Experience old-time elegance at one of Paris’ classic art nouveau hotels.
Published in S/ magazine, Fall 2014. Read it here.
Recalling la Belle Époque in Paris prompts romantic ideas of a time only the very oldest among us have experienced, and at that, only as children. It evokes a scene; A couple dressed in turnof- the century clothes strolling down a cobblestone road; glittering streetlights reflecting off the Seine, while horses and carts pass by. Reflections like these drive a yearning for a time and setting long gone.
It was a golden age, a time before two devastating world wars, when the city was optimistic and advancements of all kinds were emerging. Haute Couture was popularized, and the women of the era would revel in it. Art nouveau painters and architects marched to the beat of their own bohemian drum.
Luckily for the romantic escapist, most of the Belle Époque architecture—one of the era’s greatest achievements—remains today. The Hôtel Régina, nestled in the grounds of the Louvre Palace royal stables and perched only steps from the Jardin des Tuilleries, is a prime example of the time’s art nouveau style.
In 1900, the cultural capital opened its doors to the Exposition Universelle, the world fair that drew millions of visitors to Paris. Léonard Tauber set out to offer luxurious accommodation with a modern philosophy on hospitality, and brought the Hôtel Régina to life. To this day, the family-owned property stays true to this goal.
The newly renovated hotel still stands in its original fashion, with asymmetrical shapes and soft arches creating a harmonious silhouette. As the art nouveau movement was strongly inspired by the natural environment, plant-like embellishments and floral stained glass still decorate the hotel’s interior abundantly.
The all-white furnishings of the Romance Suite make an exquisite retreat for a honeymoon, with balconies and a view of the Eiffel Tower. A host of other refined rooms offer signature art nouveau décor, with period furnishings like sofas upholstered in velvet, intricately carved wooden furniture and Carrara marble bathrooms to take you back in time.
During the warm weather, guests can venture out to a courtyard garden for a meal or escape to the welcoming English Bar for an evening cocktail. And if you visit, make sure to leave room for dessert—the hotel serves the famous Ladurée macaroons.
Since the property rests right in the city’s centre, designer boutiques on Rue Saint-Honoré or the Champs-Élysées are steps away, and by evening, people watching in the Opera district with an espresso or nightcap in hand, is a joy.
Although times have changed since the turn of the 20th century, visiting a place that is in touch with its history is a wonderful way to recharge.
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