Belle epoque lives on at Hilton Paris Opera

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The hotel’s opulent Grand Salon has original touches dating to the late 19th century.
The hotel’s opulent Grand Salon has original touches dating to the late 19th century.
A cultural hub for artists and aristocrats eager to hobnob at the 1889 Paris world's fair, the Grand Hotel Terminus was also the entry point for another subset of travelers: Tourists, primarily from the U.S., England and Normandy, would frequent the elegant hotel due to its direct link to Paris' largest railway station, Gare Saint Lazare.


Today that hotel, now known as the Hilton Paris Opera, is busier than ever and more beautiful, thanks to a $50 million renovation completed in 2015.

For my recent hosted stay, the flight from New York to Paris Orly West via British Airways subsidiary OpenSkies proved to be a convenient option for getting to and from the City of Light. While Gare Saint Lazare remains one of the city's main transportation hubs, it's the area that's emerged around the property that continues to draw tourists and business travelers alike.

Considered the heart of Paris' shopping district in the 9th arrondissement, the Opera Garnier neighborhood is home to two of the city's largest department stores, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, as well as the beautifully preserved Palais Garnier opera house, all of which are a short stroll from the hotel.

The Hilton Paris Opera is located near a major transportation hub and shopping.
The Hilton Paris Opera is located near a major transportation hub and shopping.

Today the Hilton Paris Opera is a reflection of its surroundings. A mix of modern-day Paris and its belle epoque decor, the hotel's signature Le Grand Salon — adorned head to toe in hand-painted frescoes, Corinthian colonnades and original balustrades — has been pristinely preserved to evoke Paris' golden age.

The salon also happens to be the perfect place to post up and enjoy a glass of Sazerac or Calvados (try the Calvados mule for something truly special) while attempting to find the "naughty angel" lurking along the upper arcades of the room. The salon also features a blend of bar bites and Parisian croque-monsieurs with ham or salmon, burgers, club sandwiches and seasonal quiches and salads among other notable dishes.

Le Petit Bar, or LPB for short, is a diminutive speakeasy-style spot that's tucked away near the hotel's front entrance. The bar serves a bit of privacy along with vintage-inspired cocktails served in mugs and teacups, and, on Saturday nights, boas, bow ties and live music are in full swing.

Moving to the boudoir, each of the 268 rooms (including 29 suites and 58 executive suites) feature modern touches, including WiFi, a work desk and USB ports. With a healthy dose of classic Parisian style, the rooms' neutral color palette and ample natural light are only complemented by the bathrooms' heated floors and rainfall shower. For guests staying in an executive suite, continental breakfast is served in the Executive Lounge each morning and canapes and refreshments in early evening.

Rooms start at about $330 per night. See www.hiltonparisoperahotel.com.

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