Paris' stately Hotel Ampère is the perfect departure setting for European Waterways' barge trips through France. From here you are eased gently with grace and style into luxury barge travel. Guests are gathered up on Sunday afternoon before departing for La Belle Époque, the Nivernais Canal and the beautiful Yonne Valley of Burgundy.

(Opening photo: A full service restaurant featuring upscale French cuisine opens onto a charming inner courtyard, "Le jardin d'Ampère.")

Simple arrangements of orchids on both
sides of the entry vestibule are
an enticing welcome.

Opened in 1997 in a new building in the 17th Arrondisement, a historically prestigious district of Paris, Hotel Ampère has all the contemporary luxuries you could want in a modern hotel.

Three stars never reflected such class as at the Hotel Ampère. A pink stucco exterior reflects traditional French charm. Simple arrangements of orchids on both sides of the entry vestibule are an enticing welcome, drawing you into a warm world of pomegranate, sage green and gold. Gentle watercolors in a loose, flowing style grace rooms and hallways.

Here there is a room for everyone. Two of the hotel's eight floors are non-smoking. Of 100 rooms, several are especially designed to accommodate physically-challenged travelers. There are three rooms with wider doors and lower card access. In these rooms the WC and bath are all together in one large, beautifully-tiled bathroom, with towel bars and access handles set lower into the tiles. For someone suffering from asthma, there is even a room with blond hardwood floors instead of wall-to-wall carpeting, and special non-allergic products are used by the staff who clean the room.

Our room at the Hotel Ampère
couldn't have been more comfortable,
or more fully-appointed.

For families or three persons traveling together, a larger room features a king-sized bed and single Murphy bed that conveniently pulls down. Children under twelve stay free and pets are welcome.

For the business traveler, there is the ability to be connected in the room directly to the internet and a personalization of the room's telephone number. There are also two conference rooms completely AV-equipped.

Naturally one would expect air-conditioning, a minibar, hairdryer, and personal safe in the room, but electronically operated shutters? In addition to these luxuries, we appreciated the floor-plan arrangement that provides a separate room for the toilet apart from the bath.

Top: The "Salon Ampère" is ready for your meeting or conference.

Bottom: Some rooms feature balconies overlooking treetops and rooftops of Paris.

Of particular note is the energy-efficiency of the hotel's key card room entry system: once you've opened your door, you must insert your key card into a slot on the wall just inside the door to access electricity for lights and heat or air conditioning. When you pull your card out as you leave, no electricity will be left on. In addition, you will never misplace your key card while you're in your room!

After a day of business, shopping or sight-seeing, the hotel's piano bar provides a nice wind-down before dinner. A full service restaurant featuring upscale French cuisine opens onto a charming inner courtyard, Le jardin d'Ampère. From the same kitchen, room service is available 24/7.

The Hotel Ampère is just 30 minutes from Charles de Gaulle airport and within walking distance of the metro station Pereire. Its location is perfect for visits to the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees, Montmartre and Notre Dame Cathedral. The hotel also operates a car park for 55 cars. Other services provided by a friendly staff include airport shuttle and valet parking.

HOTEL Ampère

102 Avenue De Villiers
Region: 17th District

Paris can easily be as frantic and busy as any major city in the world. The Hotel Ampère provides a nice respite that can be appreciated whether you are traveling on business, as a tourist, with a family, or anticipating a week barging through Burgundy aboard La Belle Époque.

Photos and feature by Carolyn Proctor, Las Vegas Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent.