Le Lutetia has become, over the years, the place to meet for writers and publishers but also to give interviews for actresses and producers. It is conveniently located at corner of Bd Raspail and rue de Sèvres, one block from the Bon Marché and Hermès, and it is the only five star hotel in the Latin quarter. So as soon as it reopened I rushed to test the food and the ambiance. The Brasserie is not open yet so I went for the upscale “Salon Saint Germain”, where the menu is not as successful as Jean Michel Wilmotte‘s decor.
The service is sweet though a little clumsy, for such a posh palace and there is a very relaxed atmosphere in the middle of August. A beautiful courtyard was too warm to sit in but a few customers were enjoying their cigarette outside. I loved the decor of salon Saint Germain as much as the entrance hall, very pale with a 1920’s touch. You immediately feel happy while walking into this historical hotel. At the end of the war, all the prisoners who had survived the Nazi camps, arrived there and many families were enquiring every day and looking at the lists hoping to find their dear ones. It has since become the headquarters of many publishers and artists from nearby Saint Germain des Près who indulge in long cocktails discussing manuscripts.
I liked the cheerful atmosphere created by Jean Michel Wilmotte and the lightness of it all. The brasserie, which will be decorated with Jean Le Gac paintings, is not open yet, but it will be welcome as the “fancy” restaurant is not quite up to our expectations. I had a delicious avocado to start with lemon pickles but it was pretty simple and recommended as a healthy Akasha treat. (Akasha is the name of the 700 square meter spa). Other starters were melon from Charente, sucrine or multicolor tomatoes… not very exciting or rather something I can easily make at home. I then took the anchovy pissaladière, a delicious very light pizza, and my friend had the fish of the day, sea bass in a liquid potato purée… disappointing.
Desserts were average, a bit too creamy, with a very good coffee (80€ for lunch with wine).We wandered around looking at the breakfast room in the back, l’Orangerie, a very pretty way to start the day. It is so large that it could be changed into a ball room quite easily. But my favorite was Bar Joséphine, with a long colorful marble counter and a piano. This is where, I know, I will want to come for a quick after theatre supper or a long flirtatious drink.
I did not try the rooms which are well beyond my budget even at the discovery price (the cheapest is at 850€)! but will certainly go back when the brasserie opens. Lutetia hotel.
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