Our recent excursion to Paris enlightened us about quite a few Parisian attractions, hidden secrets, legendary and lesser known wonders within the confines of the place the ancient Parisii settled and worked. Our own enlightenment, mirroring an historic one, embodied in the nickname of this place on the Sein, La Ville-Lumière. The City of Light, is in fact an ongoing work of art, a living canvas painted familiar and anew each day. Like children, this is the way to discover Paris.
The Hôtel des Académies et des Arts is one of the most elegant boutique hotels we have ever stepped across the threshold of. Our host for the tour of this creative gem, Manager Henry Mona (below with the author), unveiled for us a superb hotel, by anyone’s standard. Located just minutes from the Jardin du Luxembourg, in the elegantly-styled Latin section of the city once favored by the likes of Picasso and Gauguin,, Hôtel des Académies et des Arts is a fitting landmark brushed into the fabric of this place.
Visitors and guests will find the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art just next door to the hotel, permanent and temporary exhibitions there perhaps being of import to some, but certainly significant for the hotel’s essence and community aspect. And in keeping, right across the road, ecah day, amateur painters paint their nudes in the same studio as Modigliani, Gauguin or more recently Serge Gainsbourg.
The area’s artistic legacy, given birth to many an artistic talent, idea, concept, no doubt, not the least of these the gripping street art of Jerome Mesnager. So it was, our friends at Mr & Mrs Smith, then Henry, Mesnager’s “White Body” iconic stylite, and ultimately this area of Paris too, enamored both Mihaela and me. What a wonderful thing it is to imagine creativity, finery, and true and kind hospitality set within a domicile made for people to sleep and live, away from home. A little luxury boutique, with the heart of Van Gogh or Michelangelo. Speaking of Michelangelo.
Henry’s hotel is truly a one-of-a-kind aesthetic experience – the twenty rooms and four exotic ‘ ambiances’ created here, each featuring a unique version Mesnager’s famous “White Body” character, on some walls, and sculptures abounding, even climbing in thin air. For those who have never stayed here, the effect of this hotel is, quite soothing, and a little awe inspiring.
As for our tour guide slash new-found friend Henry? Just as Mesnager was born to paint, some people were born to display kindness, thoroughness, to play host. The most valuable amentity at any hotel is courtesy, and at this Henry excels. History, to a ruffled sheet straightening… real hospitality is in the details, and the people dedicated to seeing to them. Combined with the way the light strikes a crisp, starched, perfect sheet, this is the great differentiation.
Of course the reader will need something aside the aesthetic appeal of this place to stay. As luck or design would have it, Hôtel des Académies et des Arts does not disappoint in any respect. All the essential mod cons are in place – flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi, safe, air conditioning, mini-bar – and so on. Room and other services though, are what assuming or unassuming guests get for their money here. And not in a mercenary way, at all, either.
Creativity, service, and so on, I need to make a point here, about an indescribable character this place has. I decided to use the image below of our son Paul Jules, and another later on, to illustrate this. So, please just remember my references to children, for now.
Tea lovers will thoroughly enjoy the cultured atmosphere of the exotic Chez Charlotte tea room (bar image below). Oozing with class and sophistication, Chez Charlotte offers a fantastic selection of the finest teas in Paris from Le Palais des Thés, who source their products directly from the world’s finest tea growing regions.
One might think; “only so much can be said for a place to stay.” But, as you can see, this is not true of every place. The stories, and back stories, history of the owners, Henry’s own experiences, those of the artist whose work adorns the walls, and so on, reflect as Paris itself, life that goes on behind the walls, in the streets of this great city.
Then there’s pampering in the wellness room, where luxury intertwines with necessary relaxation. Paris is, after all, as taxing on the senses (and feet) as it is tantalizing. Guest choose from an aromatic massage, an energizing massage or even a chocolate massage that’s certain to delight every single one of their senses. Add in a dose of beauty therapy (hand or foot treatments), a full makeover and hair dressing service, and any guest takes a radiant glow onto the streets with them.
Speaking with Henry at length, maybe the nicest thing guests of Hôtel des Académies et des Arts will encounter is a choice of feeling, experience, an attention and caring that goes a smidgen past service. The hotel’s manager desribed in some detail, the ways in which new and repeat guests go about selecting their accommodation with Henry, often touring the various rooms to select a style or motif, one suitable to either fancy or tendency. There are, after all, any number of refined themes about the premises. The image above is of what might be considered a more feminine atmospheric, glorious burgundy, red, and velvet textures abounding. And then the tailored suit of Earth tones, crisp collared bedsheets abide just next door (you can see the view from this room below).
About now some readers will tire, having traversed a somewhat skilled review of a hotel. My bit of charming description, not unlike ten thousand others, may not be so appealing as to convey the real message here. I know, we know you will be pleased staying at this hotel, the cost of luxury being, as it is, low here by comparison. But, more important than art architecture or champagne bubbles, a restful and peaceful place, comfort – this is the what Paris visitors really need.
Discovering, as a child… my own son Paul has never once in his three and one half years napped at mid-day.
What more telling accolade than an energy inducted, curious fellow, comfortable in a strange land, parents upstairs, and still able to let go. Maybe it’s time you did?
For more information about this fabulous boutique hotel, please visit the links above, the hotel’s Facebook profile, or take advantage of the great offers from Mr & Mrs Smith here. Our thanks go out especially to Henry Mona, Tamara Lohan – Co-Founder of Mr & Mrs Smith, and
Sabrina Corelli, who helped make our meetings with everyone so easy and enjoyable. We can never say enough good about Smith Hotels.
I leave you with video about the hotel which shows a lot more about the design, development, and features of this fine establishment. Many thanks for the founders and proprietors Charlotte and Laurent Inchauspé for this and the art that is the hotel.