Love Letter

Le Dokhan's Hotel Is My Parisian Fantasy Come True

by Anna Watson Carl

Everyone has their own little Parisian fantasy.  Mine goes like this...

The black sedan pulls up in front of my pied-à-terre in the posh 16th arrondissement, and before I can touch on the handle, a tall man in tails and a top hat opens the car door. He extends a hand, helps me with my bags, and escorts me into the foyer.  

Tall ceilings, crown moldings, old parquet floors, and a crackling fire in a little salon greet me. I am whisked to the top floor in a vintage Louis Vuitton wardrobe trunk which doubles as an elevator. 

Ming, my light-filled attic suite, is pure Parisian charm. Done in blues and whites, the wallpaper, bedspread, and couch are covered in smart stripes, while the carpet and curtains veer in the floral direction. The patterns work perfectly. The bed is tucked into an alcove, framed by an oval window with cascading curtains falling from the ceiling around the window and headboard. A small sitting room fills the other side of the room, and the angular ceilings give the room the cozy feel of an artist's loft. Late afternoon sunlight streams through the windows, and from the side of the bed I have a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. Even better is the same view from the Jacuzzi in the bathroom.

I flop on the bed and debate whether to have a leisurely nap or make myself an espresso using a Nespresso machine on the desk and explore the neighborhood. Curiosity wins out and I opt for caffeine and a walk. I head south, down Avenue Raymond Poincare, the Eiffel Tower growing larger as I reach Trocadéro. Through Palais de Chaillot park, across the Seine on the Pont d'Iéna, underneath the Tower, and around the Champs de Mars as joggers, strollers, dogs, and young lovers pass. I head east through the market on Rue Cler and I head east through the market on Rue Cler and join the line outside Stephane Secco, a fantastic bakery (formerly Poujauran) on Rue Jean Nicot, for a mini tarte aux framboises. 

The late-day sun fades and I walk back, this time crossing the Seine on the Pont d'Alma (look: the Eiffel Tower sparkles at dusk), past the Princess Diana memorial, and up Avenue President Wilson to Trocadero. I arrive back home, Mr. Top Hat asks me if I'd like a glass of Champagne.

Who can refuse?  He escorts me into a jewel box of a room off the foyer, with celadon green paneled walls and hand-painted golden trim, dainty velvet chairs and low tables, and candelabras hanging from the ceiling. I sit in one of the elegant green and white chairs, and a sommelier comes over carrying a tray with five glasses.

"May I propose the Champagne of the week? It's from a small producer near Verzy, and I think you'll like it very much." 

Of course I'd love to try it. 

"Which glass would you like?" he asks motioning the selection. "A traditional flute, a coupe, a tulip flute, a tulip glass, and," he says, motioning to a funny test-tube looking contraption on a small metal stand, "a Madame Pompadour flute."

Why is it called that?

With a naughty chuckle he explains, "Madame Pompadour was fond of this glass because there was no stem. She preferred to stick it in her cleavage."

I choose the Madame Pompadour. Louis XV's mistress must have known a thing or two about drinking.

Champagne is accompanied by little chocolates from the Maison du Chocolat, and after this tasty moment, I head upstairs to continue the R&R. A long bubble bath does the trick, as do the heavenly sheets. 

***

My Parisian fantasy actually exists in the form of a charming little hotel called . The perfect Ming Suite, the striking Louis Vuitton elevator, the adorable Champagne bar are real, as is the man with the top hat and tails. Just don't tell too many people. 

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