I’ve never needed an excuse to extol anything French, but Bastille Day is just too good a fête to forgo. Celebrating the righteous victory of a Republic (the people) over an Empire (the King), the storming of the Bastille is by far the country’s most important day in history – not to mention one heck of a success in the annals of proletariat revolution. It calls for cake. Or even better: croissants. With a good salty French butter, too, please.
Heck, what it really calls for is room service! So here are a few of my favorite hotels du charm in advance of tomorrow’s fireworks – they’ll treat you like royalty without sending your wallet to the guillotine.
HOTEL RAPHAEL, Paris – Just steps away from the Arc de Triomphe, you’ll easily grab a front row seat at the annual Bastille Day Military Parade as it processes down the Champs-Elysées at this classic Parisian hotel. The hotel’s famous rooftop is ideally positioned to watch the Eiffel Tower’s extravagant fireworks display, too. www.raphael-hotel.com.
VILLA & HOTEL MAJESTIC, Paris – This newest addition to the Parisian hotel landscape is within immediate proximity of the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysées and the Eiffel Tower’s fireworks show. Chic interiors combine classic French style and period antiques with contemporary abstract artwork and modern furnishings in comfortably oversized living spaces. www.majestic-hotel.com.
HOTEL REGINA, Paris – A Belle Époque gem in the heart of Paris, directly across the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre. (The Louvre offers free admission on Bastille Day, by the way). The 90 individually designed guest rooms and suites at Hotel Regina are adorned with Toile de Jouy fabrics, rich Regency colors and period furnishings. www.regina-hotel.com.
HOTEL DU PALAIS, Biarritz – Built in 1855 by Napoleon III as a summer mansion for Empress Eugenia, this grandiose oceanfront hotel has interiors with restored 19th century antiques, a Guerlain spa, and a bunker and putting green for you to practice your swing before hitting the links along the magnificent Basque Coast. www.hotel-du-palais.com.
PAN DEI PALAIS, Saint-Tropez – Luxury historic mansion turned boutique hotel located in the heart of Saint-Tropez. Sun bathers can view the magnificent sights of the French Riviera while lounging in this harmonious haven of Asian-inspired architecture and modern amenities. www.pandei.com.
PALAIS STÉPHANIE, Cannes – This new hotspot’s modern redesign pays tribute to its glam film heritage – the hotel sits on the original site of the Palais des Congrès, where the first Cannes Film Festivals were held. Located in the center of the famous La Croisette and steps from the beach, Palais Stéphanie maximizes the decadent European luxury experience. www.palaisstephanie.com.