That feeling you have the first time (or maybe every time) you see Paris? Le coup de foudre!  Literally, it means being struck by lightning, but more aptly it translates to “love at first sight.” The City of Lights — of Haussmann, Hemingway, Coco Chanel, the Mona Lisa, and croissants aplenty — steals your breath, heats your blood, and makes your heart go aflutter. Within seconds, you’ll be seduced completely. Don’t resist it. Let Paris’ magniloquent ensnarement happen. You won’t be the only one. All around you, others will be equally beguiled by the city’s eternal bedazzlement, caught hopelessly in the romantic mood. 

Best plan is to visit The City of Light with a lover, someone to share the book stalls along the Seine, the garlicky escargot, the rakishly worn berets, the sensationally wrapped neck scarves, and the baguettes as big as surfboards. With your chosen beloved, you can visit sinfully costly boutiques, enjoy flutes of Champagne at every turn, stay all afternoon in bistros, meander through the world’s best art museums, and sail toy boats in flower-rimmed lakes in parks as fetching as the Jardin des Tuileries. While romancing in Paris, don’t miss messy chocolate crepes and flaky croissants or practicing your French moue (hey, it’s sexy). Take your photo in front of the Wall of Love in Montmartre, poised on the Pont Alexandre, and in front of the iconic Eiffel Tower. Match the fervor of your Parisian rendezvous with an equally spellbinding, romantic hotel. Here are a few we love.

Hotel Lutetia

the view from the amour suite at hotel lutetia
Image courtesy, Hotel Lutetia

While the Right Bank exudes big fashion-house charm from Coco Chanel to Sex and the City scenes of Paris’ quintessences, it can feel a bit cold when night falls and all the residents go home. Not so on the Left Bank, (the seductive Rive Gauche), which veritably bleeds with soulful bustle. That’s just one reason the Hotel Lutetia stands alone: it’s the only palace hotel that occupies the storied Left Bank. A bedazzling-ly unique blend —Мarchitecturally between Art Nouveau and Art Deco (it was built in 1910) — it has welcomed the sort of drinkers (Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway), writers and artists (Camus, Sartre, Mann, Matisse, Baker) and otherwise dramatic clientele that invoke that Parisian je ne sais quoi allure. Redone lavishly just before the pandemic, Lutetia  boasts the most sybaritic bathrooms (tubs carved in place in each suite from two ton chunks of Carrara marble), the most commodious suites, the most over-the-top views, and a buzzy dining scene that draws in schools of locals. Cinema lovers should opt for the Francis Ford Coppola Suite, his home when in the City of Lights, a haven of film artifacts and eye-popping city views. 

Le Bristol Paris

Image courtesy of Oekter Collection

Paris’ first palace hotel, this former residence, still family owned, encapsulates the Paris of your imagination. With chintz and damask abundant suites, views of Mansard rooftops, Louis XV furniture, Frey and Brunschwig fabrics, a vintage birdcage-style elevator, and its own elegant Burmese house cat (Fa-raon), this dreamy stay draws the fashionista set. The Honeymoon Suite, furnished with 18th-century accouterments and spanning 1,905-square-feet, overlooks not one but three of Paris’ most recognizable monuments: the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides, and the Grand Palais. Gourmands can request Le Bristol’s five Michelin-starred Chef extraordinaire and ‘defender of French cuisine’ Eric Frechon to prepare dinner in the suite’s kitchen. You butler will serve it candle-lit to unforgettable views.

Shangri-La Paris

terrace at shangri-la paris overlooking the eiffel tower
Image courtesy of Shangri-La Paris

Literati, history buffs, scientists, botanists, and wannabe nobility will be ushered instantly into their element at this grand palace, an extraordinarily embellished fantasy world of Ming-inspired vases, gild, glam, and ornamentation. But, that’s just the beginning. Once the home of Prince Roland Bonaparte, long the social gathering place for the era’s renowned, blue blood-attended salons, the completely redone landmark mansion features views of the Eiffel Tower from nearly half its suites and rooms. The iconic monument can be seen, in fact, as a bonus from the swimming pool as well. With liveried attendants, Veuve Clicquot sabering at happy hour, exotic Bar Botaniste. and France’s only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant, this exquisite hotel is the stuff of dreams. 

The Ritz Paris

suite at the ritz paris
Image courtesy of The Ritz Paris

It doesn’t matter what time you arrive, your room will be ready. If you request something specific: a flirty picnic in a park attended by a butler, a helicopter ride to a Loire-Valley castle for dinner, the Louvre all to yourself after hours — it shall be done. You can be married in its garden, the hotel’s famous pastry chef François Perret, wielding a customized cake aloft. Considered the hotel that initially defined — and instituted — luxury hospitality (“The customer is always right,” famously quoth founder Caesar Ritz), this elegant pinnacle of palatial living was the first hotel to boast electricity, bathrooms en suite, and telephones. So divine that Coco Chanel moved in and stayed for 34 years, The Ritz continues its reign of opulence and coddling today. Honeymooners should book Coco’s own suite, an artistic extravaganza of Coromandel lacquered screens, sparkling chandeliers, and Venetian mirrors with a window opening to Place Vendome.

Saint James Paris

fountain greeting guests of saint James paris
Image courtesy of Saint James Paris

Like arriving to your own chateau in the countryside, with statuary and topiary, the tony Saint James Paris anchors a walled garden. It hides amongst flowers and greenery in a secluded nook on the Rive Droite’s mostly residential 16th arrondissement. Reminiscent of a country home from bygone times, it remains the city’s only designated chateau hotel. Though uniquely situated, it nevertheless lies only a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées’ more frenetic world. With swoon-making interiors, including high ceilings, frescoes, and a library-like bar lined with books, it feels both contemporary and classically French all at once. Part of Relais & Chateaux, it guarantees outstanding gastronomy by Chef Julien Dumas, known for his relationship with local farmers.

InterContinental Paris Le Grand

intercontinental paris le grand
Image courtesy of InterContinental Paris Le Grand

A hotel certain to conjure thoughts of literary Paris and artistically romantic visions (think: Robert Doisneau’s black and white photographs of couples in love) the InterContinental Paris Le Grand, an IHG Hotel, occupies an entire city block across from the Opera Garnier. Designed in the lavish Napoleon III Second Empire style, its array of glass skylights, gilded wood, textured fabrics, and iron framework so impressed Empress Eugenie that she likened the hotel to her Loire Valley chateau. As a couple you’ll feel regal here amongst prodigious history and interiors re-envisioned by Pierre-Yves Rochon to evoke classic French sophistication. Enjoy Cafe de la Paix, beloved by Victor Hugo among others, so quintessential it appears in the Disney film The Aristocats as backdrop. Be spoiled in the Charles Garnier Suite, where staff will deliver flowers, Champagne, chocolates — even a house-made heart-shaped cake to be eaten as you admire the views of the gleaming Opera Garnier.

Feature image courtesy of Hotel Lutetia