by Stephen Jermanok
Don’t mistake the crystal chandeliers and gilded interior of Le Meurice with pretension and formality. This is, after all, the place where surrealist artist Salvador Dali would call home for a month each year. The man who created melting timepieces in his most famous work, “Persistence of Memory,” would certainly need a degree of playfulness in his chosen home and you can find that whimsy immediately upon entering. Kids place imprints of their hands on a large mirror-like sculpture inside the lobby. Long angular figures surrounded by ethereal clouds are painted on the ceiling of the restaurant, Le Dali, created by designer Philippe Starck and his daughter. Outside a bar lined with leather books, a jazz trio belts out Coltrane and Thelonious Monk. There’s no doubt that this Parisian locale has a certain joie de vivre.
Yet, the real reason why Le Meurice is such a hit with families is the location. Across the street is the Tuileries Gardens, home to a carnival in the summer months and Paris’ famed carousel. A 10-minute walk down the road is the Louvre, the most famous art museum in the world and home to the “Mona Lisa” and “Venus de Milo,” among other famous works of art. Walk through the Tuileries to reach the Seine River and a bridge to the impressive collection of Impressionist works at the Musee d’Orsay. Behind the hotel are a slew of bistros, chocolatiers and patisseries that are within easy walking distance. Indeed, Le Meurice has one of the most central locales in the entire city.
Then there are the connecting rooms, perfectly designed for families of four. Each room has its own spacious marble-tiled bathroom so you’re not fighting for the shower after a day of sightseeing and before you go out to that French bistro.
Our Editor Loves
- Central location
- Elaborate dining room for breakfast
- Passport map and activities for kids
- Connecting Rooms
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
There are 160 elegantly appointed rooms and suites styled in the decor of Louis XVI (read: opulent). Being a city hotel, the rooms are soundproofed and feature oversized, marble bathrooms, private entrances and sitting areas. DVD players, stereos and laptops are available by request at no additional charge. There is an additional cost for Wi-Fi in the room.
Room selections begin with classic, superior and deluxe rooms, ranging in size from 320 square feet to 430 square feet. Families will prefer one of its 40 larger junior suites and suites ranging from 535 to 810 square feet. Connecting rooms are available to make the rooms even larger. Signature Suites include the Marco Polo eave suite, an elegant 1,025-square-foot Prestige Suite, a monstrous (and monstrously pricey) Presidential Suite, and the Belle Etoile Royal Suite, at 3,230 square feet with its own 2,691-square-foot terrace with 360-degree views of the city. (The ultimate splurge!)
Two connecting rooms on the third floor overlook a glass-enclosed courtyard and a door leads from one bedroom to the next, so it was really like a two-bedroom suite. The beds were comfy and welcoming, especially after long days of seeing the city. There were safes in each room, large flat-screen televisions, mini bars, and decent closet space. Yet, the best part of these rooms was the magnificent white marble-tiled bathrooms. There were two sinks, a large standing bathtub, separate shower, and a closed-off toilet area. They also provide a hair dryer, robes, and slippers. The suites are perfectly suited for families, and there are numerous varieties, depending on how much space you'd like.
In one's life there are, I find, a few places ('spots of time') the memory of which renders one especially inspired, fully satisfied, at peace. For me as boy growing up in 1950's affluent West L.A., it was my great Uncle's summer home on a pristine lake near Charlevoix, MI: mentally year 'round I never left this lake which I personified and called to mind whenever troubled. Later it would have been the memory of coming into Newport harbor from an ocean sail, the dusk sunlight flecking the waters surrounding Lido Island, the smell of diesel and sea water. Later still at school, it was the early evening clock punctuated silence of the upper reading room of Oxford's Bodleian Library, where one read in the company of P. B. Shelley, et al. But for a long time now, the Proustian moment has been early morning in the Meurice, my wife of 50+ years of marriage still asleep in the bedroom, me pulling the living room curtains back just a bit, sipping my diet Coke ('with lots of ice') and looking out over the Autumn dressed Tuileries to glorious Paris beyond. Every morning now wherever I awake and want briefly to slip from the Purgatory of habit, of daily routine into Paradise, it's the Meurice that does the magic. The Meurice is a hotel which, more than any other I have ever known, that returns your love for it tenfold. I have only to think of our favorite person there, the inimitable concierge Anouck, to be reminded that one has only to start making a request of any staff member to notice in a flash a smile saying "yes, of course we will make that happen for you". There are many handsome buildings, lovely rooms, beautiful symmetries and colors in Paris, but none that offer one, in its location or aesthetics, or services the little glimpse of heaven as does that of the Meurice.
I enjoyed so much staying in this wonderful hotel.
The suite i was on has a balcony with incredible view and easy to see the Eiffel tower.
Everything was more than i expected. The comfort of the bed, walk in closet and the free complimentary cookies, dates/figs and fruit plus juices. Very quiet hotel and relaxing. I strongly recommended staying in this hotel :)
Touting itself as a hotel that loves kids, Le Meurice organizes treasure hunts at the hotel with the Pistache mascot. Kids also receive a passport map with the city's biggest attractions highlighted, to let them pick and choose some sites they'd like to see. Visit the concierge desk, where they will help you plan family-friendly excursions.
With the Tuileries located directly across the street, consider it the playground for the guests of Le Meurice. Kids can request a wooden boat from concierge for sailing in the boat pond, ride on the city's most famous and historic carousels, and in the summer months, enjoy the summer carnival complete with games and ride.
The Seine River is just a block away, so be sure to enjoy a boat ride with Batobus. You can get on and off the riverboat as many times as you like during the course of the day, and can use it to get to Parisian sights like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.
Le Meurice Alain Ducasse
Each morning you get to start your day by walking in to the elegant French rococo dining room, surrounded by gold leaf, marble and crystal chandeliers, where you'll be served breakfast by the polished staff of waiters. Begin with a basket of hot, buttery croissants, followed by a fruit plate of blackberries, tangy mangoes, blueberries, red currants, and pineapple. Your three-course morning meal concludes with a perfectly prepared omelet or eggs Benedict, served with a side of bacon or sausage. The waitstaff is always there to fill up the children's cups with fresh juice or to serve mom and dad another hot cup of rich coffee.
At night, the Versailles like-room is under the helm of the three-star Michelin chef who not only cooks memorable meals but has created the design of the dishes you'll be dining on. The restaurant serves typical French fish like sole and turbot, but it's the meat offerings that earned him his reputation. Try the sliced breast of wild duck cooked on a spit or the filet of hare with caramelized juice.
Next door, under the massive Philippe and Ara Starck ceiling painting, is Le Dali. The restaurant offers a traditional tea (or a rich hot chocolate for the kids), paired with finger sandwiches, scones, heavenly macaroons, patisserie, cakes, and fruit tarts created by renowned Parisian pastry chef Camille Lesecq. The more casual dinner menu includes roasted chicken, salmon, even hamburgers and fries for the kids.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
All the concierges at Le Meurice are excellent and should be utilized during the course of the day for sightseeing and at night for dinner reservations. In addition to the concierge, expect top-notch service when dining and at check-in. This is a place that doesn't keep you waiting, whether it's for a cup of coffee at breakfast or the way up to your room.
The hotel concierge is happy to assist you in arranging for in-room babysitting service through one of Paris' recommended agencies.
A small fitness center is available with state-of-the-art equipment, although the best workout comes from walking the streets of Paris and climbing the stairs of Notre Dame, Basilica Sacre Coeur or the Eiffel Tower.
Pets are welcome to stay here.
Complimentary Wi-Fi access is available in public areas of the hotel.
The Art of Smart Timing
The Tuileries are popular both summer and winter, when you can ice skate on the frozen water of the fountain. You're also close to the best hot chocolate in the city, Angelina. Cost of a room at Le Meurice is more affordable in the winter months and the flight overseas is much more reasonably priced. It's hard to go wrong in this city anytime of the year. Even in the heart of August, when most of the locals are away on vacation and those famous Michelin-star restaurants are closed, Paris is still alive with out-of-towners who have the place to themselves.
Le Meurice provides its own limousine service (although this is not a free service). If you're arriving by train, you'll enter the Gare du Nord station in Paris, only a five- to 10-minute taxi ride to Le Meurice.
The hotel's location makes many attractions and restaurants walkable.
For Mom and Dad
The Spa Valmont features cosmetics from the upscale Swiss company Valmont, along with the usual selections of massages and facials, its signature being the 50-minute Meurice body massage. The spa's terrace offers light lunches, and makes a nice getaway for parents, if they can enjoy some "me" time while touring Paris.
The hotel's bar, Le Bar 228, is cozy and styled in dark woods and rich, leather upholstery. Sample one of the 17 exclusive drinks, like The 228, or one of 300 others the bar offers until 2 a.m. Watch for wine tastings with the hotel's sommelier, who leads guests through the wine regions of France.