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The Photo that Launched a Thousand Blog Postings: L'Hotel Particulier

As Paris is experiencing la canicule (heat wave) with temperatures reaching 40°C, I have sequestered myself in my bedroom for the past week because it is the coolest room in the house. By the way, I still don’t understand Celsius and I keep having to ask my husband, “Is 35°C hot because it doesn’t sound hot? In fact, it sounds near freezing.” With an eye roll, he tries to explain Celsius to me but then stops because he knows it’s fruitless… Just like trying to teach me the metric system. I am forced to yell, “I’m American, it doesn’t compute!” Anyway, while I have been in my bedroom for hours on end, I couldn’t help saying to myself, “How can I improve this room?” My husband just loves when I have these thoughts. But honestly, in my “condition” I happen to spend a lot of time in my bedroom and therefore I think it should be rather remarkable. I needed some inspiration… so, as usual these days, my go to spot is Pinterest. To me, Pinterest is like having someone rip out or earmark all the pages of the magazines that you love. Inspiration City.

On my quest for bedroom inspiration, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw one bedroom photo. To me, on this hot Parisian summer day, it was the perfect bedroom. I needed to find out everything about it so I clicked deeper and deeper and discovered that the bedroom was a chambre in a hotel in the south of France!

Let’s back up a bit… I usually only blog about hotels, houses or apartments that I love wholeheartedly… Everything has to be nearly 100% perfect. This is why I hardly post anything I find in the current shelter magazines because it’s never a whole picture. I usually only partially like it. 99% of times in shelter magazines these days it is obvious that there was a battle between the designer, the wife and the husband. You can clearly see when someone “got their way” and that crappy family heirloom found its place in the living room. Ugh. You know what I’m talking about. (By the way, this never happened at our house growing up. My father never had a say in the decor which was best because otherwise I’m sure there would have been a lot of “comfortable” furniture around the house. This is apparently a family tradition of not letting any non-gay men have any say in the decorating. I swear to God, my grandmother reupholstered my grandfather’s reclining chair (ugly and comfortable) in Pierre Deux fabric.)

Anyway… As I was discovering more and more photos of the hotel with this incredible bedroom, I was falling deeper and deeper in love with it. Page after page, I didn’t hate a thing! In fact, I loved everything! So, I decided to do a whole blog about it for you! Also, I decided that this would be my first “tandem blog” (I made that phrase up ) with my friend Heather from Lost In Arles blog! Why? Because the hotel is in Arles and my friend Heather is the expert on all things Arles. I will chatter on about the hotel’s decor and Heather will cover the history of the hotel and of the little village! So here we go…


The hotel is called L’Hotel Particulier and is in the beautiful little town of Arles in the south of France. Let’s take a look…

The house (l’hotel particulier in French, meaning basically mansion) was originally built in 1824 for the mayor of Arles.

Look at those big black entry doors and don’t you love the ribbon/bow door knockers? The zinc planters are not the traditional Provence anduze pots and this sets the tone for the hotel.

I mean, honestly, does it get better than this? Everything is perfectly to scale. The pool is a dream. No one needs a pool bigger that this. While we are on the subject of pools… Don’t you hate when people put those pools in their backyard with big rocks/boulders and waterfalls? Specifically, if you need a reference, I’m talking about the “backyardscape” of Vicki G on the Housewives of Orange County. It actually pains my heart to look at it so I close my eyes when they show her backyard. And don’t even get me started on her collection of artificial flowers. And yet, I continue to watch the show religiously.

Okay, back to pretty… My husband and I have a running dialogue about the beauty of the color of limestone (and that is one of the reasons why I married him) and we also discuss how French shutter colors go so well with the limestone… French blue, sage green, black, lavender, yellow… Almost any color. The shutters of the hotel mimic the Provence sky. Oh happy happy.


The French just really know how to do a courtyard… pea gravel, bistro chairs and tables, matching pedestal urns (it almost doesn’t matter how many urns you have in a garden if they are all matching), lemon trees, cypress trees… It is so simple yet so perfect. I wonder how many times I’m going to say the word perfect in this blog. I should get a thesaurus.
Okay let’s go inside…

Completely modernized yet retaining its Provençal glow, the hotel has a simple color story… White. If you’ve ever spent the summer in the heat of Provence, white, light and breezy would be your color story as well… It is what the region dictates.

This is the photo that sent me down this rabbit hole of beauty. Gilt ciel de lit attached to the ceiling with a chain draping the bed and headboard with crisp white linen… And that trim! I think it looks a bit Italian. Ivory marble fireplace, gilt bergère chair with white linen, and the simple matelassé bedding. And we cannot leave out the best part… the smoky gray and white scenic Zuber wallpaper. I love how they only did a couple of walls. Restraint is key. I think this is a good time to point out that all shades of white can work in one room. I would sell my organs for this room.

 Let’s take a look at some more of the hotels bedrooms…


I love how they threw in some modern elements. The Marcel Breuer 1920s Wassily chair with its black bands wrapped around steel tubing. You can find the reproduction of this chair on You're welcome. The Corbusier-ish chaise in pony hide. You can find the reproduction of this chaise on You're welcome. I love the antique chair with the modern desk. See that standing lamp? Those were my best selling lamps at my shop. We had them imported to California from Paris. They are from a company called Mis en Demeure. You’re welcome. The white curtains are sublime … Lots of pleats…oh, and look! The curtains touch the floor! Imagine that. Are you sensing my facetiousness? Little story… The last official decorating job my mother and I had ended over a dispute with curtains. Our client was a super wealthy woman who had bought a historical house in Santa Barbara. We were excited to work on the project… Until… Until the client asked us to make sure that all of the curtains were 2 inches off of the floor so her housekeeper could easily Swiffer underneath them. Needless to say, we quit. Neither of us ever took another decorating job. I can’t work with stupid.


My favorite thing about this room is everything. I love the stark white walls with molding, the height of the ceiling, the tomette floors (the tomato red terra-cotta quintessentially Provence floors), the antique gilt furniture with white linen fabric with those little tiny nail heads. Look at the little ottoman covered with white linen fabric topped with glass. That was smart. I absolutely adore the white table topped with glass at the end of the bed. Love! And look at that unadorned ciel de lit. This is a perfect example of an inconspicuous juxtaposition. Old with new but subtly.

Now let’s take a look at some of the common rooms… Common as in public, not as in “common” because nothing about this hotel is common.

This room just kills me... In a good way. Let’s start with the stark white walls with gold molding… Just the perfect detail. The floral aubusson antique rug makes the room (even with the hole). Modern sofas with the little reading tables! The five light sconces with the paintings underneath… At that level! Brilliant.


This mirrored room leading to the garden… Not a stitch of color. Love. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe white leather Barcelona chairs. You can find the reproduction of these chairs at Design Within Reach. You're welcome. Obviously reproductions but so what! The simple rectangular gilt mirror is what that wall dictates.


Oh my God, where do we start with this dining room? Stark white walls, exposed stone, modern sleek fireplace, mismatched antique milky white Provençal chairs, some with a rush seats. There are those lamps again! Love. Gilt settee with white linen. Ivory floors. Candelabras on each table. Antique ivory monogrammed linens on a silver charger with a little sprig of an olive tree. It is so provincial yet it feels formal at the same time.

This little informal dining area is To. Die. For. If you cannot find happiness in this room next to the garden you should just go ahead and shoot yourself because you will never be happy. That chandelier alone is worth living for. This is French simplicity at its best… Not trying too hard, just existing, and the results are fabulous. Look Heather and Sharon, they retrofitted the windows. Hmmmm… :-)


Look at this other bedroom. Look at that chest of drawers/commode. Antique style, modern color. These are made from a company called Côté France. Make sure to look at their classic line. I did a whole blog about the company back in 2009. Click HERE to see. The company is located in New York so you don’t have to import! You’re welcome. Look at the curtain rod! Look at the curtains billowing. Pop of tomato red with the rug. There is that glorious gray and white scenic Zuber wallpaper again. Maybe it’s the same room, different angle. Whatever it is, it’s gorgeous.

Need a little private time out of the sun (to check your Instagram)? This room ought to do it. Look at those shutters! Look at that mirror! Stone walls with wicker chairs. Yes, please.

This looks like a perfect room to host a late afternoon apéritif. Wrinkly white linen sofas à la John Saladino. Love the exposed stone walls and barn doors leading to the garden. Those extra wide plank floors are heaven.

Guess what? This gem of a hotel even has a spa. A chic one. Look…

Stone steps leading down to the hammam spa. Simple, relaxing… And not ugly. Look at that gorgeous white Turkish towel with the extra long fringe. They sell these at a company called Anichini. You’re welcome.


I just put this lamb on my Christmas wish list.

I have a feeling I’m starting to sound like that annoying friend that we all have who is always yelling, “Look look look!” So, I’m going to shut up and let you explore the hotel yourself with the next set of pictures… Look at all the details. Whoops, sorry, I’ll shut up.
Those black tole trays!

Let me state for the record that this beautiful monastery-ish stark white hotel in no way causes me to divorce my other decorating story… Florals, velvets, Pierre Frey, leopard prints, etc. It’s just that… I like it all. This week, due to the heat, I’m all about white, white, white. I just think that this hotel really deserves some merit for its brilliant design scheme, it’s merging of eras, it’s well thought out simplicity, its restraint, its history and its overall fabulousness.

Okay, that’s all the talk about the decor of the hotel. Now, pop over to my friend Heather’s blog, Lost in Arles, to learn about the incredibly interesting story of the hotel and the prolific history of the town. You will not be disappointed cuz she’s super smart and has a love of her village of Arles that is infectious… In a good way. :-)

*Something you don’t know about me? As you will discover in my book, if I ever finish it, is that I have tried literally everything in the world to cure my ALS. I must be doing something right because I am still here after five years. I don’t know what I’ve done right though. In the beginning, I tried everything but after a certain amount of failures and a certain amount of years, you just grow tired of the fight. I decided that the best thing I could do for my ALS is my own personal little cocktail… Nearly vegetarian diet, high-fat foods to keep my weight on, extra amino acids, my power food called Liquid Hope, and keeping a positive attitude and trying to forget that I have a terminal disease. I take a couple Western drugs that are supposed to slow my ALS as well. After that, I gave up on searching and searching for the next best cure for ALS. Unfortunately, my best friend Yolanda Foster, contracted Lyme’s disease and is as sick as a dog… A pretty dog. Yolanda still has the fight in her (and the resources) to discover a cure. She and I both think that our illnesses are somehow related on a cellular level. So, with that being said, I have let Yolanda be the guinea pig. She is brave and strong, and I am not. Enter Haelan 951. This is a fermented soy juice that is supposed to be miraculous. Google it. Yolanda has been taking it for a while now and suggested that I try it. I did my research and decided that I could be brave enough. Two weeks later, $400 of shipping charges, French bureaucratic bullshit and €100 of custom fees… I have a batch of juices. Of course I was terrified this morning to try my first dose. I scoured the Internet for possible side effects, couldn’t find any, so bottoms up… And when I say bottoms up, I mean down the hatch… In my feeding tube. I was prepared for the worst… I thought my stomach was going to explode possibly. But one hour later and nothing. It had not killed me and yes, it crossed my mind that it would. Death by soybean. But here I am, 12 hours later… Feeling great. So, onwards Haelan 951. May the force be with me.

A toute!


  1. Can I just say first of all that I need the Aubusson rug, and yes I agree with you, I would trade an organ or two to get it.

    This hotel is just breathtakingly beautiful. The owner must get fed up of her guests because I'm sure once they have arrived, they lose all interest in the rest of Provence, and simply want to sit around wallowing in the beauty ! Amazing!

    You are very brave to swallow the fermented soy mix, although we did note that you let your best friend try it first - nice!

    Thank you for making me laugh


    1. Of course Yolanda tasted it first… That's what friends are for. Ha ha ha. I agree with you that the owner must wonder if her guests are ever going to leave the property? Hopefully I will get to see you this weekend. XOXO Ellie

  2. Well, you never let me down -- never! Sensational writing, as usual. You're a kindred spirit and I want you knowing just how much I appreciate your heart.


  3. Oh yes, and I'd like the Zuber wallpaper too please .... and I noticed you pushed your point about the window openings, I think we'll have a little chat when we next meet :)


    1. Um, thank you Sharon because...just to put it out there politely...that is in a modern "pop-up" style pavilion - no retrofit needed! Sheez.

  4. Dear Ellie,

    I cannot express in mere words how this wonderful post with these exquisite photos has brightened my day! I adore white and gilt together. Thank you so much for all the effort you put into sharing this.

    I hope with all my heart that the Haelan 951 will work wonders for you!
    And again, thank you so much for sharing your vision of beauty - it's like water in the desert xx

  5. Perfection. Absolute perfection. Becky

  6. OMG!
    You are right PURE PERFECTION

  7. Oh yes beautiful Ellie, May the force be with you!!!! Nancy

  8. JESUS!!
    YOU had me at the DOORS and HEATHER doing a DUO BLOG QUEST!!!CANNOT get any better then THIS!!!!!!
    AS I sat here eating my 2% yogurt saying OMG >>>OMG..............YES ELLIE I GET IT!I thought to myself.......this is the plan!I will dash through OHIO AGAIN and pick up STEPHEN we will then HEAD STRAIGHT for PARIS to get YOU.I may need to take one of your caregivers with us as I will have a PANIC ATTACK if something happens with all YOUR ACCESSORIES!WE will then drive down to ARLES and MEET UP with the GORGEOUS RED HEAD!I say WE TAKE OVER THE HOTEL PARTICULAR for MY BIRTHDAY!!!We each get our own room so we can SHARE and TELL...............HEATHER and I will take over the kitchen and make lovely dinners and I would assume WE could find some GOOD wine in the region?STEPHEN will be in charge of our HAIR DO"S!!!!I would like a FRENCH BRAID on the days I cook PLEASE!How does that sound?Sounds MAGICAL TO ME JUST MAGICAL...................I am afraid to even PEEK at the cost of one room!!!IF I HAD IT THIS IS WHAT WE WOULD BE DOING.............heck I might even let the husbands attend TOO!!!!!!!!!XOXOXOXO ADORE YOU..........951 sounds like a LUCKY NUMBER TO ME!!!!!YOU KICK ASS WITH THIS STUFF AND SHOW THOSE DOCS WHAT YOU CAN DO!!!We are ALL counting on YOU to fix and CURE ALS!XOXOXO

    1. Sounds good to me! Although I think you and I may be kicked out after we show up to this glorious, glowing white establishment with dogs and pigs in tow! Barbie has no idea that some people object to black dogs on white sofas (as she's asleep on one now).

    2. YOU do have a POINT!!!!
      But we would ALWAYS be WELCOME down the road a wee bit at that GORGEOUS RED HEADS HOME with ALL THE ANIMALS!!!
      LETS DREAM and make it happen one day.......................

  9. Friend, it was a great delight that you asked me to tandem blog with you - do you think that might be a future Olympic sport? If so, you are so Gold!

    I loved being geeky with all of the history, doing all of my research, fully knowing that you would go-to-town on the all of the details of the decor. But just how much you knew and shared? Well, that blew me away too even though I should know better. :)

    Again, it is a HUGE deal that such a hotel exists in Arles and that she opened it at a time when it really needed the boost. She has continually evolved her design strategy as well (that salon with the Aubusson rug used to be painted aubergine) which is long as everything now stays exactly as it is!

    If I can finally get you down to Arles, maybe we can visit there for tea?

    With much Love and Strength (of the Haelan 951 - yes!),

  10. Speechless at such Perfection ! Perfection ! Perfection ! Packing my bags .

  11. quick conversion from celsius to farenheit is double it and add 31 example 13 degrees celsius is around 57 degrees farenheit

  12. Leslie in OregonJuly 8, 2015 at 1:49 PM

    I hope you and Heather do more tandem blog posts, because your posts about L'Hôtel Particulier have given me a great deal of pleasure and taught me so much. Maybe because I spent my younger adult years constantly travelling the world, I perceived what I saw in broad brush strokes and very few specifics. Probably because of where I grew up (Oregon), I was also far more interested in the beauty of the natural world than beauty created by humans. Now, as a devoted Francophile who has learned to delve a bit deeper, I am ready for an Ellie+Heather education. Even the French use of pea gravel as ground cover may appeal to me some day. (I learned to appreciate pea gravel as the optimal surface for landing a parachute jump, back in the days when parachutists strove to do five-point landings.) In hope that your heat wave abates very soon and that Haelan 951 fulfills its promise, Leslie

  13. Amazing post, I enjoy every word and photo.
    Well wishes the soy juice will prove positive. I think the joy of seeing such beautiful rooms is helpful as well.

  14. Hello Ellie,
    I mentioned over on Heather's page this hotel is fit for a CONTESSA!!!
    When I read this I couldn't stop laughing "if you cannot find happiness in this room next to the garden you should probably go ahead and shoot yourself because you will never be happy"
    xx neat

    1. IT IS FIT FOR ALL OF US...............wouldn't it be fun to meet in ARLES one year!HECK, I may never leave!

  15. May the force be with you times a million. Make that a billion. Ellie this post is so exquisite and now I want to go there with my husband on a holiday, I mean it's beyond perfect: the white, the gold details, the pops of red and faded red, the beautiful curtains which properly puddle just-so on the floor (right you were to quit that decorating job, 2" above the floor? For a swiffer it's too horrible).
    By the way I also do not understand Celsius and I live in Canada so it's like everyone around me is speaking secret code when they talk about the weather, which Canadians do incessantly. I grew up near Michigan with American tv, newspapers and an American Grandma who ruled the family so how I am supposed to understand this Celsius bullshit? Feel you on that.
    Take care and be well Darling Ellie XO

  16. WOW! Everything is just so perfect, so crisp! Thank you for this post.

  17. Ellis! The force is with you!!

    You are so right about absolutely everything....and as a much older deorator....I rarely say that about anyone who is young like you! YOU GET IT ALL!!! Really. All.

    the rug is fabulous....(the hole actually MAKES it!!!) (who gets that?)

    The grisaille wallpaper is divine beyond!! Maybe they used it in two bedrooms!!

    the whole place is is great as it can be!!

    I went to the Olde Peking Antique place in Alhambra (I could count on a half a hand the times I have been to Alhambra...) I LOVED IT!! I LOVE THEM!! THEY LOVE YOU!! The girl....remembered you and your mother!! What a treasure trove!

    she sends her you and your mother!!


    WHAT fun to meet her! Sandra....I think!

    We are down in Rancho Santa Fe on vacation with Adam's brother...(adorable...and his adorable wife)!

    I think you know....I am 68; Adam is 76; "getting old is not for sissies"!

    Some friend said yesterday about some sickness a friend had........"at our age....they are shooting "real bullets"!

    You are way to young, and so is Yolanda to have had "real bullets" fired at you!!

    Go that medicine....I have been reading about it!

    Will Gracie be to shy to call me when she is in Santa Barbara???? We just hatched two teeny baby chicks...will that help?? I would love to see her! Tell her no lectures!! Just fun with ducklings and baby chicks!!!

    1. "GETTING OLD ISNOT FOR SISSIES!" That is what my 90 year old MOTHER says daily!!!!!!!!

    2. PS> I GET THE HOLES IN THE RUG TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Exquisite, and thank you so much for all the research. The designer must have been inside my head because everything is exactly to my taste, although I couldn't live without velvet and some color either :-) It's fun that you tandem-blogged with the wonderful Heather (through whose blog I first found yours) and you two should do it again sometime!

    Go soy medicine! We need our Ellie.

  19. Oaky this hotel is stunning. So crisp. I have no concept of C to F conversion either and have just stopped trying. Obviously I have vast medical knowledge, so I'm opinion carries significant weight. But I believe treatment for any illness is much more personal than we realize and you never know what may be your ticket. cheers!

  20. I enjoyed your guided tour of the hotel. Love the furnishings too, and your keen eye, comments and details added to my enjoyment. Fingers crossed that Haelan 951 will be beneficial to you. Hugs.

  21. Thank you, Ellie and Heather! Wonderful inspiration and such beauty. Your blog posts have inspired me to consider my decorating and what can be improved. Would you consider a post or two (or a series!) about the basics of decorating? Color, style, what to do, etc., for those of us in the early stages of our decorating journeys? I'd certainly tune in. Keep up the inspiring and entertaining work.

  22. Ellie I want to transport that entire luxurious white bedroom to Kansas City and my home!!
    Adore everything, every single thing about it and l' Hotel Particulier! Those entry doors got me right away!
    So glad you are open to trying anything possible for your health, you brave woman!!

    The Arts by Karena
    Stems Soiree

  23. I forgot to mention the CELIUS thing...............I have NEVER UNDERSTOOD it either..........and I lived in ITALY for 3 years!So, your hubby explaining to YOU and the way you told THE STORY made me smile ear to ear.................I just did not want to LEARN HOW!NO USE FOR IT!
    As for the METRIC system....................WHY???!!!!

  24. Everything about this is nothing short of fabulous! What a treasure it must have been the first time around upon the discovery of this gem. I'm going to check out all the other links in a bit. Agreed about those awful boulder-like things in pools. There are a bunch in Arizona. I would never ever have one of those pieces of crap in my pool. They look like baby dinosaur dung, not that I've actually seen dinosaur dung, but seriously, that's the first thing I thought of when I first saw them.

    I sure hope your soy potion certainly works miracles for you. If my magic wand was working, I'd work a miracle for you! X

  25. Hi Ellie, yes adore this hotel , it makes me want to throw all of my furniture out and start again. I laughed with the comment about your mother covering the recliner with Pierre Deux fabric. As I write this I can see my husbands recliner, his only request in this home. Thankfully it is smaller in scale than most recliners and is covered in a Ralph Lauren type of plaid of creams, cocoa, hint of royal blue and nail head trim. I can live with it, but you have given me a great idea to recover. Yes! Keep us up to date on your new juice option. PS. it is a good thing that you live in Paris and have access to all health care professionals because in the last week 3 practitioners of natural medicine have been killed in the US. Very weird. On that happy note, have a great day:):):) xob

  26. OMG!!!! Could there be anything better? GORGEOUS!!!!!! and captitilized in the words of La Contessa!!!! You have better things to do than earn metric or celcius!

  27. janegroover@hotmail.comJuly 9, 2015 at 9:09 AM

    What a place to wake up to! Thank you for making my morning coffee so exquisite and for your blogs which are my guaranteed laugh of the day. Rooting for you and your fermented soy......fingers crossed sweet girl.

  28. There are really no words to add to yours about how stupendously beautiful this is. It makes me want to redo my house in white...maybe with a bit of blue thrown in here and there. Just a bit though...

  29. Quick summer conversion for temperatures: 20 Celsius is 68 F and 30 C is 86 F, so more than that is pretty hot! I'm in Canada, and everyone who grew up in the 70's, like me, is sort of semi-converted to metric.

    The hotel: stunning. Thank you.

    Best of luck with the juices.

  30. Love this post! I love the tiered table in the informal dining room that held the bottles of wine. Love the plank floors and all the white. However, what I loved the most was what you said about hating pools with large boulders/waterfall. Me too!!!!!!!! I live in AZ and nearly everyone here has free form pools with boulder waterfalls. I cringe every time I see one. In fact, my husband and I are currently putting in a pool & we met with different pool companies & when each designer asked about waterfall ideas that was the first thing they all asked, "Boulders???" I quickly said, "No!!" They all acted like what was wrong with boulders?? It reminds me of something you'd see at Hugh Hefner's mansion. Speaking of RHOC, I bet The Dubrow's won't be adding a pool with a huge boulder waterfall to their gorgeous home!

  31. Every inch (cm) of that hotel makes me want to live there. Thank you for sharing your comments and your keen eye. Haelan 951 -- cross my fingers!

  32. Now on the travel bucket list and fingers crossed for Harlan 951!

  33. I wrote a looooooooooong comment on my cell phone and the addled sushi-steak-street sign CAPTCHA wouldn't let it through! Far too impatient to recreate it, suffice it to say, this was a fabulous post! (You're welcome.)

    And let's hear it for all those who cringe at OC-faux-déco style...

  34. Best decorating advice ever: " If you cannot find happiness in this room next to the garden you should just go ahead and shoot yourself because you will never be happy."

    The tour of the hotel with you was like floating in a dream. Perfection.

    951 sounds like a magical potion!