Cheval Blanc Paris: the most beautiful new hotel in Paris opens today


In the spring of 2020, during the first COVID lockdown in France, when we were only allowed to leave the house for urgent reasons or to exercise near our home, I started taking brisk daily walks. along the Seine. I live near the river, and during those weird weeks, when Europe’s borders were closed and the city was getting eerily calm, the Seine became my touchstone, a vital source of energy and calm.

Although I have walked its shores countless times, confinement has forced me to re-observe my surroundings. Once, near ÃŽle Saint-Louis, I saw a swan gliding through waters now free of barges and riverboats. I noticed a weather vane placed on a roof, statues in alcoves on the facade of the Louvre, plaques with the heroes of the Resistance.

Paris has come back to life now, but I remembered those times when I looked at the Seine on a sunny day this summer from behind the thick windows of the Cheval Blanc Paris. The hotel, which opened this fall, is LVMH’s first five-star property in the city and the cornerstone of the 16-year-old conglomerate’s epic, sometimes controversial, restoration from the historic La Samaritaine department store complex to Paris. 19th century temple of commerce, where the bourgeoisie could buy everything from ready-to-wear to children’s toys, La Samaritaine regained its Belle Époque glory, with wrought-iron balcony steps around a large atrium on the ceiling of glass . It now offers LVMH lines and other labels, including Bottega Veneta, Prada and Chloé. The facade of rue de Rivoli is dressed in futuristic, wavy glass, designed by the Japanese architecture firm SANAA.

Le Cheval Blanc occupies the south side of the enclosure, in a proud Art Deco building distinct from La Samaritaine and overlooking the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris, inaugurated in 1607 by Henri IV. With only 72 rooms and suites over 10 floors, this hotel is a cozy cocoon, a bastion of calm and privacy, designed by Peter Marino as a symphony of beige and white with golden reflections. The ambiance is where the 1930s meets the 1970s, cool elegance with a bit of groovness. The furniture, lighting and decoration are a mixture of French artists and global designers. To dominate the lobby, the hotel commissioned two giant, colorful photo assemblies from Brazilian-American artist Vik Muniz. On another wall is a large blue abstract canvas by French artist Georges Mathieu, 1978, while colorful lithographs by Sonia Delaunay line the hallways on the upper floors. At the top of the hotel is the “Quintessence Suite”, a 7,000 square foot personal palace with its own swimming pool. “I wanted everything to be new and unexpected,” Marino tells me. “Looks like it could never have been seen before. Elegant, austere, unique.

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