Hotel Fauchon review: a sweet stay in Paris

Legendary Parisian delicatessen brings its own flavour to new hotel


Let them eat cake! So said Marie-Antoinette - or did she? Apparently something was lost in translation and the baked goods in question were in fact brioches. An altogether more likely story, however, is that she said nothing of the sort: the historic malentendu is supposedly down to writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who actually attributed the remark to an unspecfied “great princess”.

No matter. The point is, who wants cake when you can have macarons? All day and at any time? This is just one of the highlights of the new Hotel Fauchon, situated a stone's throw away from Fauchon's original shop on Place de La Madeleine which first opened for business in 1886.

(Image credit: Tous droits réservés / All rights reserved - Gilles TRILLARD)

Here you can feast on these delectable biscuits (are they even biscuits?) with the sampling beginning in the hotel's lounge area, where guests are presented with a selection of 'macarons du jour' just before they are handed their keys.

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In case you didn't know, Fauchon is a Parisian institution, known for both its savoury and sweet gourmandises, from moreish pâtés and pastries to oozing millefeuilles and glazed cakes that look like mini works of art. At Fauchon, a tin of biscuits isn't just a tin of biscuits: it's a chic re-usable vessel emblazoned with the stylish house logo, a black, white and pink typographic mark of sophistication if ever there was one. Indeed, a French journalist friend of mine once said that a tin from Fauchon is the only kind worth keeping.

(Image credit: Tous droits réservés / All rights reserved - Gilles TRILLARD)

The Hotel Fauchon is recognisable from its pink awnings and from the large outdoor heaters which coincidentally (or not) look like giant upside-down macarons. Inside the Haussmann building, the décor is minimalist, in the sense that there's not a lot of furniture or fuss, but there is a great deal of colour and luminosity: on the ground floor, the tea room is set under a glass roof and there are flashes of hot pink everywhere, on canvases, carpets and soft furnishings. Pass the lift and pick up a fresh macaron from one of the large glass jars – it becomes scarily instinctual after a while.

(Image credit: Tous droits réservés / All rights reserved - Gilles TRILLARD)

Thankfully, there's always the indulgent Carita Spa downstairs (pictured above) to help you resist the temptation of sweet treats at every corner, though beware: all massage treatments begin with deep breathing using a variety of essential oils that also recall the candied aromas of the Fauchon flagship across the road.

Rooms are white and crisp in that punctilious Parisian way that spells luxury and refinement, though shocking pink makes a statement in the form of soft velveteen armchairs, plush pillows, bed frames and bespoke closets that look like Smeg fridges only more faceted and cast in iridescent coral.

These shiny stand-alone 'wardrobes' are in fact gourmet treasure chests: they are full of Fauchon goodies that are all included in the price of the room – think tapenade and pink champagne, pâté de foie gras and mini crepe bites, plus more irresistible sweet friandises than you can shake a stick at. No wonder the heavy white bed linen is embroidered with a long lashed winking eye: there's little reason to go downstairs on your first night here with so many luxury provisions to hand.

(Image credit: Tous droits réservés / All rights reserved - Gilles TRILLARD)

If you do make it to the restaurant, which has the biggest terrace in this area, make sure you book in advance as locals flock here at lunchtime, for aperitifs and dinner.

The menu honours the spirit of traditionalism given that Fauchon is, after all, a major player in Paris' culinary history; dishes are decadently French with a fresh international twist. Expect cuisine from the terroir (duck fois gras with figs and candied pork belly from Auvergne) as well as lighter dishes from the south0east coast (Mediterranean tuna carpaccio with parmesan crumble or grilled seabream with zucchini à la plancha and chorizo mussels).

Lastly, if you haven't had too many macarons on the hoof, make sure you try a 'bisou-bisou' cake – the true icon of the Fauchon patisserie. This tempting gateau is cast in the shape of a sexy pout - complete with chocolate lip piercing! - and tastes as good as it sounds in the menu: Lying on a crispy crumble with caramelised almond sparkles, this entremets conceals a raspberry compote resting on a Madagascar vanilla soft biscuit. It is topped off with a vanilla ganache and a Fauchon blend signature tea with gourmet citrus notes.

(Image credit: Tous droits réservés / All rights reserved - Gilles TRILLARD)

And you know what? You can bet your bottom dollar that Marie-Antoinette would have chosen a bisou-bisou over a brioche.

Prices start from around £350 for a standard double room; a three course set menu excluding drinks at the Grand Café Fauchon is 48 Euros. A la carte options available. Hotel Fauchon, 4 Boulevard Malesherbes, 75008 Paris.

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