A few of the city's most prestigious hotels face the Tuileries or Place de la Concorde, but the handsome 19th-century Brighton occupies the same prime real estate and offers a privileged stay for a fraction of the price. These aren't the only draws, however, impeccable old-world service and soaring views of Paris over the Tuileries are a big bonus.
YOU SHOULD KNOW This is a Grand Dame hotel, with many of its 19th-century features still intact, like a graceful winding staircase and a tiny elevator. We think this adds to the overall ambiance, but those who expect everything spanking new may reconsider.
Rooms in soft, classic colors, accented with luxe curtains and upholstery, exude a classic elegance, blending antiques and period artworks with a comfortable square footage. The smallest rooms overlook the courtyard; larger ones have a magnificent view of the gardens, with the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Rooms come in many configurations and vary mightily in size and decor, even in the same category. Be sure to peruse the website carefully and, if you can, spring for an upper-floor room at the front (preferably with balcony).
Bathrooms are more spacious than the Paris norm, but not all of them have been upgraded. While they all offer the nicer amenities, like heated towel racks and lovely bath products, some marble tubs are older with handheld showers. Contemporary walk-in showers are available in some rooms.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Some bathrooms have older fixtures, which, while truly charming, are not quite as convenient.
Relax in the beautiful lobby, which is also the bar and lounge, surrounded by stately marble columns, crystal chandeliers, mirrored walls, and contemporary furnishings.
A high-quality breakfast, served in the elegant lobby breakfast room, comes with all the usual suspects—yogurt, fruit, toast, pastries—plus hot choices, like eggs, bacon and sausage.
The hotel is a few minutes walk to the Tuileries, serving line no. 1, Paris's fast, central line, and Concorde, which serves three lines. Upscale territory indeed, with the Louvre on one side, Place de la Concorde on the other and only minutes from some of Paris's best shopping on the rue Saint-Honoré. Across the street from the Tuileries and close to the Palais Royal gardens, Opéra, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, L'Orangerie—home of Monet's Waterlilies—the Jeu de Paume photography museum, and across the river from the Musée d'Orsay, this is an art-lover's paradise.
This can be an expensive neighborhood, but there are some excellent, well priced wine bars within easy walking distance, including Les Juveniles—an expat hotspot—featuring small producer wines and top-value gourmet menus at lunch and dinner. Verjus Bar à Vins, below Verjus, its gastronomic restaurant parallel to the Palais Royal gardens on rue de Montpensier, serves a small but good selection of wine and gourmet tapas. We also love Lulu, in Les Arts Décoratifs (the decorative arts museum), with a sought-after terrace in the Tuilerie gardens.
Some good wine bars within easy walking distance, include Willies Wine Bar—an expat hotspot—featuring small producer wines and good bistro fare at lunch and dinner. Verjus Bar à Vins, below its gastronomic restaurant parallel to the Palais Royal gardens on rue de Montpensier serves a small but choice selection of wine and gourmet tapas. For a classy cocktail, pop into Le Meurice's atmospheric Bar 228 piano bar or the legendary Hemingway Bar at the Ritz—both helmed by a famous Parisian barman. They'll set you back a bit, but it doesn't get more Parisian that this.
WHY WE LIKE IT
A prime location, quality service, a handsome decor, and to-die-for views, all in a price range well below its its prestigious neighbor Le Meurice. But keep in mind, this is by no means a budget hotel.