The story of the hotel, built in 1851,
is tied to Baron Haussamn’s 19th century transformation of Paris, and the rise of the neighbouring Grands Magasins department stores. Le Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette, on Boulevard Haussmann, were designed to astonish shoppers and persuade them to give free rein to all their shopping desires, from the ground floor to the terrace on the roof.
Joseph Derossi, the great-grandfather of the current owner, was the first in the family to manage the hotel, from 1898. At the time, it was called ‘Le Grand Hôtel Suisse’. The name ‘Derossi’ was inscribed on the façade, and carriages dropped off guests in front of the hotel, or its restaurant on the ground floor. This era was the beginning of the ‘Grands Boulevards’ (from Boulevard des Capucines to République) which, it was said, never slept. With a cornucopia of offices, shops, brasseries, and theatres, for over a century the area has been alive with activity. At its heart are Place de l’Opéra and the Café de la Paix, a bona fide Parisian institution. Visitors flocked from around the world to experience the pleasure of sitting out on the terrace by the Opéra, Charles Garnier’s masterpiece.
In the 1920s,
automobiles replaced carriages, and Joseph’s son, Gustave, took over from him too! The roaring twenties swept through the Grands Boulevards and Montmartre. Paris became the artistic capital of the world. The cabarets were filled with the sounds of the Charleston and jazz. Hemingway, Miller, and Fitzgerald, left their mark on Parisian life.
But soon, the Second World War arrived, and it was Liliane, Gustave’s wife, who took over the hotel when her husband died in 1939. After the war, it was renamed Hotel Excelsior Opéra - the sophisticated Latin term raised the standing of the hotel even further! Liliane continued to run the hotel until 1959 when her son Gerard, who had been working alongside her, took over. The restaurant closed down permanently in 1971, and the Excelsior Opéra made the most of the 30-year postwar boom to modernize.
In 1993, François Derossi took over from his father Gérard, continued to renovate the entrance hall and rooms, and led the century-old hotel through the digital revolution which transformed the hospitality industry in the 2000s. He thus kept alive a family tradition which valued a warm welcome and impeccable service above all else.
The Excelsior Opéra remains an outstanding place to stay in the Opéra neighbourhood, surrounded by a fantastic range of cultural activities. Visitors will find plenty to enjoy among the many nearby museums, venues, theatres and cinemas.