The Paris Hipster Guide
From the Marais to the 11th, Paris is packed with boutiques and restaurants that define what’s cool now. Here, many of Paris’s more envelope-pushing spots (and a lot of the health food joints, too, a concept that’s finally reached France).
Hôtel Particulier Montmarte23 Ave. Junot Pavillon D, 8th | +184.108.40.206.81.40
This once grand mansion turned five-room chic hotel was recommended to me by a discerning travel journalist. He had just gone to the opening and said it was really special and worth checking out. Each room is distinctly decorated by various artists. I’ve never stayed in Montmartre, but I love the idea of being in that area of Paris.
Hôtel Amour8 Rue de Navarin, 9th | +220.127.116.11.31.80
Close to Pigalle—Paris’s former red light district—Hôtel Amour takes a deep bow to the neighborhood’s tawdry past. There’s a wee bit of erotica on the walls (making this not the best choice if you’re traveling with little ones…it’s like Paris’s version of Chateau Marmont), but the nightclub-esque space is still tasteful: The halls are lacquered in black, the art is cool, and a handful of the hotel’s rooms were designed by artists (Marc Newson, Sophie Calle, and Pierre LeTan all took interior decorating turns). The spaces are small, but that doesn’t really matter—the common areas, like the scene-y bar and outdoor terrace, are where you’ll want to spend most of your time anyway. The space was conceived by night life visionary André Saraiva, who is the force behind Le Baron—he knows how to throw a good party.
Mama Shelter Paris109 Rue de Bagnolet, 20th | +18.104.22.168.48.48
Though it’s in the slightly far-flung 20th (which gets cooler every month), Mama Shelter wins big points for its reasonable prices. This burgeoning chainlet—with locations in Istanbul, Lyon, Marseille, and Bourdeaux—is a bit like the Ace Hotel family. The outposts attract a 20-something crowd by offering complimentary Wifi, free movies, and quirky design moments, like ceilings covered with chalkboard scrawl, Minnie Mouse nightlights, and an always-crowded bar.
Hôtel du Rond Point des Champs-Élysées10 Rue de Ponthieu, Champs-Elysées | +22.214.171.124.14.14
This elegantly restored hotel is a mere five minutes from Paris’s center of gravity, the Champs-Élysées, which really means it’s five minutes from everything. The first thing to note is that there is an actual hammam in the basement. After a long day of sightseeing, a few laps in the pool followed by a steam is a healing balm for exhausted feet and sore muscles. Aesthetically, the Art Deco influence is quietly done and hidden in the details, like the lamps, the restrained use of marble (and the not-so-restrained use of stripes to beautiful results), pretty velvet upholstery, even the occasional in-room porthole. Unbeatable location aside, the attentive staff and excellent service catapult this new hotel to the top of the short list of excellent places to stay. The adorably small hotel bar and the sexy dining room make leaving that much harder.
Le Belleval16 Rue de la Pépinière, 8th Arrondissement | +126.96.36.199.36.45
At Hotel Le Belleval the floral theme is obvious (the hallways are done in contrasting floral carpeting and wallpaper), but not overwhelming (the occasional petal-patterned cushion or upholstered armchair, the odd framed print of a rose or lily), just enough to pay homage to the botanist the hotel is dedicated to. All fifty-two guestrooms feel like a breath of fresh air with their elegant navy walls, floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the rooftops of Paris, and beautifully-outfitted bathrooms. The hotel restaurant is refreshingly low-key with a natural, mostly organic menu that is the perfect antidote to too many plates of steak-frites. Additional perks are the interior courtyard which feels like a secret garden in the middle of the city, and the library—a godsend for the traveler who needs to mix work with play.