De Temps en Temps
Continuing the bookending theme of a year well spent: Easter in George V, Christmas in Charles V. The former, westward upstream of Notre Dame; the latter, eastward downstream. One, extrovert art deco; the other, discreet Swedish rococo. Charles V Hôtel is in St Paul, a village embedded in the city between the River Seine and Rue St Antoine. It’s on the site of Hôtel St Pol built by Charles the Wise in the 14th century. Even back then, St Paul was super fashionable. Later hôtels particuliers there are aplenty. Within a polished stone’s throw of Hôtel Charles V are Hôtel d’Aumont (now offices), Hôtel de Sens (now a library) and Hôtel Hénault de Cantobre (now European House of Photography). Next door to Hôtel Charles V is La Mâle d’Effeenne, fashion designer and visual consultant Nico Thibault Francioni’s treasure trove of a shop. Nico calls it a “univers de choix”. Ian Nairn wrote in his eponymous guide to the French Capital: “Paris is a collective masterpiece, perhaps the greatest in the world.” St Paul is a sophisticated slice of that masterpiece. Hôtel Charles V (petit boutique five storeys with just two to six bedrooms per floor) adds some fairy dust. Bises de Paris.