In one of my favorite cities on earth, I recently spent a lovely hour or so at the Hôtel Des Académies Et Des Arts in Paris.
The only reason for my short visit was due to the hotel being sold out.
But loving the fact that they had hired street artist Jérôme Mesnager, giving him carte blanche to use the hotel as his canvas — I couldn’t resist stopping in. He painted one of his famous white bodies in each of the 20 rooms, throughout the main floor, and even a 50-foot mural on the exterior of the building.
Luckily for me, the hotel’s bistro serves tea from 2:30 to 6:00 pm daily, so I didn’t have to miss out entirely.
As I sat sipping tea and having a moment with amazing Pierre Hermé gourmet macarons, I enjoyed letting my eyes wander around to feast on various types of modern art: painting, sculpture and video installations. Paying homage to its artsy Left Bank neighborhood, original pieces from local artists can be found in every nook and cranny of the hotel.
In the background, I couldn’t help but notice the hotel’s manager Henry greeting incoming guests in the nearby lobby as they checked in. He sat with each of them for a surprisingly long time, offering advice on how to explore Paris, the best ways to choose restaurants, and how use the city’s public transportation.
Visitors can make their way to the hotel, located at 15 Rue de la Grande Chaumière in the Sixth Arrondissement, which is right off of Blvd de Montparnasse and easily accessible by Métro. It’s also a short walk from Jardin du Luxembourg and Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Come for the art, stay for the macarons.
Kim Mance is Galavanting’s editor-in-chief and host of the Galavanting.tv web travel series. She’s based in Chicago, IL and some of her other writing can be found at MarieClaire.com, The Huffington Post, and Babble. Kim is currently writing the first Insiders’ Guide to Chicago for Globe Pequot Press.