“Luxury is an emotion, more than a product” Anne Jousse, CEO B Signature Hotels & Resorts.
The Hotel Montalembert is an incredibly chic hotel set just off the Rue Du Bac, one of the best streets on the Left Bank of the Seine in Paris. You are ideally situated to explore the superb cafes, Michelin-starred restaurants, antique furniture shops, bistros and boutiques and only a stone's throw from the famous bridge of love "Le Pont Des Arts".
I lived here for seven years so know the place well. The Latin Quartier was home to many great writers, artists, and philosophers such as Salvador Dali, Bertholt Brecht, James Joyce Simone de Beauvoir, Anaïs Nin, Eugene Delacroix, Pablo Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and many others who all frequented its famous cafes.
Read James Joyce whilst sitting in the Café de Flore, Les Deux Magots, La Palette, Le Bar du Marche, La Closerie des Lilas, or in the Jardins de Luxembourg. You will also discover some of the finest bookshops Paris has to offer, everything from rare classics to art tomes to Bandes dessinées (French comics). The Musee D’Orsay and the Louvre are a few minutes away with the fashion superstore Le Bon Marche a mere five-minute walk.
Built in 1926 The Montalembert was the first 5-star hotel on the left bank and has a magnificent Art Deco facade of unparalleled beauty. As you enter the impressive portico glass doors you discover a Neo-modern 20’s contemporary interior that blends vivid and muted colours to create a warm luxury ambience.
Designed by Géraldine Prieur, the lobby is both extremely grand yet welcoming with some wonderful pieces of furniture, like the wood sculpture bookshelf that separates the lobby and the dining room, plus the lift is a typical stairwell cage, so symbolic of Parisian apartments.
The staff on reception treat their guests like royalty. Mattieu the manager is particularly brilliant and looks after everyone personally as if they were old family friends. An innate quality that goes above and beyond the professional. When asked for shopping tips we were given a superb list of the best fashion houses around the “quartier” that offered genuine Parisian style, something my son was keen to check out.
The management was kind enough to let us park our bright yellow Ferrari F8 Spider right out front, though there is an underground car park just opposite. There’s even a comfy sofa outside by the entrance where you can pause to meet friends or just watch the world go by.
Credited with being the first “Boutique Hotel” the Montalembert has 50 rooms including 10 suites over seven floors and whilst it was fully booked during our stay we felt like we had the whole hotel to ourselves.
The jewel in the crown is the Montalembert Suite “Eiffel Tower” with a surface area of 40 m². Nestled on the 8th and last floor of the hotel, it enjoys an unforgettable view of the Left Bank of Paris. Elegant and plush the suite is much like having your own luxury apartment with Concierge service. Ebony wood, Carrara marble, Bisazza mosaic and silk curtains signed by Pierre Frey and Hermés create a luxurious haven of comfort.
The hotel is part of the young and dynamic B Signature Hotels & Resorts, a family-owned hotel group run by the celebrated Anne Jousse, renowned for restoring grand hotels to their former glory whilst focusing on personal service. They currently own 7 luxury establishments in Paris, Brittany and St Barths.
The Montalembert restaurant provides a welcome home from home to dine with friends and family in a warm, modern setting that exudes informal luxury. I recommend the Veal and the Noix de St Jacques. Breakfast is served here too and the pastries are to die for, particularly as the 7th is already famous for its patisseries.
Next door you'll find L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, one of the finest restaurants in Paris. Robuchon was a globally celebrated chef and named “Chef of the Century” by the guide Gault Millau. It will require an iron will to venture further as you will be hard-pressed to dine better, even in this illustrious area.
The hotel bar is a sumptuous blend of warm and cold tones, with a walnut panelled fireplace and yellow and blue velvet lined chairs. An intriguing mixture of the Neoclassical style and Art Deco, though I suppose the latter heavily influenced the former. A serene spot to sip a few cocktails, a pre prandial whisky or take afternoon tea.
The director of B Signature and owner of the Montalembert explains:
“This hotel is ingrained in its neighborhood. The hotel for writers and artists. So we wanted to keep that spirit, especially for the restaurant which is much frequented by our regulars. "
Odeon at the heart of the 6th arrondissement is a short stroll up the Boulevard St Germain, with its famous theatre, Théâtre de l'Europe, and its extensive programme of events, experimental cinemas, art galleries, bookshops, cafes, restaurants and shops. Don't miss the Rue de Buci with all its marvellous outdoor bistros. The trendy place to sit and admire the bustling market.
The Hotel Montalembert is a charming and sumptuous hotel in a splendid part of Paris. Redolent with history from the rich and famous that have stayed here, these walls must have so many stories to tell. Quintessentially Parisian, refined elegance sums it up best. Though the genuine warmth and hospitality from the staff stand out even over such resplendent modern opulence.