The $225 Million Makeover Everyone is Talking About
It’s a hot topic for architects around the world, fashion mags, and even CNN. If you haven’t stayed at the Hotel Lutetia, you must – or a least pop in for a meal at the Brasserie.
Le Lutetia is the only grand hotel on the Left Bank.
It’s located in the St. Germain-des-Prés neighborhood in the 6th arrondissement, which, as you probably know, is the ultra-fashionable, sometime-bohemian neighborhood that every Parisian wishes they lived in.
My first stay at Le Lutetia was when I was 18, right before I moved to Paris for a year – into that very neighborhood. Lucky me.
(Art Nouveau Façade)
Since then, I’ve been a Lutetia guest at least a dozen times. Even now, as soon as I check in, I feel like my old “French” self again, and don’t want to speak any English. On top of it, this is the only hotel I know in the world that has over 50 shoe stores within a 2-block radius.
Before the four-year, $225 Million makeover, the rooms were pretty much always a surprise. You might end up with a seriously huge bordello-like space
(Calacatta marble lobby)
with multiple-rooms, low lighting and luxurious deep red velvet curtains everywhere; you might have a swanky suite filled with spectacular, original Art Deco furnishings; you might have huge windows with plenty of sunlight and a balcony opening up to the Boulevard Raspail, or you might end up in a very tiny corner room. It was all part of the charm.
The hotel was built in 1910 by the Boucicat family who founded Le Bon Marché department store in 1852. They built the Lutetia so their customers would have a luxurious and super-modern place to stay. Every room had hot water and air conditioning when it opened. Nice!
This is the one hotel that local Parisians favor as much as jet-setters do, and it’s been this way since the beginning. Everyone is chill.
Le Lutetia has always been a hotbed of creativity for fashion, art, philosophy, writing and politics, but discreetly so.
In the 1920’s, James Joyce wrote “Ulysses” there and Ernest Hemmingway was a regular patron at the bar. In the 30’s artists Matisse and Picasso lived there. In the 50’s the Tattinger Champagne family purchased it, and Josephine Baker frequently belted out jazz in the bar. In fact it was the place to be during the growing jazz movement.
(Stunning 17 meter pool in the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Center)
In the 80’s fashion designer Sonia Rykiel, (the Queen of knits and first person to put slogans on sweaters and seams on the outside of garments) redesigned the interior of the hotel.
Pierre Bergé, the business and life partner of fashion icon Yves Saint Laurent, lived at the hotel for several years – twice, in fact.
Modern fans are actors Brad Pitt, Catherine Deneuve, Isabella Rossellini, Gerard Depardieu and director David Lynch.
45 Blvd Raspail, 75006, Paris, France
Metro Station Sevres-Babylon for the hotel and St. Germain-des-Prés for nearby famous literary cafés and even more shopping
PICS FROM BEFORE THE RENOVATION
Below are a few pics from before the renovation. I love the old feel as much as the new. In the links below, you’ll see even more of the renovation and the history.
(Lobby with crimson velvet Art Deco club chairs) (Opening announcement, 1910)
CNN – includes photo gallery
Wilmotte & Associés – The architect’s notes
https://www.surfacemag.com/articles/hotel-lutetia-paris-renovation/ (Lobby and ceiling)
Surface – Historical Photos!
Food & Sens