Room Service: A literary favourite updated in Paris

Hotel Verneuil, Paris

There's something wonderfully reassuring about going back to a favourite hotel, the warm feeling of happy familiarity that rushes over you when you turn into the street. Of course, checking into "this year's most anticipated opening" and slipping between the crisp white sheets of a newly launched hotel is exciting, as is discovering the latest "best-kept secret," but sometimes it's just nice to go back to a place you know and love. Which for me, in Paris, is the Hotel Verneuil in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Not that everything stays the same, of course. Hotel Verneuil has recently had a makeover. New owner, Nicolas Nonon (who also has the Left Bank's Hôtel Sainte-Beuve), with the help of designer Charlotte Inchauspé, has completely revamped the interiors giving this narrow, little 17th-century townhouse, which was first registered as a hotel after the Second World War, a touch of contemporary pizzazz.

The old beams and woodwork in the cosy lounge are painted a soft shade of mole. The colour palette of taupe and turquoise is muted and unusual, the old wooden floors solid and aged, and the linen drapes and velvet sofas add a sense of modern luxury. The bar is a drinks tray in the corner, fuelling the fantasy that you're in a friend's home, the coffee table is scattered with papers and magazines, while the Faber fire is an innovative 21st-century touch.

A design motif throughout, is books, reflecting this part of the Left Bank's famous literary heritage. Down in the cavern-like breakfast room with its vaulted stone ceiling and mole-toned velvet banquettes, shelves are strewn with rolls of parchment tied with black ribbon and stacks of blank cream books – and, more importantly, a table piled high with moreish pastries. (You can also opt for breakfast in bed for no extra charge).

If you would like a little more independence, however, the hotel launched a newly renovated apartment, just around the corner on rue Mazarine, this spring. The sleek split-level, fourth-floor flat has no lift, but it does have rooftop views to the Eiffel Tower and church of Saint Germain des Prés. It's fully kitted out with flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi and international calls, a computer, iPod dock and Nespresso machine. The walls are adorned with photographic works from the nearby gallery Kamel Mennour, including a neon from Claude Leveque. The master bedroom features a round bed and panoramic views, and there's a second bedroom with a double bed and a sofa bed.


Directly opposite the house where French icon, singer-songwriter, artist and director, Serge Gainsbourg, once lived. This quiet side-street, lined with exclusive galleries and antiques shops, is right in the heart of the arty arrondisement. Saint-Germain-des-Prés was once the haunt of artists, poets, novelists and literary editors; Hemingway, Sartre, Picasso and Voltaire hung out in the cafés around here. It's within easy walking distance of the Musée d'Orsay and just over the sluggish Seine from the Louvre.


There are 26 rooms in this narrow, quirky little hotel, generally four on each landing, which you encounter as you wind your way up the steep staircase with its polished wood, wrought iron banister and retro blue patterned carpet, or crank skywards in the tiny faux lizard-skin-lined lift. Categorised as Classic, Club, Deluxe and Connecting, rooms are bijoux. Facing on to the street or the courtyard, the Classic is only 12 square metres, the Deluxe a roomier 21 square metres. This is the centre of Paris and it's all about location. Think cosy rather than cramped.

Our room, 302, looked out on the street and was a picture of taupe, cream and mushroom hues, with a metallic headboard, old beams painted white, a burnt orange feature wall hung with an oil painting and a velvet chair in teal with orange trim. The flat-screen televisions on the wall made the most of the space, an alcove beside the bed crammed with books – the colourful spines arranged at perpendiculars – continuing the literary theme. The sleek bathroom was well-stocked with L'Occitaine toiletries, bathrobes and slippers.

Travel Essentials

Hotel Verneuil, 8 rue de Verneuil, Paris, France (00 33 1 42 60 82 14;

Rooms ****

Value *****

Service *****

Doubles start at €169 B&B; apartment from €310; sleeps up to six

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice