Once upon a time, a trip to Paris meant an expensive stay in a tourist trap hotel, a trip to the Eiffel Tower and an omelette by the Arc de Triomphe, but as travelers’ tastes for the unique evolve, so does the nature of the French capital’s hospitality offerings.
Nowadays, there is no shortage of distinctive boutique hotels on offer. Those who are looking for Instagram-ready vintage decor will find something for themselves bonheur at one of the many designer addresses concentrated in the trendy Sentier district in the center and the trendy Pigalle in the north of the city. Meanwhile, luxury lovers have grand boutique hideaways to offer, as well as cheaper, more distinctive options for travelers on a tighter budget.
Here are the best boutique hotels in Paris:
Best for sexy and luxurious weekends away: Sinner, Booking.com
Best to live like a Parisian set designer: Le Pigalle, Booking.com
Best for a rich city hideout: Le Nolinski, Booking.com
Best for Literary Themed Luxury: L’Hôtel, Booking.com
Best for an eccentric character: Le Caron de Beaumarchais
Best for London cool in Paris: Hoxton Paris, Booking.com
Best for cute design: Hotel Henriette‹, Booking.com
Preferably a bar with a view: Hotel Terrass, Booking.com
Best for an intimate hideaway: Square Louvois, Booking.com
Best for Local Hype: Hôtel des Grands Boulevards, Booking.com
Best for art lovers: Hotel drawing, Booking.com
Best for true Francophiles: Chouchou, Booking.com
Best for a stylish pit stop: Seven, Booking.com
Best for sexy and luxurious weekends: Sinner
Sinner is so sexy that guests may need a cold shower five minutes after crossing a discreet entrance in the fashionable Marais district.
The decor takes its inspiration from Catholicism with an added seductive twist – think wooden paneling that resembles confessionals in elevators, stained glass windows (which are definitely not of the Lord’s life) in darkened hallways, and incense rising from a hotel restaurant at night.
While church drama reigns in the communal spaces, the rooms themselves offer a softer, more genteel, airy vibe. But make no mistake, sex is still very much on the menu: custom-made lube discreetly among luxury toiletries in the bathroom, book titles on the shelves include Marquis de Sade’s 120 days of Sodomand those beds were definitely made for sin.
There is also a spa and The Crypt concept store in the lobby.
Best to live like a Parisian screenwriter: Le Pigalle
Located in the heart of an area historically known for cabarets (including the Moulin Rouge) and sex shops – recently revived as a hipster hub – this intimate address combines laid-back, cool and raunchy touches of kitsch to create one of the most stylish accommodation options in Paris. Guests can relax and enjoy a modest but tasty seasonal menu in the elegant open-plan lounge and admire selected local art in their rooms, or head to one of the many adjacent bars for cocktails and live music.
The best place to hide in a rich city: Le Nolinski
This boutique 5-star hotel may be in the beating heart of Paris, but guests can enjoy a peaceful, quiet retreat in elegant blue-hued lounges and luxurious rooms and suites. The address is notable for its elegant underground spa with a beautiful swimming pool and indulgent La Colline treatments.
When guests are ready to soak up the bustle of the city, Brasserie Réjane offers mouth-watering seasonal dishes and tasty cocktails in an elegant yet relaxing setting amidst the bustle of Avenue de l’Opéra.
Best for literary-themed luxury: L’Hôtel
If you have a penchant for literary history and an appetite for luxury, L’Hôtel is unbeatable. While today’s hotel is undeniably chic (in fact, it’s the smallest five-star hotel in Paris), it used to be the more modest Hôtel d’Alsace where Oscar Wilde spent his penniless life – guests can stay in the Oscar Wilde room where the author died in 1900, fighting the famous “duel to the death” with his wallpaper. In addition to its historical references, the hotel also boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Restaurant by Julien Montbabut, and an eccentrically opulent décor by Jacques Garcia.
Prepare to be transported back to the 18th century at this quirky and beautifully kept small hotel in the heart of the lively Marais district. The owner of the hotel, an avid collector, has arranged the lobby as a grand drawing room of the Ancien Régime, with harp and silk wallpaper and Louis XVI furniture. The old-fashioned charm is also maintained in the rooms, some of which have pretty balconies overlooking the bustling shopping and café district.
Price: From €170 (£141)
London’s best cool in Paris: The Hoxton
The setting of this beautiful hotel, a magnificent 18th-century mansion that once belonged to an advisor to Louis XV, is typically Parisian, but the boutique chain’s London roots are evident in its laid-back atmosphere and eclectic design accents. Soak up the local atmosphere with your morning coffee in the plant-covered courtyard. In the evening, head to Jacques’ Bar, decorated with a fun mix of English eccentricity and Moroccan influences, and choose from a variety of custom cocktails. Travelers on a budget may be tempted by modest but Instagram-friendly “shoebox” rooms.
The best for charming design at a reasonable price: Hotel Henrietteâ€‹
Neighborhood: Gobelins/Latin Quarter
Situated in a quiet street on the charming Left Bank of the Seine, this cozy address offers excellent value for money with cozy yet elegant rooms (think chic carpets and antique light fixtures) and a wonderful winter garden. The historic Latin Quarter, as well as the Luxembourg Gardens and Jardin des Plantes are within walking distance. Expect an intimate, friendly welcome, a charming mix of decorations designed by designer Vanessa Scoffier and a tasty breakfast served in a sunny room overlooking the garden.
Best for a bar with a view: Terrass Hotel
The view of the rooftops and the Eiffel Tower from the hotel’s terrace bar is unbeatable, and the location allows easy exploration of Montmartre’s idyllic slopes, with its windmills, vineyards and art museums, as well as quick access to Pigalle bars. Meanwhile, the hotel offers cultural events and yoga classes, as well as a rooftop bar and treatments at the hotel’s Nuxe Spa.
The best place for an intimate hideaway: Square Louvois
Neighborhood: Louvre, downtown
This stylish yet unpretentious boutique hotel offers a peaceful retreat in a central location, just a short walk from the Louvre Museum and the Galeries Lafayette shopping district. In addition to comfortable, well-equipped rooms, guests also have at their disposal an underground spa and relaxation area with a small swimming pool and a fitness room. The staff is polite and helpful, from check-in to check-out.
Neighborhood: Grands Boulevards
The Experimental Group, the hospitality masters behind this design address, have been setting trends on the Parisian scene for over a decade. At the Hôtel des Grands Boulevards, the Grand Restaurant, set in a light-flooded courtyard and topped by a retractable glass ceiling, has become a favorite with locals, as has the grand cocktail bar The Shell. Chic kitsch styling continues in the rooms.
Neighborhood: Louvre, downtown
Art enthusiasts will love this centrally located boutique hotel, where each floor is designed by a different contemporary artist, and the lobby houses an art shop and a “Drawing Lab” dedicated to contemporary drawing. Convenience is not forgotten among the main theme – the rooms are comfortable and well-equipped, and the breakfast is very good. For sun lovers there is a rooftop terrace.
Best for real Francophiles: Chouchou
Located in the busy Opéra district, Chouchou is a small but stylish gem. Its rooms are decorated with classic French furnishings – parquet flooring, velvet furniture and classic balcony railings, for example – with luxurious extras such as bluetooth speakers, pianos, flat-screen TVs and in some cases Japanese toilets with remote control. The star of the show, however, are the suites, each of which is modeled on a different element of French culture. There’s La Vie En Rose, a pastel tribute to French music, L’Anamour, a tribute to Serge Gainsbourg (his records are everywhere, as are pictures of Jane Birkin), and L’Arrache-Couer, which features a fully stocked library. For gourmets, Chouchou also offers a lively food market and bar, where guests can enjoy cheese boards, charcuterie, oysters and many other French delicacies along with a crunchy, cold glass (or two) of Chablis.
The best for a stylish pit stop: Seven
Neighborhood: Latin Quarter
Blink and you might miss this hotel located in a quiet street in the Latin Quarter. The charming and unobtrusive reception area is modeled on an open living area, with velvet sofas, a coffee machine and a fridge filled with wine, all ready and waiting for guests. The rooms are nothing fancy, but they are flooded with light (a rarity in some Parisian hotels) and feature deep crimson interiors, making them feel like the perfect place to unwind after a long day of wandering through the city’s crowded tourist traps.
The hotel is named after its seven suites, which are themed around (you guessed it) the seven deadly sins. Speaking of which, the 7th Sin suite is a highlight, featuring a freestanding bath, large round bed and Jacuzzi on a private deck. There is no food other than breakfast which is served in the lounge as a modest buffet. Be sure to check out the Wellness Chapel, where guests can enjoy a wide range of massages, facials (try the Gua Sha option for an invigorating facial massage) and other beauty services provided by the hotel’s wellness partner, Holissence.
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