Urban escapes: 4 city-center hotels for your getaway in France


Urban treasures within your reach

For a memorable stay, all you have to do is to hop on a train or drive a few hours.

Have you ever met a Londoner who doesn’t even glance at Big Ben, or a Genevan who's never taken a turn around the city’s namesake lake? We often forget about nearby treasures when dreaming of faraway places.

Practically right next door is France, the world’s premier destination. It’s difficult to not find happiness in this mosaic of a country, where each region, city and neighborhood has its own beauty, history and identity. It is this wealth that the MGallery collection celebrates with a few ideas for city-center getaways.

Your nest in the urban jungle of La Défense

A relaxing stay at Nest Paris La Défense, a 5-star hotel near the Grande Arche

La Défense has long suffered from a slightly cold image. But today its skyscrapers boast panoramic bars and restaurants, mouthwatering scents from food trucks fill the air of the outdoor museum, and the view of the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe is always sublime from the Esplanade. At the gates of Paris, this business district has become a destination in its own right.

A symbol of this new identity, Nest is a cocoon filled with warm design elements, from its round shape to colorful earth tones. The ambiance in the guest rooms is soft and cozy, while the public spaces are welcoming and stylish. Lunch in the sun or dine under the stars beneath the glass roof of O’Mazette, and create your own personalized cocktail with the help of the bartender.

A timeless getaway between the Rhône and Saône

Le Royal and the Carlton, two grand hotels in the heart of Lyon

The dome of Le Royal Lyon has watched over Place Bellecour since 1888. This authentic Lyon residence welcomes you with an irresistible décor that reflects local savoir-faire. Gastronomy reigns supreme in this five-star hotel managed by Institut Paul Bocuse, starting with the exceptional breakfast served in the kitchen. The red lounge overlooking the largest pedestrian square in Europe turns into a jazz bar every evening, when tea and coffee can be swapped for cocktails or whisky.

Another legendary hotel in the heart of downtown, Carlton Lyon has been superbly renovated to enhance decorative elements from the 19th century, from wrought iron balustrades and the stuccoed lobby to gleaming chandeliers and stained glass windows. The color red is everywhere, embodying the passion of this iconic establishment. To be Carlton right down to your fingertips, dare to get a manicure with the spa’s signature nail polish before hitting the champagne bar for a toast.

Lyon can be easily visited on foot from the Presqu’Île, which is home to the luxurious boutiques of the Carré d’Or, the Célestins theater, the opera house and the Museum of Fine Arts. Simply cross over the Saône to lose yourself in the alleyways of Old Lyon and climb up to Fourvière hill. For a unique experience, the Carlton offers a cinematography tour of the city or a private dinner with chef Fabrice Bonnot.

La Cour du Corbeau, an architectural jewel in Alsace

Old Strasbourg is home to a historic gem next to the cathedral, making it ideal for exploring other treasures in this medieval district.

A 4-star hotel near the Strasbourg Cathedral, Cour du Corbeau has lost none of its 16th-century charm. Passing under the porch of this half-timbered dwelling, you discover a building that is all at once majestic and picturesque with its columns, sculpted woodwork and cobblestone courtyards.

When staying on the Grande Île, the treasures of the historic center are at your doorstep. Discover the region’s culture at the Alsatian Museum, and stroll along charming streets lined with cafés, boutiques and restaurants nestled between the iconic cathedral and Place Kléber, the city’s beating heart. You can also cruise along the canals, from the famous covered bridges of the Petite France historic quarter to the European District.

A vacation doesn't have to be synonymous with long-haul flights and meticulous planning. Why not try something spontaneous and closer to home? France will always surprise and delight you!