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Augustin Meurice, who opened the Hôtel Meurice in 1817, would doubtless confer his blessing on the just-completed reincarnation of the venerable establishment across from the vast and beautiful Tuileries Garden.

A two-year, top-to-bottom refurbishment of the Meurice by the owners, the Dorchester Group, has produced a hotel that yields to no other in Paris when it comes to combining intimacy and warmth with elegance and splendor. The main entrance, formerly at the rear of the building on the rue du Mont Thabor, has been returned to its rightful place under the arches of the rue de Rivoli. From the laurel wreaths in the mosaic of the circular lobby floor to the Louis XVI-style furniture, fabrics and rugs, the Meurice is a dazzler. Every fixture and piece of furniture in the rooms, suites and junior suites is new.

Most rooms have been enlarged, and bathrooms are extravagantly spacious, each with two vanities and basins Downstairs is the central Jardin d'Hiver, shaded with classic parlor palms and illuminated in daytime by a gorgeous verrière, an ornately ribbed glass canopy, making it the perfect spot for afternoon tea. Detail is everything here, from the munchies in the clubby, English-style bar to the little bedtime card on the pillow giving you the morning weather forecast.

Jardin d'Hiver

A few steps away from the bar is Le Meurice, the hotel's luxuriant, 20-table dining room, warmed in cooler months by a lovely hearth framed in rare marbles, as are the bay windows along one wall. Executive chef Marc Marchand performed marvelously the evening we dined there. First came soft pillows of ravioli, filled with black truffle and wafting on a bouillon of poularde with a blush of truffle oil. Roasted turbot tasted wonderful with a bit of the confit of fennel alongside it. Dessert was a marvel, a soufflé of lemon, garnished with a marmalade of the same fruit and a tiny scoop of lemon ice.

If meals like this one induce the slightest guilt, atonement is available at the Meurice's new "espace bien-être," offering treatments with the same Caudalie products used by Catherine Deneuve.

Packages begin at $437 (double occupancy, including taxes and service) for a minimum of two nights and a visit to a museum, afternoon tea, the breakfast buffet and unlimited use of health-club facilities.

Junior Suite


For reservations contact

Hotel Meurice
228, rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Phone: (33) 01 44 58 10 10
Fax: (33) 01 44 58 10 15
Bookings also can be made through Leading Hotels of the World
at 800-223-6800

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