The 54-room Fauchon L’Hôtel is the most fashionable new luxury hotel for gourmands. It’s an ambitious first venture into hospitality for one of France’s premier gourmet food brands and as one might expect, housemade sweets and treats tempt you, from fresh-baked macarons upon check-in to nougat and salted caramels by the elevator. Every room comes with an epic gourmet bar — a Roche Bobois – designed minibar that’s not so mini, but as big as a full-size refrigerator with dozens of complimentary Fauchon snacks both sweet and savory replenished daily, plus complimentary Fauchon brut rosé. The spa here is small but wonderful — like a private oasis with a pink mosaic steam room.
Breakfast is a multi-course affair, a parade of pastries, fruit, yogurt, French cheese, and softly scrambled, fried, or soft-boiled eggs, all served with Fauchon’s own honey, jellies, chocolate hazelnut spread, and tea. Afternoon tea is a pastry lover’s dream, accompanied by a selection of Fauchon teas and Fauchon’s own champagne. Glam’Hours is the Fauchon version of happy hour, where you people-watch on the terrace of Grand Cafe Fauchon while enjoying tea-infused cocktails and the best French cheese and charcuterie. Even if you aren’t that hungry at dinner, you can order tasting half portions of nearly all the dishes, including sea bream carpaccio, Fauchon pâté in a pastry crust with morels, and guinea fowl with sweet peas.
Blind-taste chocolate bonbons and learn to make chocolate truffles and confections with Edwart Chocolatier, one of Paris’ most innovative new chocolatiers, offering savory bonbon flavors like smoked Papua New Guinea single-origin chocolate, coriander praline, and oolong tea ganache. Book a customized class at the workshop underneath their Rue de Rivoli boutique. Or perhaps take a food tour off the beaten path with Eating Europe.
The new concept for L’Orangerie at Four Seasons Hotel George V is an entirely new direction for Parisian fine dining. There’s no meat here, but this gastronomic experience focuses on vegetables and seafood; it’s a detox, if you will, from traditional heavy French meals. Dishes like dill ravioli with spicy herb tartare and plump rehydrated goji berries or slow-roasted mango with olives and black truffle in a crisp milk crust are remarkable for their originality, artful presentation, and flavor. With only seven tables and 20 seats, the intimate space overlooking Four Seasons’ iconic courtyard books up fast.
While the Four Seasons has exquisite non-alcoholic cocktails, Bordeaux wine lovers should head to Le Clarence. This private mansion built in 1884 is home to one of Paris’ top fine-dining restaurants, owned by Domaine Clarence Dillon, which represents some of the finest terroir in Bordeaux, including Château Haut-Brion, Château La Mission Haut-Brion, and Château Quintus in Saint-Émilion. Seafood here is impeccably prepared, including Brittany langoustines and tender turbot draped with pig’s ear, anchovy, and French beans. Perfect to enjoy at a leisurely pace with aged sémillon in the library or drawing room.
The signature dessert by Four Seasons pastry chef Maxime Frédéric is a meringue flower that’s nearly too pretty to eat. Fifty individual petals are tweezered impeccably over a dome of creamy raspberry delight perfumed with peppermint.
Amber Gibson spends 340 nights a year in hotels searching for the latest and greatest in the travel industry. Her writing and photographs have appeared in print, online, and on the radio for outlets including Four Seasons Magazine, NPR, Saveur, Departures, Rhapsody, Hemispheres, American Way, Private Air, Wine Folly, Plate, Chicago Magazine, Tasting Table, and Serious Eats. She graduated as valedictorian from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and received a fellowship to attend the 2017 Wine Writers Symposium at Meadowood Napa Valley. Champagne, dark chocolate, and gelato are her biggest weaknesses. She also admires and supports CAASE in Chicago. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter.