Soaking up the je ne sais quoi

Parisian chic – that certain je ne sais quoi that many of us Brits like to try to absorb on long weekends across the channel – is an elusive attribute. There are places in the city, however, where the essence of Parisian chic seems to materialise in a tangible form, allowing us mere mortals to simply sit back and soak it up. The Lancaster Hotel, located just off the iconic Avenue des Champs-Élysées, is one such place. Their timeless formula relies on a perfect blend of key ingredients.

Bedroom & livingroom

Firstly, elegant architecture that has stood the test of time – designed as a private townhouse mansion in the late 19th century, the building was transformed into a luxury hotel during the golden age of art deco. The character and style of the hotel’s early days were preserved during recent renovations and the grand vision of using the new elements to accentuate the old does seem to have paid off.

In-room Children Welcome

From the chandeliers in the suites and striking geometric glass ceiling in the bar to the restored oak parquet floors in the bedrooms, via a treasure trove of antique furniture and classic paintings, the Lancaster has stayed true to the spirit of late 1920s Paris. Every room, right down to the entrance hall, has been lit, furnished and colour-schemed to transport guests back in time to the glamour of bygone salons and auction houses (as long as you can keep the illusion going whilst loading up the Wifi).


Part of the hotel’s glamour is conferred by the roll call of stars that have walked through its doors – Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable and Grace Kelly were among the Lancaster’s famous guests of years gone by – kept current through the living-museum feel of the communal areas and guest rooms, especially the suites. The Marlene Dietrich suite, for example, has evolved from the room the singer used to stay in and features her grand piano. Further tales from the hotel’s history include how Russian artist Boris Pastukhov – also remembered in a suite – paid his room bill in paintings, many of which still grace the walls today.

Reception room -- Fontenoy

Compared to the rooms with famous namesakes, the ‘I love Paris’ suite is slightly lacking in vintage symbolism, but given its view of the Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Coeur there is little risk of overstatement. Romantic flourishes are on tap throughout the hotel, from the use of velvet and soft lighting to set the mood in the 1930s-style bar, to the fresh flowers placed on each of the guest room doors.

Façade Lancaster HR

Then there are the other types of stars – the five stars of the hotel (with the expected accompanying range of luxury services and luxury price tag) and the must-have one Michelin star held by its restaurant, La Table du Lancaster. Presided over by chef Julien Roucheteau, with a brief of interpreting traditional produce in an unexpected way, the menus change with the seasons and are divided into whimsical themes, like ‘according to the winds and tides’. Ordering à la carte works out about as extravagantly as you might imagine, but a gourmet weekday set lunch can be snapped up for €58, whilst €65 secures a four course Sunday lunch.

Hotel Lancaster_ Le Bar_vue panoramique2

Peace and quiet are also key to maintaining your inner calm in a chic fashion during a city break, so the hotel’s courtyard, decked out in wooden patio seating and oriental plants, is highly appealing. The bar and restaurant are grander spaces but still relaxing. Seating in the bar consists of a plush collection of sofas and armchairs, comfortable enough to tempt you into more than one decadent hot chocolate or cocktail. But don’t worry about the calories, you can always sweat them off in the sauna or walk them off along the Champs-Élysées, venturing forth into the fashionable heart of the city secure in the knowledge that you have imbued a good dose of Parisian chic overnight.

Gourmet Restaurant La Table du Lancaster by night (2)

by Nicola Kavanagh

The Lancaster has 57 guest rooms in total – 5 singles, 35 doubles (divided into three categories of spaciousness) and 14 suites. Room rates start from €450 per night.

About The Author

Glass Magazine editor in chief

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