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The Only Chateau Hotel in Paris: The Perfect Parisian Escape

Tucked away in its own gorgeous courtyard, Saint James Paris is a recently renovated hotel in the leafy 16th arrondissement of the French capital, that lovingly cultivates a world of unmatched refinement and art de vivre. Close to the Arc de Triomphe and Avenue Foch, this exceptional hotel reveals a discreet character imbued with pastoral charm and an aura unlike any other.

Graced with 50,000 square feet of greenery, it holds court amidst its own marvellous gardens. This former private mansion dating back to 1892 is now bridging its romantic neoclassical soul with modernity, thanks to the talents of interior designer Laura Gonzalez, who has achieved a perfect symbiosis of plant life and art deco. As Paris’ only “chateau-designated” hotel (now part of the Relais & Château collection), the building was originally a school and then an esteemed members club so the spot has always been a haven of sophistication and peace.

The Vibe

Saint James Paris feels like you’re staying in a grand mansion in the French countryside, right in the centre of town. The library bar and sunny gardens are convivial whilst the rooms and spa are the perfect break, hiding you away from the fluster of city life. The hotel manages to find that perfect balance of buzz and calm that any well traveled city connoisseur seeks in a city stay.

As Paris’s only château-hotel, you’ll feel like you’re socialising in a private club, then overnighting in a private home.

The Rooms

French interior designer Laura Gonzalez gave each of the 50 rooms a vibrant art deco update, at once chic and poetic, grandiose and intimate. Featuring a sumptuous mix of patterns and fabrics from Maison Pierre Frey, custom rugs by Pinton, ornate chinoiseries and moldings, and a variety of light fixtures and objets, Gonzalez adds big bouncy beds covered in cushions, marble bathrooms with luscious bathtubs and showers and Guerlain amenities. All also come with a fully equipped cocktail bar, as well as snacks from Angelina, the famed Parisian patisserie by the Tuileries Gardens.

Take note of eight rooms set under the glass roof, also called the Winter Garden, and the two on the ground floor which open out onto the garden.

The Amenities

Do not miss the Guerlain spa (including one for couples), swimming pool and hammam, the perfect remedy to a long day of walking the city. In the spring and summer, enjoy breakfast or cocktails in the hotel’s leafy veranda, transporting you to warmer climes with its colonial-style decor.

The Dining

A French pastry basket is one of life’s greatest pleasures and the daily selection at the Saint James is one of the best. Melt-in-your-mouth chocolate croissants and buttery brioches are the best way to start any day. The pièce de résistance and destination in its own right is their Michelin-starred restaurant, Bellefeuille, by the acclaimed chef Julien Dumas.

The concept is entirely seasonal and dedicated to nature, and through constant sourcing work, he favours artisans of land and sea who practice responsible methods – pollock and mackerel fished by Ondine Morin on Ouessant Island; seaweed and marine herbs harvested by Jean-Marie Pédron; poultry raised by Bénédicte Poiseau in the Perche region – all purveyors whom Dumas knows and works closely with to create his menus. Vegetables are grown in the hotel’s organic garden south of Paris and brought to the Saint James by electric van, while honey comes from hives on property. Guests can watch Dumas plate the dishes through the open doors to the kitchen from the dining room. His precise plating borrows from the Japanese art of kaiseki ryôri, where several refined dishes are arranged to form a visual and taste composition of rare harmony.

Things To Do

I love to spend an entire Paris day walking: I start in the 6th arrondisement and poke my head into all my favourite shops and boutiques along the way: Maria de la Orden for adorable quirky separates and smocked dresses, Officine Universelle Buly for fragrance and candles, Simrane for the best tablecloths and quilted jackets. Then, a walk through the Tuileries or down the Seine to the Eiffel Tower followed by a brisk lap of the little park at the bottom. For museums, head to the smaller ones including the secret museum that is Musée Nissim de Camondo. And for weekend visits, Marche aux Puces is unmissable, the best antiques and flea market in all the land.


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