"'Je m'excuse, madame, for not taking you to the Ritz, but I have a feeling for the Hotel Montalembert just now, that it will suit your mood this morning,’”says Fabrice to Linda in Nancy Mitford's pre-war classic, 'The Pursuit of Love'. The lovers would be at home in interior designer Pascal Allaman's deliciously intimate makeover where opulence is the byword.
The restaurant is a long-established meeting place for the neighbouring Left Bank publishers, gallery owners, politicians and movie stars; the secluded Salon Gallimard (named for the publishing house a few doors away) provides complete privacy, with a bay window opening onto a small garden patio.
With just 50 guest rooms - ten of them suites - the Montalembert claims to be the actual source of the 'boutique hotel' appellation. Here, Allaman uses a palette of saffron and mango against a backdrop of rich, dark woods with touches of gold, adding sensual texture with leather, bronze, worsted wool and wild silk. 'I wanted to add warmth, to give guests the impression they're sleeping in a Parisian pied-à-terre,’ he says. Bespoke furniture includes ebony folding screen headboards with Art Deco inspired desks, armchairs and lamps, while in the ‘bath lounges’, raw teak ceilings contrast with white veined Carrara marble and Bizzaza mosaic walls in grey, taupe and gold.
Plump for the top floor suites, where you can take a bath while looking over views of the Eiffel Tower, Musée d'Orsay and Saint-Sulpice.