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The Ritz Paris, where Hemingway once hung out, now looks at a year-end reopening

The Ritz Paris closed for renovations in 2012, and delays will keep it shuttered until about the end of 2015.

If you’re on the trail of Ernest Hemingway in Paris, you can’t pass up the Ritz. Except for now, you’ll have to.

The iconic Paris hotel has been closed for extensive renovations. It had been expected to reopen this summer, but now it looks more as though it will not reopen until the end of the year.

Why the delay?

“It’s France,” Christian Boyens, the general manager, said with a smile.

But, he added, the delays allowed more to be done. Still, he said, “The Ritz will stay the Ritz.”

Besides improvements to bring the 114-year-old hotel firmly into the digital age, the hotel will gain a retractable roof that turns its winter garden into a patio that can be used the year round.

For those interested in the food and cooking, a third kitchen has been added to accommodate students of the culinary arts.

And what of Bar Hemingway, the reason that fans of the author might wander into the place? It will be largely untouched, and Colin Field,  the head bartender, will return, Boyens said.

The Observer called Field the "LeBron James of liquor, the Matisse of martinis, the Yves Saint Laurent of gimlets.” More often, he’s simply called the best bartender in the world.

Hemingway and Field were not contemporaries, by the way. Field was born about two months before Hemingway died, in 1961. But both bring a passion to their craft.

It’s said that Hemingway and his pal F. Scott Fitzgerald spent much time in that splendid saloon in the 1920s.

As World War II was drawing down, Hemingway, a war correspondent, reportedly liberated the bar from the Nazis.

Myth or fact? It may never be known for sure, but it’s part of the allure of the Ritz, whose clientele has included the Duke of Windsor, Marcel Proust and Coco Chanel, who moved into a suite in 1934 and never moved out. The designer died in 1971 at age 87.

When the Ritz redo is completed, its 71 rooms (it also has 71 suites) will begin at about 1,000 euros a night, Boyens said—about $1,120 at today’s exchange rates.

Info: Ritz Paris

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