Paris  Personal Tours

The word "hôtel" has many meanings in France: it's only at the end of the 19th century, when tourism was invented, that a building where you can rent a room for the night became known as a "hôtel", but before it had many other meanings. Originally, it designated the name of a big house inhabited by a noble (or wealthy) family. One was invited to their "hôtel", meaning their "house", for dinner. Most of those big "hôtels" remaining today were turned into museums, libraries or official buildings, but some of them are still privately owned (by whoever can afford the multiple million euros to buy them) and we call those "hôtels particuliers". Otherwise, in every town (or district of Paris), you find a Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), several Hôtels de Police (Police stations) and, the least popular of them all, for all the French, is the Hôtel des împôts which is the IRS center!

About the "Hôtel des împôts": did you notice that in this three-word-appellation, we managed to put no less than three circumflex (^) accents ? Circumflex accents were a nightmare for some of the French (with little literary inclinations) until February 2016 when the French Government announced that it officially implemented the reform which had been approved by the Académie Française (the French Academy) in 1990 (26 years to pass the law: another "brilliant" example of our officials' efficiency). Anyway, among other stupid (for me) things that this "new" reform stipulates is that the circumflex accent is now optional on the letters "i" and "u" but it is still compulsory for the letters "a" and "o"! So we can now write "Hôtel des impôts" with only two circumflex accents instead of three. Aren't our lives so much better off because of that?

About the French Academy, located across the river from the Louvre (the building with the dome on picture here below), just in front of the former bridge with the locks, did you know that its 40 members are called the "Immortals" (even though there never was one of them,since the 17th century, who lived to be a hundred years old)? They are the ones who work on the new editions of the French dictionary and they are normally quite good at preventing English words from getting into it, even though, with the recent reform, they now validate that one can from now on officially write "weekend" in one word (like you guys) instead of the composed word ("week-end"). Isn't life suddenly just swell?

About hôtels...