This weekend, I will experience and share my first collaboration with a 5-star hotel, Le Narcisse Blanc. Located between Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower, in the Tour-Maubourg district, this is a place that elegantly combines a boutique hotel, a spa and a restaurant. I arrived at this new address around 1:30 pm to drop off my suitcase for another weekend full of surprises.
As soon as I received my keys, a concierge accompanied me up to my room – a customised, personal service given to every guest of this true 5-star hotel. We took the elevator that led us to the 5th floor, to discover the wonder of Suite 503. This is a partly–attic suite with a magnificent view over the rooftops of Paris, the Esplanade des Invalides and beyond towards Montmartre hill and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica at its summit. A succession of large, imposing velux and Haussmann-stylewindows, one of which is a double-sided dormer window,bathe the interior of the room with radiant light and create an airy atmosphere. The decoration is light and bright with many shades of beige, ecru, pearl and white. A thick-pile carpet on the floor, crumpled velvet on the sofas, elegant window curtains, designer lamps, books placed here and there on the shelves of the library corner in a harmonious order inviting you to read. In this way, everything is perfectly arranged so that you feel at home in an alternation of snug corners devotedto rest, reading or writing. As if by magic, the sun was alsoshining that day. A luxurious bath of light and softness from the moment I arrived. I appreciated my guide around the suite – measured, millimetre-precise, discreet and efficient. Everything it should be! The concierge really applied himself in showing me around what was to be my living space for a whole day and gave me all the information necessary to get settled in perfectly.
Hurry! There are magical moments that you have to know how to capture. I hurry up so that I can take some pictures and immortalise this ephemeral and evanescent light before it disappears on me. All this refinement makes me want to dress up, be elegant, measure up to this beautiful place and to discover the winter lounge under the veranda for afternoon tea with a selection of the star chef’s pastries.
The desire to visit the hotel impels me to take the stairway, enabling me to discover the magnificent elevator shaft with its superb ironwork, combined with a carpet with a leaf print all along each floor. The same impressive Haussmann-stylewindows lend an imposing look to the corridors on each level.
On the ground floor, the central reception area is surrounded by several small lounges, where each guest of the hotel can get away from it all. The one on the veranda looks great, cosy with hints of powder pink and celadon green. The upholstery on the sofas and armchairs is covered with shimmering fabricsthat reinforce the overall impression of pleasure and comfort.
Afternoon tea with the pastry of the day – a pear and cinnamon crumble with whipped cream – provides my with the opportunity to tell you a little about the history and inspiration of the place. In fact, Le Narcisse Blanc five-star hotel & spa revives a timeless address inhabited by history, inspired by the elegant Cleo de Mérode, the muse who embodied the « Parisienne » throughout the world. A dancer and an actress, Cleo inspired the greatest minds of her time, who included Klimt, Nadar, Toulouse-Lautrec and Marcel Proust. Reynaldo Hahn, her friend and composer, nicknamed her « Pretty little Narcissus »
Ultimately, my greatest discovery of the day was the spa. I believe it is one of the largest hotel pools in Paris, not to mention the Parisian “Palaces”. Le Narcisse Blanc has a spa of breath-taking beauty, spacious, elegant and perfectly designed, where the overall atmosphere is in harmony with the sensorypleasure of the materials used. It offers a range of personalised treatments in its « wellness » section, a jacuzzi as an the extension of the swimming pool, a hammam with warm mosaics, a large sauna where you can just laze around where you please, as well as a real pool in which you can swim quitewell and catch up on your lengths. Large, stylish and comfortable sofas in white imitation leather, not to mention a small fitness room that is really well appointed – just what you need, very visual, very graphic – aesthetics that neither distort the decor nor the atmosphere of the place. I generally don’t like hotel fitness rooms, which are often dark, poky and badly designed. Whereas, here, this one is all glazed and spectacularly designed. I simply fell under the spell and developed a real crush for this space. And, as you can well imagine, I had great fun trying everything out to my heart’s content. I came out of there completely slack and relaxed.
I have another incredible date waiting for me tonight. Narcisse Blanc Hotel & Spa has a restaurant and not any old kitchen, which is headed by the Michelin-starred Chef, Zachary Gaviller. I’ve been invited to dinner tonight and am really looking forward to it. For my big and tasteful night out, I plan to wear an elegant two-piece suit in red. Le Cleo restaurant is fairly small, in a quiet and cosy setting next to the conservatory, and so gets all the natural light diffused through the glass veranda. A very nice table is reserved for me for 8:00. The tables are laid out generously, allowing intimatediscussions whether in a private or business context, in the same cosy and warm design in harmony with the rest of the hotel.
There was a choice of two menus – the Narcisse menu and the Leopold menu – in addition to the traditional à la carteselection. As I’m curious and above all gourmet, I have to admit I went straight for the Leopold menu, a four-course event with two starters / one main course / one dessert to choose from the menu. When I arrived, I was really cordially welcomed with a lot of care to make me comfortable. Impeccable and professional service.
An appetizer was served up first – asparagus essence and olive oil, it is a very pleasant, fresh and tasty sensation that envelops the entire palate and that you can feel infusing throughout your body. My first starter was a scallop tartar with mint and clementine gel. This was a sheer delight of flavour and freshness that goes very well with this appetizer.
The service was ever-present and available throughout this culinary journey. What a moment! For the second starter, I chose a truffle burrata, baked apple, radicchio or red endive, bee pollen. I like to enjoy burrata when it is fresh, fragrant and this subtle combination of ingredients makes it even more delicious. I drag the pleasure out – make it last, take the time to chat with the waiter, enjoy my evening meal and – of course – enjoy the atmosphere to take a few pictures. Photographing food is an art!
And here comes the main course: agnolotti with butternut and hazelnut butter, crispy sage, amaretti crumble. A vegetarian dish. Delicious, famous, fragrant – everything I love. This is refined, elaborate, generous cuisine that is healthy and subtle whilst using fresh, wholesome foods.
I did have lots to eat but everything was so delicate and refined, I just couldn’t miss it. I was able to talk endlessly with dinner companion about food and cuisine, enjoying and learning from the discussion. I let myself be tempted by a dessert to finish on a sweet note: chocolate fondant, Guinness ice cream and lemon zest. I could tell you what it’s like, but I’d have to kill you – as the saying goes – this is one you just have to taste for yourself!
By favouring local producers and suppliers, Chef Zachary Gaviller manages to give the restaurant at Le Narcisse Blanc that deliberately Parisian je ne sais quoi, while adding something special – I don’t know what – that little personal touch that makes his reputation and gives his cuisine such a unique colour.
After this delicious dinner, I decided to extend the evening and take a stroll out to visit the majestic Eiffel Tower, the hotel’srather grand but benevolent neighbour. It is not every day that you have such a beautiful monument near your home! The surrounding streets are very lively. They abound with addresses, cafés and good restaurants such as La Poule au Pot, an authentic place with the charm of a local Parisian bistro, or Petrossian, the legendary address for caviar and other such delicacies, excellent bakeries with period-style decoration such as the Moulin de la Vierge and florists competing in ingenuity in their floral inventions. The American Church, the first American church established outside the United States, whose current neo-Gothic building dates from 1931, is not far from the Seine. And then there is also Mariage Frères and its tea room set up in the former Post Office on Rue Cler, an institution for people who love tea like me.
I had such a calm and relaxing night in this cosy nest overlooking the roofs of Paris. It was a real pleasure to relax in this dream suite, to open the blinds in the morning and enjoy this panoramic view over Paris. Buffet breakfast is served in the dining room. Just before I go there, I have an appointment at 9:30 am, where I am to have the pleasure of meeting Mrs Sonia Lemagnen, a beautiful person. This was arich, interesting and so benevolent encounter. I would like to thank Sonia Lemagnen warmly again for her kind welcome and magnificent collaboration.
Breakfast is complete, served as a buffet. There is something for every taste here. Tailor-made supplements are available, such as a delicious porridge or soft-boiled eggs that I was able to test and approve. The quality of service in the morning perfectly measures up to that in the evening. Always friendly, efficient and professional.
Unfortunately, my stay is already coming to an end, but I’m still going to make a last trip to the spa, do a few laps in the pool and relax in the sauna. Then, it’s time to go, until we meet again.
I would like to thank all the staff at Hotel Narcisse Blanc restaurant & spa for their hospitality. A wonderful stay that I will not forget anytime soon!
Le Narcisse Blanc Hotel & Spa***** is located at 19 rue de la Tour-Maubourg 75007 Paris.
For all reservations or information about Le Narcisse Blanc Hotel & Spa, here is the link to the hotel’s website https://lenarcisseblanc.com
Flower Store – Pierre Marie Julian – 15 Blvd de la Tour-Maubourg – 75007 Paris Tel: +33 188.8.131.52.79 – http://www.julian-paris.com
Mariage Frères Tour Eiffel – 56 rue Cler – 75007 Paris – Tel: +184.108.40.206.18.54 http://www.mariagefreres.com
Exterior Designer – Outdoor Luxury Sébastien Habert – 91 rue du Faubourg St Honoré – 75008 Paris http://www.sebastienhabert.com