Glass talks to Jerome Chevalier, owner of Pavillon de la Reine
When thinking of Paris, one inevitably conjures up images of elegant buildings, romantic scenes, and excellent food. As far as clichés go, it all sounds rather good to us. However, in a city teeming with hotels, we may have found one that goes a step beyond the ordinary, to bring us more elegance, romance and excellence than we could shake a proverbial stick at.
Introducing the Pavillon de la Reine – the only four-star hotel in Le Marais, and the only hotel to be situated in the Place des Vosges, built by Henry IV in the 17th century. Officially, it’s the oldest planned square in Paris, but unofficially it’s been called the most beautiful square in the world. Sitting prettily at number 28, Pavillon de la Raine is covered in greenery, and hidden away from the galleries and cafes of the square by a private courtyard garden.
Named after one of its famous historical guests, Anne of Austria, the building has been recently refurbished in a project by the Chevalier group, who have collaborated with designer Didier Benderli to update the hotel to a 21st century level of luxury and comfort while acknowledging its rich heritage.
Glass caught up with owner Jerome Chevalier to discuss fountains, Pink Floyd and golf in an attempt to discover how he conceptualised the space, and find out more about what’s available.
Do you think you’ve successfully achieved a balance between old world charm and modernity? We think the combination has been both successful and practical – the traditional touchs are in keeping with the historical area of the Marais, while the modern elements make it perfect for the needs of the 21st century traveller. Did you encounter any difficulties with the restoration process? We did have several difficulties. The fountain that we installed in the spa, for example, is more than five yards long – it was almost impossible to get it down the stairs and it passed with only milimetres to spare. Has the historical richness of the building contributed to its current personality? Yes, the building itself is a great historical aspect of the hotel – it has played witness to history which I like to think we have kept instilled within the personality of the hotel today. Our Victor Hugo suite, for example, is named as such in tribute to the great author, who lived and worked on the Place des Vosges in the 1800s. Which service would you most recommend in the Pavillon de la Reine? The service I would recommend would be either a two hour privately guided tour of the Marais, the area directly surrounding the hotel – very historical and full of anecdotes – or a lovely relaxing massage in the spa. As each room is individually designed, which is your favourite room and why? My favorite room is number 78 on the fourth floor. It’s a deluxe double en-suite room and I love the cool grey decoration – it’s also on the corner of the building which is one of the best positions in the hotel. The hotel features a Carita spa; which treatment would you recommend? I’d recommend a Revelation de soie (Silk Revelation) – an hour of seriously relaxing and revitalising massage, using lovely products. What made you decide to have an honesty bar? The honesty bar is to make guests feel as if they are at home – it is a suggestion of the way that the hotel works, and the open and honest atmosphere that we aim for. Who would be your ideal guest? My ideal guest would be Henry IV with Anne D’Autriche – Henry IV built the Place des Vosges, so without him we wouldn’t have a hotel at all. If you weren’t in the hotel business, what could you see yourself doing? Without hotels, I would definitely be a professional golfer. If your hotel had a soundtrack, what would it be? Pavillon de la Reine’s soundtrack would be an eclectic mix of Pink Floyd and Vivaldi. What would your epitaph say? My epitaph would say, “No room at the Inn” or “Overbooked”.