Elegant, eloquent and utterly exquisite. The Wordrobe divulges details on Le Meurice, a Parisian hotel that even Salvador Dali couldn’t stay away from
The history of this lavish hotel first began in 1771 in Calais, where upper-class British travellers on their way to Paris would arrive after crossing the Straits of Dover.
There, an enterprising regional postmaster, Charles-Augustin Meurice, put them up in his Calais coaching inn and arranged rides to Paris aboard his coach service.
It was a 36-hour trip, and Louis-Augustin Meurice, Charles-Augustin’s son, built a second coaching in Paris in 1818 to welcome the weary travellers upon arrival. In 1835, Le Meurice moved to its present site, one of the most fashionable locales in the city, overlooking the historic Tuileries Garden.
Since then, this beautiful Parisian property has created a reputation for being one of the finest hotels in the city – with a reputation for lavish entertainment. Back in the day, some dinners would even last from eight in the evening until eight the next morning. One guest even recounted a tale of a lunch consisting of only hard-boiled eggs from the rarest birds, ranging from partridge eggs to swan eggs.
The hotel now boasts two restaurants – the fine-dining Restaurant le Meurice Alain Ducasse, with two Michelin stars and Restaurant Le Dalí, a sumptuous surrealist experience.
Le Meurice lives up the high standards of a classic French palace set when the hotel reopened in July 2000, after an extensive two-year renovation
This Parisian property’s continued stature as one of Europe’s most architecturally significant hotels. By maintaining the Hotel’s elaborate mosaic floors, friezes, paintings, hand-carved mouldings, cornices, columns, pediments, and pilasters, Le Meurice has preserved original architectural details and spirit as a splendid French palace.
Master craftsmen from the Scuola Mosaicisti restored the lobby’s marbled floor with green and white marble. In keeping with the grand façade, the hotel is filled with a collection of exquisite antiques and art from Sotheby’s and Christie’s, which is continually replenished.
It’s also ideally located between Place de la Concorde and the Louvre, with views of the Tuileries Garden. The spirit of the hotel’s interior echoes the 18th century style of its reception halls. Thirty different décors, including more than 170 different fabrics, distinguish each of the 160 rooms, whose combinations and colors vary depending on their size and orientation.
There are 160 rooms and suites in the Hotel, each a perfectly conceived retreat, with fine furnishings and luxurious fabrics. The rooms overlook rue du Mont Thabor, rue de Castiglione, and the inner courtyard focuses on the details and orientation of the rooms themselves.
In contrast, the decor of the rooms overlooking the Tuileries is calculated to draw the eye toward the window and beyond to the gardens below. With 24 Suites and 18 Junior Suites, each room features modern amenities and equally beautiful views.
The Dalí days
One of the hotel’s most outrageous guests was the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, who spent at least one month per year at Le Meurice. His behaviour could also be surrealistic: once he demanded that a herd of sheep be brought to his room, and upon their arrival, Dalí took out his pistol and shot at them.
Luckily, the gun was filled with blank bullets. Another time, he requested a horse. Yet another time, he asked the staff to capture flies for him in the Tuileries Garden, paying them five francs (around one euro) per fly.
He also became close to certain members of the staff, whom he would give autographed lithographs of his work as a Christmas tip. Other famous faces have included the likes of Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Fonda.
Calling all pastry lovers! Le Meurice and its virtuoso pastry chef, Cédric Grolet, recently opened their first pastry boutique at the hotel.
Crowned World’s Best Restaurant Pastry Chef by Les Grandes Tables du Monde in 2017, Cédric Grolet is showcasing his bold creations for the first time in his patisserie.
Visit to enjoy a selection of unique desserts, such as the trompe-l’œil sculpted fruits that made the talented pastry chef famous. Filled with subtle flavours, this new space will offer exclusive access to Cédric Grolet’s creations.
Limited batches of fresh-baked madeleines, chewy cookies, and brioche dough Bundt cakes – it’s a dessert lover’s paradise, with the store closing everyday after the last item has been purchased.
Make it happen
Where: Hôtel Le Meurice, 228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Cost: Rates start from €880 per night. Click here to make a booking