Hotel Highlights

  • Bold, playful decor: bright colours, antiques and instruments
  • The spa – a surprising extra for such a small, intimate hotel
  • Close to Saint-Germain’s best boutiques and bistros

Overview

As lovely as Ladurée macaroons – and similarly coloured – La Belle Juliette hotel on Paris’ Left Bank leaves a sweet taste in your mouth. Soft pink décor, violet-hued paints and humbug-striped sofas pair perfectly with a place that takes its high tea and soufflés as seriously as the 19th-century socialite it was named for.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking La Belle Juliette with us:

A glass of champagne at the bar

Facilities

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La Belle Juliette Hotel - Paris - France

Need To Know

Rooms

34, including two suites.

Check–out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $296.45 (€215), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Continental breakfast is an additional €20 each. (Alternatively, stroll to one of the nearby patisseries.)

Also

Save room for teatime, when the cake stands all but groan under the weight of gorgeous gateaux. Twice a month, the hotel hosts a musical mélange in the restaurant-cum-salon. The spa menu takes its cues from ancient Chinese medicine. Pick your pampering ritual according to which bits need TLC. Sore feet? Have the Peking at Your Feet soak, scrub and massage. Tired paws? Go for Happy Hands.

Please note

The restaurant is closed for refurbishment until October 2014, but breakfast and room service are still available.

At the hotel

Spa, petite courtyard attached to the restaurant, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD/CD player, iMac. Deluxe rooms and above have Nespresso machines.

Our favourite rooms

Room 107 is a romantic junior suite on the first floor with a dusky-pink complexion and a stately roll-top bath (a perfect setting for a Parisian proposal scene). Room 306 is the smallest and cutest Classic room. The dark shades – deep royal blue and sea-green – give it a more masculine feel, and it’s tucked away on the third floor: peaceful and private.

Poolside

One of the hotel’s secret weapons is the unexpected little basement spa and mini swimming pool.

Packing tips

Candy-pink beach shorts/bikini for the spa; something dramatic for descending the ornate spiral staircase in style (silk or satin for Mrs; crisp tailoring for Mr). Leave plenty of space in your suitcase – Rue du Cherche-Midi is dotted with discerning boutiques.

Also

Be warned, there will be some round-the-clock disruption for guests on weekdays while the Lazarist monks next door build a new residential home for older members of the order.

Children

The hotel's not ideal for youngsters, and definitely not for under-12s. There are no interconnecting rooms and extra beds are not available.

Food & Drink

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La Belle Juliette Hotel - Paris - France

Hotel Restaurant

Le Talma isn’t your average restaurant – you’ll dine beside a baby grand and a gold harp, with plenty to distract you from your plate: ruby-red chairs, antique globes and books, and tiered cake stands. (There’s also a scattering of hot-pink chairs and tables on the little courtyard.) Breakfast is true to its roots: Le Boulanger de Monge bread, La Ferme d’Alexandre cheeses; lunch looks to Italy – expect burrata, ossobuco, radicchio salad and the ilk.

Hotel Bar

Sample cocktails and cicchetti at Le Talma Bar, a typically colourful and cosy corner of the hotel.

Last orders

Breakfast is served between 7am and 11am; lunch is 12pm–2pm; the bar dispenses drinks from 7am ’til 11pm (or midnight, on Fridays and Saturdays).

Room service

Have small plates (salads and snacks) brought to your room between 7am and 11pm.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Dip into the hotel’s pretty palette of pinks, parma violet, purple and blue. Nothing’s too frivolous here – model gold lace, berry-bright velvets and a witty little hat.

Top table

Outside on the courtyard if it’s warm. Inside, we like the cosy spot by the open fire: order chocolat chaud and snuggle up.

Local Guide

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La Belle Juliette hotel – Paris – France
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Les Garcons (+33 (0)1 45 49 08 59), a five-minute walk from the hotel at number 79, has blackboard menus, a lively crowd of loyal diners, and a chef that waits on tables. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Saint-Germain (+33 (0)1 42 22 56 565; www.joel-robuchon.net) on Rue de Montalembert is known for its elegance, both in terms of decor and cuisine. Follow in the footsteps of Pablo Picasso, Jean-Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway, and visit the famous Les Deux Magots (+33 (0)1 45 48 55 25; www.lesdeuxmagots.fr) at 6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Order omelettes and café au lait, or aperitifs and nibbles. Poets and artists have always loved La Closerie des Lilas (+33 (0)1 40 51 34 50; www.closeriedeslilas.fr) at 171 boulevard du Montparnasse. Lenin used to play chess with Paul Fort on the terrace.

Local cafés

Pause at left-bank institution Brasserie Lipp (+33 (0)1 45 48 53 91) on Boulevard Saint-Germain for a quick crème, cognac or sole meunière (take a box of matches home with you as a souvenir.) Café de Flore (+33 (0)1 45 48 55 26; www.cafedeflore.fr) at 172 boulevard Saint-Germain has a cocktail buffet involving champagne and petits fours. That alone is enough to get us there, but there’s also the lure of French snacks (onion soup, croque monsieur, oeufs in various guises) and lipstick-red leather booths.

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Central Saint-Germain

La Belle Juliette

92, rue du Cherche Midi, 75006, Paris, France

La Belle Juliette is on a lively boutique-lined street in the 6th arrondissement, just a quick jaunt from Pierre Hermé and the shopping haven of the Bon Marché.

Planes

A 20-minute drive away, Paris Orly is the closest airport, with good domestic links to most of France. UK and international flights land at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, a 30-minute drive away. A taxi from Charles de Gaulle international airport to the centre costs about €50; buses and trains run regularly into town at a fraction of the cost. Air France runs regular airport shuttle buses to the nearby Montparnasse station, a 10-minute walk away.

Trains

Montparnasse station, a 10-minute walk away, has connections to cities such as Bordeaux, Toulouse and Rennes (www.sncf.co.uk). The Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord is about 20 minutes away by car, or 25 minutes away on the metro. The hotel is well placed on the metro network, with stops on lines 4, 6, 10, 12 and 13 all within walking distance.

Automobiles

Paris is not a fun city to drive in. If you do decide to brave the traffic, the hotel can point you to parking spots close by.

Other

With separated bike lanes and quiet back streets, the Left Bank can be a pleasure to explore on two wheels. Hire a self-service bike from a Vélib station; there are several near the hotel. You'll need a credit card to leave the €150 deposit required.

Reviews

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La Belle Juliette Hotel - Paris - France

Anonymous review

by Carli Ratcliff , Food writer

I've always thought it unfair that the French have a reputation for being unfriendly to tourists. Thankfully the characters behind La Belle Juliette could double as ambassadors for France’s tourist board. Nowhere have we experienced service like this: from the €2,000-a-night digs overlooking the Eiffel Tower to quaint country inns with Michelin-starred chefs in the basement.

...

Read more

La Belle Juliette

Anonymous review by Carli Ratcliff, Food writer

I've always thought it unfair that the French have a reputation for being unfriendly to tourists. Thankfully the characters behind La Belle Juliette could double as ambassadors for France’s tourist board. Nowhere have we experienced service like this: from the €2,000-a-night digs overlooking the Eiffel Tower to quaint country inns with Michelin-starred chefs in the basement.

Nothing is a problem for beautiful Juliette’s staff. Every request, however large or trivial, is greeted with a smile and a ‘pas de problème’ attitude. From the teeny: ‘A taxi, madame?’ – which elicits a clean car with a charming driver who’s been fully briefed on our destination and the fee negotiated, to the big: the all-important late check-out. No unspeakably snide glances or terse replies or exorbitant quotes in exchange for the trouble. Here, as we discover, such an appeal is met with good grace and a cup of tea in the garden.

The ability of the staff to maintain such joie de vivre is especially surprising considering that we are staying during Paris Fashion Week when the drama, urgency and bizarre nature of requests are at their peak. Polar bear needed for a photoshoot? The concierge phones Deyrolle, a taxidermy store on nearby Rue du Bac, to beg a full-size white-fur stuffed beast for the afternoon.

Named after an 18th-century socialite, the hotel is delightfully feminine befitting of its muse, Juliet Récamier (yes, we have her to thank for the récamier sofa), born 4 December 1777. A voluptuous bohemian socialite, she nabbed herself a wealthy husband at just 15 (some say he was her father). Known for her artistic soirées, the Saint Germain des Pres hotel also hosts its own monthly musical gathering in her honour.

The hotel’s decor is dictated by Juliette’s loves and friendships, with each floor dedicated to a different chapter in her life. Designed by Anne Gelbard (who also creates fabrics for Dior, Balenciaga and Hermès), the lavender tones chosen for the lobby prove a welcome reprieve from Paris’ bustle. Little wonder the hotel is popular with radar-ducking editors and designers. Located on the Left Bank, on a quiet street of the bustling sixth arrondissement, the building is discretely squeezed between foreign embassies and antique shops. This is the Rive Gauche of your imagination, a world away from the heaving boulevards of sweaty tourists stamping their way up St Germain.

There may be no views, and you could almost be anywhere, but with that anonymity comes serenity. As lovely as a selection box of Ladurée macaroons, rooms are styled with sugar-sweet shades – strawberry and raspberry, cherry-red and violet; and deeper darts of blackcurrant, chocolate and liquorice. And the pretty cake stands aren’t just ornamental – afternoon tea is a daily ritual. Pastries are supplied by the biodynamic bakers of Boulanger de Monge and at breakfast they are accompanied by a pot of Tea Forté tea – parfait. When a bowl of exemplary muesli is placed in front of us, Mr Smith and I gasp. We haven’t seen a wholegrain for over a week, and the notion that anyone would choose bird feed over a basket of wonderfully bittersweet pains au chocolat and buttery croissants leaves us positively perplexed.

By night, this pastry parlour morphs into the hotel’s bar, Le Talma. A grand piano is tucked into one corner, a mean looking salumi slicer in another. Despite being located near some of Paris’ best suppliers of heart-stopping artisanal charcuterie and cheeses, it’s a wonder the hotel chooses to serve snacks with an Italian provenance. Regardless of this swerve from nationalism, the room feels utterly French. Bookshelves line the walls, the piano is put to good use with concerts, which enhances the salon feel, and the small fireplace insures it is cosy in winter.

Our autumn visit sees the sun out and the doors flung open onto a small, gravelly garden. Afternoons appear to be frequented by Left Bank ladies for a spot of tea; at cocktail hour in flock well-heeled chain-smoking Brazilian business people, and British fashion editors poring over the next day’s show schedule. The passing parade means Mr Smith and I can indulge in Paris’ favourite past time, people-watching, with a glass of wine in hand and a salumi plate to pick at.

When we eventually stumble upstairs the elevator door opens to a black void. Mr Smith is falling all over me; it is not the Vouvray, or the aphrodisiac effect of the most romantic city in the world: it is the fact that there is no light. We eventually grope our way to the hushed lilac tones of our boudoir where a well-sized bathroom is illuminated by long windows that let in the City of Light’s golden glow.

A Nespresso machine, quickly becoming ubiquitous in boutique hotels the world over, earns snaps from Mr Smith who is so far struggling with the Parisian coffee. (Australians are notoriously particular about their blends and brews, even in France.) A 24-inch iMac, standard in every room, is another beloved amenity, and it makes researching dinner spots and museum opening hours the most pleasant chore.

While la Belle Juliette may not have an award-winning chef in the basement, there is a spa offering massages and a small subterranean pool. After investigating the local bistros, salons de thé and Poliane, the revered bakery, I treat myself to a Claret Coquet foot therapy. I deserve my Parisian pampering: my hooves have copped a pounding from Mr Smith’s insistence we walk everywhere, and having had so many gastronomic temptations to investigate. Besides, we needed to clock up some serious kilometres a day just trying to counter all those calories. On that note, Mr Smith do order us another cup of la Belle Juliette’s special hot chocolate with some of their financier cakes would you?
 

The Guestbook

Reviews of La Belle Juliette from Smith members

Whenever you book a stay through us, we’ll invite you to comment when you get back. Read the Guestbook entries below to see what real-life Mr & Mrs Smiths have said about this hotel…

BlackSmith

Stayed on 18 Mar 2014

We loved

I loved the friendless of the staff – they couldn't do enough for us!

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 21 Feb 2014

We loved

I liked the fantastic location, amazing interior design and very friendly staff.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 17 Jan 2014

We loved

This is a beautiful hotel on a quintessentially Parisian street within easy strolling distance of the shops, cafés and hustle and bustle of St Germain, and a scenic walk away from the major Paris sites. There's no need to sample the expensive-sounding breakfast as local options abound. Ongoing building works next door sounded noisy on arrival but weren't a problem in practice as they finished by 4pm and didn't start early on a Saturday and we were out all day.

Rating: 8/10 stars

GoldSmith

Stayed on 9 Jan 2014

We loved

The lounge/reception/bar area is cool. The decor throughout is tasteful and unusual, and the staff were very helpful.

Don’t expect

Our room was a little dark, which is fine at night but less attractive during the day. There is significant building work going on in the street so the façade is not as attractive right now as it will be.

Rating: 8/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 20 Dec 2013

We loved

I liked the friendly staff, beautiful room, great bathroom, great breakfast and fantastic decor.

Rating: 10/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on 23 May 2013

We loved

Lovely hotel in an excellent situation. The staff was very helpful and charming.

Don’t expect

We thought breakfast bar prices were expensive. There is building work next door that stopped our taxi getting close to the front door but it doesn't intrude otherwise.

Rating: 9/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 25 Apr 2013

We loved

The hotel looked amazing and perfect was perfect for a romantic getaway. We really enjoyed exploring the local area and the shops and cafés on Rue de Cherche-Midi are great, as is the local area. The hotel staff were very friendly and were happy to help us with any requests and reservations, etc.

Don’t expect

Only a small gripe but the complimentary bottle of water was not replenished each day during our five-night stay.

Rating: 9/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on 21 Sep 2012

We loved

Everything. From the moment we arrived we were totally looked after. The staff were so professional and helpful, and nothing was too much trouble. The rooms were immaculate, the food was fabulous and the location was perfect. 10/10. I would make this my Paris home next time. Special thanks to Samantha, Jean Baptiste, Julie and Susan. You are all amazing. We were very sad to leave.

Don’t expect

How do you beat elegant perfection?

Rating: 10/10 stars