Built in an Art Nouveau style by the founders of famous Parisian department store Le Bon Marché, Hotel Lutetia first opened its glamorous doors on the Left Bank in 1910, was an instant hit with the city’s creative types, and has been steeped in history ever since.
Irish author James Joyce is said to have written part of his seminal novel “Ulysses” while staying at the hotel and it was a cultural hotspot for much of the 20th-century. But during the Second World War, the Lutetia was requisitioned by German forces and used to house troops.
Following the liberation of Paris in 1944, under the orders of Charles de Gaulle the hotel hosted victims of Nazi atrocities who were trying to reunite with their families.
In the 1950s, the hotel became a hangout for celebrity intellectuals, and was favoured by the likes of Picasso, Hemingway and French Resistance activist Josephine Baker, all of whom were frequent visitors.
In 2014 the 233-room EUR300/night hotel was closed for a four-year EUR200 million transformation, designed to elevate the property’s status to that of a five-star contemporary palace hotel – the only one of its kind in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area of Paris’ 6th arrondissement.
A few months ago the Lutetia re-opened, having been sensitively renovated and remodelled under the watchful eye of architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Whilst the spirit of the historic building remains totally intact, numerous contemporary new features have been incorporated into its classic Art Deco interior, including a new jazz bar, a holistic wellbeing centre and Brasserie Lutetia with three Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passedat at the helm. The guests room count has also been reduced to 184 keys to enlarge all accommodation and create 47 suites, two of which have access to private outdoor terraces boasting spectacular 360-degree views of the City of Light. Unsurprisingly, room rates now start at EUR850, rising to EUR19,000 for a night in the swanky two-bedroom presidential suite.