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Cornell Hotel de France ~ San Francisco with a French Accent

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Savor a taste of la belle pays at Cornell Hotel de France in San Francisco and its on-site restaurant, Jeanne d'Arc. Located just a couple of blocks from Union Square, and easily within walking distance to San Francisco's iconic Chinatown, the hotel is ideally situated to stay in European style while exploring the Golden City.

American and French flags welcome guests to Cornell Hotel de France in San Francisco

American and French flags welcome guests to Cornell Hotel de France in San Francisco (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

A hotel for francophiles in San Francisco

France captured my heart with its reserved glamour on my first visit to the country at age 15. I fell so deeply for this fashionable culture, in fact, that after a couple of days in Paris, I declared to my unbelieving family that someday I would live in France. I made good on that promise, chasing after France's confidence and a command of its beautiful language for one school year during college. I wish I could go to France every year. Alas, the distance and flight cost make this difficult. Luckily, there is a closer and more affordable way to get my francophile fix. Cornell Hotel de France looks, sounds, tastes and feels like a little slice of France stateside.

An old world elevator deposits guests on different floors of Cornell Hotel de France

An old world elevator deposits guests on different floors of Cornell Hotel de France (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

European feel and touches

If you're seeking a European experience in San Francisco, you will find Cornell Hotel de France a charming and welcoming alternative to a huge, stark chain hotel. First, you'll be given a real metal room key rather than electronic card entrance. An old fashioned elevator will transport you from floor to floor, each of which is decorated in the style of a different French artist like Chagall, Matisse, Gauguin, Toulouse Lautrec, and Modigliani (an Italian painter and sculptor who lived for much of his life in France). Eventually, you will notice that most of your fellow hotel guests have a European accent of some sort.

Prints by Amedeo Madigliani adorn the walls of one floor of Cornell Hotel de France

Prints by Amedeo Madigliani adorn the walls of one floor of Cornell Hotel de France (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Like a bed & breakfast

Built in 1910, Cornell Hotel de France has been owned by the same French family, the Lamberts, for over 50 years. Similar to a bed & breakfast, each of the hotel's 48 rooms is uniquely decorated and the inn's operators are personable. The hotel has an elegant, yet relaxed feel. The hotel's lobby dog, a mellow golden retriever, adds to the homey feel.

The sweet lobby dog napping at the Cornell Hotel de France

The sweet lobby dog napping at the Cornell Hotel de France (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

At Cornell Hotel de France, expect hand-painted murals, old world decor, and, in some en suite bathrooms, clawfoot tubs. Choose from five room types, all with private bath.

Who doesn't love a clawfoot tub?!

Who doesn't love a clawfoot tub?! (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

I bedded down in a Cozy Queen Room, a modest-sized and affordably priced space ideal for a single traveler or romantic couple. For a larger room, choose a Junior Suite with queen bed and elegant sitting room, or a Premier Triple Room with queen bed and twin bed for up to three guests. Families seeking more space can book two rooms, as long as at least one adult stays in each.

I loved the pink mural on the ceiling of my Cozy Queen Room at Cornell Hotel de France

I loved the pink mural on the ceiling of my Cozy Queen Room (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Jeanne d'Arc Restaurant

Like most hotels in Europe, Cornell Hotel de France provides included breakfast. Unlike most French hotels, though, this breakfast is cooked to order rather than simple continental fare. Choose from hot tea or coffee, plus orange juice and daily specials like pancakes and egg dishes. Breakfast is served downstairs, in the handsome Jeanne d'Arc Restaurant. Remember, you are in a petite Europe here where diners savor their meals so you may need to wait for a table in the morning.

Jean d'Arc Restaurant features traditional French flavors and art depicting Joan of Arc

Jean d'Arc Restaurant features traditional French flavors and art depicting Joan of Arc (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Jeanne d'Arc Restaurant is decorated with fleurs de lis, stained glass, and Joan of Arc statues and paintings. The restaurant is also open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. A daily four-course prix fixe menu of traditional French cuisine is offered. I enjoyed a rich bowl of pumpkin soup, followed by a green salad with asparagus and shrimp, and then pan-seared halibut with white wine sauce, potatoes au gratin (delicious!) and vegetables. Sadly, due to a gluten sensitivity I was unable to try their signature Grand Marnier Souffle. It looked scrumptious but their poached pears with ice cream and chocolate sauce satisfied my sweet tooth.

Why Cornell Hotel de France

You could always book a stay in a standard American hotel in San Francisco. For a memorable experience, though, choose Cornell Hotel de France. You will be transported to Europe, with the wonders of San Francisco right outside the hotel's front door. You will remember the French artwork, the delicious food, the beautiful European decor and the warm welcome.

Escape to France with a memoir like "Lunch in Paris" and a glass or rose wine

Escape to France with a memoir like “Lunch in Paris” and a glass or rose wine (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Other nearby touches of France in San Francisco

San Francisco's excellent cuisine, pretty architecture, and stylish populace is reminiscent of France. During your stay, you may want to keep your French dream alive by submersing yourself in French culture even further. For me, this meant seeking out a local French wine bar, Aquitaine Wine Bistro, where I could sip a glass of rose and read a memoir about living in France. Disappear into the world of France with My Life in France by Julia Child, A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz, or Lunch in Paris or Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard.

Happy reading, bon appetit, and sweet dreams in San Francisco!

Learn more about Cornell Hotel de France and Jeanne d'Arc Restaurant on TripAdvisor. Treat your tastebuds to additional flavors of France with these additional French restaurants in San Francisco.

Would you like to stay at Cornell Hotel de France? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Cornell Hotel de France hosted me during my two-night stay in San Francisco. All opinions are mine, as always. This story includes affiliate links. Your purchases and clicks help to keep TravelMamas.com a free resource for readers like you.

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About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. Totally agree, I spent a night there a year ago, Memorable!!

  2. Oh wow! That hotel looks amazing! I love that posh style. It really does look like you’re in France.

  3. Ahh! That looks amazing! You sold me at the lobby dog. Any hotel that has a pet mascot is okay in my book!

  4. How adorable is this hotel?! I’d love to visit it one day and see it for myself in person. I would love to relax in that tub with a nice glass of French champagne.

  5. Sara Phillips says:

    I would definitely consider a stay at the Cornell Hotel de France! With that beautiful room and gorgeous claw foot tub, I am sure I would want to stay forever!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      This hotel really does make a beautiful home base in San Francisco. I hope you get a chance to stay there someday!

  6. Pam Wattenbarger says:

    This looks like a wonderful hotel to stay in. Although it’s beautiful, I think my favorite part is the golden retriever that is the lobby dog!

  7. Oh this is such a cool place to get a taste of France. I really like the idea of staying there!

  8. That hotel is absolutely beautiful! I would love to visit there!

  9. This hotel looks so cozy and unique. I love that it has the feel that you are actually in France with the art and the food. How cute that theres a dog in the lobby, my family would love that!

  10. I love the taupe colors and earth tones they used for the room – especially on the bedding! Looks like such a beautiful place to stay!

  11. Everything looks so elegant, yet cozy! I’d definitely love to soak in that claw foot tub!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Some rooms have a stand-up shower instead of the claw foot tub, so if you book a room and want the tub, make sure you make the right booking!

  12. All the places I’ve been and I’ve never been ot California. This state is on my goal list for 2017.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Rosey – I lived in California for 15 years and miss it. There’s so much to explore!

  13. This hotel looks dreamy! I will have to keep this one in mind next time we are on the west coast!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hotel Cornell de France makes such a unique and memorable option. I hope you get a chance to stay there someday!

  14. Reesa Lewandowski says:

    I am traveling to San Fran next month. This hotel looks amazing. Honestly, I thought it was overseas!

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