Mythical hotels with legendary guests

You secretly dream of checking into prestigious hotels where the famous once stayed? Fall for Coco Chanel’s nest, author Marcel Proust’s or even singer composer Serge Gainsbourg’s favourite hotel. From the Ritz Paris to the Hôtel du Palais and the legendary Le Normandy Barrière, enter mythical hotels that welcomed celebrities (and still do!).

Le Ritz Paris – Coco Chanel

Gabrielle Chanel once declared: “The Ritz is my home.” In 1937, she moved to the emblematic Parisian hotel, the Ritz, making room No. 302 her own where she remained until her death in 1971.

The Coco Chanel Suite in the Paris Ritz expresses elegance, refinement and luxury. The room was moved down a floor (suite 202) to provide a better view of Place Vendôme and its famous column, one that inspired the octagonal cap on Chanel No. 5. Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of Chanel, collaborated with the Ritz’s design team to recreate Gabrielle’s world.

With a large surface of 188 m2 in shades of beige, white and black, the suite has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a luxurious living room with an ornate fireplace. Sketches by Karl Lagerfeld can be seen in the entrance hall, and unpublished archival photos of Gabrielle Chanel during her stay at the Ritz are displayed throughout the suite. Adorned by several artworks, the suite feels like a VIP museum!

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Belles Rives Hotel Juan-les-Pins - Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, packed their bags in 1925 for the French Riviera only to succumb to the charm of a dwelling called the “Villa Saint-Louis” in a cove on the Cap d’Antibes. The author’s time spent on the Riviera provided him with the inspiration for “The Great Gatsby”, published several years later. In his novel, an extravagant couple throw many parties on a terrace by the sea with celebrities such as Rudolph Valentino, Hemingway, Franck Jay Gould, Maurice Chevalier and Pablo Picasso… The Fitzgeralds make Juan les Pins “the place to be”, where the jet-set regularly meet up. It’s in 1929 that the villa, seeped in history, becomes the Belles Rives Hotel, now a luxurious five-star.

On June 11, the 10th edition of the Fitzgerald Prize will be held on the terrace of the hotel, to reward a literary novel.

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Le Normandy Barrière Hotel Deauville – Serge Gainsbourg

At the heart of Deauville and two steps from the famous Planches in front of the ocean, Le Normandy has welcomed many personalities such as Churchill, Jean Gabin, Laurel and Hardy and Serge Gainsbourg.

Built in 1912 to accommodate, free of charge, the guest players of the nearby casino, the hotel has his place in the seaside resort’s decor. This mythical 5-star hotel has 231 rooms, 40 suites and 7 family apartments where elegance and tradition are combined.

The “Anglo-Norman manor” style seduced Serge Gainsbourg who used to sit at the bar and enjoy a cocktail called “Mint Julep”. 30 years after his death, the hotel bar still remembers the legend and proudly displays a portrait in his memory.

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Grand Hôtel de Cabourg – Marcel Proust

Grand Hôtel de Cabourg, Room 414, 4th floor.

It was in this prestigious 5-star hotel in Normandy that Marcel Proust used to stay between 1907 and 1914. Inspired by the writer’s former room, the 414 has a Belle Epoque decor with wooden floors, a library and a desk overlooking the sea.

The shadow of Proust still hovers over the hotel, starting with the restaurant named “Balbec”, the imaginary town described by Marcel Proust in “Remembrance of things past”.

Every two years, musical days are also dedicated to him in Cabourg, where we can see a flood of “Proustians” from all over the world.

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Hôtel du Palais Biarritz - Charlie Chaplin, Sarah Bernhardt or even Sacha Guitry.

The Hôtel du Palais also called “the jewel of Biarritz’s city” offers superb views of the ocean.

Formerly the summer mansion of Napoleon III and his wife, Empress Eugénie, the “Villa Eugénie” was built between 1854 and 1855 and will become forty years later in 1892 “Hôtel du Palais.” It was then one of the prestigious addresses in France where European royalties are welcomed. At the end of the First World War and after serving as a hospital, the Hôtel du Palais is once again a must-see on the Basque coast that stars enjoy visiting.

Some suites with ocean views are named after celebrities who stayed there such as Charlie Chaplin, Sarah Bernhardt or Sacha Guitry. The only 5-star hotel to be awarded coveted official “Palace” status on the entire French Atlantic coast continues to welcome personalities as the seven heads of state for the G7 2019.

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