Iroshini Chua Reviews The Fame Cheval Blanc Paris
Travel maven, Dr Iroshini Chua, takes us on a trip to Paris.
The luxury giant LVMH has opened its first urban haven in the heart of an authentic and vibrant part of Paris located between The Marais and Lourve. Rising above the Seine, the Maison defines the skyline of the city of lights in an art-deco building adjoining La Samaritine which bears witness to over 100 years of history, fashion and Parisian style.
True to today’s spirit of French “joie de vivre”, Cheval Blanc Paris is about the subtle duality of timeless heritage and modernity. Walking through its glass doors, I was transported to a sophisticated, contemporary universe immersed in the creativity of 600 artists including a collection of hanging lamps by Philippe Anthonoiz, cast -iron bar by Ingrid Donat, delicate textiles by Sophie Mallebranche and sculptured furniture by André Dubreuil. It was all eponymous with LVMH’s attention to detail and panache for perfection.
Cheval Blanc Paris is a 16,000m2 space designed by Peter Marino to resemble an elegant private home. An immaculate home with soaring ceilings, splashes of gold and a lobby that displayed a spectacular blue canvas by Georges Mathieu. It’s interior adorned with carefully curated materials of 20 different marbles, leather and lemon wood and belonging to a world of colourful art and craftsmanship worthy of the most decerning collector - a home that greeted me by name. Patou-clad staff (gold buttons and all) informed me that 3 complimentary cars were at my disposal should I wish to explore the city and upon my return the promise of a Dior spa experience. Perhaps an afternoon stroll on the 7th floor lush garden or a 3-Michelin star degustation menu experience in the evening? The metamorphosis that took 16 years was worth the wait!
In 1603, French King Henry IV commissioned a pump house to be built at the second arch of Pont-Neuf bridge which was decorated by the biblical Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. However, it wasn’t till 1870 that La Samaritine got its name when Ernest Cognacq opened a shop at the site and later architect Henri Sauvage constructed an art-deco building in its place. After LVMH acquired La Samaritine, it was reborn in 2021 (on its 151th anniversary) with Cheval Blanc Paris occupying its south façade.
With a glass of Ruinart Champagne and a slice of cake by Chef Maxime Frederic in hand I peered down from the glass-clad Junior Suite that overlooks the meandering river Seine. The city of lights was at my feet beckoning to be explored. However, the tranquillity of my unusually large abode of soft cream tones, happiness from the unexpected attention to details, the seduction of the suave fragrance of scented candles by master perfumer Francois Demachy, the luxurious and restorative lotions and potions poured from art-deco bottles in the shape of the iconic building on my skin as I sunk into the bath drawn for me at the perfect temperature, spelled an irresistible desire to just STAY. It was a matter of pleasure.
The Epicurean Spirit
The dining Duo Chef Arnaud Donckele and the Pastry Chef Maxime Frederic creates the gourmet delights worthy of the capital of fine dining: Paris. Plenitude was awarded three Michelin stars six months into its inception. It serves sauces, consommés, veloutés and sabayons to accompany the seasonal products of meat and fish. Le Tout Paris is a French brasserie with a reinvention of the classics. My very French breakfast was a symphony of gloriously perfect croissants like nowhere else on earth, baguettes, crepes and a view of the Eiffel Tower to boot. Langosteria brings flavours of Italy to Paris, and the Milanese Chef Enrico Bounocore focuses on seafood in all its forms. Le Jardin is a 650 square-meter garden terrace with a view of Notre-Dame-de-Paris Cathedral and serving refreshing recipes that features the likes of strawberries and heirloom tomatoes.
The chefs at Cheval Blanc Paris are committed to a sustainable and ethical approach to dining. They support small producers, breeders and fishermen and harvest the knowledge of the land, its produce and serve it to the table with a dose of heart and affection.
Venture to its subterranean wellness space you will see that The Maison takes self-care very seriously. A Dior Spa Cheval Blanc, Rossano Ferretti Hairdressing Salon, avant-garde fitness area, sauna, hammam and a 30-meter pool with virtual frescoes by Israeli artist Yorame Mevorach where the birds take off into the Paris skyline and the Eiffel tower glitters with a myriad of fairy lights.
The Dior Spa Cheval Blanc welcomed me into its sublime living room featuring Dior Toile de Jouy cushions and swimwear, rows and rows of Dior perfumes and an extensive selection of Dior beauty products. Luxury was at my fingertips as I sprayed my favourite Purple Oud on my wrist donning the most fashionable bathrobe ever: an A-line, cinched at the waist Dior silhouette. The 43-item treatment menu would delight the most discerning of spa connoisseurs as would the impossibly soft lines I sunk into while my Beauty Ambassador worked on the absolute fulfilment of my skin and senses.
The concierge Alchemist of Cheval Blanc Paris is committed to curating the discovery of the facets of Paris sometimes unknown to the Parisians themselves. A picnic in a serene location, floating down the river to a ceramic museum, a special tour of private Parisian residences, access to workshops of French craftsmen, a ladies’ day of fittings, tea and finest handbags, an unforgettable experience where one comes back feeling of being part of a secret. Some things are priceless, and Paris is always a good idea. Immortal words for sure.
For bookings: Chevalblanc.com
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