A Perfect Afternoon at Le Meurice

How to spend a pampering afternoon in Paris?

I guess many already had their answer. Besides admiring the crazy pieces again and again at the Lourve, or the d’Orsay; say a prayer at the Notre-Dame; people watching sipping cafe at Cafe de Fleur then stamp your book at Shakespeare &Co.; or just take a stroll in Le Marais with your falafel; I always suggest to enjoy a good afternoon at Le Meurice on Rue de Rivoli .

Why Le Meurice?  Perhaps it is their history, the design, the great food, William the bar man, the impeccable service without being intrusive or the jazz piano at bar.

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Le Meurice
This hotel is special and, especially old as well.   It was opened in 1771 by a man who ran a coach service. He would arrange rides to Paris and figured he should open a place for his customers to stay when they arrived. The hotel moved in 1835 to its present central location, which overlooks the Tuileries Garden, If you stay at one of the deluxe room facing the Lourve, you will have a perfect view of the Garden.  I was up in the room, despite being alone, it was romantic.

Quite a few had visited this hotel, such as from the Queen (Victoria) to Designers (Coco Chanel) and the musical ones (Russian composer Tchaikovsky stayed there after giving a concert nearby).  If you know William Oliveri in person,  (chief barman at Le Meurice for the past 36 years), he may tell you his stories with the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí whom spent about a month of each year over 30 years in the old Royal Suite, (spanning Rooms 106 and 108) which had been used by King Alphonse XIII as well.   It was one of the reasons the restaurant was named after Dali with his good drama and loyalty at the Meurice.  Fun story like he once demanded a herd of sheep be brought to his room as his pets. Another time, he requested a horse.  Yet another time, he asked the staff to capture flies for him in the Tuileries Garden, paying them five francs per fly.

Today, celebrities from Ana Wintour to David Beckham and even the likes of Jay-Z and Beyonce call this place home. Few movies and the most recent one “Mid Night in Paris” were shot here as well.

william the Chef Barman at Le Meurice
William the Chef Barman at Le Meurice

Le Dalí

Classic example of how I would spend an afternoon there was my last visit few months ago.  After a long breakfast, and a walk along Rue de Rivoli, I met a good local friend of mine at Le Dalí, an “upmarket canteen” (with a not too canteen like price tag) by Alain Ducasse which is next to the majestic 3 starred Restaurant Le Meurice.   I love this spot for designs and service besides the extremely delicious lunch menu.

Restaurant Le Dalí fitted out under a monumental canvas (145 square meters / 1560 square feet) painted by designer Philippe Starck’s daughter, Ara Starck.  Depends on mood, I would pick one of my favorite chairs like a Dalinien chair with feet in the form of ladies shoes and rest ourself for the rest few good hours over good food and wine.

The decoration of the restaurant was revisited by Philippe Starck in 2007.

lunch around : 90€-160€

The Wine List
Le Meurice stocks around 1,100 different types of wine and an impressive 30,000 bottles in its cellars. Le Dali is no exception.  The wines are predominantly French, listed by region.   Many of the wines are also available by the glass, and we had a glass (or possibly two) of Krug that day.

A good Vermont Spa at the Meurice won’t hurt but lunch went way too long that we decided to move to the Bar 228 right across us.

Bar 228
I love this intimate, clubby den with deep leather armchairs and dark woodwork.   No matter how busy and lack of time for the long lunch, I would definitely come and have my personalized cocktail made by William and step back in time.  25€ a pop but totally worth it.  Jazz piano usually starts at 7pm every night.

 

Le Meurice
228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
+33 1 44 58 10 55 

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