L'Hotel (Paris) Where Oscar Wilde lived & died
I traveled to Paris to visit Oscar Wilde. I had always been more than mildly obsessed with his work and life and so I decided to make an affair of it and stay in the hotel which was noted for hosting him during the last few years of his life, and pay a visit to his final resting place at Pere LaChaise cemetery.
A cab picked me up from Orly airport in the early morning hours after an overnight flight and dropped me off right in front of L’Hotel, located on the Left Bank in St. Germain. This is where Wilde lived and died after his self imposed exile from London in the aftermath of his unfortunate two year hard-labor imprisonment in England. The hotel was once an apartment building where his famous last words were: “Either this wallpaper goes or I do”.
I was exhausted from jet lag as I walked into the eccentrically designed boutique hotel. I immediately noticed an opulent sitting area with an over abundance of brocade on my left contrasted against an impressively modern looking sky high spiral stair case with a view straight up to a windowed ceiling. After check-in, I retired straight to my room, to try and recover from jet lag. I should have slept on the flight but instead I stayed up all night reading and (over) analyzing “De Profundis”.
Due to the time of the season and the fact that L’Hotel only has twenty rooms, I was unable to stay in the already occupied Oscar Wilde suite (the room where he passed away) however I was more than content with the beautiful decor of my suite. The original works of art and lavish fabrics were enough to compensate for not being able to stay in the Wilde suite. The room, the whole hotel in fact resembled something from a page out of one of his plays.
I snuggled into bed and attempted to read a few pages of “Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime”. Though barely able to keep my eyes open, I decided to treat myself to a luxurious bubble bath. I poured myself a glass of bubbly Clos d’Ambonnayand and filled the decadent marble bath tub with hot water and Diptyque precious oils. Barely able to keep my eyes open, I was afraid I might fall asleep in the bath and so I stepped out and wrapped a fluffy, white terry cloth robe on myself before I walked back out to the bedroom.
Sitting on one of the arm chairs was a man whom I recognized to be Oscar Wilde himself. He asked if I would like to go for a night out in St. Germain. I was shocked by how forward he was. He just walked into my room, didn’t even bother knocking and expected that I would just go out with him. But of course since he’s Oscar Wilde and so I couldn’t refuse.
He asked me to get dressed, and informed me that he had already made reservations downstairs at L’Hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant, he had already planned the whole night. Any sleepiness I was experiencing previously had diminished itself into full energy. I threw on my favorite black dress with lace detail, topped off with a black velvet blazer and complimented with a dark sapphire ring. As we walked down the spiral staircase, I noticed that he was floating with his feet barely sweeping over the ground.
Conversation with Mr. Wilde’s ghost was intense as he offered one hilarious quip after the next about anything and everything imaginable. He called out to the waiter to refill his water, “Garcon!”, which caused me side splitting laughter. Other patrons in the restaurant glared at me, as if it appeared to them I was speaking and laughing with myself, but I paid them no mind and continued to enjoy the delicious menu and wine pairings. Oscar really was one laid back and fun ghost.
After dinner Mr. Wilde and I walked through the narrow streets around the Left Bank. Hand in hand we laughed as people gawked at us incredulously. To them it looked like I was holding hands with the air, skipping through the streets and laughing alone. The night carried on well as Mr. Wilde stressed his hush-hush political ideologies. He continued to tell me about his old life in London and his new life in Paris, and he explained the sad inspiration behind his jail house written poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”. He continued to speak as we approached the Latin Quarter. It had been drizzling rain earlier in the evening and at one point I tripped and landed face first on a sidewalk puddle. Only to find that I was back in my suite’s marble tub, the bathwater lukewarm and my champagne flat.
13 Rue des Beaux Arts,
75006 Paris, France