This is the Ritz, the world’s most famous hotel. Its name has traditionally been a synonym for a luxury hotel, or indeed any kind of luxury at all (even though it is hardly the best-rated hotel in Paris today). The hotel is located on the Place Vendome.
Founded in 1898 by César Ritz, this hotel is surrounded by legend and myth. Its most recent claim to fame is as the last place visited by Princess Diana of Wales, just before she left in a hired car that crashed in a tunnel on the place de l’Alma a few kilometres from this spot. Of course, not all history associated with the hotel has been so grim, and it has been host to many celebrities, including a number of British royals, Hemingway, Coco Chanel, and many others. Today, even though there are hotels with much better reputations among those in the know (such as the Four Seasons / George V), it still does a brisk business with those who are attracted to the historical cachet of the hotel or its slightly over-the-top period decor.
This hotel is quite expensive, as you might expect. However, this really isn’t any more expensive than any of the other “Ritzy” (pun intended) hotels in Paris. The number of rooms is small, so you must reserve well in advance.
The Ritz Web site of its own, if you’d like to learn more. Unfortunately, like most French Web sites, it contains a "Flash splash" screen that makes the site impossible to enter without allowing Flash (and thus endangering security) on your machine.
This is the only hotel that has ever refused me entry, by the way, when an employee incorrectly claimed that the shops and restaurant for "private and only for hotel guests" (from what I could understand of his heavily accented English). What I think he meant was "I don't like the way you're dressed." I can't recommend a hotel with such an attitude, and had I seen this the last time I was a client of this hotel (several years ago), I would have checked out and gone elsewhere. The Ritz isn't doing as well as the other "palace" hotels in Paris, and this could be one reason why.
Click directly on the photo to see a larger version (twice this size). Photographed on July 13, 2008.
Tour d’Argent Restaurant