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Belle of the Ball

Le Meurice, the first Palace hotel in Paris, recently unveiled 29 newly restored rooms and suites with a spotlight on the Belle Etoile Suite located on the seventh floor. Charles Jouffre, Le Meurice’s interior designer of 10 years and creator of the sumptuous drapes at the Opera Garnier, invited two young designers, Margaux Lally and Luc Berger of Lally & Berger to mastermind the new vision.

Known for their great passion for French craftsmanship, the lavish furnishings are all courtesy of the prestigious Jouffre Ateliers Créatifs and two unique artworks by Carole Benzaken, presented by Gallery Nathalie Obadia, lend an extra layer of sophistication. InspireDesign spoke with Berger for an inside look into how the team incorporated classic charm and Parisian opulence into the space.

“Le Meurice’s special feel, 18th century influences with contemporary and warm comfort, a true ‘French Art de Vivre,'” Berger attributed as one of the suite’s inspirations. “We imagined this suite to feel like a private hotel, a place that feels like your Parisian friends’ home. Our goal was to create a suite with non-ostentatious luxury, in order to keep a friendly and warm spirit. The refreshed Belle Etoile Suite is created to make you feel good, where guests want to stay and never tire of the beautiful view.”

Berger mentioned garden design, noting the dominant view of the Tuileries gardens which gave the team the desire to create a similar dialogue with the Belle Etoile Suite’s Garden. Berger also said the Paris sky served as a major influence for the space’s tones. “The evolution of the Paris sky throughout the day, months and seasons has inspired us mainly for the different shades chosen. The colors change from blue grey to green grey developing a whole range of tones that allow you to switch from one to the other,” he said.

The project was not without its challenges however, which turned out to be unique opportunities for the team to set the space apart.

“Two months before the start of the project—when the entire project had already been defined and approved—the client asked us to connect a third room with the suite. Room 615 is located under the entrance and the Library lounge of the suite. We had to find a solution to integrate a staircase in these spaces without distorting our project. That’s why we worked on a helicoidal metal staircase specific to the Parisian apartments to connect two trays and have minimal footprint. The railing, a metal branch taking root in room 615 and climbing into the Belle Etoile Suite, echoes the Tuileries garden and the palmettes of the entrance chandelier. Its bronze and golden tone gives it a precious side. This element absent from the project at the beginning has become a strong sculptural element of the project,” Berger said.

The key that sets the suite apart however is the landscaped terrace—one of the largest in Paris—designed by Pierre Alexandre Risser to mirror the Tuileries Gardens. The expansive private terrace offers 360° city views of Paris, overlooking the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Musee d’Orsay and Sacré Coeur.

“The monuments of Paris have clearly structured the different spaces,” Berger said. “The suite has the best 360° city views of Paris, overlooking the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Musée d’Orsay The Roue de Paris, Sacré Coeur. Each Monument of the city then appears as a protected sculpture and dedicated to this suite.”

And the suite definitely has space. According to Berger, the different configurations respect the scale of the spaces required to have up to 200 guests. “Different configurations of the spaces are possible and for this we have designed unique and bespoke elements, made by craftsmen with French know-how of excellence,” he said.