Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Charm of a French Boutique Hotel

This week I'm celebrating a trip my husband and I took to San Francisco for three days, during which we stayed two nights at a charming hotel, The Cornell Hotel de France, which bills itself (justifiably) as a "French boutique hotel".  (This is a day early for the Friday "Celebrate the Small Things", but sometimes it just works out that way. ☺️) You could say I'm celebrating the hotel, because it looks as if it has been whisked out of the 19th century, even the 18th, with it's beautiful paintings and decor — lots of gilt everywhere.

I like anything remotely historical, and especially anything that smacks of Paris, so this hotel was a find for sure. All the hallways sported prints of famous French Impressionists (my favorite artists), with a particular artist assigned to each floor. Our floor was the Stage Gauguin; the one below was Talous Lautrec. Other floors Van Gogh, etc. In the rooms are different artists. We had a couple of Klimt. Here is a close-up of "The Kiss",  and someone had done a gilt painting around the wall switch! There were lamps on delicate furniture, and the overhead light sported an upside-down Tiffany style shade.

Klimt's "The Kiss"
Light Switch
Overhead Shade
There is also a restaurant,  Jeanne D'Arc, which was closed for renovations while we were there, but I understand the food is very good — and very French.

Restaurant Window
Stature of Jeanne D'Arc
Birdcage Elevator
The Jeanne D'Arc theme was highlighted all through the hotel, in paintings and plaques and statues. There was also a charming, if rackety, old-fashioned birdcage elevator painted with French style decorations on the doors. (Those are reflections you see in the glass tops of the doors.)

The hotel serves breakfast in a basement cafe (included in the overall bill), and it isn't the run-of-the-mill croissants, coffee, cereal and fruit. No, you get a choice of waffles or pancakes, omelette, or eggs served in any style. Or you can have cereal. Or fruit. Each breakfast comes with toast, hash browns, and fresh orange juice. And some of the best coffee anywhere! I wish I had thought to take my camera to breakfast, because the cafe was awesome in its decor, painted to look like stone columns and plaster walls, all of which were decorated with lovely hand-painted art work following scenes from Ste. Jeanne's life and story. You must go there yourself if you can and enjoy it.

Meanwhile, I did think on leaving to take a picture of the staircase going down to the cafe. And a little sitting lounge where you could read the newspapers and enjoy a cup of coffee, if you so wished. And the outside plaques that give you some idea of the hotel's standing as a tourist spot.

How about you? Are you enamored of French culture and themes? Have you been fascinated by the history of Jeanne D'Arc? Do you like French food?

Celebrate the Small Things  is a blog hop co-hosted by Lexa Cain at: Lexa Cain,  L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge , and Tonja Drecker @ Tidbits Blog. (You can go to any of these sites to add your name to


  1. What an interesting hotel. I'm a lover of all things French, having lived just outside of Paris in the little town of Vincennes for just over 2 years. Sounds as if you had a good stay.

    Marilyn @

  2. Hi, Marilyn, thanks for stopping by. What a great experience that must be, living for two years in a small French town.

  3. Love, love, love this post, Mitty! Thanks for sharing. :-)

  4. Hi, Vicky, you and your husband would both have loved all the painting touches throughout. There were portraits and scenes that were hand-painted by someone not part of the famous painters highlighted on each floor. So beautifully done!

  5. What a charming hide-away! I know you must have had a wonderful time in the city.

    1. Hi, Lee, yes we did. We took the cable car to Fisherman's Wharf. I hadn't ridden on that for years and years (decades). It was a double delight, because at the wharf I got some good "texture" for a story I'm writing, although that wasn't the purpose of the trip.

  6. It's wonderful & I love that huge grandfather clock in the reading lounge! Thanks for the virtual tour of the lovely hotel!

    1. Hi, Lexa, I wish I could go back and get more pictures of the basement cafe. It was another world.

  7. What a lovely hotel! It looks like the kind of place one could really soak in something new around every corner. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks for stopping by, T. Yes, I just loved that hotel. For all the art, it was very "low key," which was part of its charm. It was just quietly beautiful. :-)