Friday, January 15, 2010

Paris Left Bank Favorite

New: the Petite, Chic Historic Hôtel Récamier

My favorite Paris-based interior designer, Jean-Louis Deniot, recently completed the brilliant redesign and remodel of the charming, well-priced Hôtel Récamier on the Place St.-Sulpice. Bravo, Jean-Louis!

I love the elegant all-new updated neo-classical style, the near-everything-great location, the witty art, and the hotel’s surprising setting in a quiet, hidden corner of Paris. With its church tower views and privacy, it’s become an insiders’ favorite.

Come with me for a visit.

You know I love and admire Jean-Louis Deniot, the dynamic French interior designer/architect who is favored by clients around the world, from Delhi to Kiev and from Chicago to Capri.

I wrote about Jean-Louis when I first launched this blog last summer (check the archives) and his sleek, classical décor has been among the favorite features on THE STYLE SALONISTE.

Last year, when Jean-Louis told me he was working on a complete remodel and redesign of the Hôtel Récamier in Paris, I was impatient to see it.

Well, it’s brilliant. Here’s the very first look.

The Hôtel Récamier is now, thanks to Jean-Louis, the small, discreet, romantic and superbly located hotel all my friends are looking for.

The Récamier is set to one side of my favorite Paris churches, St. Sulpice (I’ve written earlier about its the Delacroix murals). It’s a two-minute walk from Pierre Herme, Odorantes, Gerard Mulot, Muji, Marie-Helene de Taillac, Pierre Marcolini, and all my other beloved go-to places, and it's five minutes from Café de Flore and Café Deux-Magots. The Jardin du Luxembourg is just a block away.

The Hôtel Récamier used to be one of those romantic only-in-Paris hotels you loved—but over time it had become rather faded and a little triste, even though it was still the beloved hotel of Left Bank intellectuals, poets, and writers (a dime a dozen in this arrondissement) who were beguiled by pure charm.

Sylvie de Lattre to the rescue. Sylvie, a French entrepreneur, also owns the Hôtel Verneuil and the Hôtel Therese, located in the heart of Paris. Lots of my California friends love the Therese and the Verneuil, both on quiet streets and with heaps of Paris soul.

Sylvie bought the Hôtel Récamier in 2008. This hotel, an early 20th century building built in limestone, was formerly registered as a two star hotel under the same name. Sylvie had her own vision for the Hôtel Récamier and hired Jean-Louis Deniot to do an intensive renovation and turn this tired two-star hotel into a sophisticated, and fashionable four-star boutique hotel.

The Hôtel Récamier is named for the famous Madame Récamier, one of the original ‘salonistes’, born Jeanne Bernard in 1777. She was the daughter of the rich ‘bourgeois’ Jean Bernard, a native of Lyon, France. Later known as Juliette Récamier, she danced, sang, played the harp and the piano in her salon for numerous guests. Her fame influenced French ‘salon’ entertaining to the point that the name Récamier had become ‘the reference’ for all salon parties.

Subtle luxury is the key to this bijou hotel. Yves Saint Laurent, Catherine Deneuve, Karl Lagerfeld, and more recently Johnny Depp and his family, have all been residents on this historic Left Bank square.

Jean-Louis Deniot’s concept was to create the atmosphere of a private, hidden Parisian town house. His inspirations were varied, from Yves Saint Laurent (who has opened his first store location on Place St. Sulpice), to Tony Duquette and Maison Jansen.

Jean-Louis designed all elements of the new décor and interior architecture, as there were no interesting architectural elements or existing materials in the original décor that were salvageable.

He designed reception rooms in a classical French style, deftly mixing Directoire period signature motifs and style elements from the 1940's. He juxtaposed some eclectic custom-made furniture that he designed, inspired by the French 40's, 50's and 60's.

Staying true to the ‘private home’ concept, Jean-Louis created twenty-four different rooms with one theme on each floor, along with different but cohesive fabrics and color schemes. to offer diversity and personalization. Twelve of these rooms have a full-on view of the Place St. Sulpice, the church, and the dramatic and theatrical fountain.

The hotel reopened fall 2009, and has already been discovered by in-the-know clientele who appreciate the chic décor, the art and refinement. Pop singer /songwriter Katy Perry was recently a guest at the Hôtel Récamier, no doubt a fan of the hotel’s privacy and discreet location.

Interior design and interior architecture
Jean-Louis Deniot
Cabinet Jean-Louis Deniot
Architecture d'interieur - Decoration - Design
39 rue de Verneuil 75007 Paris
Tel: +33 1 45 44 04 65
Fax: +33 142 84 03 63

Xavier Bejot, Paris

Hôtel Récamier
3 bis, rue St-Sulpice
From 250 euro


Karena said...

Hi Diane, I love this post beautiful design work! The palette is so refreshing!

Greet Lefèvre said...

It is a beautiful hotel! For the moment I am working on the design of a few rooms of a new hotel in Belgium and these pictures gave me inspiration! Thank you!

Brillante Interiors said...

Madame Récamier would have been proud of the trasformation and excited to hold conversation about the contemporary art used around the hotel. A marvelous project with great attention to every detail.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Beautiful - thanks for a sneak peek.

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Perfect! Madame Récamier would be proud and right at home. I would love to pack up, and go there, right now. Thanks for this lovely post. xo Lidy

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting.. I can't wait to stay there in September for beinnale de antiques.

TSL said...


A Super Dilettante said...

WOW, this is Oh-so-Parisian chic, Diane!! What a talented artistic Jean-Louis Deniot is! Now I understand why you love and admire him.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Thank you so much for your enthusiasm.
I posted this feature also on my FACEBOOK page and had wonderful comments.
Intelligent and chic HOTEL design is the key here--and the superb location in the heart of the Left Bank (with pastry shops in all the directions, and the top flower shop, Les Odorantes, just a few moments away.)
I must say--this is not the hotel for those who demand a business center or a spa (not here) or who want 5-star cuisine at all hours of the day and night. The service is discreet but there is no room butler to bring you a CD he has just burned, or who will quickly deliver fresh pomegranate juice.
I would be extremely happy reading a book in a room way up at the top floor--with a view of St Sulpice turrets and the square and Catherine Deneuve's apartment in the distance, and nibbling on a slice of quiche or a lovely fresh spinach and shrimp salad from Gerard Mulot nearby. Imagine--on a Saturday morning you head out to take in some art galleries and book shops and jewelry stores in the neighborhood, and then you drop in to Gerard Mulot, select a super-fresh croque monsieur or a club sandwich or a salad and a few macaroons, plus an Orangina or a bottle of Evian, and slip along to the Jardin du Luxembourg, and find a chair or two beside the Medicis fountain...or overlooking the yacht pond. In summer or spring I cannot imagine anything more dreamy. After, you can find the ice-cream counter nearby (hidden under the trees near the bandstand) or the crepe cart (near the boules court) to make the day even more precious.
Let's just say--these pleasures are also easily creatable for those of us who live in San Francisco or New York or...anywhere with a handsome park! You don't have to be in Paris to eat a delicious fresh sandwich and watch people play tennis in the park--with some friends. Simple pleasures--in Paris or in Kansas City or Kalamazoo--are often the very best and most deeply felt.
Cheers and happy days, DIANE

Unknown said...

While I have stayed at the Recamier many times over the years and always appreciated and even admired its reluctance to "chic up" given its nearly impeccable location, I must admit that this renovation is beautifully conceived and executed. I will definately revisit and enjoy this lovely and sight appropriate restoration.

Laura said...

My heavens, that wonderful endless staircase is reason alone to make a trip to Paris! These are my favorite types of hotels...sans business centers, please, I'm on vacation after all. You always have the most wonderful insight into cities, completely unique to those tips you hear from others.

Mark Newman said...

"Fabulous" is completely appropriate in this case! Next trip to Paris, this is my hotel. Thanks for the discovery and recommendation.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Thank you for your experiential 'real life' comment. Lucky you to be in Paris often.
You make an excellent point.
The Recamier BEFORE was charming and 'authentic'. It was also a little faded and funky...but of course in that beautiful corner of Paris. Now there is a certain delight in going there--and it feels fresh and current and welcoming. Jean-Louis made a point--in this renovation--not to 'corporate' it up, but to keep rooms very individual, as before. And to walk out in the morning and walk in any direction will be a thrill.

Thank you for your kind words.
I travel as a traveler or as a resident of that place (in this case Paris) and immerse myself immediately into the culture.
I walk a lot. I explore. I linger and wait and sit and observe. I meet friends in hidden cafes. I taste and sip and watch and then walk some more. I sit at Cafe des Deux-Magots and draw in my Moleskine or make notes of that experience.
I often study maps of Paris before I depart for CDG so that I can explore new areas (recently around the rue des Martyrs) and walk confidently, knowing what is there, and knowing the sidestreets and what is at the top of the hill.
In Paris--or in New Delhi--I am very in-the-moment, and hyper-alert to the light dappling through trees, or a small new bakery that has opened on a tiny alley, or a new book shop that's open late, or a new icecream shop I can walk to after dinner (there is now a cluster of icecream shops around the rue de Buci in Paris, for example).
I note and recall--that late on a summer evening, when the sun is still shining at 10pm, I can stroll with friends to Berthillon over behind Notre Dame for a cassis sorbet. Those are my interests--such as a side door into the Louvre, or a short cut from rue Dauphine to rue Mazarine, or a shortcut from the place St Sulpice, through the front door church St Sulpice, out the back door of the church and toward rue de Seine and rue du Tournon.
I avoid the touristy places--even though sometimes tourist favorites are wonderful (Notre Dame). By taking the less trafficked places, I see marvelous corners of Paris--such as the rue des Grands Augustins on the Left Bank near St Michel, where my favorite Mariage Freres tea shop (upstairs tea salon) is located.
I am always very very happy to be in Paris--any time of year.

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Mark-

I know your will find the hidden-away location and the petite size of the hotel is very pleasing.
Please ask for a room at the top--with a view of the turrets.
My feature is about the new decor. As it's a small hotel, so one is not lavished with 'room butlers' or hot and cold running wait staff.
I found the desk staff and others warm and friendly and it's all very understated. But it's the comfort and freshness and wit that caught my attention. Best of all, you don't walk out the door into a loud and highly trafficked street (as you do with many Paris hotels). There is no through traffic right there (it's on the other side of the square) and if you walk in the direction of the Jardin du Luxembourg, it's quiet and monastic. If there is a show at the museum in the park, be sure to visit. See my previous comments for making the most of the park on weekends.
I discovered another charming cafe over on the rue de Fleurus (on the other side of the park) about ten minutes away from the hotel (walk there through the Jardin)...with lovely salads and tarts and tables outside. I loved it.
Have a wonderful trip--and be sure to send a report --with splendid and adequate service, I trust. cheers, DIANE

M said...

Diane -- Thank you so much for this post. What a wonderful tip, especially as St. Sulpice is one of my very favorite squares and neighborhoods in all of Paris!

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Hi Michael-

Yes, I agree.
For me, the location of a hotel or apartment in Paris is almost the essential tipping point. I like to be somewhere! I like to be in the middle of a great neighborhood. I love to walk out the door--and head in any direction for a new adventure.
I wish you safe and happy travels...DIANE

escapade said...

This is just stunning! Each shot is so rich with layers of beautiful things to look at. Love the clever faux canopies too.
Thanks for sharing this!
Hope you've enjoyed a lovely long weekend!

P.Gaye Tapp at Little Augury said...

Diane, Ever since your introduction to JLD I have been waiting another posting. WowWee. Everything is seamless- lighting perfect with naturalistic leanings but different, Busts- repetition but each one uniquely finished, Palettes the same- How gorgeous to see it realized and the brown and turquoise palette is some strong. I have revisited hear to comment-Now I will bookmark, Then I will return for the InDepth amazing comments You have added to the story- Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful. pgt

Color and Style said...

What a beautiful hotel. Would love to stay there next time we're in Paris. Thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

Thanks Diane for your wonderful post. And in case you haven´t noticed, Monsieur Deniot has finally released a few photos of the stunning Directoire Chateau in New Dehli he has been working on for some time. Amazing work, as usual.