France: Shangri-La Paris
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Address10 Avenue d'Iéna, Paris 75116, France 33/1/5367-1998 shangri-la.com
A room with a view. 40% of the standard rooms and 60% of suites have a room with an Eiffel Tower view. Get one, it's worth it.
Afternoon Tea at La Bauhinia: The usual scones and finger sandwiches with a subtle twist. Enjoy a French/Asian take on cupcakes and homemade preserves. A live piano, playing softly in the room, adds to the serenity of the experience.
The huge cocktail menu at Le Bar
Peking Duck at Shang Palace
The Royal Salons. Not necessarily open to public viewing, you'll have to sneak a peek.
- 81 rooms and suites
- Free Wi-Fi
- Room service from the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurants
- All marble bathrooms with heated floors
Most rooms reflect this heritage and are decked out in an early 19th century Empire style, with soft hues and neoclassical pieces. Tones of blue, white, and ecru define most of the rooms, as do marble bathrooms, king sized beds, and touches of gold and wood, with subtle, thoughtful modern touches like flat screen TVs embedded into the bathroom mirror or an in-room Nespresso machine for making coffee. Details are considered here, and add to the attentive service. (When I ordered room service for breakfast, my truffled eggs were placed in a "hot box" underneath the small table they wheeled in, to keep the dish and the accompanying toast warm.) But the crowning glory of my room was the view. From a private terrace, I commanded a sweeping panorama of the city, the river Seine and the closest, most perfect view of the Eiffel Tower I could ever imagine. That singular feature made me feel like the star of my own movie.
Other highlights of the property include the historic salons, which two of the three have been officially registered as historic monuments and contain Bonaparte family era details such as an original chandelier. Though they are mostly used for private events, strolling through the Grand Salon, with its gilded gold leaf ceilings, engraved "RB" initials and imperial insignias, you can easily imagine the grand soirees that once took place in its royal heyday.Down at Le Bar, the multi page cocktail list, crafted by head barman Christophe Léger, is another treat. In Léger's creations, you get small reminders that the Shangri-La is an Asian hotel chain (the company is based in Hong Kong). One cocktail, Red Flag, is a potent combination of vodka, wasabi, horseradish, soy sauce, and tomato juice with a hint of smoked salt , while another, Marco Polo, combines Szechuan peppers, rum, strawberries, basil and soda water.
Dinner at either the one star Shang Palace or two Michelin starred L'Abeille are a worthy foil to your stay at the Shangri-La. Europe's first Michelin starred Chinese restaurant had some hits and misses, but Peking Duck—served first as just crispy skin to be wrapped in thin pancakes, and then as a savory ground meat dish—was a definite hit. Another was a sweetened egg-white almond cream embedded within a lightly fried sesame ball. Served barely warm, it was a surprising and subtle end to our rich meal, smooth and creamy like custard, with a delicate lingering almond flavor. Though it lacks a star, the property's main restaurant, La Bauhinia, is equally innovative and delicious. At an afternoon tea, pastry chef François Perret offered a refined take on "cupcakes," blending traditional French pastry technique with Asian ingredients. One cupcake contained caramel and black sesame paste; another litchi and raspberry.
The 16th, where the hotel is located, is a pretty and pleasant arrondisement. Located in the western part of the city, this district is defined by its mix of wide boulevards and eclectic architecture. It has a slightly more relaxed and residential feel, perfect if you prefer to be out of the throes of the bustling center. Within walking distance from the hotel, you'll find everything that you need for a quick jaunt to Paris: the Eiffel Tower, the river Seine, the Arc de Triomphe, 16 museums, and shopping along the tony Avenue Victor Hugo. —Diane Ruengsorn
In the Area
- Marché Président Wilson: A twice-weekly market, with excellent prepared foods, fresh meat, fish, produce, and flowers. Avenue Président Wilson, from Place d'Iéna to rue Debrousse, 16th arrondissement, Wednesdays and Saturdays
- Prunier: The boutique shop of this Parisian institution sells fresh and preserved seafood delicacies, specializing in caviar. 15 Place de la Madeleine; tel: 33/1/4742-9898; prunier.com
- Café Trocadero: Have an aperitif and linger over the view of the Eiffel Tower. 8 Place du Trocadéro; tel: 33/1/4405-3700
- Béchu: A classic French boulangerie-pâtisserie-salon de thé. Wonderful chocolate brioches, feuillatine (chocolate pralines) and Trocaderos (vanilla meringue pastries). 118 Avenue Victor Hugo; tel: 33/1/4727-9779
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