The Outbounder: Issue 5
“Is Paris burning? Destroy all the bridges over the Seine and devastate the city!” Hitler had bellowed over a telephone line to General Dietrich von Choltitz, a German commander headquartered at Le Meurice during the Nazi occupation of Paris. Fortunately the latter famously chose to defy this command.
If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. You love it in the spring. You love it in the fall. You love it on a Monday, Tuesday or a Sunday afternoon. Is it any wonder then France is a top favourite with tourists and Paris one of the most visited cities in the world.
Haussmann buildings, gilded historic monuments and elegant bridges have arguably made Paris the most glamorous cityscape in the world. The French capital is home to ‘Palace’-grade hotels that offer the most exceptional accommodation in the city through Michelin-starred dining experiences; designer spa treatments; or made-to-measure experiences. Visiting these hotels feels like participating in a lavish, expertly directed theatrical experience; truly once-in-a-lifetime! And there’s nowhere quite like Paris for a setting to match.
The Peninsula Paris is a historic luxury hotel, truly befitting the city of its location. Queen Isabella II purchased this palace for her residence during her exile following the Glorious Revolution. In the early 1900s, it was converted into the Hotel Majestic retaining Queen Isabella’s bathroom accoutrements, including her marble bath, in the Presidential suite. In 1922 it was the site of a famous dinner attended by Marcel Proust and Pablo Picasso. The “dinner party of the century“: was immortalised in Richard Davenport-Hines’s book, “Proust at the Majestic: The Last Days of the Author Whose Book Changed Paris”. In World War I the Majestic served as a hospital for the wounded. In World War II it served as the headquarters of the German military high command in France.
The Peninsula Paris opened in 2014 after some elaborate restorations. It is well placed for experiencing the finer things Paris has to offer. The building – which takes up a whole city block –retains painstakingly restored period features, interplayed with contemporary fixtures. It offers traditional grand-dame service and opulence with a modern edge. The subterranean spa houses the city’s longest hotel pool. The Peninsula Paris also scores very high on being family friendly with packages themed around French culture and knights.
Good to know: The Peninsula’s rooftop restaurant, L’Oiseau Blanc, pays tribute to early aeronautics and the French World War I flying aces Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli, who vanished while attempting the first Paris-to-New York flight in 1927 (two weeks before Charles Lindbergh’s historic transatlantic flight). A replica of Nungesser and Coli’s biplane lives just outside of the restaurant’s panoramic windows, which overlook Parisian rooftops and the Eiffel Tower — some of the most beautiful views of any restaurant in the city.