Whether a getaway takes you to the beach, the mountains, or a bustling city, leisure travel is one of life’s true luxuries. For readers, there’s something extra enticing about these relaxing “read trips:” The ability to lose yourself in a book. While many accommodations can foster a good reading session, certain destinations take the role seriously and provide the perfect environment for a book-fueled vacation. Today’s read trip: Pavillon des Lettres in Paris.
The beautiful French capital, Paris, is known as “The City of Light.” Today, the city sparkles each night, with hundreds of buildings, bridges, fountains, and monuments — including the Eiffel Tower — coming to life each sunset with glowing lights. But this practice dates back to the 17th century, when a safety initiative illuminated the city with oil lamps, and it carried through to the 1800s, when the famed boulevard Champs Elysées was lit with gas lamps.
However, the name is also attributed to Paris playing a major role during Europe’s Age of Enlightenment. Either way, the moniker stuck. And that sense of enlightenment can still be seen today, as Paris continues to be a cultural leader in everything from fashion and film to literature. The latter is evident via the city’s long history of acclaimed writers and its vast network of libraries, but also at Le Pavillon des Lettres, a literature-themed hotel located in the city’s bustling 8th arrondissement.
Le Pavillon des Lettres has 26 rooms, each dedicated to a different author or poet from A through Z — or from Hans Christian Andersen to Émile Zola. The rooms are available in three configurations, including standard rooms and suites, and they range in size from 290 to 625 square feet. The suites offer ample living space and views of the Eiffel Tower — an ideal bonus to your Paris vacation.
Each room incorporates the themed author into the design via a quote above the bed and an available book to read. The Victor Hugo room, for example, displays “Demain dès l’aube” in script, referencing the French author’s famous poem of the same name. Other featured writers include French favorites like Charles Baudelaire, Voltaire, and Marcel Proust, plus non-French writers, including William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, and Franz Kafka.
The small hotel does not have a full-service restaurant, but there is a comfortable salon on the ground floor that serves a buffet breakfast in the morning and complimentary tapas in the evenings. The bar operates on the honor system, so go ahead and pour yourself a glass of wine or whiskey, keeping your karma intact by assigning said drinks to your room. Naturally, the salon’s shelves are stocked with books, with options in English and French, so you’ll always have something to read.
Le Pavillon des Lettres reading list
To fully embrace the theme during your stay, start a book or audiobook by your room’s associated author. Here are five good options you’ll find on Scribd:
Woolf expertly captures a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a London society woman in 1923, as she prepares to host guests in her home. The protagonist’s encounters and thoughts range from friends and memories, to her marriage and the realities of World War I.
This powerful novel follows Étienne Lantier, a young man who takes a job at a coal mine, where he meets a cast of ill, impoverished workers beaten down by backbreaking work and an unsympathetic employer. The miners revolt, engaging in a desperate and daring strike.
Proust’s most prominent writing, In Search of Lost Time is a seven-volume masterpiece published between 1913 and 1927. It recounts the narrator’s experiences from childhood through adulthood and deals with themes of involuntary memory. It’s regularly named one of the 20th century’s most important works.