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Hôtel Britannique
20, av. Victoria
75001 Paris, France
+33 (0)1 42 33 74 59

British Invasion
English Estate Style with Parisian Flair

One of the city’s nicest secrets

Despite its sprawling size, Paris is an intimate city. There is a coziness about the narrow side streets flanked by tall, centuries-old buildings; boulevards lined with graceful trees; and even the vast, meandering Seine, which never feels aloof because of its promenades and pedestrian-friendly bridges. No matter where you wander in the City of Lights, you’re bound to find a welcoming corner, and few are more inviting than the historic Place du Châtelet. Poke around the environs of this charming little square and you will discover one of the city’s nicest secrets: Hôtel Britannique.

Appealing red awnings greet guests, who enter the hotel through a small reception area, where a whimsical oil painting of a woman in a dashing feathered red cap gazes down on you as you check in. With its duo of leather club chairs, honeyed colors, fresh flowers and winding staircase (don’t fear, there is also an elevator in this six-story building), the entry hall would feel right at home in a private manor. This is the overall effect the hotel strives to create, decked out as it is to resemble a classic but definitely lived-in home in the English countryside, complete with William Turner reproductions throughout.

The property first opened as a lodging in 1861, and although it evolved over the decades, it never became a big hotel. Although you may miss out on the masses of facilities (restaurant, fitness room, spa) found in a bigger place, you’ll also miss out on the masses of guests and a staff spread thin trying to serve them all. The manageable size of the Hôtel Britannique ensures that your stay is personalized. As for the amenities this hotel does offer, there is a lovely salon/reading room, decorated with playful red paneling and a pleasant clutter of accessories, such as a model ship and brass-horned gramophone. You can pluck a novel in English or French from a built-in wood bookshelf and pass a few hours on one of the leather and velvet chairs and sofas. Another nice refuge is the bucolic breakfast room, whose buffet includes such treats as fresh squeezed orange juice.

Each bedroom has its own unique charm

Equally character-filled are the bedrooms. With two bathrooms and flower box-bedecked windows, the Junior Suite is particularly nice. And there’s a little attic room with a slanted ceiling if you’re seeking a quintessential Parisian garret experience. Six bedrooms come with balconies, offering picturesque views over neighboring rooftops. Surprising high-tech extras in all include Wi-Fi access and flat-screen TVs.

From the front door, you can easily stroll to the Louvre, Les Halles, the Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Près and the Latin Quarter. Yet this hotel remains just off the beaten path. This means that you won’t encounter tourists at every turn as you take your morning stroll. You can live like a local, enjoy the convenience of a traveler and return "home" to be treated like a treasured guest.

Going to Paris? Check out our Guide.

(Updated: 04/29/08 MG)

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