Long Weekend in... Paris
Mr and Mrs Smith had not steered us wrong. Hotel Murano is as modern, chic, and lacquered as the images and reviews promised it would be. Even so, its best feature is arguably its location — on the bustling Boulevard du Temple just steps from idyllic Parisian cafes, great nightlife, and a charming route to the Seine.
For all its eccentricities and beauty, Paris is a consistent city with each major thoroughfare looking much like the last. Sidewalk cafes blend into each other, one tabac’s sign resembles the next, and street signs seem like they’re aiming to confuse. But that familiarity between les arronidissement is what makes the city so fun to get lost in.
Even though Paris breakfasts can be unremarkable by American standards, there are great divides between cafés that can do a simple café crème and tartine well and those who miss the mark. One of the best is Merci. You could easily stumble on this place without knowing what you’ve found — only 4 or 5 tables line the sidewalk while inside is an enormous space that acts as lunch spot, library, and über-cool concept shop.
As is required of all visitors, we marveled at the Louvre’s glass pyramid before walking into the strangest (and coolest) shop in recent memory — Deyrolle (pictured). It is an old-school taxidermy shop with a giraffe, bear, ostrich, and lion all for sale (stuffed, of course) within.
Most would agree that the Musée Rodin makes a most visually appealing pit-stop. Skip the interior and go for the ticket that lets you stroll through the gardens, which are peaceful and stunning. Walk as far from the back of the museum as you can, then turn around — magnifique! (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Hotels Paris Rive Gauche)
Taking advice from many Francophiles back home, we stopped for lunch at Robert et Louise, back near our hotel. Order the set lunch menu, sit back, and enjoy.
Stopping back at the hotel, we were shown to our room at the end of a (very) darkened hallway. Built seven years ago, you can see some wear and tear on Hotel Murano, but it is ever-loved by locals and visitors for its sleek décor, stylish ambiance, food, and drinks. Even in the late afternoon, Parisians had started filling the semi-outdoor bar in the lobby to munch on the hotel’s signature (and delicious) breadsticks and dip and sip on colorful cocktails. What must be (or should be) a point of pride for Murano’s slick bar is their impressive collection of nearly 150 different types of vodka.
Our room was large with fun, modern amenities, bright orange chairs, ample pillows, and… colored lights. At any given time, we could have had a room bathed in a soft pink or blue light if it struck our fancy, which it did. (Photo courtesy of Murano Resort)
Much like Paris staple, Hotel Costes, Murano Resort produces CDs, which features musicians who've played or recorded at the hotel. Ultimately, the colored lights, plethora of vodka, sleek Parisians throughout, constant stream of music, and the hotel’s somewhat unassuming exterior work together to create the feeling of a contemporary hidden gem in an otherwise saturated city.
Rested and ready to go, we ventured out to Nouveau Casino for a concert. It is not what it sounds like — no gambling or high rollers in sight, just a hipster-loving music venue with cheap drinks and great acoustics. It's also conveniently smack in the center of the cool bars and lounges on the rue Oberkampf. Skipping the adjacent Café Charbon for a quieter spot, we sat at Les Anémones before having a nightcap back at the hotel.