How Laura Gonzalez renovated the Relais Christine on Paris' Left Bank

Parisian decorator Laura Gonzalez renovated the historic Relais Christine, a hotel particulier (townhouse) located on Rue Christine in Saint Germain des Prés on the Left Bank in Paris.

When Gonzalez renovated the property, she reportedly imagined the property as a whole, obsessing over “the DNA of the place” and drew inspiration from old stones of the (no-longer-extant) College of the Austin Friars Abbey upon which the hotel was built. Gonzalez mixed influences from various periods, including trimmings and velvets that evoke British chic; chandeliers and furniture gathered from design markets, antique shops and antiquaries that pay tribute to classic French style; and porcelains that are reminiscent of 18th-century chinoiseries.

Gonzalez designed each guestroom and suite individually, combining styles imbued with romanticism à la française. Furniture, patterns, wallpaper and fabrics by brands such as Pierre Frey, Hermès, Le Manach and Braquenié were enhanced with contemporary materials such as brass and marble. Other features include antiques, velvet, woodwork and noble materials like Picture a Toile de Jouy print in one room, canopy beds in another, and bathrooms of Carrera marble with Art Deco lines. The rooms also have multiple patterns, reminiscent of Parisian houses.

The hotel’s Guerlain Spa is housed under vaulted ceilings that date from the Middle Ages. For this, Gonzalez drew inspiration from the space as well as the world of the Parisian skincare brand, decorating the spa with natural materials and sensual textures, with details such as Ananbô panoramic wallpapers, a resting lounge bathed in blue and gold, wooden floors and trim throughout the treatment rooms and sauna, and illumination from wall-mounted lighting with shades by Dedar for Hermès.

For the ground floor lounges within Relais Christine, Gonzalez placed large armchairs and sofas, paintings and drawings, bookcases and trims, as well as mantled fireplaces and tables decked out with eye-catching objects and souvenirs that appear to have been collected over generations.

Gonzalez also used flowered carpets; fabrics by Pierre Frey, Le Manach and les Indiennes Braquenié; ceramic creations from Atelier Jean Roger; wallpapers from the House of Hackney; carpentry; and ironwork to reveal the designer’s appreciation for French craftsmanship.