L’Hôtel: Where Oscar Wilde Ate Lunch Twice Daily in Paris

L’Hôtel: Where Oscar Wilde Ate Lunch Twice Daily in Paris
“Déjeuner deux fois par jour n’est pas une liberté mais votre droit,” said Oscar Wilde who spent the last days of his life (circa 1900) eating lunch twice daily at L’Hôtel, the iconic Left Bank hotel/restaurant beautifully revised by designer Jacques Garcia. Wilde would probably have eaten three times daily if talented chef Julien Montbaut (and Madame Montbaut as pastry chef) had been in the kitchens – but Montbaut arrived in 2011! Le Restaurant at L’Hôtel is one of the most romantic and seductive eateries in Paris – decorated in neo-Empire style – with green marble pillars and plush upholstered seating to sink into. Silk fabrics drape the walls which are punctuated with splendid artwork. There’s a small cobbled terrace with a beautiful flowing fountain and vertical garden. The menu changes frequently according to the market but the chef says he can’t take the Loctudy crab Yuzu mousse starter off the menu. Served with sweet mustard and avocado, it’s perfect with a glass of rosé from Domaine Sacha Lichine Château d’Esclans 2014 (13€). The warm bread is by Eric Kayser and the butter from Pascal Beillevaire. Chef says if he were a dish he’d be Veal Sweetbreads (“I love their texture”) with herb broth – he’d match them with a bottle of red Moulis No.2 de Maucaillou 2012 (55€). Finish with Joana’s big tasting dessert of Peloponese honey, Greek yogurt, cereal biscuit, rhubarb and raspberry; the delicate Lemon Tart; or the dark Guanaja chocolate and crushed cocoa mousse. With just 20 stylish rooms (from €230-€830 including special breakfast rates until 31 August), L’Hôtel is the smallest five-star hotel in Paris. Downstairs, there’s a hammam, pool and steam room set into the vaults as well as a spa. Upstairs, you’ll find both the Michelin-starred “Le Restaurant” and the chic Le Bar. L’Hôtel is part of “A Curious Group of Hotels”, a British company of hotels and restaurants for the culturally curious. The group also comprises Cowley Manor in the English countryside; Canal House, Amsterdam; The Portobello Hotel, London; and My Fair Lady Yacht for charter. L’Hôtel, 13 rue des Beaux Arts, 6th. Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Lunch Tuesday-Saturday formula at 35-45-55€. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday – 110€ or 155-190€ with wine pairings. Tea Time – L’Instant Thé. By reservation only from Tuesday-Saturday. 40€ per person/with champagne 55-60€. Tel: +33 (0)1 44 41 99 00

Lead photo credit : courtesy of L'Hôtel, Paris

Previous Article The Road to the French National Anthem: The History (and Lyrics!) of “La Marseillaise”
Next Article Paris Expats Abroad – From Paris to Philly: 10 Questions with Scientist Jonathan Lerner

Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend It.com, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !