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A PARIS GEM: HÔTEL SAINTE-BEUVE by guest blogger Casilda Grigg

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O'Sullivan

I first stayed at Hôtel Sainte-Beuve, in Paris’s 6th arrondissement, a few years ago and found it a lovely place to return to after a day of shops and museums. I loved all the little details: the pink orchids, the parquet floors, the sublime croissants at breakfast, the zany receptionist, Cécilia, who gave us one poor restaurant recommendation (on the same street) but was spot-on about everything else. Our room was up in the eaves, quiet and smartly done up, with views of slate rooftops. In the morning we heard birdsong and the peal of bells, and breakfasted downstairs on all sorts of viennoiserie and proper French coffee, slightly sharp, very strong. The only drawbacks were those of most Parisian hotels – the room was small, there is never enough soap, and why can’t the French get pillows right? But these quibbles were lost in a happy weekend of shopping, exhibitions, langoustines and Saint-Emilion. I returned to the Sainte-Beuve earlier this year and found it much as I remembered it. Cécilia is now Sabrina, and the hotel has new owners (who also run the Hôtel des Académies et des Arts). But the atmosphere of quiet, secluded elegance remains unchanged. Instead of soothing taupe, the sitting room, which doubles as a chic breakfast parlour, is now a sea of Matisse reds, and decorated in what Sabrina proudly describes as ‘le style anglais’ (‘English’ interior decor is very à la mode in Paris). Just as before, this is a hotel that gets the important things right – unfailing service, a warm ambience, enough space (just) to park a footsore boyfriend or spouse, who’d much rather read the paper than shop or look at paintings. Even the lilies, a slightly pedestrian flower in the UK, were artfully arranged in the reception area – each stem a different height.The Sainte-Beuve is a direct 25-minute ride from the Gare du Nord, and direct by métro to the Pompidou, the Musée d’Orsay and countless other cultural hot spots. But, best of all, many of the best elements of Paris are right on the doorstep. It’s a 12-minute walk to Paris’s only Left Bank department store, Le Bon Marché – the department store of Parisians – and its superb food hall, La Grande Epicerie, above, which sells everything from foie gras to Bird’s Custard.

Further information, Hôtel Sainte-Beuve, 9 rue Sainte-Beuve, 75006 Paris. 0033 1 45 48 20 07; Hôtel Sainte-Beauve

Casilda Grigg writes a style blog about the French in London called Who Stole My Croissant

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