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Le Meurice, Paris

le Meurice 

Le Meurice in question was one Charles-Augustin Meurice, the entrepreneurial postmaster of Calais – the Continent’s first port of call for British aristocracy visiting Paris or setting off on their Grand Tours. Here in 1771, he started greeting these tourists and providing them with accommodation at his coaching inn within the town whilst also arranging their transport to the capital or elsewhere aboard his coach service. Business was good and in 1817, he expanded, building a second inn in Paris. After his deathin 1835, the hotel named after him moved to its present, sublime site on the rue de Rivoli, where it also earned another label, the ‘City of London’. This was on account of it being the abode of choice amongst well-to-do British travellers. Even author, William M. Thackeray recommended it: ‘If you don’t speak a word of French, if you like English comfort, clean rooms, breakfast and maîtres d’hôtel; if in a foreign land, you want your fellow countrymen around you, your brown beer, your friend and your cognac – and your water – do not listen to any of the messengers but with your best British accent cry heartily: ‘Meurice!’ and immediately, someone will come forward to drive you straight [there].’ Even Queen Victoria stayed here during her 1855 state visit.
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