s puts into making sure their guests feel really at home and really spoiled.
The bathrooms are huge with a lovely range of toiletries including Fouquet’s own fragrances. (My husband is now hooked on Fouquet’s Fugue a Paris eau de toilette for men).
In one of the hotel courtyards, the exterior of a building is covered in an 18m high mirror. Made from highly polished metal – it’s an extraordinary piece of architectural design.
Perfect Birthday treat
As it was my birthday (and I honestly can’t think of anywhere nicer to spend a birthday!), there were pink and white balloons in the room. A bottle of Fouquet’s Champagne sat in an ice-filled bucket. And there was a mouth-watering cake in the shape of the Arc de Triomphe made by the hotel-restaurant’s famous pastry chef Nicolas Paciello. It was the best party for one I’ve ever had!
The hotel pool (unusually large for central Paris) has a toasty fire at one end and the walls are lined with paintings. It’s a bit like a watery posh salon, unusual and utterly brilliant. Rooms lead off to a fitness centre, hammam, sauna and jacuzzi and a range of high-end treatments are available. The spa is a real treat. I came out of there feeling utterly reinvigorated, relaxed and ready for dinner!
Restaurant Le Joy
Totally different from the legendary Fouquet’s brasserie – banquettes and dark wood – the Le Joy restaurant has a modern, opulent style whilst the large outdoor area is like a green oasis in the city. I thought I saw one of the Kardashian sisters there, but I may be wrong. Nevertheless it’s got that A-list feel, informal but smart. Le Joy is popular for aperitifs with those in the know. The Bombay Fouquet’s, a gin and martini concoction is superb by the way. You can also indulge in afternoon tea with delicious cakes. The menu is classic French and Mediterranean style, and the desserts and cheeses are divine
Reasons to love Hotel Le Fouquet’s Paris
The hotel is in a brilliant location. I wandered down the Champs-Elysées to the Place de la Concorde to visit the Hotel de la Marine museum. I walked to the Eiffel Tower. And I ogled at the Arc de Triomphe (which you can see from the bedroom windows that overlook the avenue). The metro is just a minute’s walk from the hotel so it’s easy to get around all over Paris.
You’ll get a warm welcome from the hotel’s reception staff and concierges who can help you make the most of your time in Paris. The service is professional but with a personal touch. I got the feeling that the staff are genuinely proud to work here.
It’s a great place for a Paris stay, both grand and homely. It’s ideal for celebrations (brilliant for a birthday treat). Perfect to pop into for lunch at the iconic Fouquet’s brasserie, or dine at Le Joy. Take an afternoon tea, hot chocolate or aperitif break, relax in the spa… And it totally lives up to its 5 star status.
Find out more, and book your room at Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière Paris : Hotelsbarriere.com
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