Kerry Saretsky, the Paris-obsessive behind the blog French Revolution, shares her favorite hotel.
PARIS – When I lived in Paris, I rented a closet on the rue de l’Odéon. When I visit these days, I don’t want to be anywhere else. Just down the street is my favorite place to stay: Hotel Odéon.
Rue de l’Odéon stretches the short walk from the Jardins du Luxembourg, where all great Parisian picnics happen, to the Boulevard Saint-Germain, brimming with cafes, bistros, shops, and movie theaters. Around the corner is Place Saint-Sulpice, and down the other way is Saint-Michel. It’s the center of my Paris universe; it’s also the first site of the Shakespeare & Co. bookstore. (Any place good enough for Scott and Zelda is good enough for me.) It’s a high-rent district, and for good reason, but you don’t have to sweat euros to stay here.
Checking into the Hotel Odéon is like being a houseguest in an old French manor. It’s one of those European buildings that defies physics — all beams, plaster, and sloping staircase. Aside from the Rogers & Gallet soaps by the sink, there are no luxury amenities. The rooms aren’t enormous, but they are cozy, and comfortable, and painted in rich tones. They are also pristine, with bleach-white sheets tightly tucked under the mattress.
My favorite detail: deep bathtubs for soaking (I feel like Kirsten Dunst wearing rouge lipstick in Marie Antoinette). When I’m in my little chamber, I read Nancy Mitford or A Moveable Feast — the hotel has paper bookmarks I love to collect. Then I throw back the upholstered curtains to reveal huge windows overlooking the street.
There’s something very glamorous about the compactness of it all — the cacophony of the street, the triangle of cafés below, the big keys you leave with the concierge.
With 33 rooms, one little elevator, and a small cast at the front desk, it’s an intimate place. Also very French. So French, in fact, that housekeeping once walked in on my naked boyfriend. I was, of course, in the tub.
3, rue de l’Odéon