Hotel Review: Narcisse Blanc in the 7th

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Hotel Review: Narcisse Blanc in the 7th

The countdown is on to the Summer Olympic Games in Paris. From 26th July to 11th August 2024, the entire country will be celebrating the wonderful world of sport. There will be open-air playing fields where you can take part in activities, special events and multiple celebrations during what promises to be a long, hot, exciting summer. But where to stay? 

If you’re looking for a left bank hideaway, I highly recommend the five-star Narcisse Blanc. With a perfect location in the 7th arrondissement, this chic and elegant address has 37 rooms and suites with classical design by Laurent & Laurence. Opened in 2016 inside a former office building, previously occupied by the French Army, Le Narcisse Blanc has developed a unique style combining French tradition and contemporary romantic touches. 

“Everything’s in the details,” said General Manager Fanny Royal during my recent stay. “This is the city’s best kept secret to discover the French art de vivre.”

The owners were also inspired by Cléo de Mérode (1875-1966), a beautiful French dancer of the Belle Epoque who embodied the special atmosphere of Parisin the 1900s. Reserve a room on the top floor at the front and you have Paris in picturesque panorama; the Eiffel Tower is 24/7 magic. Cléo would love it.

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Cléo’s also the name of the restaurant where talented chef Bruno Aubin, a modern sauce and condiments maestro, creates an interesting culinary score of impressive delicacy. “Straddling comforting bourgeois gastronomy and more daring combinations of chic food-porn”, says the restaurant critic Fabien Negre. A relaxing bonus: the restaurant has a bucolic courtyard garden in the heart of Paris. And you’re next door to Petrossian (excellent for gifts), and around the corner from Les Invalides and Musée Rodin, and opposite the buzzing rue St. Dominique.

Order a cocktail La Mérode (€18) as you discover Aubin’s Menu Narcisse (from €39-€55). A few sample dishes: oysters, plum vinegar, yuzu cream, herb oil, Vanuatu pepper; crispy artichoke, Caesar sauce, basil pesto, candied tomatoes; octopus, tomato confit, chorizo, nasturtium flower broth, a twist of Sichuan pepper; Love Me Tender pigeon roasted with spicy honey, caramelized onions, blackberries, Tasmanian pepper. (Match with a glass of the Château Soucherie red Anjou for €14). Desserts include fluffy puffy Chocolate soufflé and Le Baba Campari. A pure delight.

Burn off the calories in the sleek and chic Clarins Spa. There’s a steam room, sauna, massage, and perfect temperature swimming pool. It’s a 100% fluffy towel, slippers and robe experience.

Here’s laidback attitude in the best possible way – from the conciergerie, the front desk, the kitchen, restaurant staff and the housekeepers. They all do a terrific job in a genuinely joyful, friendly, and helpful manner.

By the Way: Read Le Ballet de Ma Vie, Cléo de Merode’s fascinating autobiography published in 1964.

Additional information

Le Narcisse Blanc
A member of Small Luxury Hotels
Classic, Superior, Deluxe Rooms and suites from approx €538
Address: 19, Boulevard de la Tour Maubourg, 7th
Metro: La Tour Maubourg
Tel: +33 (0)1 40 60 44 32

Lead photo credit : courtesy of Narcisse Blanc

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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 !