The Cotswold Crowd would like to share with you our favourite places to sleep around the world.
Weekend Nº 3 - Off Paris Seine, Paris France
There’s a new place to rest your head in Paris, and, non, it’s not the Ritz.
C'est officiel: Off Paris Seine, France’s first floating hotel, put down its gangplank just after the summer solstice. This buzzy new hangout is one place you wouldn’t mind being marooned in the case of, ahem, floods. Here you can sip a cocktail in the lounge, dip your feet in the small turquoise pool, while you watch a parade of river boats ply the waters.
In Paris, life has always revolved around the water. From the pre-Roman-era Parisii tribe to mid-century bikini bathers, the Seine has served as the lifeblood of the city for millennia. (And if mayor Anne Hidalgo has her way, nageurs will be swimming in the river again by the year 2024.) But when the riverside quays were paved into roadways, an asphalt divide separated the city from the Seine. In recent years, Parisians have sought to reclaim the river as public space. An artificial summer beach is set up during the popular Paris Plages event, and the Berges de Seine has pedestrianized a stretch of the Left Bank with cafés, children’s games, and more.
Maurizio Galante and Tal Lancman are the award-winning design duo behind the Off Paris Seine. "There’s been a gap—not enough of a connection—between the Seine and Parisian life,” Lancman explained to Condé Nast Traveler. “In our design, we celebrate this new city experience that hasn’t existed in Paris until now.”
A striking example of this design is the lounge ceiling, covered with 8,800 suspended squares of metal which reflect the movement of the Seine, while also vibrating as the boat gently shifts with the river. Porthole curtains also subtly allude to waves. In the reception area, the designers sourced a 250-year-old piece of wood, weathered as if it had been transported by the water, and embedded it—like a precious gem—on top of the copper reception desk. The hotel experience is distinctly Parisian, minus the urban intensity. There’s a calming effect as the currents flow beneath the windows of the 58 guest rooms, particularly the two Horizon suites positioned at the bow of the boat.
This groundbreaking project was conceived by Gérard Ronzatti of Seine Design, which specializes in floating architecture. The 19 modules—and the catamaran’s hull, built in Le Havre—were floated down the river to their current spot. Clever, space-saving design features include the housekeeping “carts,” which resemble travel trunks rolling on mini bicycle wheels along a built-in track.
The largest boat docked in the French capital, Off Paris Seine is situated near the Gare d’Austerlitz, a cobblestone’s throw from the Cité de la mode et du design (a complex devoted to fashion and design) in the 13th arrondissement. This is a neighborhood in the midst of a trendy transformation. A hot bed for street art and new, eco-friendly architecture, the 13th is on the rise as the quartier du jour. In the summer months, the quays come to life with pop-up bars and paillottes (ephemeral beach clubs).
And good news if you don't have your sea legs yet: You don’t have to be a hotel resident to revel on the river. The hotel is open daily from 5 p.m. - 1 a.m. for cocktails and tapas, and soon, the fun will spill onto the riverbank when the hotel opens a terrace for landlubbers at the end of July.
Article by Condé Nast Traveler Written by Mary Winston Nicklin