les3chambres Review - Luxury Accomodations With All the Comforts of Home

One of the things I like most about travelling is experiencing the people and the culture of the place I am visiting.  Don’t get me wrong - I thoroughly enjoy the more typically touristy experiences.  However, I particularly like to go to the out-of-the-way, locally known places that make a particular location special to the people who live and work there.  That is why I tend to choose bed and breakfast (B&B) accommodations rather than a big, fancy hotel chain.  The main difference for me is that since a B&B is most often a personal residence (basically a multiple bed/bathroom home in which you rent a room), you get to share a homemade breakfast with the other guests in the communal dining area as though you were coming home for a holiday break with your family and Mom or Dad was cooking your meal in the kitchen.

Dining area

One thing to understand about a bed and breakfast is that it is NOT a hotel.  There is no room service and you don’t order in pizza (or any other meal) to your room; you share your morning meal with other guests in an intimate, get-to-know-each-other way and you get personal service from the host.  It’s really like staying with family or friends in their home.  You get to stay in a bedroom, sometimes have your own bathroom and have someone serve you breakfast each morning, made fresh in their kitchen.  The rest of your meals you source on your own while you are out and about discovering your surroundings.

Lounge; photography by Yoan Chevojon

The brilliant part about the bed and breakfast experience to me is the personal, unique experience you get at each site.  There is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all pattern.  Each B&B is as individual as the person(s) running it and that’s what makes it so special.  And that is absolutely what we found at les3chambres in Paris, France.

Bedroom

I travelled with my 8-yr-old daughter from London to Paris for a quick overnight to bring her dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower and the Mona Lisa to reality.  We got that, and so much more!  Having researched B&Bs in Paris, we came across les3chambres and decided it was definitely the place for us.  les3chambres translates to ‘the 3 rooms’, which is exactly what this lovely B&B offers.  Perfect! 

Bookcase in lounge/dining area

Arriving at Gare du Norde, a main train station in Paris, we were a mere 15 minute walk from our destination.  Although we arrived well before check-in time, we stored our luggage and made a day of discovering Paris.  Later in the afternoon, we retrieved our bags and made our way over to les3chambres.  My first impression was how wonderfully invisible it is.  If you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t know it was there.  And for me, that anonymity and the blending into the Parisian locality was exactly what we were looking for.

Building front; photography by Yoan Chevojon

 

Front door

 

We were given a code for the front door ahead of time, entered the lobby and made our way up to the third floor where we found the front door to our overnight home just outside the elevator.  We rang the doorbell and the door was opened by the very best thing about les3chambres . . . Laurent Rougier, our gracious proprietor and host!  I say that because everything that made this place so extraordinary begins and ends with Laurent as I will explain – just read on!

Laurent Rougier; photography by Yoan Chevojon

After being given a warm welcome and quick tour, we were shown to our amazing room overlooking the building’s courtyard.  The room included a plush queen-size bed with down pillows and duvet and high quality French linen; an office area with desk, free WiFi, a television, coffee maker and electric tea kettle; floor to ceiling black-out curtains; a dresser complete with a red box offering pen, stationary, area maps and information and even an electricity adaptor; and a bathroom with a two-headed shower, aromatherapy shampoos and soaps, as well as hair dryer, cotton balls and swabs and scented oil area freshener.  There were books on the night tables that were beautifully unique and informative and Laurent even provided a personally created area map that simplified the often very complicated Paris transit maps, including the exact location of les3chambres, suggested eateries and tourist sites.  This he did based on the feedback of a number of his patrons. This man cares about the people he serves!

 

Our luxurious room overlooking the courtyard; photography by Yoan Chevojon

These kinds of details were in every inch of les3chambesLaurent shared with us that the building was built in 1830 and was an office building when he took it on in 2012.  He redesigned the entire space to create what you will see when you arrive.  This was no small feat as the space now includes:  a kitchen; dining and living space; foyer; private living space for Laurent and his partner; and 3 meticulously decorated bedrooms, each with their own bath.  The bright colors that pervade the space are uplifting and just downright fun to live in!

Stunning kitchen

Laurent’s passion for what he does simply oozes out of every corner of les3chambres.  In the kitchen he pointed out a large framed display of Japanese paper, explaining that in his previous career as a lamp maker he used these stunning papers in the creation of lamp shades.  He then shared that he had placed a handful of his personally made lamps in both the living/dining area and in the foyer.  They were not only beautiful, but such a lovely personal touch.  One pair of lamps was even painted by the late Gerard Drouillet, a well-know French artist.

Lobby with lampshades by Laurent

In the hallway from the foyer to the dining area, the wall is lined with original 19th-century costume drawings from L’Opera  - drawings that the costume designer provided to the producer/director for such operas as Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro.  Amazing!  With each thing we passed, Laurent provided an in-depth history and explanation as to its origins and meaning.   We were fascinated and impressed by the wealth of knowledge, intention and feeling that Laurent expressed when creating this wonderful space.

Hallway pictures of L'Opera costume designs

That first night, after our tour, Laurent served us tea with homemade financiers - mini cakes made with almond powder (retaining their 19th century name from when they were popular in the financial districts of France) - in the living area.  He made some suggestions as to where we might find our evening meal, which turned out to be wonderful and just a walk down the street. 

Tea with financiers

After a night sleeping on a cloud and luxuriating in the warmth and smells of the shower, we were treated to Laurent’s morning repast.  This included:  croissant, baguettes (2 kinds), homemade Clementine cake, cereal, homemade jam from family orchards in Bordeaux (Reine Claude (golden plum), red plum, fig and strawberry), organic French-made yogurts, fresh organic fruit salad made daily based on time of year, fresh fruit juice and tea.  What a perfect way to start our second day in Paris!

Breakfast; photography by Yoan Chevojon

The only less than wonderful thing about our experience at les3chambres was that it was simply way too short!!  We would have been thrilled to stay a week or two.  The luxury of detail with which everything was presented and designed and the warm comfort and personal connection of being welcomed into Laurent’s home made this night in Paris one that we will always remember.  And if desire has anything to say about it, we will be back for a much longer stay in the future!

Be sure to check out the les3chambres website to book your room for the next time you are in Paris and want to live like the Parisians do!

 

(Photography by Amy Koslowski unless otherwise noted)

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