The big trip

Château Voltaire Paris review: a very chic stay with an arty edge

This is a five-star hotel that has inveigled Paris’ beau monde

If walls could talk, they still wouldn’t at Château Voltaire. The hotel is far too polished and exclusive for tittle-tattle. Established by Thierry Gillier, the founder of French fashion label Zadig&Voltaire, this quiet and sophisticated 31-room five-star address in the 1st arrondissement has an air of calm refinement that encapsulates what we know and love about Parisian chic.

The French would define the aesthetic as “entre le bon sens et le bon goût”, that sweet spot between good sense and good taste, but there’s more to it than this. Thoughtful curation and a dash of decadence tilts Château Voltaire’s well-studied style towards an allure that’s achingly cool.

Château Voltaire's comfy salon sets an arty tone

Château Voltaire’s comfy salon sets an arty tone

François Halard

Why stay here?

Interiors demonstrate elegant restraint with a touch of bohemian flair thanks to trendy Parisian design studio Festen and Franck Durand whose creative agency is behind the campaigns of cult French brands Sandro and Isabel Marant. Durand is also married to fashion icon and former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief, Emmanuelle Alt, which suggests he is well versed in the art of living well. 

The hotel’s comfy salon sets an arty tone: it’s both minimalist and perfectly on point with its Parisian bourgeois charm. Abstract paintings in soft muted tones hang alongside elegant mid-century furniture bedecked with well-chosen antiques.  

A snapshot of this area might include a stone bust of a Jean Cocteau-like character, a rare Slim Arons photobook, various knurled earthenware vases and a collection of rustic faience plates, no doubt hand-selected from an eclectic mix of auction houses, luxury boutiques and Paris’ famous Marché aux Puces.

A double room at Château Voltaire

A double room at Château Voltaire

François Halard

This breezily stylish decor extends to the bedrooms, where the hotel’s love affair with its Baroque leaf patterned carpet continues. Actress Julia Fox was recently pictured sprawled across this plush golden and green clad floor looking suitably sex-kittenish in a PVC outfit. 

Beds are dressed in beautifully pressed white linen, caramel-coloured cushions and soft, fuzzy mohair spreads. The highlight has to be the pantry-like mini bar replete with luxury French gourmandises and treats, including boutique candles.

White marble bathrooms with double sinks are big enough to dress à deux, or maybe even à trois. Model Laetitia Casta, French songstress Clara Luciani and fashion designer Ludovic de Saint Sernin have all been recent guests, so best pack a suitably chic wardrobe.

Enjoy some treats from the pantry mini bar

Enjoy some luxury French treats from the pantry-like mini bar

The food and drink

Château Voltaire doesn’t have to try very hard to attract a young fashionable crowd. First, there’s its Brasserie Emil, full every night of the week and helmed by a young handsome chef who has charmed the city’s beau monde with his langoustine ceviches on homemade sourdough and fragrant risotto served in individual Mauviel copper pots. Everything is delicious and the ambience is always buzzing.

Most people begin the evening at the hotel’s bijou La Coquille d’Or bar, which, as the name suggest, has plush interior and seductive ambience as if you are ensconced in a magical clam shell clad in dark wood and lashings of plush velvet.

La Coquille d’Or bar at Château Voltaire

La Coquille d’Or bar at Château Voltaire

François Halard

What sets it apart?

Breakfast at Château Voltaire is a fine dining experience in itself. Various courses arrive in dinky and delicious portions – imagine a scoop of crushed avocado on a thin disc of toast, finessed with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. You’ll have room for lunch, which matters in Paris. 

Hotel guests are also entitled to exclusive use of the hotel’s spa for an hour. Book your slot and use the small pool and sauna without interuption. As you might imagine, this is a big hit with couples. 

The basement spa at Château Voltaire

The basement spa at Château Voltaire

François Halard

Out and about

Château Voltaire is in the geographical heart of Paris, at walking distance from The Tuileries Garden, Garnier Opera, the Louvre and the Palais-Royal. The luxury shopping haven of Saint-Honoré is also a stone’s throw away.

What to know before you book 

If you intend to eat at Brasserie Emil, reserve your table well in advance, especially on weekends. Those who really want to splash out can rent the hotel’s top floor apartment complete with garden terrace designed by Louis Benech, arguably France’s most famous living landscape designer who has designed green spaces the world over including Versailles’ water theatre grove and Diane von Furstenberg’s rooftop garden in Manhattan. 

Château Voltaire, 55 Rue Saint-Roch, 75001 Paris, France; chateauvoltaire.com

Emil restaurant at Château Voltaire - Picture by François Halard

Emil restaurant at Château Voltaire

François Halard

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