Nestled between the Invalides and the Eiffel Tower, the Hotel Thoumieux is a four-star boutique hotel in an unusually vibrant corner of Paris’ touristy 7th arrondissement.
The hotel and adjoining brasserie on Rue St-Dominique are part of a network of style-conscious restaurants, bars, upscale cafes and boutique hotels owned by the Beaumarly Group, headed by Gilbert and Thierry Costes.
In part owing to its location– it occupies the premises of a historic hotel and 1920s brasserie that’s been re-imagined with a contemporary mood in mind– the Thoumieux boasts a warmer, more inviting feeling than some of the group’s other addresses.
There’s an ever-so-slightly shambolic charm to the place. It manages to combine attention to detail and top-rate service with a sense of almost-bohemian charm.
It’s the sort of place Oscar Wilde might well have camped out in, or where Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman might have elected to hang their hats in “Casablanca”. Minus the in-room iPads and high-tech lighting systems, of course.
In addition to drawing Fashion Week types, the Thoumieux is also a heavyweight when it comes to local gastronomy. Its two onsite restaurants– both helmed by star chef Sylvestre Wahid— boast one and two Michelin stars, respectively.
Keep reading for my full review of a recent stay at the hotel, and my take on whether it might be for you.
My Stay at the Thoumieux
I stayed at this hotel for a night in early March, in the top-level “Prestige Room”. After a bit of confusion over where to find the front desk and being directed up a tall flight of stairs from a staff member at the adjoining brasserie, a friendly porter helped me with my bags to my room.
He led me through a rather maze-lake path of stairs, doors and hallways. One thing I noticed immediately (and this is one of the very few real weak point of this hotel) was that there was no elevator. And again, the front desk is accessed via a rather steep staircase.
While this is true of many Parisian hotels housed in older buildings, it unfortunately makes this one almost entirely (or completely) inaccessible to visitors with physical disabilities.
Surveying the suite, I was taken with the thoughtful design choices and touches, all conceived by the architect India Mahdavi.
Lacquered wood, metallic elements, marble and bamboo abound in the hotel’s suites and rooms, forming an eclectic mix of styles and traditions.
If the Art-Deco style wallpaper and heavy velvet curtains juxtaposed against the patterned carpet struck me as a bit loud, it also lent whimsy and warmth.
There was a touch of winking, playful kitsch in the leopard-print bed covering, while the plush mustard divan looked like an ideal place to lounge, peruse arty fashion magazines stacked nearby, or get some work done.
Meanwhile, highly stylized details such as carved metal door handles, industrial-style fitted lamps, and mirrored screens that playfully catch and repeat the rooms’ design elements help add up to an original concept.
On the whole, the amenities at this room (and the standard rooms) are excellent. High-quality coffee and tea, bottles of mineral water, a minibar stocked with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, chips and other snacks, and an easy-to-operate heating and air conditioning system are among the basic but important comforts.
As is so often the case with fashionable boutique hotels these days, music was playing when I entered the room, and I found an IPad on the desk with a curated playlist.
The lights were set quite low, and I had to fiddle a bit with the lighting system near the entry door to figure out how to brighten things up a bit.
The floor-to-ceiling closets took up a full wall, allowing guests ample space to hang suitcase contents. These are fitted with lighted mirrors that illuminated automatically when opening the doors. A fluffy robe and slippers promised opportunities for cozy lounging, if desired.
The WIFI worked perfectly and was easy to connect to, without having to fuss with passwords. The flatscreen TV and sound system also showed no issues, and were easy to operate.
Finally, there’s an effective and easy-to-operate heating and air-conditioning system controlled by a digital thermostat.
The Sleep Quality
I slept soundly in the queen-sized bed, which had an excellent mattress and soft, high-quality linen bedding. To my relief, I heard very little of the other guests during the night, but this may admittedly be because I was staying in the top-floor room that is set apart from the others.
However, the website mentions that the rooms are all soundproof– a claim I was unable to verify.
The heavily marbled, bright bathroom featured a spacious waterfall shower with excellent pressure, fluffy towels, vintage-style sink, and Aesop toiletries in large bottles (I appreciated this eco-conscious touch).
It was impeccably clean, like the rest of the room, and the abundant use of marble certainly creates a luxurious feel– even though one might expect a bathtub in a room of this calibre.
Guests may benefit from a 24/7 concierge service that includes pick-up and drop-off at the airport or other location by a private driver. Inquire about this by contacting the hotel directly.
Breakfast and Brunch
I was scheduled to try the Brasserie Thoumieux’s much-buzzed-about brunch at noon the next morning, and given that I don’t do well with skipping morning meals (how do you say ‘hangry’ in French?), I decided to try the hotel’s (earlier) breakfast service.
Served in a section of the two-Michelin starred Restaurant Sylvestre Wahid, with plush bench seating and pleasant skylights, breakfast is made-to-order rather than buffet-style.
The menu included options for made-to-order eggs, omelets and other typical hot breakfast dishes, but I decided against them, knowing I’d be enjoying a large meal in just a few hours.
I instead opted for coffee, fresh fruit, bread and jam, pastries and freshly squeezed orange juice. All were uniformly delicious, and I especially loved the intensely flavorful, creamy salted butter (presented in a delicate and appealing cone).
I really should have abstained from eating more than a bit of the pastry and bread, but had trouble resisting.
The Michelin-Starred Brunch
After a long walk in the surrounding area, including through the market stalls of the nearby Rue Cler (highly recommended), I returned to the hotel for a seat at the adjoining brasserie, and a decadent brunch– one of the few in the world to claim a Michelin star.
Before delving into this most uncommon brunch experience, the spectacular dining room merits a closer look.
Dating to 1923, when it served as a casual “bouillon”-style restaurant similar to the legendary Chartier, it’s been refurbished to conserve a classic Parisian feel, all while layering on more contemporary elements.
Deep red velvet booths, green table lamps, warm ceiling lighting, white tablecloths, and an abundance of mirrors are all deployed to stunning effect.
Details such as bar moldings from French crystal manufacturer Lalique, brass bar milliners, and contemporary flourishes from Parisian design agency M/M add to the charm.
After being seated (and feeling somewhat awkward, as I always do when dining solo), I ordered scrambled eggs with mushrooms and herbs, as well as a cup of fragrant black tea and grapefruit juice.
This first course was copious and absolutely delicious. The eggs were cooked to perfection– neither too runny nor overdone– and the mushrooms added intense flavor.
There was plenty to leave some room for. In addition to the hot, made-to-order choices (which also include sausages, bacon, Eggs Benedict, poached eggs, or smoked salmon), the full gourmet brunch is comprised of the following: Freshly baked bread and pastries, cereals and porridge, yoghurt, cheeses and other dairy products, fresh and dried fruits, fruit juice, and deli meats.
I was already pretty full by the time I finished the first course. But how often does one get the opportunity to taste a brunch of this sort of quality and variety? I mostly focused on the sweet buffet, having just enjoyed a savory (and very generous) dish.
I composed a plate of three mini-desserts, all among my favorites: a nutty, dark chocolate rocher, creme brulee in an egg-cup like white dish, and a mini “Paris Brest”, a delicious chou-based pastry filled with hazelnut cream and topped with powdered sugar.
All three proved superb versions of the traditional French desserts. I only wished I had more room to try some of the others calling my name from the buffet table. Alas, between an earlier breakfast and a generous brunch, I’d had more than enough to eat already.
Other Dining Options at the Thoumieux
Unfortunately, I’m not able to comment on the dinner service at the Brasserie, as I didn’t try it out. If you wish to book brunch or dinner, you can do so here.
And of course, if your budget allows it, consider the full experience of dining at Sylvestre Wahid’s double Michelin-starred restaurant on the hotel premises, which opened to wide acclaim in 2015. I hope to be able to experience it myself at some point.
My Bottom Line?
The Thoumieux is a stylish, comfortable and well-situated hotel that’s ideal for travellers looking for interesting boutique accommodations in the capital. The service and amenities are excellent, although accessibility is a point for strong improvement.
If you value attention to detail, thoughtful design, creature comforts, and Michelin-starred cuisine that’s available without leaving the premises, this hotel may well be for you. In close reach of the village-like Rue Cler market area, lined with stalls, restaurants and cafes, it’s in an ideal location for food-centric types.
However, the price may seem a bit steep if you’re less interested in staying in a room with a designer’s imprint on it, or if you prefer hotel rooms with simple, minimalist furnishings and a more anonymous vibe.
In short, boutique hotel fans will likely appreciate the Thoumieux. Travellers less fussy about style and design may wish to look for something simpler or offering more amenities (such as spa and pool) for the same upper-range price point.
Contact Details, Booking & Getting There
- Address: 79 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 (7th arrondissement)
- Telephone: +33 (0)1 47 05 79 00
- Metro/RER: Assemblée Nationale or Invalides RER (commuter-line train)
- Rooms: Accommodations at Thoumieux range from “classic” rooms with en-suite bathroom and shower to suites with designer furniture, marble bathroom, bathtub, robe and slippers. All rooms come with free wi-fi, toiletries, flat-screen cable TV, IPad with curated playlist and other features, minibar, gourmet coffee/tea, 24-hour room service and numerous other amenities.
- The Hotel Thoumieux is pet-friendly (small dogs and other pets allowed)
- Prices (hotel stay, dining and/or drinks): $$$-$$$$
- See more info online: Visit the official website
- Read traveler reviews and search for special deals on this hotel (via TripAdvisor)
Disclaimer: As is common in the travel industry and for review purposes, the writer was offered complimentary accommodations and breakfast/brunch for one night. While it has not influenced the objectivity of this review, Paris Unlocked believes in disclosing potential conflicts of interest.