Lunchtime at Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris

It’s hard to describe Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris – a premiere Paris hotel on Avenue Hoche, a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe – without being gushy. So, at the attempt of sounding casual, we’ll just say we were invited to lunch at La Cuisine – the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant – during our trip to Paris, and gladly accepted. Our favorite thing about this spot is the fact that it manages to blend Old World France and current mod decor seamlessly; you don’t need to decide between the two vibes when debating where you’d like to stay in the City of Lights. After the recent redesign (by Phillipe Starck) they’ve stepped into a new and special age of the hotel, which has been around since 1928.

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La Cuisine is both a restaurant and an art studio, with an incredibly curated array of photographs, paintings and other artwork dispersed among the walls (a forever changing collection). People aiming for a multimedia wall in their apartment should come here for direction (there’s nothing worse than a blindly done multimedia wall). On one side of the restaurant is a wall of plates (once blank canvases) that are given to celebrities and artists – from Sting to Phillipe Starck – to sketch, scribble and draw something on.  On the other side lies windows leading out to a courtyard; a mix between the backyard of a Victorian royal and the dreamy, endless greenery of Versailles.

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Chef Gabriel Grapin (a prodigy of Alain Ducasse) came to greet us and was nothing like the traditional, intimidating French chef stereotype that could scare away even the most self-assumed Francophiles. Instead he was funny, goofy and a good director – bobbing in on our shoot of his chefs at random moments with tips, jibes and jokes. Sommelier Manuel Peyrondet (winner of best sommelier France) also came over to, quite frankly, charm our socks off with an atypical rosé. La Cuisine has a collection of ten rosés which are not from common rosé regions, encouraging us ill-informed winos to try something different than what we usually have. Supposedly, ours was a non-commercial wine where only 5,000 bottles a year are made (not something one can find at their local liquor store). It was so delicious we were trying to figure out where we could pick up the other 4,999. From there we were spoiled with a lunch menu for the ages, capped off with desserts and delights from Pierre Hermé (macaron master himself).

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Noteworthy New Potatoes at Le Royal Monceau:

-Italian restaurant Il Carpaccio is the only Italian Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris

Spa My Blend by Clarins boasts the longest pool of any hotel in Paris

Katana Cinema (the in-house theatre) hosts some of the most fabulous movie premieres (including the premiere of The Great Gatsby in Paris)

-The hotel is home to Le Royal Eclaireur, a concept store worth adding to your Paris shopping itinerary

-The hotel houses an in-house art gallery that premieres exhibitions equivalent to the very best Paris museums and galleries

*Photos taken at Le Royal Monceau by Danielle Kosann