Cover Le Bristol (Photo: Claire Cocano)

Planning a trip to the City of Light? We round up the most sensational palace hotels in the French capital. Whether you’re in the mood for romantic splendour or Versailles-like luxury, one of these will fit the bill

1. For design lovers: Le Bristol

If eating a Michelin-starred meal is a present for your palate, then waking up at Le Bristol is a treat for your eyes. The sumptuous bedrooms have floral wallpaper, flowing curtains and antique furniture, while views onto the courtyard are full of white wood trellises, sculptures and scarlet flowers.

Don’t worry, your taste buds won’t be forgotten; the Légion d’honneur-decorated chef Eric Frechon has accrued four Michelin stars for the restaurants since arriving at Le Bristol. Three belong to the world-famous Epicure, which is set in a chandelier-filled dining room overlooking the courtyard, and the fourth belongs to 114 Faubourg.

What about a treat for your body, you say? The spa is lovely, but the rooftop pool, in a setting that evokes the interior of a tall ship, is truly delightful.

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2. For romance: La Réserve

Ponder this: When you have everything you could ever want at your fingertips, what use is a butler? Each of the lavish suites of the gorgeously decadent La Réserve, a five-star hotel behind President Macron’s pad, has a free minibar overflowing with snacks and spirits, a walk-in wardrobe, three TVs mounted in gilt mirrors, a Japanese loo and an iPad to control everything from the temperature to room service. So when the butler comes knocking it can be difficult to think of a task for him.

You could demand a reservation at Le Gabriel, the ornate Michelin-starred restaurant downstairs. Or a treatment in the scarlet-walled spa, with its steaming hammam and underground pool. Or whisper that you want to be taken to the secret bar behind the library, a place that feels illicitly glamorous enough to impress even the most snobbish of Parisians.

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3. For serious shoppers: Hôtel Lutetia

Le Bon Marché, one of the world’s greatest department stores, is the stuff of shopaholic dreams. But leaving there has required a fight for a taxi with 10 shopping bags in hand—until now. On Valentine’s Day, neighbouring Hôtel Lutetia, one of the city’s best-loved institutions, will reopen after a €200 million four-year makeover.

The art nouveau hotel has been adored for decades and is synonymous with the artists who crowded Saint Germain a century ago; Irish author James Joyce is even said to have written part of Ulysses while staying there. Later, cool cats like Pablo Picasso and Josephine Baker were frequent visitors, and the latter is the inspiration for Bar Joséphine (pictured), which will mix world-class cocktails with live jazz bands—the ideal place to wear your Bon Marché outfit.

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4. For history buffs: Hôtel de Crillon, a Rosewood Hotel

If walls could talk, Hôtel de Crillon’s 124 rooms and suites would be the best storytellers in town. In 1770, Louis XVI married Marie Antoinette on the plaza outside the neo-classical palace, which had been built at his father’s request. Twenty-three years later, the young queen was beheaded outside the front door.

Fast-forward to the twentieth century and American president Woodrow Wilson drafted the covenant of the League of Nations in his room in 1919. Politics aside, the hotel has played host to everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Jackie Onassis to Picasso. Today, you may spot Mick Jagger or Madonna sipping cocktails in the hotel’s glamorous bar.

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5. For spa addicts: Four Seasons Hotel Georges V

There are a few hotels whose names alone conjure images of decadence and romance. The Georges V—particularly when enunciated with a purring French accent—is one of them. Built in 1928 and named after the English monarch of the time, it has been attracting royalty, both real and Hollywood, for nearly a century. Famous for its glorious bouquets of flowers standing at the entrance, which gently scent both the building and the street, it has played a starring role in a number of French films.

It is the first hotel in France to have an impressive three Michelin-starred restaurants under one roof, and its newly redone spa, complete with vast underground pool, sauna and hot tub, has been voted the best in Paris. Georggggges Cinnnq, you have our hearts.

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See also: 7 Most Romantic Resorts In Southeast Asia

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