The cozy, quirky spaces of two historic 17th-century buildings make a characterful canvas for another of Christian Lacroix's ebullient flights of fancy. Some will find the many colors, textures, and motifs of the rooms and common areas artfully cheerful, while others will find them visually fatiguing. Whatever the case, there's no arguing with this bijoux hotel's originality--or its setting in the heart of the uber-chic haute Marais.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The lift goes only to the third floor, where you can get a flight of stairs to the attic rooms (the old "chambres de bonnes" or maid's quarters) under exposed eaves.
Each compact room is decorated in a different but equally effervescent style, with murals and motifs taken from a page of the hotels historic past and repurposed for modern times in oversized prints and bright color schemes.
In-room Nespresso machines are gladly provided by request.
Though some are bright white and others moody dark, all of the bathrooms feel spacious compared with the rooms, and offer all the modern conveniences, except a walk-in shower--tubs and handheld showers only.
The small, discrete reception area is said to have once housed the oldest boulangerie in Paris, serving the likes of Victor Hugo, and the vestiges are charming. There is no place to lounge, however, though there is a bistro-bar area.
There is no spa, but guests are welcome to hike over to the Pavillon de la Reine for a treatment or massage, a partner hotel near the Place des Vosges, about a 10 to 15-minute walk away.
A hot and cold buffet breakfast is served in the bistro, sporting a colorful classic-contemporary decor and a typically Parisian zinc bar.
From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. the bistro becomes a bar, where you can grab a drink and perhaps be serenaded by a live DJ on some weekends.
This area is positively lousy with chic bakeries, cafés, cocktail bars, etc., so you may prefer finding something outside the hotel for breakfast or a drink.
About a five-minute walk to the Filles du Calvaire metro station, and 10 minutes to the Hotel de Ville station servicing central line no. 1.
At this hotel, you're ideally located to take full advantage of everything the Marais has to offer, which is a lot. This picturesque area is one of Paris's oldest textile quarters, though not many of its charming notions shops are left, and, since the 70s, the city's major gay neighborhood. In the last ten years, it's morphed into one of the city's chicest shopping districts, with all the cool boutiques and cafés you'll need to refuel in style. You'll also find many hidden gardens and great museums, both large and small. Plus, you're an easy walk to lots of fun places: the Canal St-Martin, the Bastille, Les Halles, Ile Saint-Louis, and much more.
While there are lots of nearby cafés (see the rue de Bretagne), you may have a time picking out the wheat from the chaff. For budget dining, you can head to the beloved Breizh Café and vegetarians and meat eaters alike will love Merci's basement café for a chic and healthy lunch after serious shopping (both a few minutes away on foot). For a more upscale meal, especially in summer, we like the Grand Coeur's lovely terrace and good bistro fare, and Restaurant H, a new gastro-bistro, is one of the neighborhood's best-kept secrets (both a 10-minute walk).
For a glass of wine and people watching, head to one of the cafés lining the lively Rue Vieille du Temple (like Les Philosophes or Le Petit Fer au Cheval) or Rue de Bretagne. There are lots of gay bars along the Rue des Archives and the superchic haut Marais, where the hotel is located, is home to some equally stylish cocktail lounges, including Little Red Door, Mary Celeste, and La Résistance (all within a 5-10-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
If you're looking for a chic boutique hotel in the thick of the haut Marais, and you don't mind snug accommodations, this is definitely a hotel to consider. Though impeccable service and in-hotel amenities are not the hotel's strongest suit, its historic setting on a charming street do recommend it.