Time was, in the early years of the last century, the Pont Royal was a haunt for literary types — this, of course, back when Paris was the destination of choice for writers in any language. Today it’s known for creation of a different sort; not only is it an intimate 75-room luxury boutique hotel, but it’s the home of the Atelier de Joël Robuchon, the workshop-restaurant where one of France’s culinary heroes practices his craft.
The Pont Royal’s rooms are bigger, brighter, airier than the typical Parisian lodging, even toward the top end of the market. The Saint Germain des Prés location is a fine one, and the views from the upper floors are improbably scenic. Service is well-oiled, and the facilities are top-notch — in short, it’s an absolutely classic Paris hotel, no surprises, and sometimes classic is what you’re in the mood for.
What is surprising and ultimately unique about the Pont Royal is the Atelier de Joël Robuchon. It’s a high-end restaurant, featuring world-class cooking, but with a couple of experimental angles. First, no tables: diners pull up to something like a sushi bar or lunch counter, which winds its way around a central open kitchen — perfect for solo diners. And there are no dinner reservations, at all, for anyone — it’s strictly first-come first-served, with patrons lining up out into the night for their elaborate multi-course meals.
7 rue de Montalembert, Paris
33 (0)1 42 84 70 00