Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs

Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs: A chic hideaway in an under-the-radar Parisian neighbourhood

26 Apr 2024 | Updated on: 09 May 2024 |By Hitanshi Kamdar

Discover this elegant Parisian gem just in time for the Olympics

With its storybook charm, gourmet food, and world-famous style, it’s hardly a surprise that Paris ranks among the most popular European travel destinations. It’s also true, however, that, without proper research, visiting the French capital can easily resemble Emily in Paris cosplay. So how does one avoid the clichés and embrace Parisian living at its most stylish? By steering away from tourist traps and making your way to the capital’s more if-you-know-you-know neighbourhoods, such as the gorgeous Left Bank Quartier of Saint Placide, of course.

A quick 45-minute taxi from Gare du Nord takes you to this charming neighbourhood in the 6th arrondissement, where I’m checking into the Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs. Nestled amid a mix of classic brasseries offering signature Parisian al fresco dining, decadent boulangeries, independent boutiques, and old-school French residences, the minimal hotel oozes nonchalant elegance, blending seamlessly with its surroundings.

Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs

Drawing on the golden age of slow travel, Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs has been designed by celebrated architect Fabrizio Casiraghi to resemble a tasteful art collector’s residence. Particularly inspired by the discerning taste of fashionable power couple Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé, the hotel feels at once intimate and glamorous. Star-printed carpets, wave motifs and corridors lined with ropes create a cruise vibe, harking back to the days when grand passenger ships journeyed between France and the USA.

In the low-lit lobby, Casiraghi has rendered the classic lines and clean symmetry of the hotel’s interior in rich mahogany wood panelling complemented by vintage touches, such as antique Turkish carpets. Paying homage to the antique dealers’ square in nearby Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the walls are adorned with impressive artworks, including Gustav Klimt prints and ornate mirrors by artist Osanna Visconti di Modrone. Later this year, a collection of Indonesian and Mexican masks will be added to the mix. A soundtrack of low bluesy jazz beats rounds out the moody yet vibrant atmosphere.

Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs aims to transport its guests to a regal, pre-social media, era of travel and its charmingly understated rooms are a case in point. Each of the 138 rooms is finished with elegant touches: dark wood panelling, curved vintage-inspired chairs with rustic olive upholstery, and arched or sloping windows. Framed bas-relief sculptures by François Gilles hang above the beds and record players accompanied by a stack of carefully curated vinyl add a retro edge without veering into kitsch.

Like most Parisian hotels, Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs isn’t going to win any awards for the size of its rooms, but the amenities here help to set it apart. Bathrooms are stocked with Diptyque products and the mini bar is supplied with Parisian snacks from local vendors. There’s also a well-equipped underground gym which makes up for its lack of views with retro frescos on the walls.

Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs
Grands Voyageurs brasserie

A real highlight here is the Grands Voyageurs restaurant, a transatlantic brasserie which occupies an informal space next to the lobby with large windows from which to observe the busy Saint Placide quartier outside. The menu is a culinary journey from Paris to New York and offers an unpretentious range of classic dishes. Star options include oysters, French onion soup, steak served with perfect frites, pecan pie, and salted caramel cheesecake. There’s also an impressive cheese menu with locally sourced options, including cheeses from La Ferme de la Tremblaye in Yvelines (around an hour from Paris) and charcuterie from Boucherie La Poularde. Unsurprisingly, the wine list is full of gems you’re unlikely to find in London.

After dinner, head to the secret subterranean Poppy bar. This intimate drinking den sports framed Marc Chagall paintings and mirrored ceilings for an illicit speakeasy vibe. Behind the bar, skilled mixologists whip up potent concoctions. Set the tone for the evening with a signature Lemon Drop, crafted with Citadelle gin, banana liqueur, Skinos, fresh lemon and zesty yuzushu, or a Parisian twist on a Long Island iced tea made with Picon bitters, MAH, fino sherry, chinotto, fresh lemon and Angostura bitters. Dance the night away to a DJ spinning foot-thumping tracks. 

Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs
Poppy bar

Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs marries old-world charm with modern minimalism, a trait borrowed from its surroundings, where residential buildings are interspersed with luxury boutiques. A stone’s throw from the hotel, you’ll find famed department store Le Bon Marché and its culinary companion, Le Grande Épicerie. For cultural aficionados, Musée Rodin, Musée du Luxembourg and Musée Bourdelle are close by, and if it’s green spaces you’re after, Jardin du Luxembourg is a short walk away.

A hidden gem away from the city’s tourist hotspots, Hôtel des Grands Voyageurs offers the chance to live like a real Parisian. Next time you’re hankering for an elegant escape to our neighbours across the channel or are on the hunt for a base in which to relax during the Olympics, hop on the Eurostar for a luxuriously relaxing business premier experience and forego the obvious to discover a charming gem in one of the most stylish neighbourhoods in Paris.

Rooms from £348 per night, visit hoteldesgrandsvoyageurs.com; return standard fares on the Eurostar start from £373, business premier fares start from £550, visit eurostar.com.

Read more: The best hotels in Paris