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Le Meurice: Luxury as art on rue de Rivoli

For those who travel frequently, and know how to do it correctly, it’s never too challenging to rattle off a list of favorite hotels. And, when it comes to Paris, Dorchester Collection’s Le Meurice most often punctuates the top of the list.
Steeped in tradition, this 1835 palace is famed for its provenance and location – situated on rue de Rivoli, it’s a stones throw from the Louvre with ready access to the gems of the West Bank.

Today, Le Meurice is among a rare breed of hotels that knows how to do luxury in an inviting, elegant and almost self-deprecating way. Dalí, Zola, Warhol, Dylan and many other iconic characters have called the property home and their spirits live on as old meets new, propriety meets casual, and luxury flexes to the whim of the diversity of guests.

Regarded for the playful ways that it attracts both honeymooners and full families alike, the hotel is the epitome of accommodating without sacrificing finer points. Of course, the more than 200 rooms – including breathtaking suites – do the heavy lifting in this area, what with Louis XVI flourishes and a long list of upscale amenities. But, unlike its counterparts in the City of Lights, Le Meurice quite simply does more.

Dining at Le Meurice is an experience unto itself. The inimitable Alain Ducasse is at the helm of the

Executive Chef Amaury Bouhours

Dorchester Collection’s gastronomical offerings, and new Executive Chef Amaury Bouhours holds court at Le Meurice. Among the onsite options, Restaurant Le Meurice clocks in at two Michelin Stars, and is known for Ducasse’s concept of “Essential Cuisine,” including child-friendly options. However, it’s Bouhours who brings the magic by celebrating the essential nature of every ingredient. This results in delicious dishes of great subtlety, created with simple produce and other ingredients.

The Restaurant setting is inspired by the Salon de la Paix at the Château de Versailles, and juxtaposed with more playful touches, including iconic Eero Saarinen Tulip chairs, two decorative screens and a sculpture capturing the suspended movement of water. These modern elements sit perfectly among antique mirrors, crystal chandeliers and elegant frescoes, creating a stunning setting for the outstanding cuisine.

Relatively new to Le Meurice is Cédric Grolet, named the World’s Best Restaurant Pastry Chef by Les Grandes Tables du Monde in 2017. His innovative vision completely raises the ante for the palace hotel; he pairs visual beauty with technical prowess to present a selection of unique desserts, like the trompe-l’oeil sculpted fruits that made the talented pastry chef famous. Don’t miss batches of fresh-baked madeleines, chewy cookies, and brioche dough Bundt cakes.

Indeed, the food is art, as is the restaurant, but, like the city itself, Le Meurice, in a broader way, has been shaped by the artists who have called it home. Harking back to its long history with the art world, from hosting Pablo Picasso’s wedding dinner to serving as Salvador Dali’s Parisian home for over three decades, recent renovations tapped designers Philippe Starck and Ara Starck who looked to Dali for inspiration. Dali’s mark is most notably recognized in the restaurant, Le Dali, with dreamlike décor, an elegant spirit and Mediterranean cuisine. Original Saarinen throughout balances classic elements like stately columns, marble-topped tables, and copper-rimmed mirrors.

Of particular note, be sure to check out the Galerie Pompadour, a lounge beside Bar 228, that features armchairs with portraits of 18th-century personalities imprinted on their backs.

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