I had a few locations on my Paris list that weren’t major tourist attractions, but had some literary or historical significance. As you may know, I am a huge Ernest Hemingway fan. My favorite book is The Sun Also Rises. I’ve visited Hemingway’s birth home in Oak Park, Illinois; his home in Key West, FL and plan on visiting his home in Cuba, once that becomes available.
At the Place de la Concorde we found the Hotel de Crillon. This beautiful hotel was commissioned and built in the late 18th century. This hotel is where Lady Brett Ashley broke her word to meet protagonist Jake Barnes. Rumor has it, Hemingway along with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald all drank (excessively) here. Of course this location was extremely high on my list.
|No, that is not Brett & Jake behind us.|
We decided to go have a drink before dinner our last night in Paris. MS and I arrived around 19h00 and JB/RK arrived around 19h30. MS and I ordered a bottle of rose and sat in the beautifully maintained bar in the lobby — a piano bar, no less. Even more exciting for me, I know. The bar was pretty small, but was amazingly maintained. The mirrored wall behind the bar, which seated about 8 people, was surrounded by dark wood. Several crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling casting soft light throughout the relatively dark room. The room is done in red and gold with a dozen or so tables sprinkled throughout. It was tight quarters, but I just loved the place.
The waiter recommended a lovely rose that was reasonably priced. The bar was pretty empty but he managed to provide excellent service — I hate when the bar is empty and you get one of two waiters: the over attentive guy who just wants to hang out and chat or his evil twin, the guy who delivers your drink (if you’re lucky) and you never see him again. This guy was perfect.
Our dinner reservations were at 20h00, which was a 15 minute Metro ride away and a 10 minute walk in addition. We were running late so I asked the concierge at Hotel de Crillon to call and reschedule our reservation for 20h30 — he did it without missing a beat and was happy to do it. Unlike the folks we had to deal with at the Hilton le Defense. Granted, guests of de Crillon pay upwards of $US1,000 per night, so you’d expect this type of service.
I would love to stay at this hotel on my next trip to Paris. I could stay at Hotel Jeanne d’Arc for 10 nights for the price of one at de Crillon, but it would be a great experience. If you are a Hemingway fan, you must visit this location. You are stepping back in time at this hotel.
When you travel do you find obscure literary locations to visit — or is it just me? Would you rather stay in the ultimate lap of luxury in a City like Paris or would you prefer a reasonable hotel and blow your money on something else-food, booze, spa, clothes? Have you stayed at de Crillon before?