The Real Aristocat of Le Bristol Paris: Fa-raon

It’s a Pharaoh’s Life For This Fancy Feline

By Si Si Penaloza

Photo: Oetker Collection


At Le Bristol Paris, the renowned luxury hotel mere blocks from Élysée Palace, the jet-setting elite have been known to indulge in the finest money can buy. Back in the day, David Beckham spent $22,000 a night to stay in the hotel’s legendary Imperial Suite. Perhaps not so remarkable for a night in the life of a sporting icon, but considering he booked it for the entire duration of his five-month contract with Paris Saint-Germain Football Club – quite a splurge. Moreover, while serving as French president, Nicolas Sarkozy and his illustrious wife, Carla Bruni, frequently held court at Epicure, the hotel’s triple Michelin-starred restaurant. But the truly posh perk lies in a cuddle session with Le Bristol’s resident cat Fa-raon.

Photo: Oetker Collection

A rather visually striking feline, Fa-raon saunters the hotel like it’s Paris Fashion week every day of the year. And there is a certain posh significance to his name. According to Newsweek, Didier Le Calvez, the hotel’s CEO, adopted Fa-raon – that’s French for Pharaoh – in 2010. He was originally drawn to the Birman breed for its reputed gentle nature. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this breed’s luscious buttercream coat is beyond flattering and harmonious with the hotel’s elegant interiors. A considerable consideration, as Fa-raon’s immaculate fluffy coat is often seen snoozing on the staircase, perched atop the bell desk, or exploring the lavish courtyard gardens.


Photo: Oetker Collection


It’s a good thing Fa-raon has taken to guests as much as they have taken to him. He rarely pulls a Salinger when approached, running to hide under the nearest settee like many cats are known to do. He is especially fond of children; kids are so enamored with his playful shape, they often draw pictures of Fa-Raon in the child care center.

Photo: Oetker Collection

As a policy, Le Bristol Paris is delighted to accommodate your pets, who are given a five-star welcome worthy of Karl Lagerfeld’s Choupette. Not merely content with pampering their own in-house kitty, the hotel offers a welcome hamper to all its four-legged guests – including two food bowls, a bottle of Evian mineral water, culinary treats and a small decorative rug embroidered with the name of the pet. How very endearing.

Photo: Oetker Collection


Fa-raon has also helped inspire, or drive, synergistic business relationships for the hotel. Maison Goyard, the oldest, luxury Parisian trunk maker, celebrated Fa-raon’s birthday by gifting him a range of luxury pet accessories.

Photo: Oetker Collection

Worth his weight in marketing gold, Fa-raon’s sociable charisma is matched by his cool sapphire-blue eyes. He sports his tres chic Goyard collar with an engraved tag by Christofle. In the eyes of Le Bristol, Fa-raon majestically embodies the spirit of the palace; he even has his own private apartment on site decorated by the graffiti artist Renk. Paris media began purring instantly after Fa-raon’s arrival, and even international film crews have requested a close up with the resident cat. The most popular press releases for the hotel often revolve around Fa-raon, how he loves to sleep among the blooming roses in the French garden – the largest of any hotel in Paris. Even the Castellane room (formerly the Count of Castellane’s private enclave), complete with Baccarat crystal chandeliers and 18th-century tapestries, isn’t off limits to this pampered cat.

Photo: Oetker Collection

Le Bristol isn’t the first hotel to leverage the public’s affinity for wee paws and whiskers. Get Leashed previously reported on The Algonquin in Manhattan, a historic hotel that has housed resident cats continuously since the 1930s. It cleverly names all females Matilda, and all males Hamlet, in a shrewd move of emotional continuity. According to hotel lore, a hungry, disheveled cat wandered into the hotel in search of food in the late 1930s. The hotel’s doting owner welcomed him in, and even served him milk in a champagne glass. Matilda III, the hotel’s tenth resident cat, is the latest incarnation of that original.