By Olivia Snaije
How lucky that in this digital age some people still find books seductive — seductive enough to build a chic new hotel in Paris with a literary theme.
The plush Le Pavillon des Lettres opened late last fall right around the corner from the Elysée Palace in the 8th arrondissement. The 26 rooms in muted tones correspond to the 26 letters of the alphabet and each room pays homage to a writer or poet. The international crowd includes Virginia Woolf, Leo Tolstoy, Franz Kafka, W.B.Yeats and Shakespeare, but classical French writers such as Jean de la Fontaine, Charles Baudelaire, Gustave Flaubert and Emile Zola are also omnipresent. Texts and quotations from the chosen authors are stenciled onto the walls behind the beds like a canvas.
The standard size rooms are called “Les Litteraires”, the luxury rooms “Les Belles Lettres”, and the junior suites “les Romantiques.” Each room comes with its own iPad, iPod station and free wifi.
The comfortable salon, with an open fire, has shelves stacked with novels in French and other languages—classic and contemporary, graphic novels and French and international newspapers.
Paris has always been receptive to the literary theme in cafés — the highly successful restaurant and café, Les Editeurs, in the St. Germain neighborhood actually draws much of the publishing crowd from offices nearby, but the Pavillon des Arts is the city’s first literary hotel. It joins a growing number of book-themed hotels such as the Library Hotel in Manhattan, where guest floors follow the Dewey Decimal System used in libraries, or Madrid’s Hotel De Las Letras with its ample reading room.