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Royal Monceau Raffles Paris - A Photo-Tour

A couple of months ago, I stayed in Paris for a few weeks and had the pleasure of being a guest of the during my stay.

The Royal Monceau Raffles Paris Hotel is a 5 Star Palace hotel located in the heart of Paris within walking distance to the Park Monceau and the Arc de Triomphe. It opened in the late 1920s and has hosted a wide array of people including Josephine Baker, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, and Michael Jackson.

It was recently refurbished by the iconic French designer . And indeed, staying in the hotel and exploring it fully takes you on a whimsical journey into the imagination of Starck.

By the time I stayed at the Royal Monceau, I had been traveling in France for nearly three weeks at the tail-end of an adventure that took me through the south of France and up to Paris. I was a bit saucer-eyed and woozy from travel and travel photography. However, Royal Monceau made it impossible for me not to completely unwind and have my own smile-worthy adventure within its walls as I discovered the genius of Starck and grew to appreciate the Royal Monceau’s high standards of excellence.

Let’s explore!…

I stayed in one of the non-suite rooms during my stay. A view of the room looking towards the window:

Here is the view in my room looking towards the door. You will notice the large work of art carefully sitting against the wall. The hotel is devoted to art, and even has its own , Julie Eugène.

The works of art in the rooms belong to the hotel’s extensive . The work of art in my room was by artist Koichiro Doi (Explosion: Pink).

As for the guitar, it’s there to enjoy and make visitors feel at home. Indeed, seeing the art sitting against the wall along with a guitar made me feel like I was in an alternate luxurious version of my own apartment :

If the sleeping area feels like a re-imagined, sophisticated version of home, the mirrored bathroom feels like another dimension entirely with a wall of mirrors and all elements designed by Starck:

Closing the doors to the bathroom revealed more mirrors:

There are little details everywhere painstakingly chosen by Starck that make you stop and take pause like this handwritten letter hanging next to my bed from Jean Cocteau, a famous French poet, filmmaker, and artist :

When it comes to macarons, I am firmly a fan girl thanks to a sweet introduction to his macarons shortly after I arrived in Paris by my friend Beth.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that Hermé is the official pastry chef of the Royal Monceau Hotel.

So, you can imagine the sheer joy I felt when I saw a Hermé spread of macarons laid out in my room.


Sitting on the bed looking into the mirror which doubles as a television:

Beautiful Paris rooftops seen from the window of my room:

As soon as I saw the hallways in the hotel, I felt like Alice in Wonderland and I knew that I wanted to take this photo:

Indeed, the hotel’s design has a whimsical quality to it. The elevators are all different colors and fully mirrored. Here is the red one:

As I exited the elevator and looked out onto this scene looking out towards mirrors with artwork by , I distinctly heard a song from Twin Peaks by Angelo Badalamenti play softly on the hotel’s speakers:

I was so amused by the fact that Badalamenti was playing since I had been feeling a very distinct Lynch vibe while exploring the hotel. Some context: I am a huge David Lynch fan and Angelo Badalamenti is the composer that Lynch uses for many of his films as well as one of my favorite soundtrack composers (this video when fully watched illustrates his brilliance perfectly: ) and who I listen to quite a bit when I edit my photos.

In the moment, I : “As I walked off the elevator earlier, a track by Angelo Badalamenti (from Twin Peaks) was playing and I smiled wide :)”.

And the lovely social media person for Royal Monceau to me: “Thank you Vivienne, we’re glad you’re enjoying our David-Lynch-meets-Alice atmosphere :)”.

One of the most striking works of art in the hotel is by Russian artist called Salle des Trophées which consists of 15 life-size wooden elk :

Gorgeous chandeliers above the grand staircase:

Detail of hanging art in the hotel’s lobby area :

In addition to the beautiful hotel interiors, Starck is also responsible for the design of the hotel’s 1 Michelin Star restaurant, . Here is a view of the restaurant :

Plates designed by Starck:

Even the coffee cups are intricately designed by Starck. The paintings on the saucer are reflected perfectly in the cups. Here is a goldfish reflection:

And, an eye (my favorite):

Walking outside leads to the , a relaxing and charming place to enjoy a meal or snack:

One of my favorite parts of the garden area is this great art installation by of a giant ironwork tea-pot that guests can sit in. Magical!:

The hotel is full of surprises like the , a 99 seat theater designed by Starck with state of the art cinema equipment like 3D:

And the award-winning spa which features a 23 meter infinity pool, one of the largest to exist in a Paris luxury hotel:

During my stay, I was fortunate enough to get a quick tour of one of the . These are suites that start at 25,000 Euros a night. You will notice that the design by Philippe Starck is consistent with the room I stayed in which was one of the studios:

The Presidential Suite’s living area:

….dining area:

….bedroom (one of them):

And detail from one of the living room areas featuring a gorgeous photo by photographer :

I hope you enjoyed the photo-tour!

I feel so fortunate to have had the experience I did at the Royal Monceau Raffles Paris. Everything from the food, to my time in the spa, and my adventures exploring the brilliance of Starck’s design felt like a dream.

Looking for these (and more) Royal Monceau Raffles Paris Hotel photos to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

Interested in viewing all of my France posts so far? Here they are:

France Through the Lens

Incredible amounts of gratitude to:

The Royal Monceau Raffles Paris Hotel who let me stay as a guest of theirs in exchange for photography and took amazing care of me during my stay.

And, the official French tourism agency, who you can find here on Facebook . They made my entire France photography adventure possible and went above and beyond in making sure I was well taken care of everywhere I went (truly).


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South of France: Nice

Nice is a visual feast.

The soft light toys with the entire spectrum of human emotion as if it is a paintbrush joyfully dragging itself through a colorful palette warmed by the Mediterranean sun.

To understand the level of enchantment that Matisse, Chagall, and countless other painters have felt through the decades in Nice, one only has to wander aimlessly through the streets in the summer when the sun is languidly descending in the sky.

Nice is the second largest city on France’s Mediterranean coast. Due to its close proximity to Italy (it is located 20 miles west of Italy’s current border) and its geographic good fortune of being one of the busiest trading ports dating back to around 300 BC, it went through many different periods of ownership until it became a part of France in the 1800s.

The Italian influence is strong especially in the older parts of Nice where the narrow streets wind through rows and rows of ochre, and orange buildings, most of which date back to the 1700s.

The Port of Nice is located in the center of the city. This port serves as a main point of transfer to Corsica as there are ferries that travel to Corsica from the Port of Nice regularly.:

The colors of the walls in Vieux Nice are a stunning backdrop for its many restaurants, shops, and cafes. The South of France, much like many other Mediterranean cities and cultures, possesses a very laid-back attitude which carries over into every aspect of life. It’s almost impossible to feel the anxious rush that tends to hum along the periphery of life in cities like New York City, London, and Paris while in Nice. :

It’s in the quiet moments that Nice really blossoms:

An overhead perspective of Nice showcases the Cote D'Azur and riviera as well as the wealth of colors that dominate its architecture. This photo was taken from a public lookout spot at Castle Hill, or Colline du Château:

In the early summer, the sun takes its time setting in the South of France. The sunsets range from anywhere between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm on the solstice., Walking through the streets of Nice in the late evening is highly recommended. The light washes over the brilliantly colored walls and creates such a spectacular glow through the city:

One of my favorite things to do when I am in a city I have never experienced before is to watch where the tourists congregate and then walk in the opposite direction. It’s in these moments, that I tend to feel like I am one with the streets. These moments I treasure. This was taken during one such moment:

But, I also appreciate the beauty in the places that are popular. These are the places that beckon people from around the world to bask in the expectations of a place. The beaches in Nice on the riviera don’t fall short of expectations:

One of many motorbikes that pepper most French cityscapes regardless of geographic location:

A heart-wrenchingly gorgeous scene on a late afternoon in Nice which prompted me to write this prose while there:

The setting sun in Nice:

Looking for these (and more) South of France photos to view larger? Here you go (click or tap on each photo to view larger):

Interested in viewing all of my France posts so far? Here they are:

France Through the Lens

Please check out on Facebook. They made my entire France adventure possible!


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Nice - South of France - Sunset in the Streets

I have been slowly going through my photos from South of France which has proven to be a gargantuan task considering the sheer amount of content that I ended up with from each city I visited.

I plan on posting quite a few photo-sets from each city as well as separate in-depth photo posts highlighting some of the unique aspects of each place. And, of course, I will also do the same for Paris since I ended up spending 10 days in Paris after the South of France journey was over.

While I was in France, I posted quite a few photos in-the-moment and I typically did that with my cameras (I brought along my Sony corral which included the: A6000, A7R, and A7) by uploading the photos from the camera directly to my phone where I did super-quick edits of them using iOS photo-apps before posting them to , , and my travel blog.

This photo means a lot to me.

It was taken on the first evening that I was in Nice.

The light was light I dreamed about when I was younger and would bury my head in books about far-off sun-drenched locations.

I didn’t grow up in a family that traveled since my family didn’t have the means to travel. My father worked nights as a pressman for the Daily News, a fact which I was ashamed of when I was in grade school since it seemed like most of my peers had parents who had glamorous white-collar jobs which afforded them the means to travel. It took my parents 10 years to save up enough money to take a 2 week European vacation back in the 1990s without feeling intense guilt about allocating those funds for something other than necessities.

And so, when I travel, I always get a bit emotional along the way (that’s a bit of an understatement). My eyes well-up when I think of how much I yearned to be able to experience travel when I was younger. And while travel is part of my career in photography, it’s still constantly amazing to me that I even get the opportunity to do what I do.

I posted another version of this photo a month ago on the evening when it was taken. I stood there in Vieux Nice with the other journalists who were traveling with me and we all took turns admiring the light and capturing it with our cameras.

I insisted we all do that because I knew this was the light that people dream about.

It’s the kind of light that keeps you going even in your darkest hours when you are trying to claw your way into the life you have always wanted to live.

And it’s the kind of light that just knowing it exists in reality is enough to keep the dreams alive.


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Paris: Sunset and the Eiffel Tower - Notre Dame View

The clouds


their palms,


brushing against

the sunset

that caressed

the horizon.

And the bells

of Notre Dame



over the rooftops

of Paris.

This was taken on a typically moody Paris evening with my Sony A7R. I had climbed the 387 steps to the top of Notre Dame de Paris earlier in the week with a wonderful person who worked for , an organization that tends to the historic monuments and landmarks of Paris.

While standing on the highest platform of Notre Dame, I expressed to her that it would be incredible to photograph the sunset or even dusk from such an impressive vantage point.

Typically, throughout the year, access to the top of Notre Dame is restricted to the morning and afternoon hours. However, as fortune would have it, the summer hours had just started and evening access to the top of the cathedral which itself dates back to the 1100s would be starting later in the week.

Later in the week, I made my way up the 387 steps again later in the week on an evening when I wasn’t sure that the weather would cooperate. It didn’t really matter to me though. The view, in any weather condition, is nothing short of breath-taking.

I stood there as the storm clouds receded over Paris revealing a subdued sunset, a perfect backdrop for the tiny Eiffel Tower that stood in the distance.

And it was absolutely sublime.


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Paris - La Pagode Paris has many hidden treasures. One of them is La Pagode located in the 7th arondissement. It was on my original list of places to visit back in April but I never made it there. Today’s rainy weather was perfect for a long walk...

Paris - La Pagode

Paris has many hidden treasures.

One of them is La Pagode located in the 7th arondissement. It was on my original list of places to visit back in April but I never made it there.

Today’s rainy weather was perfect for a long walk from my hotel in Montmartre all the way down to Rue de Bablyone with an incredible stop at the (quite a hike!).

Built in 1896, it started out as a ballroom but was transformed into a theater in 1930. It is still in use today as a theater.

I literally dropped my bag when I entered the garden because I was overwhelmed by the emotional pull of the scene laid out before me. I stood there for a while watching the painter paint under the canopy of trees before taking photographs and sitting down for a while to savor the beauty.

What a perfect end to a whirlwind of a trip. I leave Paris early tomorrow morning with so many amazing memories.

Paris has a permanent spot in my heart.


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