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May 17, 2023updated Dec 20, 2023

In the City of Light, Le Bristol Paris Dazzles

Almost a century on from its opening, Le Bristol Paris remains a bastion of Parisian luxury.

By Bea Isaacson

It’s a glorious morning in Paris. Warm with a subtle urban breeze, the feeling of sunlight upon bare limbs is a considerable world away from the grey-skied coolness of London.

And what a spot to be enjoying an espresso in the early summer. Sat on the balcony of our sixth-floor suite in the capital’s Le Bristol Paris, the picturesque Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré gently bustles below us; the Eiffel Tower glints in the sunshine from a considerable distance. It’s the sort of moment that elevates one onto an echelon of euphoria that feels as life altering in scope as it does simple in its serenity.

Such is the charm of Le Bristol. The first hotel in Paris to be awarded the distinction of Palace – a ranking even higher than 5 stars – it is an absolute pillar of Parisian style and French luxury, something of a metaphor for the glitz and gild of the City of Lights across the world stage.

[See also: The Best New Hotels in Paris You Cannot Miss]

Le Bristol Paris colonnade
The heritage of the city pulses through the hotel / ©Oetker Collection

It launched in 1925 at the peak of the city’s Roaring Twenties scene, and welcomed the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel, and Pablo Picasso into its glamorous arms. 50 years later, Josephine Baker partied with Mick Jagger and Princess Grace of Monaco; rewind a few decades, and the hotel played its part in the war effort by becoming the home of the American embassy, a legacy happily carried into 2023 with American accents requesting The New York Times over breakfast.

And yet despite its international reputation and clientele, Le Bristol is all Paris. The character and heritage of the city pulses proudly through the hotel, from its dashing Art Deco exterior to the Michelin starred restaurants – and even resident hotel cat. Joie de vivre, as the locals say, has never been easier.


Le Bristol Paris Lumiere suite
The Lumiere suite / ©Oetker Collection

First built in 1715 when French court left Versailles for Paris, Le Bristol still maintains the structure of a private home. This means no two spaces are the same: a refreshing touch within the contemporary hotel landscape that renders every experience utterly unique.

Today, guests can expect something akin to walking through a Regency painting; original paintings (including some French masters), opulent furnishings of the Versailles style, and tall windows that usher in vistas from either the avenue below or the utterly elegant garden within. Airy and spacious, the tone is kept deliberately light, with pastel shades reflecting the white architecture and lush greenery outside. Endlessly charming and never kitsch, all rooms are a bonafide joy for history nuts and Francophile aesthetes alike.

No matter what time of year you go, opt for a suite that includes a balcony for the luxury of seclusion overlooking the city below. We like the Panoramic Suite for vistas that stretch across Montmartre, the Opéra Garnier, Sacré Cœur, and other enchanting landmarks. Including a dining room for six, there is the option to enjoy the 3-Michelin-starred cuisine of Chef Eric Frechon in the privacy of your own space.

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[See also: Nonos at Hôtel de Crillon Marks Paul Pairet’s Parisian Return]


A table at Epicure beside the hotel’s Le Jardin / ©Oetker Collection

As if to prove a point of its personal brilliance and wider Parisian prowess, Le Bristol Paris doesn’t just have one Michelin-starred restaurant, but two. And the hotel’s signature restaurant, Epicure, holds not just one Michelin star, but three.

Epicure’s celebrated chef Eric Frechon has curated a menu that would be laughed at for pretense if it were anywhere but Paris. The international epicenter for high dining, Frechon leans into the world’s imagination and presents dishes that combine black truffle with duck foie gras, blue lobster cooked with charcoal.

Yet it must be said that every layer of the gastronomic experiences within the hotel is brilliant. Don’t skip over the complimentary for the entrees; handmade in Le Bristol’s basement flour mill, even the bread is utterly exquisite. 114 Faubourg, which holds one Michelin star, is a popular spot with the locals, whilst Cafe Antonia is a lovely space to take breakfast in the heart of the hotel.

[See also: How the Prestigious Michelin Star System Really Works]

If visiting during the summer months, a meal within Le Jardin Français is an utterly enchanting experience. Fragrant with French flora and characterized by stylish white parasols, it is an urban oasis in which the beauty and elegance of Paris come alive with the careful curation of architect Arabella Lennox-Boyd’s timelessly chic vision.


Le Bristol Paris rooftop swimming pool
Pure Art Deco fun / ©Oetker Collection

The Spa Le Bristol is the hotel’s primary wellness feature, offering an elegant and sun-soaked space for some rest and rejuvenation in the center of the French capital. Don’t expect any modern-day wellness fads here; Le Bristol Paris is all the better for keeping it classic with green spaces over green juices.

The multi-level spa opens onto an interior garden and features eight treatment rooms, with luxury brand La Prairie at the helm. The true star of the spa, undeniable for anyone who has seen it, is the rooftop pool. Located on the sixth floor, and featuring an outdoor sun deck that includes the Eiffel Tower within its city views, the space is pure Art Deco fun, courtesy of the designer behind the iconic Onassis yacht.


Le Bristol Paris Le Jardin
Le Jardin Français is utterly enchanting / ©Oetker Collection

Located on the Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré, you are both a short walk from some of the city’s most wonderful sites, while also being a considerable distance away from the urban volume of the more bustling sides of Paris.

The 8th arrondissement street is considered one of the most fashionable streets in the world, and for good reason: almost every luxury fashion house is represented here, alongside the Élysée Palace, various other embassies, and the Ministry of the Interior. I am yet to embark on a more gorgeous morning stroll than the Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré on a summer’s day.

The Champs-Élysées is a few minutes away, alongside everything it entails, although admittedly somewhat bordered up due to extensive refurbishment in time for next year’s Olympic Games, which Paris is hosting. No matter: Paris is Paris. No matter what her condition, her timeless beauty and unforgettable radiance draws us from all corners of the world, just as it has done to our forefathers in centuries gone by. Vive Le Bristol for capturing the essence of the city’s magic within its glorious, captivating, and utterly charming walls.

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