Savvy travelers know that location is everything, so it’s likely that Jules Verne, the world-roving French author of the celebrated 1873 adventure novel “Around the World in Eighty Days,” would be impressed by the 25-room Hôtel du Continent on the Rue du Mont-Thabor in Paris, newly renovated just in time for Paris Fashion Week. It’s tucked away right in the heart of the city in the stylish First Arrondissement on a charming back street that runs parallel to the boutique-lined Rue Saint-Honoré — and it’s only steps from the Louvre, the Tuileries Garden, the Place Vendôme and the Place de la Concorde too.
What would probably also amuse Verne, who’s often called the father of modern science fiction, is that the Hôtel du Continent offers a witty world tour in the space of an elevator ride. The designer Christian Lacroix — who has decorated several other small and charming Paris hotels, including the Hotel Le Bellechasse on the Left Bank and the Hôtel du Petit Moulin in the Marais — furnished the rooms on every floor according to the theme of a different continent. But there’s nothing neo-National Geographic about the design; instead, it playfully references the visual identities of the six continents (North and South America are counted as one by the French). The Americas floor, for example, mixes wallpaper inspired by Age of Discovery maps and prints with a bright color scheme that might have been borrowed from the artist Piet Mondrian’s painting “Broadway Boogie Woogie,” now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. African rooms come with animal-print accents, and European ones feature rich brocade curtains in jewel-tone colors. Rooms at all points of the compass are equipped with good lighting, quality bedding and air-conditioning — an amenity rarely found in small Paris hotels.
Seasoned travelers also appreciate a good deal, and the Hôtel du Continent delivers on that front, too. Depending on the season, rooms, which come in three sizes, range from €125 for small but cozy quarters (110 square feet) that are perfect for solo travelers who’ll be out most of the time, to €400 for the extra-large rooms (330 square feet), which are recommended for couples. These reasonable-for-the-neighborhood prices also include free Internet access, and the Missoni amenities in the baths are a nice touch.
The convenient location of the hotel notwithstanding, it’s also situated on one of the rarerues in the heart of Paris where you can still get a great meal right outside the door (rising rents in central Paris mean it’s often easier to buy a diamond ring than it is to find a good steak frites). So join local boutique owners and staff from nearby Chanel and Colette at one of the many restaurants on the Rue du Mont-Thabor — maybe Ferdi for great burgers, Da Rosa for club sandwiches and plates of Spanish ham, Indochine for good Vietnamese or L’Ardoise for excellent modern French bistro cooking — and rejoice in the knowledge that you won’t need a Métro ticket or a taxi to make your way home. ( T Magazine)
Joelle’ s Picks:
Hôtel du Continent, 30, rue du Mont-Thabor, First Arrondissement; (33) 01-42-60-75-32; hotelcontinent.com.