the lutetia in paris is re-opened

by Sharon Santoni

The palace hotels of Paris have each taken their turn over the  past years to undergo a major refurbishment.   It’s about keeping up with the times, modernising the amenities, refreshing the decor but also always bearing in mind the history behind the hotel.

The latest to reopen is the wonderful Lutetia hotel.   One of the most beautiful facades in the capital.   This is the largest palace hotel of the left bank.    A short trot from Le Bon Marché,  in St Germain.  The hotel is not only popular with its international travellers but also with the local neighbourhood.  There is a pride surrounding this beautiful and rather huge building, standing proudly on the cross roads where the rue de Sèvres meets the Boulevard Raspail.

There is a good reason for the hotel being so close to Bon Marché, Paris’ first department store.   They were owned and built by the same family!   When Aristide Boucicaut created Le Bon Marché in 1848 it was flamboyant for its time, and a huge success.  One of the innovations in the store that always make me smile is the ‘reading room’ for gentlemen, while their wives shopped.  That’s smart!

Boucicaut wanted a high-end and convenient address for his clients to stay at, when they visited Paris on a shopping spree.  He built the Lutetia across the road, and it was instantly popular.   Over the years the hotel has been a favourite address with artists such as Picasso and Matisse who lived there for a while.   James Joyce was a regular client and in the 50’s it also became popular with musicians.

During World War II the Lutetia was a haven for refugees fleeing to Paris from occupied regions of France.    They were forced to leave when the Germans came into town, and when they also left it was home to American troops.  Until the end of the war it was officially the repatriation centre for returning prisoners of war, concentrations camp survivors and displaced persons.

Today all this history is remembered honourably and affectionately by Parisians.   The hotel has been closed for renovation since the spring of 2014.   Four years were required to reduce the number of bedrooms, create new windows, remodel remodel and redecorate.   New additions include  the beautiful pool and spa;  and seven new suites.

Maybe this is already one of your favourite addresses in Paris?    and if so have you already booked a return trip?


Hotel Lutetia, 45 Bvd Raspail, Paris


Freddie Ann July 20, 2018 - 4:53 pm

Such a magnificent hotel. Lovely. I wonder if they have a tour of the inside on their site, will have to check it out. I had to look up the English translation of Le Bon Marche (The Good Market or The Good Deal). I believe I’ll stay with Le Bon Marche 🙂

Leslie July 20, 2018 - 5:39 pm

Oh you are in for such a treat if you go and stay (a lovely hotel) —- and then to Le Bon Marche — a wonderful department store… with a separate building with a huge food hall…. filled with everything. It is my favourite place to shop for … well, everything… in Paris. After all this you will need a refreshment… try Au Sauvignon—- a wine bar around the corner…. lovely for a light lunch, or coffee… or,yes, a glass of wine. And watch the world (of shoppers) go buy. Great shopping in this area…

Sharon Santoni July 25, 2018 - 1:49 pm

Such wonderful suggestions Leslie.

Sharon Santoni July 25, 2018 - 1:53 pm

Hi Freddie Ann, You can find lots of photos on their website and a video about the renovations. It is certainly beautiful.

Stacey July 20, 2018 - 5:44 pm

Well Sharron this certainly demands another trip to Paris in my near future!!! Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to stay there too, Wink Wink!

Dale July 20, 2018 - 5:50 pm

I stayed at the Lutetia decades ago, it was lovely then and probably lovelier now, such a great location, so much history, almost the Parisian focal point of War II.

Sharon Santoni July 25, 2018 - 1:54 pm

How wonderful! I bet it was just splendid.

Splendid Market July 20, 2018 - 6:07 pm

We used to love staying there, so gracious. There was a great playground across the street where I’d take the kids to play with an international mix of kids, and I still try to recreate the beef ragu pasta we ordered from room service!!

Sharon Santoni July 25, 2018 - 1:55 pm

How fabulous! Might be worth another trip to discover the new improvements. I wonder if they still have that beef ragu pasta- sounds delicious!

Joan July 20, 2018 - 6:31 pm

I recall two stays there. A lovely hotel with an interesting history and a short walk to the best store!
Glad to see it back in great style. Thanks for the photos.

Cheryl Brooks July 21, 2018 - 12:21 am

We’ve watched this wonderful restoration take place over such a long time, so thrilled that it’s finally open–can’t wait to see it! I was fascinated to learn that it was built by the same person responsible for the terrific Bon Marche, easily my favourite dept. store in Paris. What a clever man! Thanks for the super photos!

Sharon Santoni July 25, 2018 - 1:56 pm

So interesting indeed! I hope you get to experience it soon.

Frances July 21, 2018 - 4:24 am

I’m also excited to see that another building Boucicaut is responsible for — the rather weird and wonderful cinema La Pagode, just a few blocks from Le Bon Marché — is going to be restored, with projected re-opening in three years.

Sharon Santoni July 21, 2018 - 11:27 am

I love that cinema, and I think it is very close to the Parisians’ heart too. Very happy to hear it will be restored, I hadn’t heard that 🙂


Taste of France July 21, 2018 - 4:22 pm

I’ve always loved the wedding-cake decorations on the outside; thanks for showing us the new interiors!

Roslyn Short July 23, 2018 - 4:09 am

Sharon , this hotel has gone thru a wonderful restoration .I remember reading about items for auction in one of your blogs & being so excited about owning a small part of this historic hotel ..We stayed there in the eighties ,the room was small with a bathroom , guess we were on a budget but it worked it’s magic on us .So may have to give up L’Hotel Abbay to enjoy a revisit to this French Icon .

Pamela July 23, 2018 - 8:48 am

Your pics of the refurbished Lutetia have whetted my appetite for more. Maybe we’ll go there for breakfast next visit to Paris.

We use the Rose Bakery in le Bon Marche for my own gentleman’s reading room. They do the best salads and their baking is superb. Best scones ever. So during the Paris sales or whenever we’re visiting my husband ensconces himself there with a paper or book or his water colour paints (if sitting near a window – he has done pictures of quite a few of the buildings in the neighbourhood, seen through the windows). I join him for lunch and a glass of rose. They know us quite well by now as we’ve been many times! And are always wonderful. Best wishes, Pamela

Sharon Santoni July 25, 2018 - 2:00 pm

That sounds so lovely! I love the Rose Bakery as well- such a great addition to le Bon Marche. All the best on your next trip.

Tersia Erasmus July 23, 2018 - 9:13 am

The most beautiful architecture! There is so much pride in every detail, I can.t stop watching, thank you Sharon, my inspiration for the week Groete Tersia Suid-Afrika

Martha Brooks July 29, 2018 - 12:22 am

In August, 1989, teen-aged daughter and I had reservations at The Lourve hotel but they overbooked us and sent us to the Lutetia, after that stay and a trip to Mt. St. Michel, we returned to the Lutetia. Our rooms were the top floor middle room and the room underneath the top and each was very luxurious and each had a balcony that had stunning views of the Eiffel Tower The toiletries included the perfume, Eau d’Hadrien by Annick Goutal, which became our mother-daughter fragrance and I gifted it to my daughter on several occasions. Your notice that the beautiful Lutecia has been restored is a thrill and holds sweet memories of my daughter. My daughter passed away suddenly on her birthday in 2016 but it’s lovely to think of her when I smell Lutetia’s Eau d’Hadrien.


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