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Art de Vivre: Château Voltaire

A powerful yet discreet newcomer in the 1st arrondissement, luxury hotel Château Voltaire praises Parisian traditions with modernity and flair.

Château Voltaire on Rue St Roch

On quiet Rue St Roch, steps away from the Tuileries, one pushes the door of what feels like a private home: beige walls, abstract paintings, vintage modernist furniture, beautiful ceramics and seasonal bouquets presented in crystal vases. Attention to detail is everywhere and one is tempted to lower one’s voice upon check-in. Already, Château Voltaire feels dedicated, private, discreet. Here, timeless elegance prevails.

The listed golden shell that adorns the façade

A personal take on what a luxury hotel should be, Château Voltaire is the brainchild of Frenchman Thierry Gillier, founder of fashion brand Zadig & Voltaire: “I wanted to celebrate all that Paris stands for: a rich historical sense, a quest for beauty, a unique art de vivre, the joy of being together and celebrating. Plus, Paris has always been drawn to ideas, culture and elegance”, Gillier explains. A world-traveler, his dream was to open a hotel that would feel and taste like a Parisian home, an address to live simply and generously, a place to meet and rejoice as one does with friends in a distant corner of the world.

Like Château Marmont without the Hollywood scene? Definitely!

A room at Château Voltaire

To achieve this vision, Gillier asked art director Franck Durand – founder of Holiday Magazine and the man behind campaigns for Chloé, Balmain or Isabel Marant – and architecture-duo Festen, known for crafting beautiful hotels around Paris and on the Côte d’Azur, to create a delicate, timeless destination that would stand out for its singularity and Parisian flair.

Behind the listed facade, three buildings from the 17th and 18th century were brought together: the different volumes and ceiling heights give the 32 rooms, floors and corridors a historical charm. Nothing feels grand, but naturally familiar. “Château Voltaire is neither a décor nor a reconstitution”, Durand explains. “It was designed to be lived in, worn in, even as a modern-day hotel. References to the past or the buildings’ heritage are hinted at. Our aim? To remain contemporary and classic.”

For the connoisseur, the interiors exude with craftsmanship (handmade banquettes, expert woodwork, tailored light fixtures), rich textiles and curated objects in a quiet color palette. 

A well-stocked mini bar

Never bold, always essential like the vast apartment on the 4th floors that opens onto a winter garden and a terrace planted with small trees: today, it is a favorite amongst an elite who likes to stay anonymous. In the middle, the vast salle à manger with a classic table, upholstered chair and modern XXth Century painting seems to be ready for a state dinner.

“We were inspired by Claude Sautet’s films”, Festen recalls “to create spaces to gather, laugh, celebrate, meet friends. A place to be happy.” Brasserie Emil and bar La Coquille (referring to the listed golden shell that adorns the façade) is very much like that, a joyful, generous bistro, filled with familiar noises and emotions.

“Château Voltaire is positively charge with emotions and feelings, it is a place where authenticity and sincerity prevails”, adds Gillier. Château Voltaire does feel and breathe Paris. A place to meet and rejoice, far from the codes of luxury hospitality.