Paris has forever been and will always be the world’s artistic capital. Not only because the grand city is a work of art in its own right, but because it’s home to some of the most awe-inspiring masterpieces ever created in every discipline.
You can visit Paris for its food, architecture or art scene. It might sound like a cliché, but the city truly has something for everyone. Here’s my answer on how to have the most sophisticated and artistic trip to Paris while avoiding the crowds.
Maison Albar Hotels manage several extraordinary properties in Paris. One of the most exclusive is Le Vendome which has opened doors to its visitors in February 2020. It is located in the quiet Rue du Helder in the 9th arrondissement, a few steps from the Opéra Garnier, Place Vendôme and Galeries Lafayette in the mansion of the French nobility. The five-star hotel has fifty-one rooms and luxurious, gold-themed decor for an elegant and intimate stay. If there’s a perfect place to start your day, this is it.
In the past, this building housed the famous Lyon d’Or - a hotel, restaurant and cabaret for parisian elite who craved for art and sophistication. Today, the sign is still visible on the façade, classified as a historical monument. Now with that iconic past, the hotel offers you a place of seclusion adorned with gold and green, luxurious velvet fabrics and marble.
Fabien Roque is the designer behind these elegant interiors. "I wanted to bring back to life a forgotten era, a time when the Lyon d'Or was a myth throughout Paris. I, therefore, attached myself to history to redesign this hotel,” explains Fabien Roque.
He made a successful redevelopment of the place and revived the spirit of the past by combining intimacy, luxury and exclusivity.
To pay tribute to its old days, Fabien Roque collaborates with artist Marc Dannaud to bring the lost Lyon D'Or back to life from its ashes by creating paintings for the hotel. His canvases tell the story of its past. Made from ash and gold leaf, these works can be seen in the lobby and the rooms of the hotel.
To develop the green space of the hotel, Fabien Roque worked with the landscape designers from Les Jardins de Gally.
Breakfast at Maison Albar is all you’d expect and then some. The hotel offers a homey Continental breakfast with fresh fruit, pancakes, yoghurt and cold cuts. You can take it in the restaurant, your room or order it to go. From their Breakfast à la carte menu, go for the Parisian breakfast for a lighter alternative featuring freshly baked pastries, or the Vendome Breakfast with organic eggs cooked your way, matured cheese, cold cuts and smoked fish.
Lunch at Yakuza
The hotel’s Japanese restaurant unquestionably serves works of art made of rice and nori, courtesy of chef Olivier da Costa. Although several Yakuza restaurants have been around for a few years in Portugal, the one in Paris opened its doors in 2011.
This is not your average sushi spot; the restaurant is magnificent — admire its colourful pop art inspired by geisha, underground Japan and cabaret. Roque Intérieurs designed the dining room, and the Maison’s architecture plays a critical role in making you feel welcomed and stimulated.
Lunch at Yakuza is a must. The menu offers your favourite nigiri rolls and sashimi along with more adventurous items, including lobster spring rolls and salmon rolls with fresh truffle. Not precisely inexpensive, you visit Yakuza to be inspired, and they do that incredibly well.
In the evening pamper yourself with the visit to the Carita spa which offers body and face treatments. They use their very own product, alongside natural oils and ingredients.
Things to do in the area.
Located in the bustling 9th arrondissement, Maison Albar hotel also stands on the border of the 8th and 2nd districts which gives you a perfect opportunity to explore the main sights by foot. But to continue to dive into the history of the city I recommend visiting Carnavalet Museum. Located in the Marais district, it is dedicated to the history of Paris. Inside these walls, you can treat yourself to an impressive collection of 3,900 works of art, mainly from the Renaissance period.
The museum was recently renovated and reopened in 2021; it now offers a world-class experience on par with the city’s more popular museums, where classic art pieces share space with digital installations and enriching projections to experience 450 years of Parisian history like never before.
To carry with the art and design experience that started at Maison Albar, pay a visit to a new hot spot in town. Art exhibitions, expositions, performances and projections, they’re all best enjoyed in the majestic Bourse de Commerce, just some steps away from the hotel. This multi-disciplinary art venue is constantly evolving, making it a dynamic exhibition space. The Bourse de Commerce itself is a magnificent building from the 1760s with a stunning circular central courtyard, recently renovated by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.