Those who have taken a trip to the city of Paris know about its unique layout: curling outwards like a gigantic snail shell. Within those spirals lay arrondissements or neighborhoods, twenty to be exact — each with their own culture, personality and attractions.
Among them you’ll find the 1st arrondissement, the center of the spiral and home to the Musée du Louvre and Jardin du Palais Royale. The artsy 18th arrondissement is where Montmartre beckons from with winding, cobblestone streets and the famed Moulin Rouge cabaret.
In the middle of it all lies the 8th arrondissement — perhaps one of the neighborhoods most synonymous with Parisian glamor. There, visitors stroll down the Champs-Élysées and pop into the flagship shops of world-renowned designers such as Chanel and Dior. A trip to this neighborhood isn’t complete without a long stare up at the wonder that is the Arc de Triomphe, and possibly even a walk across the top of it. Next on the docket could be a visit to Ladurée for a box of macarons before retiring to your Parisian suite at Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet to catch sight of the Eiffel Tower’s first twinkling after sundown.
Owned by Group Barrière, Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet is actually one of the last luxury hotels in the city to still be in the hands of a French family. Perhaps for this reason, it’s one of the French-iest hotels in existence. Its location on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées is quintessentially Parisian enough already — and made even more so by the hotel’s flagship restaurant, brasserie Fouquet’s. Its red awnings have been a calling card to diners near and far since first opening in 1899, and since then it has become one of Europe’s most iconic restaurants.
The brasserie has built up a laundry list of glamorous diners over the years, but also prides itself on hosting an exclusive group of regular diners — some of whom come there every day to dine and socialize. It all started in the ‘80s, when Fouquet’s owner decided to create an invite-only loyalty program that awards each of its new members with a coveted silver napkin ring, engraved with their respective name. Only ten new people are accepted annually.
Besides discounts across the group’s restaurant, hotel and spa, members get the glory of having their silver napkin ring housed alphabetically in glass cases — ready to be placed before you as you sit down for a meal.
The hotel itself spans 101 guest rooms and suites, all built within seven Haussmann-style buildings. Following a recent renovation, this includes 19 brand new rooms that made their debut right before the start of the pandemic. Regardless of which room you’re staying in, you’re guaranteed one of the most customized experiences possible at a Parisian hotel — all guests are requested to fill out a two-page questionnaire prior to arrival.
We appreciated that each guest room and suite is outfitted with an iPad which allows you to contact the concierge to ask questions about the city, notify housekeeping that you don’t want your room cleaned that day, or ping room service to bring up your breakfast or a bottle of champagne. You can also use the same iPad to control the settings of your room, like closing your curtains up before tucking into bed or turning on some mood lighting.
Some of the grander rooms also come equipped with luxe upgrades like marble bathtubs for soaking, but the hotel’s piece de resistance is definitely their selection of four apartment-style suites that were unveiled at the end of 2019.
For the measly price of $13,130 per night you can snag the George V suite, for example, with 1,500 square feet of gorgeously designed Parisian luxury living. Each suite was designed by French interior designer Jacques George, with details like herringbone parquet flooring, huge fireplaces and prime views of monuments like the Arc de Triomphe or the Eiffel Tower. Despite its proximity to the bustling Avenue des Champs-Élysées, four times glazed glass offers supreme sound-proofing for a peaceful night’s sleep.
To help you get over the sticker shock, the hotel includes other perks that are bundled into that booking price, like complimentary roundtrip transfers to the airport or train station, spa treatments, and dinner for two to enjoy en suite or at one of the on-property restaurants.
The main dining attraction at the hotel is obviously Fouquet’s—perfect for experiencing an authentic brasserie and French classics done right, like escargot with garlic butter or beef tartare.
For a more relaxed dining experience, especially for breakfast or lunch, there’s also Le Joy. From the lobby, a plush red velvet lined staircase leads the way up until you reach the newly revamped garden restaurant. Le Joy’s lush bar is perfect for a cocktail or some bubbly before hitting the town, or you can sit in their outdoor patio area for some fresh air while you enjoy your first meal of the day.
Our favorite option for imbibing at the hotel is definitely their speakeasy, though, which is hidden behind a bookshelf, past a room off the lobby. Called Le Marta, its secretive location and luxurious interiors make for a seriously sexy place to grab a nightcap with someone special.
Aside from dining options, the main amenities at Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet revolve around relaxation. Guests have access to the hotel spa’s heated indoor pools, which includes one larger pool for wading around or swimming laps, as well as aqua-circuit jet pools. Both are found in the lower level of the building, meaning you won’t be disturbed by the hustle and bustle of the outside world as you sink into the water.
Attached to the pool area is Spa Diane Barrière, which keeps on theme with the hotel by sourcing products almost exclusively from French brands for their treatments and boutique. Step into the sauna or steam room for a breather, or hop onto their HydroJet bed for a little massage. If you’re more in the mood for the real thing, holistic spa services are available to book, as well as unique sustainable manicures that skirt the line between gel and polish.
Just because the 8th arrondissement is known for its luxe shopping, doesn’t mean that’s all it has to offer. With that being said, it would be a missed opportunity to not leave room in your checked luggage if you plan on staying in the area. Flagship stores by high profile designers like Louis Vuitton and Cartier are a dime a dozen here, but you can also find more niche designer shops that are an experience of their own. Prime example: Those feening for the newest and hottest can stop into the 16,000 square foot KITH Paris Flagship to pick up a pair of sneakers and eat lunch inside at KITH for Sadelle’s.
Once you’re finished strolling the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, head to a guided tour of the Arc de Triomphe to learn more about French history. They’ll bring you all the way up the spiral staircase (no elevator means comfortable shoes are necessary) to the top of the iconic arch, where the best views of Paris can be found. While most tourists stomp their way up the Eiffel Tower for the views, trust us when we say the photo opp from the top of the Arc de Triomphe is superior.
Speaking of what most tourists do, a trip to Paris isn’t complete without catching a cabaret show. Luckily, you don’t need to trek all the way to Montmartre for Moulin Rouge, because just down the street from Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet is Crazy Horse—a modern, raunchy show to enjoy with a bottle of champagne and an open mind. No photos, please.
New York Expansion
Groupe Barrière first opened their doors to North America with the opening of Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf St Barth in September 2020, but their first truly stateside location launches this year in New York City.
The hotel is slated to open in Tribeca with 97 residential-style rooms and suites that will span eight stories. Expect Art Deco-inspired decor coupled with classic French design—all brought to life by luxurious materials like Calacatta marble and toile de Jouy fabrics.
We’re looking forward to seeing how the group plans to transport the spirit of the original Fouquet’s brasserie from Paris to New York, which is no small feat, and to catching views of the Hudson River from their rooftop terrace.
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