Art Deco interiors and the tales of the Années Folles hold a special place in my heart. They both first appeared in Paris a century ago and it's safe to say that Parisians are doing their best at preserving that provocative atmosphere still intact. On my ever-narrowing list of places-to-be and things-to-do, the Ritz Hotel had remained undiscovered, almost forgotten. In my mind, sipping a cocktail at a 5-star hotel seemed inconceivable...
Each time I'd pass by the Place Vendôme, I'd glance at the Ritz' tented entrance, a white-gloved concierge would welcome rich guests strolling out of luxurious cars. That looping scene didn't really intrigue me - the arrivals' pretentiousness appears ludicrous. I'd instead picture how that ceremonious reception would be acted out during the Interbellum. As any other landmark I'd visited, I wanted to steal a glance at the Ritz' magnificence out of reverence for its history.
At last, a friend of mine and I came to the conclusion that we'd already made the decision to go and finally, we found ourselves entering into the monumental building that Coco Chanel once called home. I immediately fell in love with the fabulous lobby boasting an interior in blue and gold shades. To the left, you'd pass by a restaurant where couples and groups were enjoying their evening of tranquility. To the right, a cosy library with its own fireplace would allow you a moment of repose.
We were on the lookout for the Hemingway bar. The hotel has 3 bars in total - the largest one being the Ritz bar, again adopting an Art Deco feel, reminding you of the Roaring 20's "when the adjectlve Ritzy was coined".
As for our destination, the Ritz official website has this to say,
Cole Porter would spend up to 9 hours a day in the Hemingway Bar: he's said to have composed Begin the Beguine here. F. Scott Fitzgerald had his favorite seat; Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper made it the epicenter of their life in Paris and would sit and talk for hours… And while guests flock to this warm, intimate alcove to see what he's shaking up, they also return, again and again, for the heady, arty spirit that still lingers in this magical place.
We had a fascination evening - the place indeed is magical, the cocktails were the best ones we'd had, and although pricey, they're rather strong. One fun bit of the experience was the beautiful menu which resembles a newspaper, featuring photos and details regarding the place's history and its cocktails. You're allowed to buy one for 5€ - it was an immediate purchase.