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Ritz Paris

A La Recherche du Temps Perdu" Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust adored the Ritz. Of all the great grand and famous to have enjoyed the hospitality of the Ritz Paris, none has quite the aura of Marcel Proust. His epic novel, A La Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time, or as translated previously: "Remembrance of Things Past"), had Paris abuzz with its detailed portrayal of the inner workings of society. By nature a recluse and devoted to his art, Proust spent most of the day in bed writing, and just as many evenings out among in an environment he was recording in minute detail.

Proust often arrived late at night at the Ritz to dine alone in a private room, served only by Olivier, who would see to it in advance that the fire was exactly right “…and that every chink of windows and doors had been carefully padded to keep out any possible draught.” On summer evenings, Olivier would sometimes walk with Proust in the Bois. True to form, Olivier never revealed the content of their conversations. Yet it is generally accepted that one of the book’s key characters, the maître d’hôtel in a fictional hotel located in Balbec, is largely inspired by Olivier. In his last months, Proust lived almost entirely on coffee and milk. On the rare occasions that he felt like fried sole or roast chicken, the meals were sent to him from the Ritz. On his death bed he wanted only cold beer, which also had to come from the Ritz. The final bottle arrived too late for Proust to drink.

César Ritz has left us more than one hotel in the world, but this is maybe his greatest and certainly his final statement. However, most credit must go to the people who currently run the hotel, or at least to those who have run it for the past century. One of them was Frank Meyer, a legendary bartender of the 1920s, whose barkeeping book The Artistry of Mixing Drinks has become one of the bibles of the trade. Write to us for a free copy of the pdf.

 

At the Ritz Bar: E. Berry Wall, best-dressed American in Europe and Ritz' legendary barkeeper Frank Meier (Frank of the Ritz).

How the Stage was Set HISTORY IN BRIEF 1898: Opening year. 1979: The hotel was bought by businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed. HISTORY IN DETAIL Early 18th century: The building occupied by The Ritz, on Place Vendôme, was constructed as a private dwelling. The façade was designed by Jules Hardouin Mansart. 1854: The building was acquired by the Pereire brothers, prominent Parisian financier, who made it the head office of their Crédit Mobilier financial institution 1896: Cesar Ritz established The Ritz Company Ltd in London. 1898: The building was converted into a luxury hotel by the Cesar Ritz. It opened on June 1, 1898. Together with the culinary talents of minority partner Auguste Escoffier, Ritz made the hotel synonymous with opulence, service, and fine dining. 1908: Cesar Ritz registered the Ritz brand name in Paris and London. 1920: Ritz's widow sold the brand name to The Ritz Company Ltd. 1921: The Cambon bar opened. Opposite the bar was the Cambon Dog House where ladies, banned from the bar, were made to wait until 1936 when the Ritz manager's American wife staged a sit-in. Hemingway would later hang out in the larger Cambon bar. 1927: Across the pond, the Ritz-Carlton Investing Company was established by Albert Keller who bought and franchised the name in the United States. The original Ritz-Carlton hotel was built in Boston, Massachusetts and opened on May 19, 1927 with a room rate of $15. The hotel was an innovator and was the first to offer private baths in guest rooms, white tie and apron uniforms for the waitstaff, black tie for the Maitre d' and morning suits for all other staff, extensive fresh flowers throughout the hotel's common areas and smaller, intimate lobbies for a more personalized experience. Additional locations soon opened in New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlantic City and Boca Raton, but all these locations did not survive the great depression and by 1940 only The Ritz-Carlton Boston remained. 1979: The Ritz family sold the hotel to Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed who refurbished it and in 1988 added the Ritz-Escoffier School of French Gastronomy. 1988: Foreseeing the fitness craze, Al Fayed added the Ritz Health Club. That year also saw the inauguration of the Ritz-Escoffier School of French Gastronomy. 1997: In August, the Ritz was back in the headlines. Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed were staying at the hotel and exited through a back door, where they launched into a high-speed car chase away from the paparazzi. The chase ended in a fatal car crash. Fayed's father, Mohammed Al-Fayed, owns the hotel as well as Harrod's department store in London

The Ritz has long been a favourite haunt of the most famous people on the planet and has also captured the imagination of a host of great writers, designers, movie directors and screen play writers. Among the VIP guests: From the World of Politics King Edward VII of England Henry Kissinger From the World of Literature F Scott Fitzgerald Ernest Hemingway Marcel Proust From the World of Entertainment Elton John Charlie Chaplin Sharon Stone Madonna From the World of Fashion Coco Chanel Rudolph Valentino

Back when cocktails were a serious part of life, a man named Frank Meier held sway over the bar at the Ritz in Paris. And when he wasn’t serving drinks to the grand and glorious he found time to write a book, The Artistry of Mixing Drinks, published in 1934. It is a rare volume indeed, having only three limited-edition printings. But luckily one can download a PDF of the first edition at the website of the Exposition Universelle des Vins et Spiritueux. It is filled with around 300 alcoholic curiosities, many of them worth concocting again, if only for the amusement factor. And who knows? You might find a favourite and bring it back to life. "An Aesthete's Lament" -----------

Edith Wharton detested the place. Paris ladies, said one of her acquaintances, could be divided into two groups: "Ritz and anti-Ritz. The anti-Ritz class contains only Mrs. Edith Wharton." ------

After World War I the Russian dukes and grand ladies in large hats disappeared. Cocktails and rich Americans arrived, shepherded by Frank Meier, who remained on duty until he died in 1947. More than a bartender, Frank, with his center-parted hair and pince-nez, was a host who welcomed his guests at the doorstep and achieved great dignity by knowing his place. He was "un gentleman," a vicomtesse remembers, to whom one gave fine Christmas presents. He also published for favored customers a recipe book filled with useful information at the back — horse-racing history, hangover tips, how to remove spots and, most helpful to certain young women, carat weights for precious stones. ------

Tragic moments: Socitey lady Pamela Harriman died the way she lived - glamorously. In February 1997, the 76-year-old U.S. Ambassador to France and companion to many famous men (including husbands Randolph Churchill and diplomat W. Averell Harriman, as well as Fiat heir Gianni Agnelli) died while swimming in the pool of the Paris Ritz. ------

The Paris Ritz was the home of Coco Chanel for over 30 years. ------

Ernest Hemingway famously said he liberated the hotel bar from the Nazis. ------

The hotel has appeared in a long list of novels and movies: Noel Coward's play Semi-Monde takes place in the Paris Ritz. The play follows the extravagant, promiscuous, and ultimately cyclical life of a fictional Paris elite between 1924 and 1926. In Billy Wilder's 1957 comedy Love in the Afternoon, Audrey Hepburn initiates her romance with Gary Cooper in his suite in the hotel. The hotel was featured in the 1966 movie How to Steal a Million, with a romantic scene between Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole in front. In the Bret Easton Ellis novel Glamorama, a group of supermodels turned terrorists plant a home-made bomb in the Hôtel Ritz Paris, resulting in the hotel's collapse. In The Man Who Lived At The Ritz, Phillip Weber and Hermann Göring, Joss Ackland, are staying at the hotel during WWII. In The Da Vinci Code, the protagonist, Robert Langdon, stays at the hotel while in Paris. In Lauren Weisberger's The Devil Wears Prada, Andrea Sachs and Miranda Priestly stay at the hotel while in Paris

In Billy Wilder’s 1957 comedy Love in the Afternoon, Audrey Hepburn initiates her romance with Gary Cooper in his suite in the hotel. In Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada, Andrea Sachs and Miranda Priestly stay at the hotel while in Paris


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The hotel was featured in the 1966 movie How to Steal a Million, with a romantic scene between Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole in front.

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In the Bret Easton Ellis novel Glamorama, a group of supermodels turned terrorists plant a home-made bomb in the Hôtel Ritz Paris, resulting in the hotel’s collapse.

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In The Da Vinci Code, the protagonist, Robert Langdon, stays at the hotel while in Paris.

Frank J. Klein
César Ritz, Mrs Franka Holtmann (MKT)

106 Rooms

Chopin Suite ------ Hemingway Suite ------ F.Scott Fitsgerald Suite ------ Prince of Wales Suite ------ Vendome Suite ------ Elton John Suite ------ Windsor Suite ------ Coco Chanel Suite ------ Imperial Suite

Place Vendome

L'Espadon - in the finest traditions of Escoffier with award winning Chef Michel Roth ------ Bar Vendôme ------ Bar Hemingway ------ The Ritz Bar ------ The Pool Bar

Ritz Health Club

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Our Select Member Hotel

Ritz Paris
Country: France
City: Paris
Opening date: 1898, 1 June

Note from the Host

General Manager

Coordinates

15 Place Vendome
75041 Paris Cedex 01 France, Paris

Tel: +33 1 43163030
Fax: +33 1 42602371

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