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Nowhere juxtaposes old and new with the panache of Paris, and Le Cinq Codet epitomizes that confidence by fusing together modernity and an homage to another era.
The upscale boutique hotel lies behind a 1930s sculpted-stone façade that juts out like the prow of an ocean liner – not at all what one expects to find in the beautifully Baroque surroundings of Les Invalides nearby. Inside, architect and interior designer Jean-Philippe Nuel has crafted a stunning, stylish and oh-so-modern retreat. If the wonders of Paris weren’t on its doorstep, you might be tempted to never leave.
Tucked away off the main boulevards of the 7th arrondissement, the hotel is steps from the museums and monuments of Les Invalides, Napoleon’s tomb and the Musée Rodin and only a short walk to the Eiffel Tower. For a longer stroll – and why be in Paris if you aren’t going to stroll? – head across the Pont des Invalides to the Grand and Petit Palaces, before heading east toward the Jardin des Tuileries, Louvre and Centre Pompidou. You can also stay on the left bank for the Musée D’Orsay and the Latin Quarter. There really isn’t any wrong direction here.
IF I COULD CHANGE ONE THING
The concierge should not assume I want to eat in the local restaurants favoured by North American tourists online. If I hadn’t done my research, I wouldn’t have known that the neighbourhood boasts several spots on the culinary cutting edge (see “eat in or eat out”).
Housed within the original France Telecom building, the exterior of the hotel has been meticulously restored to all its art-deco glory. Inside, clean lines and floor-to-ceiling windows provide the perfect backdrop to the stylish designer furniture and varied and plentiful modern art propped up against the walls of your room. The partly sheltered hidden courtyard at the hotel’s centre is a veritable oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city, and the perfect space for breakfast or a drink.
While the double-headed jumbo shower is amazing, and the soaker jacuzzi tub so luxurious you won’t be able to rouse yourself out, it is the attention to small details – such as the built-in international power points for travellers without adapters – that show real forethought and intelligent design. Fashionistas will love the extensive closet space provided.
WHOM YOU'LL MEET
Models and British pop stars were busy primping for a fashion show on my visit, and the rest of the guests were no slouches in the style stakes. This is a boutique operation – no tour groups to be found here – with a modern, cool and classy vibe, and a clientele that flaunts a similar chic and creative point of view.
EAT IN OR EAT OUT
There is surely no better spot than the hidden courtyard for an excellent cocktail with a platter of cheeses or charcuterie. The dinner menu, however, is short and pricey, so unless you are retreating from sight, or are too tired or too busy to venture further afield, you should consider eating out.
While you could go all out at three-Michelin starred L’Arpège, or L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, there are other less fancy spots well worth a visit. Foodies should head to Rue Cler, where artisan stores rub shoulders with a wide variety of bars and restaurants, creating a vibrant, fun place to explore. For a modern take on the brasserie, try Café Central, with its bold flavours and bustling service.
ROOM WITH A VIEW
As in much of Paris, most of the rooms here face inward or just across the road. For a sense of space, try one of the double-height duplex suites set over two floors. But if it’s a view you must have, then it’s the Dome Suite for you: The private terrace offers views of not just the dome of Invalides, but the Eiffel Tower, too.
Le Cinq Codet, 5 Rue Louis Codet, Paris, le5Codet.com, 67 rooms from $385 (€259).
The writer was a guest of the hotel.