Home Life Arts & Travel Go for Gold: Feel Like a Champion at One of Paris’s Top Hotels During the Summer Olympics

Go for Gold: Feel Like a Champion at One of Paris’s Top Hotels During the Summer Olympics

by internationalbanker

By Diana Fletcher, International Banker

 

“Games wide open!” is the rallying cry of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Is your adrenaline rushing yet? If not, consider that only a few weeks are left until the opening ceremonies at the end of July. Now is the time to plan your trip to Paris. This summer, the City of Light/City of Love will be ablaze with not only Olympic torches but also the excitement and celebration that only the most anticipated sporting event in the world can inspire. Joining the world’s top athletes as they descend on the city is guaranteed to provide adventure-loving travellers with electrifying experiences that combine sports, culture and joie de vivre, ensuring that when they return home, they will regard themselves as winners.

With Paris boasting as many four- and five-star hotels as rues and avenues, selecting just one is no easy feat. To best enjoy these historical games (the ancient Olympic games held in Olympia, Greece, date back to the 8thcentury BC), let’s consider three historical hotels, regarded as tourist destinations themselves, in the heart of Paris, where many of the Olympic venues will be located.

Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 25 avenue Montaigne, 8th arrondissement

© Hôtel Plaza Athénée

Old-world glamour defines this charming but thoroughly elegant five-star hotel, strategically located in the centre of the Golden Triangle, celebrated for its haute couture, on a tree-lined avenue that has spawned more than a few luxury fashion brands, including Christian Dior. The hotel, renowned for its distinctive red awnings and avalanches of red geraniums, celebrated its 100th birthday in April 2013. Closely knitted with the neighbouring Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, which also opened in 1913, Hôtel Plaza Athénée has a long history of catering to artists of all stripes. The hotel boasts 154 rooms and 54 suites, some decked out in classic Louis XVI décor and others displaying Art Deco, all showcasing stylish fixtures and features such as imposing chandeliers, silk drapery, sumptuous upholstery, marble bathrooms and private balconies.

Some rooms offer views of such Paris attractions as the must-see Tour Eiffel (a 15-minute walk from the hotel), which will be adorned with a set of gigantic Olympic rings, while others face the Seine. The opening ceremony on July 26 will feature a boat parade involving thousands of athletes on the Seine, so a room with a river view would be ideal.

Between games, guests will want to indulge at one of the hotel’s five restaurants that will prompt their taste buds to sing “La Marseillaise” in honour of Paris, the world’s culinary capital. The Michelin-starred Jean Imbert au Plaza Athénée offers exquisite French cuisine in a sophisticated setting. A favourite dining venue during the summer is the hotel’s La Cour Jardin courtyard restaurant, surrounded by ivy-covered terraces. Unwinding in the Dior Spa Plaza Athénée, dedicated to “reactivating youthfulness”, will be next on the itinerary.

Hôtel de Crillon, 10 Place de la Concorde, 8th arrondissement

© Hôtel de Crillon

Just a couple of kilometres to the east, situated at the foot of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, lies the equally historical and stately five-star Hôtel de Crillon, once the private mansion of the Counts of Crillon. Hôtel de Crillon overlooks Place de la Concorde, the city’s largest public square that is famous for its Egyptian obelisk, which is scheduled to be the site for some Olympic events, including basketball, breakdancing, cycling and skateboarding. The hotel is situated between the Jardins des Champs-Élysées and the Jardin des Tuileries and is not far from the Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées, which will be transformed into an arena for fencing and taekwondo competitions.

© Hôtel de Crillon

Hôtel de Crillon sits beside its equally imposing twin, Hôtel de la Marine, both constructed by architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel in the 1700s. While Hôtel de la Marine continued as a legendary landmark, Hôtel de Crillon opened its doors as an exclusive hotel in 1909. Today, it is heralded for its timeless celebration of French art and culture. The hotel’s 78 rooms, 36 suites and 10 signature suites are carefully decorated with antiques and exclusive art pieces, underscoring the building’s historical roots and Paris’s vibrant artistic community.

The Paris Expo at the Porte de Versailles, France’s largest exhibition park, is south of the hotel in the 15th arrondissement and will be the site of numerous games. After a day of enjoying so much sports activity, guests can partake in the French haute cuisine awaiting them in the hotel’s premier restaurant, L’Écrin, or one of its other three restos. After a delicious meal, retreating to Sense, a Rosewood Spa will surely temper any beneficiary’s excitement enough to enjoy a well-deserved night’s sleep.

Guests who love to shop will appreciate the hotel’s luxury boutiques. Then they will want to stroll northwestward along the world-famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées with its many theatres, cafes and shops and visit the incomparable Arc de Triomphe, from which they can view the city from its observation deck. They should watch for purchasable replicas of the Olympics’ mascot, the Olympic Phryge, modelled after the Phrygian cap, a symbol of freedom to the French.

Le Meurice, 228 rue de Rivoli, 1st arrondissement

© Le Meurice

Heading east again towards a veritable goldmine of celebrated landmarks, including the Place Vendôme, Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Sainte-Chapele and the Panthéon, tourists will find another historical five-star luxury hotel, Le Meurice, overlooking the Jardin des Tuileries. It is also within viewing distance of the Seine and a short walk from the Musée du Louvre, the home of the Mona Lisa, the world’s most famous painting.

Le Meurice’s “Palace” distinction, courtesy of the French government, is appropriate. Palace defines this establishment, which has operated as a hotel in its current location since 1835, making it one of the world’s oldest. 18th-century grandeur, punctuated by neoclassical furnishings, permeates the premises, including its 121 rooms and 39 suites, celebrating the creativity of Parisian artists—some of whom were associated with the hotel, such as Pablo Picasso. Le Meurice has been described as a “living work of art”.

© Le Meurice

Guests will relish their full-course meals in the Michelin-starred Restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse or Restaurant le Dalí (inspired by Salvador Dalí, another of the hotel’s patrons). The Musée de l’Orangerie, located across from the hotel in the Jardin des Tuileries, is a magnet for art enthusiasts with its collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings.

While staying in the hotel, guests may be fortunate enough to rub shoulders with famous personalities who have also come to Paris for the Games. The hotel is no stranger to Hollywood celebrities, having been the filming site for several movies.

The Seine is a short distance south of Le Meurice. While staying in Paris, guests won’t want to miss a cruise on the famous river, described as the city’s beating heart because it courses through the heart of it, provided by one of the many companies that operate excursion boats.

Your greatest challenge may be securing an available room, so book early!

Paris won’t be the only hot spot for the Games. Neighbouring cities and communes will also be awash with all things Olympic, including Versailles (home of the famed Palace of Versailles), Nanterre, Le Bourget, Vaires-sur-Marne and Saint-Denis, where France’s national stadium, Stade de France (the site of the closing ceremonies on August 11), is located.

Enjoy the Games!

 

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