In the heart of Paris’ 1st arrondissement you will find one of France’s most beautiful squares, a square that gives my own heart a little lift whenever I walk through it.
The Place Vendôme is filled with charm and elegance, not to mention some rather prestigious brands. Considered by many to be the world centre of jewellery, at Place Vendôme you can sigh over Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Boucheron and more.
While many of us think of the Eiffel Tower when we think of Paris these days, throughout the 19th Century the Vendôme Column, which dominates the centre of the square, was seen as the most important symbol of Paris.
Almost 45 metres tall, the column is covered in bronze plates and hollow inside, with a staircase leading up to the platform at the foot of Napoleon’s statue.
The square itself was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Louix the XIV’s favourite architect and the man responsible for the Cheateau de Versailles and the Dôme des Invalides which contains Napoleon’s tomb.
And there, on the corner of the Place Vendôme and Rue des Capucines is a luxury hotel named after the man himself, The Hotel Mansart.
A Surprisingly Affordable Luxury Hotel in Paris
When I first arrived at the Hotel Mansart after my rather fun Eurostar e320 business premier journey from London, I had to pinch myself at the location, then I felt that special feeling that comes from walking into a gorgeous hotel lobby, knowing you’re about to check in.
But while the Hotel Mansart does have a lobby, over the course of my stay I felt more like I was staying in a grand Parisian home than a hotel.
There are only 57 rooms, and they all have their own unique personality, with antique furnishings and original oil paintings on display, while Wi-Fi and discreet air conditioning add some modern conveniences.
I actually gasped when I walked into my room for the first time and saw a bed fit for a princess, beautiful artworks, and floor to very high ceiling windows. When I opened said windows up and looked out to my right I found myself looking straight at Vendôme Column and pinched myself again.
For a moment I did wonder where my bathroom was, and then I noticed a little door in the corner of my room, which led to a staircase up to my bathroom, complete with separate bathtub and shower.
After falling in love with my own room I had a chance to look around some of the others, and could imagine myself not just staying for a few days but living in them all.
The building itself was based on Mansart’s own plans, and was constructed in 1720 by John Law after Mansart passed away in 1708.
Notable residents over the years include Jeweller to the Crown, Alexandre-Gabriel Lemonnier, who, as legend has it, hid jewels in the indoor shutters that can still be seen in the hotel’s suites. The shutters that is, not the jewels. Though you can see the crown he made for Empress Eugénie in the Louvre Museum.
The building became a hotel in the 19th century and is now a member of Esprit de France, the special collection of hotels and homes that are rich in art and history.
And a wonderfully surprising thing?
According to Booking.com the Hotel Mansart is the best value hotel in all of Paris.
Yes, it’s absolutely gorgeous inside, is in an incredible location, and is actually an affordable luxury hotel in Paris.
Even the wine and spirits in the honesty bar only cost 5 euro. Yes, that’s an honesty bar in a lovely lounge bar with bargain prices in the heart of the city. Another surprise on my stay.
Exploring Paris from the Luxury Boutique Hotel Mansart
While in the past I’ve spent a fair amount of time on the Metro going back and forth, this time in Paris I simply explored my own neighbourhood on foot. And what a neighbourhood it is.
The first time I stepped out the door I wandered through the Place Vendôme, took a left and found myself at Colette. In the past I’ve planned to visit the cult concept store. Now I was popping in on random potter around my ‘hood.
Galeries Lafayette, another shopping spot that I have a soft spot for, was around ten minutes in the other direction from the hotel, and the streets around me were filled with boutiques, goldsmiths and perfumeries.
The Palais Garnier, the stunning and opulent opera house, was mere minutes from the hotel in one direction, while a fifteen-minute stroll in the other direction lead to the Louvre.
While Notre Dame may be the most visited monument in France, not far from the Hotel Mansart you’ll find a beautiful church that isn’t overrun with tourists.
The Church of Saint-Roch, or Eglise Saint-Roch, is a late Baroque church with a series of chapels. While I think the exterior is lovely, I’ve heard some don’t think it looks like much from the outside so it’s often overlooked. But step inside and it’s divine.
After wandering through the heart of Paris I turned my feet back towards the Place Vendôme. As I paused to take the photo below of the hotel with the Vendôme Column, I looked up at two of the huge windows in this beautiful building and could barely believe they belonged to my room for the night.
Then I smiled, walked inside, and felt right at home.
Amanda Woods stayed as a guest of Hotel Mansart Paris but as usual all opinions remain her own.