The Ritz Paris - History and Facts | History Hit

The Ritz Paris

Tristan Parker

03 Sep 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About The Ritz Paris

The Ritz Paris is a landmark luxury hotel in Paris known for its extravagance and having hosted numerous celebrities. It’s still one of the most famous hotels in the world.

The Ritz Paris history

Every inch of the Ritz Paris feels steeped in glamorous history, and it’s been that way since Swiss-born César Ritz (who started his career as a waiter), and partner Auguste Escoffier opened the hotel in 1898. The launch party was a seriously lavish affair, attended by renowned writer Marcel Proust, who spent much time at the hotel and wrote part of his novel, ‘Á la Recherche du Temps Perdu’, (‘In Search of Lost Time’) there. Proust became great friends with maître d’hôtel Olivier Dabescat as a source of society gossip.

Another long-term guest was fashion designer Coco Chanel, who based herself at a suite (which she furnished herself) in the Ritz for 34 years from 1937, despite owning a plush apartment above her nearby couture house on Rue Cambon.

The Ritz was occupied by the Nazi Party for several years, during which time Hermann Göring resided in the Imperial Suite. When Paris was liberated in 1944, writer and journalist Ernest Hemingway – another frequent guest – reputedly drank 51 martinis in a row at the hotel bar (now named Bar Hemingway) and ordering champagne for everyone present.

Further adding to The Ritz’s literary pedigree are the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Bernard Shaw, Somerset Maugham, and Graham Greene, as well as famous faces including actor Audrey Hepburn, opera singer Maria Callas, and composer Cole Porter.

In 1997, Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed dined at the Imperial Suite of the Ritz (the hotel was – and still is – owned by Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed), shortly before they were both killed in a car accident.

The Ritz Paris today

The Ritz’s historical credentials and associations with luxury remain as strong today as ever before. Tributes to some of the hotel’s famous guests remain in place, most notably via the Coco Chanel Suite, decorated entirely in her favourite colours, black and white. Similarly, there are Marcel Proust and Ernest Hemingway suites, full of elegant woodwork and books.

Getting to The Ritz Paris

The Ritz Paris is in the city’s 1st arrondissement district, on the edge of Place Vendôme. Many other famous Paris sights are nearby, including the Palais Garnier opera house, Place de la Concorde and the Louvre art museum. The Eiffel Tower is several miles to the west and takes around 30 minutes to reach by public transport. There are several bus stops near to the hotel and the Opéra and Madeline Metro stations are both approximately a five-minute walk.

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