The French gourmet meals, a heritage of humanity

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According to the French custom, the gastronomic meal is a social practice for celebrating some of the most important moments in life such as births, weddings, anniversaries… It is a festive meal which brings people together for the occasion:

l’art de bien manger et de bien boire»!

The gastronomic meal focuses on enjoying time together, the pleasure of tasting and the harmony between human beings and nature’s products. French people are fond of carefully selecting dishes, recipes, purchasing quality products (preferably local and which flavors go well together), pairing food and wine, decorating the table, etc. Not to mention the respect of rules of politeness during the tasting… All these factors contribute to the traditional French meal!

It also respects certain etiquette; the testing starts with an “apéritif” and ends with  a “digestif”.  In between, four successive courses is typically served; namely a starter, fish and / or meat with a side dish, cheese, dessert and coffee.

The French value gastronomy and possess a thorough knowledge of the tradition. They preserve the practice of the customs, thus contributing to pass on to the following generations…. The gastronomic meal brings the family and friend circles together and more generally, strengthens social ties.

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The napkin was born with good manners…

Impressive! The origin of the napkin goes back to the fifteenth century!!. At the time, it was already used by Romans: using two small pieces of cloth, the first one used to wipe the sweat and the second one, used to bring the confectionery offered by the banquet host.

In France, the first napkin was offered by the city of Reims to Charles VII in 1422. Progressively, it became an essential element until the seventeenth century; its development along with the Arts de la Table was very slow, mainly due to the persistent habit of guests to wipe with the tablecloth. In the early eighteenth century, the same cloth was used for two people. After the French Revolution (1789), when napkins started taking importance in tableware, each guest would start having his own.

Time after time, in the nineteenth century, the use of the napkin becomes restrictive; you shall wait for the hostess to unfold the napkin on the knees gently and with elegance. The napkin then became a symbol of warmth and friendliness with a small object named “the ring”. Having a napkin with a ring meant that “the foreign” was considered as part of the family.

Nowadays, the napkin remains and reflects our knowledge of the good table manners. How to fold a napkin on the table? What are the best manners to use it during an elegant dinner? Follow all the tricks on this blog and give the best style to your table… Remember that your imagination to create a table will make your meal memorable!!!


Relax after your busy day

In the evening, after a long day walk and a busy day, take a half-hour in your comfortable room before bedtime for a peaceful occupation and focus on relaxation. Immerse yourself in a zen and peaceful atmosphere…

Take a warm bath (with L’Occitane products, disposed in your room), a good book, a zen music or a refreshing herbal infusion. Regardless of the method, the more relaxed you will be, the more you will find sleep easily so you will be active for another day!

In your daily life, we suggest you to set up a sort of little ritual before bedtime that can help you relax like some relaxation exercise (breathing, massage in your room…). So your brain will learn to recognize these actions as signs of getting started of sleep.

If after 15 minutes, sleep does not come, it’s better to get up and perform a quiet activity … why not enjoy the charm of the city of lights from your balcony? The need for sleep back shortly after…

Enjoy your stay at the Hotel Napoleon Paris…


How to sit at the table?

Inviting people for dinner time means more than just eating. You need to take care of every important factor: family relationships, affinities, precedence… Creating a seating arrangement takes time and can be really complicated. Here some tips to help you set the perfect plan!


First, the master and mistress of the house are placed in the middle, face to face. Then there are different places of honor: on the right of the householder for a woman and on the right of the hostess for a man. If you invite two couples of equal importance, place the woman of the first couple to the right of the master of the house and the husband of the second pair on the right of the mistress. Thus, each couple will feel honored.

If each guest has the same importance, give the place of honor to the people you invite for the first time, to older people or to the people whose function is more important.

Couples are always separated, except in the case of a married couple for less than a year.

Tables of 6, 10, 14 and 18 people allow householders to place one in front of the other. For tables of 8, 12 or 16 people, the hostess will shift one place to respect the alternating rule: one woman, one man.

Finally, avoid placing alongside people without affinities. Do not place people randomly, especially if you are many people. If possible, take the place closest to the kitchen (for obvious stewardship reasons).

The mirrors

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In the 16th century, the mirror glass is discovered in Italy. This is a revolution! The Italians were the first to manufacture mirrors with crystal blown and then the mirrors were polished and covered with a thin layer of metal.

The quality of the first mirrors was very hard to match by other producers. We had to wait until the end of the XVII century to the opening of the glass factory of Saint-Gobain in France to have mirrors and windows with a similar perfection. Then, French started to make big size mirrors with an exceptional quality.

Mirrors are often used to enlarge the space of small places; their presence expands a room and accentuates brightness and lighting. You’ll find many different kinds of mirrors: framed or unframed; square, round or rectangle; with different shapes and colors…

Nowadays, the mirror occupies an important place in interior design and follows all the influences styles. You must choose it depending on the style of your decor…In the Hotel Napoleon Paris all mirrors have been carefully chosen to make you feel comfortable. Placed in rooms, suites, corridors or even in the fitness club, they provide you with a unique touch in the hotel decoration.  Mirrors create an original design and a modern atmosphere.

Champagne Bruno Paillard

For seven years, the Hotel Napoleon and la “Maison Bruno Paillard” have preciously preserved their partnership to make your stay a wonderful and a special time.

If Bruno Paillard excels, it’s thanks to his attention to small details that make all the difference and lead to a balanced and accurate result.

The “Respect of its fantastic terroir” is a priority of the house. The Bruno Paillard style is the marriage of elegance and complexity which translates into a light and smooth effervescence; a remarkable purity, a true freshness and a silky texture.

Whether it’s Brut, Blanc de Blanc or Rose, the production of Paillard Champagne will always exceed the expectations of our guests…

The success of the champagne provides from an assembly of rigor and passion driven by the Paillard House.

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L’OCCITANE products have been carefully selected to revitalize and hydrate your body.
It is the passion for nature, the respect for the traditions and the subtle atmosphere that made us choose working with L’OCCITANE house and offer our clients an experience of Provence flavors.

L’OCCITANE offers high quality beauty products and fragrances inspired by the Mediterranean lifestyle: using a L’OCCITANE product is always a moment of well-being and sensory delight.

Discover below the selection you will find in your room!

Citrus Verbena body lotion
Enriched with nourishing Shea butter, this body lotion moisturizes and softens the skin.

Citrus Verbena shampoo
Enriched with organic verbena extract, purifying lemon essential oil and softening linden floral water, it restores softness, shine and vitality to hair.

Citrus Verbena shower gel
A shower gel enriched with essential oils and an energizing, citrus scent. Transform your shower into an invigorating, refreshing experience with this gentle cleanser delicately scented by bright citrus.


Dinning table set up “à la Française”

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If you are planning a special “soirée” at home, we help you here to set the table for your guests, with the best traditional Frenchie style…
To start, reserve a space for each guest between 60 or 70 cm. The purpose of this space is to let each guest to feel comfortable during the tasting. In case of the round tables, the minimum spacing is 30 cm between each plate.

Install the main course plate, followed by the starter plate or soup plate.
Two centimeters from the edge of the table and in the order of use, the cutlery must be placed from outside to inside, to be used according to the dishes served.
To the right of the plate, the main course knife must be placed with the blade toward the plate. If you serve fish, place the special knife for fish here. Finally, the spoon for the soup is placed in last position.

On the left-hand, start placing the main course fork. As well as the fish knife, provide the fish fork if necessary.
There are two possibilities to place the cutlery for the dessert. Set it either in the beginning or before serving dessert; place it between the plate and the glasses.
Put the glasses aligned to the cutlery, place the glass for the dessert, white wine, red wine and the glass of water. The champagne glass shall be placed between the water glass and the red wine glass, slightly diagonally.

Arrange the bread plate to the left and put the butter knife over the plate and outwards.
Set the napkin either over the plate or over the table. Tableware and tablecloths, intended for table service and waiter service, are subject to certain rules of “etiquette” that you will discover through this blog.

Don’t forget wishing your guests “Bienvenue et Bon appétit”…

Hôtel Napoléon Paris


Because we love what we do, we created this blog to share our knowledge with all lovers of the French know-how.

Each week you will delight your curiosity by discovering a new article on the Art of French welcoming.  We will reveal the secrets of the tableware, decorative arts, French favors and the well-being art. In this blog, the Hotel Napoleon let you embrace its world, a universe refined and timeless.

Elisabeth Malphettes


Elisabeth Malphettes

Dynamic and creative, Elisabeth Malphettes has been the hotel napoleon’s decorator and interior designer for 17 years. It’s her singular and elegant style which makes this hotel a unique place to stay.
For Mrs. Malphettes, the main idea is to provide our guests, a Hotel with a French touch, a “Frenchie” one, as she likes to say. Guests can feel at home in a discreet atmosphere.
Thus, as in the old-family houses, she banishes monochrome colors and doesn’t hesitate to mix different tones: “we have to work with several colors at once, to make them reflect each other and maximize their brightness”, she says. She also adds that all the antique objects put in the room, remind us of our own legacy, objects we tend to keep carefully and jealously at home. For the “touch of fantasy”, Mrs. Malphettes decides to choose bright and daring tones to create a lasting impression on the guest’s mind.

However, don’t get the wrong impression! She doesn’t forget to adapt the hotel to the modern-day demands. Over time, she chooses more and more contemporary colors and fabrics ahead of market trends, so the rooms become lighter in decoration. If Elisabeth Malphettes tries to stay faithful to the Napoleonian’s style, all the rooms remain pleasant. Over the years, she adds sofa beds, replaces the wardrobes with cupboards, and adds large wall mirrors to facilitate the access and enlarge the room’s space.

When you stay at the Hotel Napoleon, you join Mrs. Malphettes’ universe: a unique cosy place for the French touch lovers.

Mme. Malphette


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