A hotel for Proustians.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
One afternoon in Paris The Delhi Walla entered Le Swann. This hotel in rue de Constantinople is named after Charles Swann, perhaps the most romantic/artistic/melancholic character in Marcel Proust’s seven-volume novel In Search of Lost Time.
The hotel is devoted to Proust and his world. The design is inspired from Lost Time. The dimly-lit lobby is decorated with various editions of his novel and with many books that are written on him. Passages from the novel adorn the walls of the hotel.
A set of Lost Time’s leather-bound first edition is stacked inside a locked glass case.
The tea lounge has a painting of Proust. Another painting presents the entire novel in extremely small-sized words – 3000 pages in a single glance(!)
The restroom has a wall-sized portrait of Proust as a child – he posed for the photographer with his brother.
Each of the 81 rooms bears the name of a character in the novel, or of an artist admired by Proust. In a room called Odette, I found a short text introducing Swann’s mistress. Each room also has an original watercolor inspired by the description of a character or a scene in the novel.
After exiting the hotel, I walked down the street for a few minutes, and then I turned back to throw a final look at Le Swann. I found a black and white watercolor of Marcel watching over me.
Room service, please send Proust