December 2011; HOTEL DE LA TREMOILLE, 14 rue de la Trémoille – 75008 Paris, Tel. : +33 (0)1 56 52 14 00, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 7:30am Eurostar train smells of musk, newspapers and coffee, the second class cabin seats are bustling with men in suits, lodged expertly in positions that ensure least creasing on their trousers. I stand out in my plaid shirt and dark skinny Levi’s, knitting needles in each sleeve and balancing a coffee formula with a little too much milk. The bloke next to me glances occasionally at the snood factory, and flutters open his newspaper to wave off the fluff. It’s a food-trip to Paris for work, and I’m to meet Sophie at 11 o’ clock for brunch at the Rose Bakery on Rue des Martyrs. The train pulls into a foggy opening of Gare du Nord and the doors slide open to spill out the passengers and L‘Eau du businessmen; the morning wind is scratchy but there’s a glow of orange on the roofs. The taxi driver attempts slurred English and ends up ranting in French, and I say ‘Wee, wee, wee’ throughout the ride to the hotel, I think I might’ve said yes to ‘I think I’ll have a Jambon sandwich today’ but I’m not too sure. We weave past Champs Élysées, a strikingly clear view of the Eiffel and the glitter-clad Avenue Montaigne, and I wonder if I’d also accidentally agreed to a mini taxi-tour of Paris and fumble at my phone (comme dictionary), but apparently that’s the supreme location of Hôtel de la Trémoille. My bag is hailed away, straight from the taxi boot to the porter’s desk, and I’m received in a Haussmanninan foyer, complete with wrought-iron doors and rich velvet drapes.
The diffused lights from the enclosed balcony illuminates the room to a dawn-like glow, and as the receptionist flicks the lightswitch on I realise it’s massive, hardly the size of a standard room. There are two doors to the room, but one is a privacy hatch, accessible from the inside so that the breakfast deliverer isn’t assaulted with a door-full of bedhead and morning breath. The bathroom is colourful with Molton Brown liquid and I momentarily confuse myself C (Chaud = Hot) tap as the English short for Cold, and dip my hands into scalding hot water. And what do you know, a box of Ladurée macarons as a welcome gift on the bed. I rush out to meet Sophie but glad that at the end of the day I can come back to this.
Hôtel de la Trémoille is offering a Valentine’s package until the end of February, including an evening of Maison Kaviari’s l’en-K de Caviar© with a bubbly to share with a significant other, and a tailored culinary walk with guides around the area. Check their official website for more information.