The allure to the City of Love is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Paris has an unmistakable seduction that draws you in from the very moment you arrive. Walking through its enchanting historic streets, or down elegant leafy avenues, there’s a passion and an invigorating intensity that takes over anyone experiencing this breathtaking destination for the first time.
As one of Paris’ most recognized and celebrated hotels, Le Meurice epitomizes that enchantingly amorous emotion, with true elegance and decadent luxury. Located on perhaps the most picturesque (and convenient), anywhere in the city, on the world famous Rue de Rivoli, literally across the road from the iconic Jardin des Tuileries. The Louvre is a short stroll through the beautiful gardens, and in brief – the hotel has an iconically Parisian front yard that any traveler could beg for.
Inside the majestic doors of Le Meurice lies the most picturesque of French palaces. Decorated in the most extravagant Louis XVI style, no expense is spared in its embellishment. From Italian marble floors, to hand crafted period furniture, elegant historic paintings, and fanciful floral displays, every corner of the hotel is all about pristine French grandeur and style. At times, this can come at the expense of warmth and hospitality, and if there’s one criticism to be made of Le Meurice’s opulence, it’s that at times, the desire to create such an upscale and lavish environment results in what can feel like a stifled and almost sterile experience. At the price of a stay at Le Meurice, one would hope for a smile - dare I say, even just a little sign of welcoming disposition - from the doorman, or from passing staff, rather than the rigid and indifferent expressions all too commonly seen by so many of Le Meurice’s front of house staff.
The exception to this criticism is, however, clearly made when experiencing the wonderful service provided at Le Meurice’s various dining and beverage opportunities. The cozy and content Bar 228, often occupied by the serene tones of jazz musicians makes for the perfect escape from the hectic commotion of Paris’ city streets. Add to that their signature Bellini, and you’ve got a refreshingly relaxing afternoon.
The dining options within the hotel are overseen by world-renowned chef Alan Ducasse. Two-Michelin-star Le Meurice Alain Ducasse occupies what could be one of the most visually stunning dining rooms in Europe, with its 18th-century-style grandeur and extravagance, decorated with the finest of glistening trimmings lashed against perfectly pristine whites, influenced by the royal apartments of Versailles. Diners sit among antique mirrors and under crystal chandeliers in a truly majestic venue for this acclaimed chef.
Breakfast is also held in this magnificent setting, with the morning sunshine flooding the dining room through its classic windows. A selection of French and American breakfasts includes Parisian ham, Norwegian smoked salmon, fresh eggs, and a variety of seasonal fruits, with additional extras of truffle and caviar also available. But it would be a crime to not start a day without the magical selection of freshly baked goods, still sitting warm atop a majestic silver platter, and chocolate-lovers will enjoy a cup of Alain Ducasse’s decadent hot chocolate, smooth and velvety, rich in its indulgent flavor.
For guests seeking a more traditional French brasserie meal, Restaurant Le Dalí offers both traditional local cuisine and Mediterranean-influenced dishes. The restaurant sits under a sweeping ceiling mural, among an unmistakable surrealistic style of interior designer Philippe Starck in an eclectic mixture of striking colors, ginormous mirrors, and elegant gold and silver edgings against warm pink tones. The food is elegantly simple. Alain Ducasse focusses on the respectful use of quality ingredients in an engagement between both traditional French and rustic Mediterranean cuisine. Working with executive chef Jocelyn Herland, to-share dishes take diners on a journey around Europe. Starters like a preserved duck foie gras on toasted country bread contrast the culturally distant beef carpaccio with anchovy cream, smooth and luscious with cheeses and pine nuts. Herland’s take on patatas bravas, a menu standout, is visually unique due to its striking black color and unusual structure. A shot glass-like structure, created from crispy fried potato, is filled with an elegant and creamy black garlic puree. The saltiness from being marinated in seawater strengthens the already intense and sharp bite, with a truly decadent elevation of this tasca classic. It’s a meal where the shared appetizers are, without question, the stand out event of the dining experience.
But one of Le Meurice’s most memorable adventures for foodies will take place in the afternoon at Le Dali, where acclaimed pastry chef Cédric Grolet presents some of the most incredible pieces of edible art. His truly breathtaking Rubik’s cube – a spectacular rainbow-colored arrangement of 27 individual pastries – has diners transfixed, and has rightly made its mark on social media for its both its visually stunning presentation through striking and bold color schemes, but also in its pairings of dynamic flavors. The engaging creation can be enjoyed as a dessert after a meal, but it’s more commonly ordered as part of guests’ afternoon tea at Le Dali.
Offering a wide selection of different teas, coffees, infusions, or hot chocolate, Tea Time at Le Dali is a charming way to spend an afternoon in Paris. You’ll enjoy classics such as warm scones with clotted cream and various jams as well as the most delicate but lively finger sandwiches. Seated rightfully on top of the silver platter though, lies the pinnacle of the afternoon tea experience – Grolet’s masterfully created sweet conceptions. The pastry composer is known for his sculpted fruit creations, and on this particular afternoon, the most perfect of peaches poses perched on a glistening silver platform. From its gradually warm reddish tones, to a defined indentation, to a hint of a rough, dark brown stem - every single element of the fruit was perfectly constructed, beyond comprehension. The peach skin, made from a delicate thin layer of white chocolate shatters into a magnetic center of peach simmered with vervain tea, which in turn, transforms into a wonderfully sweet, yet aromatic preserve. It sits on top of a frothy and bubbly white chocolate and peach foam, and a succulent peach slice base. It is, without question, a true masterpiece both visually and in taste.
Le Meurice is a truly indulgent luxury escape for those wanting to experience Paris’ enchanting nature with the highest of extravagance. A stay at the hotel’s opulently decorated and visually breathtaking rooms is a sincerely Parisian experience, however, even a short visit for afternoon tea, an evening drink at the bar, or a sampling of Le Dali’s various shareable plates can give you an indelible taste of one of Europe’s most celebrated properties.
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And hear chef Alain Ducasse share his early influences.