Hot Spots

The 2008 It List

by Ondine Cohane

Paris

Let's face it: France's capital has never lacked for charisma, what with its atmospheric cafés, astounding art collections, rarefied cuisine, and indelibly romantic ambience. But that enduring Gallic charm can also lead to inertia, and a visit to Paris sometimes evokes a trapped-in-amber feeling. Until recently, that is: Perhaps it's the election of Yank-loving Nicolas Sarkozy as president, but lately there's a fresh emphasis on innovation and ingenuity, whether in art (the striking Musée du Quai Branly), architecture (Thom Mayne's daring design for the Phare Tower), or gastronomy (quirky new hot spot Spring, run by—gasp!—an American). Even Paris's stately palace hotels are getting modern makeovers, with Philippe Starck redoing the public spaces at Le Meurice, and the Crillon hiring Thierry Despont for a full revamp. A new crop of fashionable boutique hotels are keeping things stylish but still cozy, from the Hôtel Amour in Montmartre to The Five in the Latin Quarter to the Hotel Bellechasse in the Seventh, where Christian Lacroix was responsible for the tripped-out interiors. But the most inventive lodging in town has to be the Hotel Everland, pictured, a one-room hotel pod cum conceptual art piece that sits atop the Palais de Tokyo (with spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower) until the end of 2008. A few years ago, such an installation would have been seen as a sacrilege; today, it's just one more sign of how Paris is redefining itself in the post-Chirac era.

Musée du Quai Branly
Tel: 33 1 56 61 70 00

Le Meurice
Tel: 33 1 44 58 10 10

Hôtel de Crillon
Tel: 33 1 44 71 15 00

Hotel Amour
Tel: 33 1 48 78 31 80

The Five Hotel
Tel: 33 1 43 31 74 21

Hotel Bellechasse
Tel: 33 1 4550 2231

Hotel Everland

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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