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salon opera garnier grand hotel intercontinental le grand paris france

Affectionately referred as «Le Grand Hotel», the largest and most impressive palace hotel in Paris celebrates more than 150 years of history. Inaugurated on May 5, 1862 by Empress Eugenie, spouse of Napoleon the IIIrd, to the fanfare of an orchestra led by Offenbach, this was the largest hotel in the world. A gem in the heart of the entirely new district of the Opera House, finalizing Baron Haussman's  pharaonic works to transform the old, unhealthy Paris into the «City of Lights». Kings, queens, maharajahs and sultans from all over the world have stayed in that caravanserai: from last Tsar and Tsarina of Russia and King Edward VII of England up to Queen Rania of Jordan. Victor Hugo hosted banquets at the hotel, and Emile Zola had his decadent and tragic heroine, Nana, die in a flowered room at the fourth floor. More than ever a famous and fashionable hotel, the InterContinental Paris Le Grand attracts lots of statesmen, fashion designers, international movie stars and directors who eventually used it as a dreamed shooting location (Polanki's «Frantic», Robert Altman’s «Prêt-à-Porter», etc.).

Successively revamped in 2003 and 2020 (its pharaonic beautification should end in December 2020), it retained the elements and amazing atmosphere of its immortal glory. The rooms design has been reestablished in the Second Empire style. Many parts of the actual hotel kept their original decor. The Salon Opéra, for instance: renovated in 2013, the most sought after ballroom in Paris, known all around the world thanks to the high-fashion shows, is well worth the visit. Another landmark, the legendary Café de la Paix, which is a precious part of the Grand Hôtel, is a treasure of Empire-style architecture, where the ceiling, columns and wall painting have been carefully restored between April and December 2020.

grand hotel paris presidential suite

When some illustrious Parisian top-luxury hotels live out of their former glory, the Grand Hôtel, founded in 1862, still gets it all in 2020 to seduce nostalgic and geek travellers alike.

All 458 rooms and 85 suites are stunning: including those oriented to the inner courtyards and monumental glass-roofed bar-restaurant «La Verrière», though we prefer a street view at the 5th floor with a panorama over Galeries Lafayettes and Montmartre. We stayed in room #5320. A Junior Suite which, with its plush living room separated from the ritzy bedroom by a long corridor, gave us the impression that we had been upgraded to a Senior Suite. The bedding, rich fabric, personal decoration,
sumptuous bathroom with Anne Semonin exclusive toiletry, compete in term of luxury with Hotel de Crillon and Plaza Athénée, indeed. All rooms are equipped with the latest technologies: high-tech air-conditioning system, up to 100 international TV channels and VOD on large LCD screens, dual telephone line, high-speed WiFi, and Nespresso machine. Our favourite room: the"Honeymoon Suite", sumptuously decorated, equipped with a private sauna, overlooking the Opera House and the whole capital city.

grand hotel intercontinental le grand paris junior suite bedroom bed

We would nevertheless recommend anybody visiting the French capital city for the first time, or on a romantic trip, to straightly book into one of the rooms with a dramatic view on the Opera House. The higher the better: the new InterContinental Club rooms are splendid, comparable with what one could ever expect from a more expensive palace-hotel in Paris, just like Crillon or Meurice. Well worth the EUR 150 extra charge to the room rate (it is complimentary for those with a IHG Club membership, or guests booking into some higher categories of suites), it comes with an unexpected bonus which we used very much: the classy Club Lounge, actually unique in Paris where no palace offers this treatment,  is open to the guest with IHG Club privilege.  The Club Lounge opens early in the morning, serving a fine breakfast which we enjoyed the first day only; alternating, the day after, with the traditional, so classy Parisian -and Japanese!- breakfast experience provided in style by Le Café de la Paix. The Club Lounge serves yummy, top quality hot and cold snacks (our memory -and scale- can't forget the delicious home-made «Foie Gras» and unforgettable, mouth watering macaroons!), fine wine ("Château des Graves", noticeable "Bordeaux B by Maucaillou"...), and Castelnau Champagne employing a well trained, very educated and thoughtful staff, alternatively supervised by the cheerful Antonio and anticipating Gilles who served many years at Hotel Le Bristol. This is what we would call the first class section in a first class hotel.

We loved the bar, opening onto the Verrière conservatory: a superb, ritzy and romantic winter garden with a fine restaurant. 

grand hotel paris verriere

The «Spa by Algotherm», splendid and well appointed, is the only spa in the centre of Paris to offer the benefits of thalassotherapy: revitalizing and relaxing sea water treatments, beauty care, traditional and oriental massages. The Gym features a running machine, electronic cycling machines, steppers, body-building apparatus and a sauna.

The hotel is so large that we didn't realized that the InterContinental Paris Le Grand is, first of all, a  top class convention venue, with more than 21 meeting rooms and ballrooms. So many visitors, and still so much intimacy...

In the heart of the capital’s bustling business district, just a step from the main tourist sights, department stores (Galeries Lafayette, Le Printemps), and luxury boutiques, this is one of the most lovable hotels in Paris.

INTERCONTINENTAL PARIS LE GRAND: 2, rue Scribe,  75009 Paris
PHONE: +33 (0)1 40 07 32 32     FACSIMILE: +33 (0)1 42 66 12 51
TOLL FREE CALL: +800 80 800 800

salon garnier opera grand hotel paris intercontinental le grand


café de la paix mille feuille paris

A landmark, the Café de la Paix remains since 1862 one of the leading brasseries in Paris. Attached to the Grand Hôtel, with an outside terrace facing the Opera House, it remains nowadays one of the most sought after tourist spots in Paris. Like the Eiffel Tower or the Lido, it is given the cold shoulder by the Parisian who certainly consider it as a tourist trap. It is not. Of course, the lavish dinning room, designed by Garnier (architect of the Opera House), sounds like Babylon: echoing a multiplicity of foreign languages. Asian and American tourists just swear by this cafe, once visited by Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant, Sergei Diaghilev, and so many statesmen and movie stars. 

This is a brasserie indeed; not a «grand restaurant». Those who are not patient enough to wait five minutes to be seated in the noisy, animated dinning-rooms or terraces will feel frustrated somehow. Which is a pity, as we got there a more than decent gastronomic experience. 

The Café de la Paix will close its doors for renovation from 18 March 2020, for 9 months. Scheduled to reopen mid-December. Our last visit dates back from the first week of March 2020, for a bistrochic lunch by Chef Laurent André. After being trained by Michelin-star Alain Chapel in Mionnay, and a seven-year term in the kitchens of the Hotel Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris, he has the difficult task to please the old school gourmets, visiting the Café de La Paix for its imperial seafood plates or its legendary sole from Normandy, and the new generation of foodies attracted by a lighted, somehow more feminine version of the French cuisine.

We skipped one more time the reputed «Plateau Café de La Paix» (a rich selection of seafood from the counter, at EUR 98), preferring to order signature dishes, reflecting André's skill. The «Roasted Scallops from Port-en-Bessin» (EUR 41), over a pumpkin mousseline with chestnuts and flat parsley, roasted squash seed, was close to perfection. Some might find it a bit too sweet: but this ideally accommodates the Oriental and Asian gourmet's taste. More than 50% of the guests come from the Middle East and Far East. The portion was bistro-size: enough for a solid appetite. The bread, “Brioché”, was a bonus worth a Michelin-starred restaurant.

We warmly recommend the palatable and light «Steamed White-Fish Fillet» (EUR 38), with celery and nuts, yellow wine sauce with cream, light mousse of broccoli. We paired our fish with “1753 Campuget, Viognier, 2019” (EUR 13 by the glass), four months in barrique, providing one of the most interesting Costières de Nîmes wines, with a refreshing taste balancing between tropical fruits and honeysuckle.

We did it all «à la carte», and will experience next time the appealing and good value «Menu d'Hiver» («Menu d'Hiver») (EUR 57 for starter + main course + dessert) which featured, the day of our visit, «Grilled Black Angus Beef Chuck», with skewers of roasted potatoes, Parisian mushroom heads, slow-cooked garlic, little gem lettuce with olive oil and Béarnaise sauce. Pastries by Sophie de Bernardi are classic and classy. Definitely Parisian, the Millefeuille, served with a refreshing
«Kiwi Sorbet», is a best seller. As far as «Paris-Bretagne»: a declination of the exquisitely old-school «Paris-Brest» (choux pastry, salted caramel buttercream with cashew nuts). The standard price for any pastry is EUR 15. Alternatively, we liked with a «Café Gourmand», served with always inventive delicacies.

Come back soon, in your resplendent glory! We miss you, Café de la Paix.


CAFE DE LA PAIX: Angle Place de l'Opéra - Boulevard des Capucines - 75009 PARIS
PHONE: +33 1 40 07 36 36 - FACSIMILE: +33 1 40 07 36 13

grand hotel intercontinental le grand paris cafe de la paix dining room


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