WHERE TO STAY
Left Bank or Right, the city is full of beautiful, romantic places to lay your head and the French powers that be have deemed the Parisian Palaces lovelier than any old five-star hotel. For this trip, I stayed at Le Royal Monceau.
It has the way-above-standard charm and grace in the expected ways: The staff is proud of their work and genuinely interested in making you comfortable, the building is meticulously maintained and every detail reflects careful thought. But it goes way further: Instead of just “calling a car”, a staff member went outside during rush hour to hail a cab. Philippe, the gentleman who runs the in-house cinema, happily indulged me with tales of his favorite films (stop by on a Sunday for the Film Club's weekly screening—while you watch a classic, you'll be treated to a glass of champagne and the house’s caramelized popcorn by Pierre Hermé). The wonderfully articulate and jovial Julie, the hotel's personal art concierge, devoted an hour of her day just to chatting about art and Paris and the importance of curation with me.
It's hard to put your finger on it, but there's a common thread that knits everything together and elevates this beyond 5-star hotel to a palace. From top to bottom, there is a genuine respect for beauty and art and a sincere appreciation of the effort that's found behind anything of quality.