The Warwick Champs Elysees is
steps away from one of
the world's grandest boulevards.

In Paris, the world’s capital of elegance and style, where else would you stay but in a hotel that reflected the essence of the city itself. On my recent trip to the city I consider my home away from home, I was fortunate enough to stay in not one, but two hotels that are the very definition of Gallic sophistication and charm.

Just steps off the always bustling Champs Elysees (in the 8th arrondissement), on the much quieter rue de Berri, is the hip yet serene Hotel Warwick, a member of the Warwick International Hotels worldwide “collection.”

This newly renovated city charmer features 149 rooms and suites—many of them with individual terraces and views of Paris.

My “executive room” overlooked rue de Berri, admittedly not the most scenic view in Paris, but quite frankly, after a long day out and about, I was more than happy to simply revel in the tranquility of my room—no outside views needed! (The room did, however, feature one wall of windows so there was plenty of natural light which I just loved.)




Warwick Champs Elysees rooms and
suites are furnished in a comfortable,
sophisticated, nouveau style.

Parisian hotel rooms are not always known for their size, but my spacious room featured not only a comfortable bed and well-appointed bath (with American-style shower heads), but also a seating area with a stylish sofa, chair, desk, coffee table stocked with current magazines, and—much to my delight—enough lamps with bright enough bulbs to make reading, or working, as easy as possible.

The Warwick’s popular restaurant, W, and its cozy W Lounge Bar—for cocktails or light meals—are popular with guests as well as native Parisians; there is also a business center with high-speed Internet access should you feel the need to be connected to the outside world!

Not only does The Warwick offer comfort and convenience—just a short stroll to shopping, dining, sightseeing, even the Metro—but it also has a staff that couldn’t be more friendly and helpful—from the doormen to the front desk receptionists to the concierge to the housekeeping staff—there was always a smile, a “Can I help you?,” and a “Have a nice day” from everyone I met.

Book The Warwick Westminster

Click photo to book The Warwick Westminster
13, rue de la Paix 72002 Paris

After three days of exploring the Champs Elysees and nearby avenue George V, avenue Montaigne, avenue du Faubourg St -Honore, and feeling ever so chic and Parisian—I moved over to another “jewel” in Warwick International’s collection—this time the Hotel Westminster, in the nearby 2nd arrondissement. The Westminster offers a different—although equally gracious—experience, with an Old World charm and the opportunity to feel like visiting royalty—just like the Duke of Westminster, a regular visitor to the hotel in the mid-19th century and for whom the hotel is named (the current Duke has carried on the family tradition by staying here as well).

Built as one of Paris’ first grand hotels more than 150 years ago, Hotel Westminster is just a short stroll from the Place Vendome, the Opera Garnier, and the Tuileries Gardens.




The Hotel Westminster lobby reflects
Old World charm and elegance.



The Westminster's rooms and suites
combine traditional furnishings, antique
accessories, and modern amenities.

The elegant, yet still comfortable, lobby features antique carpets, crystal chandeliers, and a beautiful mahogany reception desk, transporting you back to a time when travelers made their “Grand Tour’ of Europe in style. (Just off the lobby though is the hotel’s business center, with high-speed Internet access, so you can zip back to the modern day in no time at all.)

The Westminster has 21 suites and 80 rooms; many named for one of the renowned jewelers that can be found on the nearby Place Vendome. The hotel has been completely renovated in the past three years and designed by the well-known decorator Pierre-Yves Rochon who has combined traditionally styled furniture with period pieces such as Louis XV inlaid consoles, Napoleon III desks, Aubusson rugs, and Chinese porcelain. Each room also blends period pieces with modern amenities, including satellite TV, and private, high-speed Internet connection, mini-bar, and spacious marble bathrooms.




Dine in The Westminster's
noted restaurant, Le Celadon.

During the week, the Westminster’s Michelin-starred Le Celadon offers a creative menu by chef Christophe Moisand, the former sous-chef at the Hotel Meurice and a winner of the Trophy le Coq Saint-Honore. Menus are changed according to the market and the season, but in winter, you might enjoy oysters crusted with ginger, or Saint-Jacques scallops roasted in the shell with lentils and chestnuts; in spring, prawns roasted on a skewer with lemongrass, or a fricassee of pork cooked with sage; in summer, lobster roasted in its shell with Cuban pepper, or roasted veal with fresh almonds; and in fall, crepes with “Paimpol” white beans and black pasta.

Save room for dessert (this is Paris, after all!)—mint soufflé with chocolate ice cream, saffron biscuit with candied mango, candied lentils and carrots and lemon sorbet, small bananas roasted with spices, and pineapple marinated with Sichuan pepper.

Each week Le Celadon offers a “from the market” menu at 55 euros (wine and coffee included); the menu is updated each week. A “tasting menu,” at 71 euros, gives you a gastronomic tour of the chef’s virtuosity and highlights foods of the season such as asparagus and morels in spring, lobster in summer, fowl in autumn, and truffles in winter.

During the weekends Le Celadon becomes Le Petit Celadon, with a more casual atmosphere, and menu; there is even a children’s menu as well.




Duke's Bar honors the memory of
one of the Westminster's most famous
guests, the Duke of Westminster.



Rest your sightseeing-weary muscles
with a massage in the Westminster's
rooftop spa and fitness club.

For lunch, “small bites,” or cocktails, there is the Duke’s Bar, which wouldn’t be at all out of place in merry ol’ England, with its wood paneling, mahogany tables, club chairs, and portraits of English writers (the Westminster’s director, Volker Zach, is an avid bibliophile).

On the fifth floor of the hotel, with windows offering a view of Parisian rooftops, you can work out in the Westminster’s fitness club; there is even a personal trainer available to set up a customized program for you. The fitness club also has a relaxation area, designed in a simple, elegant Thai style, as well as a spa run by the Institut Orlane.

As at The Warwick, the staff at The Westminster is gracious, accommodating, cheerful and always ready to offer a hand (or on a rainy day, an umbrella!).

Warwick International Hotels was founded in 1980 with the purchase of The Warwick New York. Today, Warwick has 30 hotels worldwide in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the U.S. (The Warwick New York, The Warwick Denver, The Warwick Regis in San Francisco, and The Warwick Seattle).

Many of the hotels—like The Westminster—have a long history; The Warwick New York, for example, was built by William Randolph Hearst in the mid-1920s for his Hollywood friends; The Westminster was one of the first hotels in the City of Light; and the Fiji Warwick is built on the Coral Coast, site of Viti Levu ’s most ancient settlements.




Both Warwicks make a perfect base
while in Paris . . ..try each of them.

Despite an exchange rate that has been less than favorable to Americans of late, both The Warwick and Hotel Westminster offer many price options, including Internet savers and special packages—such as a DaVinci Code tour and shopping packages—making a stay at either (or both) of these hotels not only possible, but a must!

There are those for whom the choice of hotel is not important—their reasoning is that they’re only there to sleep. For others (like myself), where you stay is as much a part of your travel experience as the destination itself. When I think back on this most recent trip to Paris, I will be remembering not just the city I love so much, but the two hotels that made me feel so at home. I look forward to returning to them—and sampling the rest of Warwick International’s collection.

Feature by Carol Sorgen, Jetsetters Magazine Baltimore Correspondent.

Tour Tips For Paris

As hard as it was to actually leave the luxury of both the Hotel Warwick Champs Elysees and the Hotel Westminster, I was, after all, in Paris, and the city beckoned. For many, Paris is about museums and monuments; for others, it’s about wining and dining; for still others, it’s about shopping (even if only gazing through the windows). As a frequent visitor to Paris, I usually try to do a bit of everything, but truth be told, unless there’s a special exhibition I want to see, I generally skip the major sights such as the Louvre. You don’t need me to tell you what the must-sees are in Paris — especially on your first trip — any guidebook can do that for you. So here instead is a list of some of my personal favorites—some I return to every visit, some were new to me but will be on the must-see/do/eat list in the future. I hope they become some of your favorites too.




Enjoy the sights of Paris on
a cruise along the Seine.

OK, it may be kind of touristy, but when the weather obliges, one of the first (or sometimes last) things I do in Paris is almost always take a boat ride on the Seine. When the weather’s warm enough, I sit outside; if not, the big glass windows offer an ideal view. I’ve done this ride during the day and at night, when the City of Light truly is a sparkling display. There are guides who offer commentary on what you’re seeing, but the idea is just to enjoy the ride. There are several companies providing these tours, including Bateaux-Mouches (www.bateaux-mouches.fr) and Bateau Parisiens (www.bateauxparisiens.com).




Strolling among the bouquinistes is a
wonderful way to spend an
afternoon in Paris.

A French institution, Laduree, on the Champs Elysees (no, 75), was Paris’ first tearoom in the 1950s; the pastry chef there invented the French macaron—two lighter-than-air cookies filled with a flavored cream (chocolate, lemon, pistachio, green tea . . . the flavors defy imagination). This was one of my favorite mid-afternoon breaks . . . order a small plate of cookies along with Laduree’s chocolat chaud, served in a silver pitcher, and get your energy back for the next round of sightseeing.

When you want ice cream in Paris, Berthillon is where you head. Once only available at its original location on the Ile St. Louis, you can now find Berthillon glaces et sorbets throughout the city (including the Champs Elysees). A small boule of glace au chocolat is rich and deeply chocolatey. French scoops of ice cream are much smaller than what we find here, but you won’t mind in the least because the flavor is that intense. One of my other favorite flavors here is gianduja, a somewhat lighter chocolate flavored with orange, containing slivers of orange peel.

I’d been wanting to go to the Musee Jacquemart Andre (158 blvd. Haussmann,  www.musee-jacquemart-andre.com)  for several years and finally made it on this visit. This 19th century mansion was once the home of business magnate Edouard Andrew and his wife Nellie Jacquemart. The museum houses a truly stunning collection of furniture and art, including works by Italian artists Mantegna, Uccello, and Botticelli. There’s also a wonderful gift shop where you can find reasonably priced souvenirs for yourself or to bring home.




The stark Memorial to the Martyrs
of the Deportation honors
those who were deported
from Paris during World War II.

Near the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris (also a must if you’ve never been there before) on the Square de l’Ile de France, is a small, somber site I return to every year—the Memorial des Martyrs de la Deportation. This tribute to the 200,000 Jews, Communists, homosexuals, and Resistants who were deported to concentration camps from France during World War II, which opened in 1962, never fails to move me. Descend the staircase to the river level, where simple chambers are lined with tiny lights and the walls are inscribed with thoughtful quotations as well as the names of the concentration camps. A stark iron gate looks out onto the Seine while all you can see above you is the sky.

When walking down the Champs Elysees toward the Rond Point (the opposite end from the Arc de Triomphe), I came across Artcurial (7 Rond Point du Champs Elysees). This gallery/café/art bookstore is a treasure trove for those, like myself, who love books on art, photography, and design.

You don’t have to love opera to love the Palais Garnier (Place de l’Opera), the Paris Opera House. Both the interior and exterior are brimming with opulence, with colored marble, molded stucco, gilt, red satin and velvet boxes, and a false ceiling painted by Chagall. You can take in an opera or ballet here, or you can just spring for the 6 Euros and tour the magnificent building. There’s a small, but well-stocked, gift shop to the right of the entrance (you can go to the gift shop without paying the entrance fee).

Just across the square from the Opera Garnier is the Café de la Paix (12 boulevard des Capucines). When the weather’s frosty outside, you can sit in the heated, glass-enclosed terrace and watch the world go by while you indulge in one of the café's legendary pastries. (Try the millefeuille.)




The entranceway to
the Museum of Letters &
Manuscripts

As a writer, one of the things I love most about Paris is that it’s a city of readers—which means it’s a city of bookstores. From the bouquinistes along the Seine, with their used books (and increasingly, souvenirs and chatchkes) to the bookshops that seem to appear at every other corner, there’s no shortage of reading material in this city. If you want to stick to English-language books, walk along the rue de Rivoli and stop in at both Gallignani (no. 224) and W.H. Smith (no. 248). Gallignani specializes in art and design books and literature in both French and English; the books are stacked high on mahogany shelves that make you think you’re in an old-world library. W.H. Smith is a branch of the British chain and in addition to two floors of books, offers an extensive magazine selection. Best of all, it’s open on Sundays. One of my other favorite bookstores is on the other side of the Seine, on the Rive Gauche (or Left Bank). The Village Voice (6, rue de Princesse) has a great selection of the latest English-language fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and literary magazines. The store also hosts book signings/readings and is a great place to meet both French and American/British booklovers too.

I just discovered this intimate, and extremely attractive, new museum in the St. Germain area of Paris. The Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits (Museum of Letters and Manuscripts, 8 rue de Nesle) provides a glimpse of history traced through more than 2,000 documents and letters from such notables as Mozart, Freud, Napoleon, and Einstein. There are both permanent and special exhibitions and a small gift area.




The Eiffel Tower is Paris'
most recognizable symbol.

Finally (I could go on and on but let’s save some suggestions for another visit), Paris is a city of breathtaking views. Most people make their way to the top of the Eiffel Tower for a view of the city. There’s only one problem with that—once you’re at the top, you can’t see the most recognizable landmark in Paris . . . the Eiffel Tower itself! Instead, take a trip to the top of the Tour Montparnasse (33 ave. du Maine, www.tourmontparnasse56.com). In just 38 seconds, the high-speed elevator will take you to the 56th floor where you can visit the panoramic café-lounge and also find orientational diagrams that let you in on what you’re seeing. For a completely unobstructed view, however, climb up two more flights of stairs, stand in the white target painted at the center, and marvel at the sight of Paris spread out before you. My favorite time to go—at dusk when you can not only watch the sun set but see the lights come on all over the city. — Tips from Carol Sorgen, Jetsetters Magazine France Editor..