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.

Location

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.

Comfort

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; hotel-verneuil-saint-germain.com)

Rooms ****

Value *****

Service *****

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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss