Not that you'd ever get sick of Paris, but if you need to escape the city, head to this art-inspired escape near Versailles.
PARIS — Where could I go for a weekend getaway without getting too far away from my home in Paris? The answer was easier than I expected. I discovered the luxurious, four-star Les Etangs de Corot just a 15-minute drive or quick train ride southwest in Ville-d'Avray. As I neared the hotel, I felt the creative energy of the many artists and writers who had passed through this village over the past two centuries.
After settling into my suite, designed by French fashion brand Paul and Joe, the most colorful and animated of the 43 rooms, I took a quick tour of the elegant hotel and set off to explore the bucolic grounds. I soon encountered the ponds that so inspired painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, who lived next door. The country air sang of poetry. I felt transported to another era.
It was poet Baudelaire who best summarized Corot as capturing nature "with as much intelligence as love." It quickly became clear why Les Etangs de Corot was named in homage to this forefather of the Impressionists, and why this hideaway is considered an historical monument.
My next stop was the spa, which boasted a large hot tub and relaxing treatment rooms, one with my name on it. I sank in and began to envision the lives of these passionate artists, just minutes away from the regal Palace of Versailles. My massage (with my beloved Caudalie products) was heavenly. I sank deeper into bliss.
I had a rustic dinner at Le Café des Artistes, one of three hotel restaurants, and I promised myself to return for a meal at gastronomic Le Corot, helmed by one-Michelin-star chef Rémi Chambard, and to the terrace of Les Paillotes on a sunnier day. Now only one question remained: Should I indulge in absinthe, the Impressionists' elixir of choice?
In honor of Corot, of course.
In the heart of Ville-d'Avray, a small town 16 kilometers from the center of Paris, close to Versailles.
Impressionism meets country chic, with one signature eccentric room.
This Place Is Perfect For
Couples seeking a weekend escape from Paris.
But Not So Perfect For
Families with very young children.
What’s on Site
In addition to three restaurants and extensive gardens, the hotel has a Caudalie Spa, with seven treatment rooms, a hot tub, and sauna, a gym, and a lounge area for unwinding. Bicycles are available upon request.
Food + Drink
Three restaurants: gastronomic restaurant Le Corot, with one Michelin star; the more casual Le Café des Artistes; and Les Paillotes, which serves small sharing plates and is only open in summer months.
Number of Rooms
43 rooms, including two suites.
Free WiFi. Mini bar. Caudalie bath products.
The one eccentric room is rather kitsch, so opt for the more traditional décor.
A total of 2,500 bottles from the owners’ family vineyard, Château, Smith Haut-Lafitte, decorate the galleries on the ground and first floors, also serving as insulation.
The showstopper, of course, is the Palace of Versailles, a 15-minute drive away. You can walk via nature trails to reach Versailles.
Good to Know
In summer months, take advantage of the special offer that includes brunch at Les Paillotes and a spa treatment.
Plan Your Trip From Paris
Take metro line 9 from Paris and hop on bus line 426 at Pont de Sèvres. Then walk ten minutes or take an Uber from the metro.