A few weeks ago I got an email from the Royal Monceau hotel, one of my favorite hotels in Paris. I first got to know the Royal Monceau when I was testing spas last winter and it quickly became my favorite hotel in Paris. I am not sure what make s the place so special to me. The clean, modern decor is absolutely forgettable, but there is something in the air… perhaps it is their fine attention to detail, serving coffee in cups I’d love to have in my home… or the art book shop with the best (and most expensive) souvenirs of Paris… and certainly it must have something to do with the friendly staff. They even have a weekly newsletter called Art for Breakfast that fills me in on the highlights of the week’s local art scene. AND they happen to have the best spa in Paris with a somewhat serious lap pool!
Needless to say, I was intrigued when I learned they had a private movie theater that they would be opening to the public for semi-private screenings for a Sunday Night film club, to be enjoyed with a glass of champagne (or gourmet fruit juices) and Pierre Hermé popcorn. It seemed like a great story to cover, so I called asking for a press visit and was invited, with a guest last Sunday.
Mr French would be in China and I knew I’d be busy Monday night, so this seemed like the perfect way to celebrate my birthday with Em. The only hiccup with the movie night is that they can not guarantee the film you’ll be seeing until a few days before the event, so I had it in my mind we’d be seeing Chocolat, as announced in their program, but our invitation informed us we’d be spending the night with Bond in Skyfall. Not that I was disappointed about an evening watching Daniel Craig, but y mid took a few moments to make the leap from lazily romantic, provencial France, to sexy, hot Shanghai.
Due to a lingering good bye kiss with Mr French, holiday traffic jams and those horrible people who are still demonstrating against gay marriage, we arrived only a few minutes before the show. Our coats were whisked off our shoulders and we were shown to the ticket booth before being escorted to the drinks bar where a man with a wicker basket offered us sweet or savory popcorn.
The theater is large, seating about 100, with huge, leather arm chairs and tables that fold up to hold your refreshments. Em and I immediately felt like we were in our living room and sprawled out, taking off our shoes and even putting our stocking feet on the neighboring chairs for a comfortable evening in front of the big screen.
A film at the Royal Monceau is 40€. A film on the nearby Champs Elysée is 12€ and a glass of champagne in a luxury hotel is 20€, so would the splurge be worth it? I think its a great place for a cosy date on a freezing winter night, or a great option for getting the entire family out of the house. There is something to be said about feeling like you’re in the comfort of your home without the isolation of it. There is also the pleasure of being out in public while escaping the intense, Parisian cinema crowd.
The Royal Monceau offers a second option, even more romantic option, the Dinner Royale, which for 95€ includes the champagne cinema experience followed by a 2 course meal at the Michelin starred La Cuisine restaurant and I’m thinking that this maybe what we do around Valentine’s day season, which we never celebrate officially, but I like to honor in some little way, getting my girlie on… In the meantime I had a wonderful birthday evening with my dear darling Em who charmed my socks off by dressing up for the evening and then following me on a mad-capped adventure to buy an illegal laser beam (coveted cat toy) from the Africans at Trocadero, as the police looked on, a pickpocket gypsy made an pathetic attempt at thievery and an Eastern European souvenir salesman lent a helping hand.