The Parisians Flee while the rest of us Flock

by Madeline Saxton-Beer

Passing the time at Le Cinq Codet
A man once reflected upon his time in Paris as such: “We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.” These are the things you go to Paris to do: to love, to live, to eat and to drink.

With the charm of the city's monument-ridden streets so often crossing over into the private suites of its innumerable hotels, it is with much ado that one goes about finding a temporary abode with just the right modicum of  je ne sais quoi—that is, enough to suit Paris' charmingly enigmatic personality as much as your own.

This time around (on a recent visit)—short of being forced to find an eighth-story walk up or 'chambre de service' befitting Papa Hem himself—and due to the fact that Place Vendome's Ritz Paris is still closed for renovations, we were forced to reevaluate our options for impeccably stylish lodgings in the City of Light.

Thankfully, little more than a stone's throw further afield, beyond the urban circus that is Place de la Concorde and a brisk stroll across the Seine to an esteemed address on the Rive Gauche, we found what is arguably Paris' most progressive new hotel, Le Cinq Codet.

Like almost every edifice you'll find there, she's a grand dame, but she's been more than adequately ushered into the twenty-first century at the hands of the adept interior designer Jean-Philippe Nuel. Re-imagined from the former telephone exchange building it once was, the winner of the Hotel Architecture award this year from ArchiDesignClub, Le Cinq Codet is now an artful oasis typical of the elegant surrounds of the 7ème. We ducks from across the pond were in complete admiration of the tactful decor at work in this elegant and understated lodging.

Le Cinq Codet's inherent intimacy has a way of making you feel as though you are in your own home, albeit much more tidy and with a pleasing amount more Tom Dixon thrown in. Art is pivotal here, whereby the hotel strives (and succeeds) to achieve the sentiment of an art collector's studio throughout the 29 heterogeneous rooms that make for hard choosing from the 69 suites on offer. Littered with paintings and sculptures from a considered selection of up-and-coming artists, there are also the furnishings from design icons including Patricia Urquiola and Elisabeth Garouste that confirm the preeminent sense of taste of this curated Parisian cocoon.

With a lush patio serving a veritable sanctuary only meters away from the hushed comings and goings of Le Cinq's reception,  you'll likely  be tempted to spend many a languid repose here, that is, if it weren't for the pull of Paris' tides; Walking outside, you find yourself only a short stroll from the sculptures  concealed within the great Rodin's Garden, the impressive group of buildings that constitute Invalides, or the buffet of Impressionism at the Musée d'Orsay. You'd be forgiven for wanting to stay a while.

Having never before met a hotel so preoccupied in fostering our personal expression (we pondered this as we pondered which of perfectly decorated boudoirs best took our fancy), we've since found ourselves wondering why there aren't more hotels like it.  Worthy of its five stars and so much more, Le Cinq Codet, it would rightfully seem, is a moveable feast within a moveable feast.

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