By Alexandra Taylor
Paris, a city of eloquence, romance and that undeniable je ne sais quoi, has managed to ignite chemistry with each wanderlust traveler who meanders through its picturesque cobblestone streets. The indisputable attraction lies in its ability to be so many things to so many different people. Whether one enjoys 19th century French Impressionism at the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, or sauntering through the streets of the Latin Quarter, Paris never ceases to impress the millions of sightseers who visit each year.
The Parisian allure is innately distinguishable, evident throughout the city in its iconic sights and striking architecture. This intrinsic appeal manifests itself in the refined setting of the newly opened Shangri-La Hotel Paris, a 19th century palace nestled in the 16th arrondissement along avenue d’Iéna. Situated on a quiet street away from the hustle and bustle of the city, yet close enough to all its great attractions, the Shangri-La Hotel is a perfect Parisian retreat. The residential avenue is conveniently positioned across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower, which affords an incredible view from many of the hotel suites. Guests are welcomed through the original 19th century iron gates as they enter a quaint courtyard under a historic, restored porte cochère. The majestic hotel lobby exudes natural light and promotes a relaxing and warm ambience, greeting each visitor in the grandest of fashion. The Shangri-La Hotel Paris merges the best of the two cultures, drawing inspiration from “the Asian art of hospitality and the French art of living,” both decadently on display throughout the hotel.
Originally constructed in 1896 as the residence of French imperial Prince Roland Bonaparte, grandnephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Parisian palace was built to receive notable members of society. The prince commissioned architect Ernest Janty, known for his design work at the Louvre during the reign of Napoleon III. With inspiration pulled from the 17th and 19th century including the Louis XIV style, the palace was as it remains today a disticitive work of fine craftsmanship. The Shangri-La Hotel has made every effort to restore and perceive the original elements, which defines the grandeur of the palace, allowing guests to encounter a truly exceptional experience during their stay.
The hotel is perfectly situated for exploring the must-see sights and local ambience. With one of the highest concentrations of museums in Europe, the surrounding area is full of art and culture. The Guimet Museum, just steps away from the Shangri-La presents the most extensive collection of Asian art in Paris, visit http://www.guimet.fr for more information. All within walking distance the Museum quarter includes the Palais Galliera, Palais de Tokyo, Museum of Man, Museum of Modern Art and the Marmottan Monet Museum. Take a stroll across the Seine to tour the iconic Eiffel Tower or take in the view from Trocadero atop Chaillot Hill. To mingle with the Parisian locals wander along President Wilson Avenue, between the Pont de l’Alma and Place d’Iéna for a vibrant produce and flower market. For a gourmet treat, taste the sweets of Paris at Carette, a French tearoom overlooking Trocadero with delectable macaroons, sandwiches and an assortment of fine teas. 4 place du Trocadéro.
To complement its fine location, the accommodations at the Shangri-La are impeccable. Offering more than one hundred rooms and suites, the hotel is immaculately designed by architect Richard Martinet and interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, merging traditional Shangri-La luxury minimalist style with that of imperial Parisian decor. Rooms and suites are decorated in refined shades of blue, white and ecru, evoking Asian and European empire aesthetics. The intricate interior of each room showcases a mix of textures and beautiful silk-threaded wallpaper, textured wall panels and custom made furnishings. Each room and suite has a marble bathroom with heated floors, a flat screen television integrated in the large mirror over the double sinks and separate luxury bathtub with a direct scenic view overlooking the Eiffel Tower from certain rooms. As well, half of the rooms feature a private balcony with breathtaking views of the Seine and Eiffel Tower. The hotel features three distinct and raved restaurants in which two have received coveted Michelin stars. La Bauhinia, the center of the hotel, offers seating on the ground floor and mezzanine level beneath a steel and glass Eiffel-inspired cupola, for breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea and dinner. The extensive menu includes Western and classic Asian dishes. From delicious pan-seared sole filled with chili-ginger-garlic sauce, cucumber and peanuts, onion tempura and coriander to traditional shrimp pad-Thai with authentic ingredients. The Michelin starred, L’Abeile offers gastronomic French fare in a lovely setting, overlooking the hotel garden. Shang Palace, an authentic Chinese restaurant with a Michelin star, is the first Chinese fine dining restaurant of the hotel category in France.
The Shangri-La Hotel is an unprecedented, accommodating experience and a must-stay when visiting the splendid city of Paris.
For more information:
10 avenue d’Iéna 75116 Paris France
T: (33 1) 53 67 19 98
Images courtesy Shangri-La Hotel Paris