Le Pigalle, Paris
Set in the heart of Le Pigalle district Le Pigalle is prime position for a slice of French ‘chic-cool’. The petite whicker chairs lining the front windows are flocked with the young, stylish and Parisian who sip on chocolat chaud and smoke thin cigarettes. (side note: smoking is definitely still cool in Paris). The buzzing lobby of Le Pigalle is a honey pot not just travelers but locals too – a sure sign that it has hit the mark. Good cocktails are but a few steps away away with Le Sans Souci and Les Justes both within walking distance. If you are more of a wine drinker head to Le Cave aux Lions or Gisou also serving small plates.
Le Pigalle also grazes the rather charming area of Montmartre. These cobbled streets, having captured the hearts of Renoir, Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh are sure to lure you into a head spin of romance. The shopping is good here too. I loved Guerriso for vintage and gained much joy from choosing chocolate pic n mix from La Cure Gourmande.
There is no doubt about it – the rooms are sexy at Le Pigalle. There are forty of them, each of them dotted with erotic art and quirky prints – all done by local artists. You might find a raunchy polaroid on the bathroom wall by your toothbrush holder or a sensual close up of sultry lips above the bed. Each room comes with a small library of Paris inspired books as well as little packs of condoms for when you get bored of reading.
Our room even had its own vinyl player along with a selection of records to get you in the mood (Ella Fitzgerald, Bunny Wailer, Fleetwood Mac...). Not all the rooms have this feature so if you like a bit of a groove be sure to request one.
The overarching style of the rooms is retro seventies meets modern touch. Think plush velvet armchairs, dark wooden cabinets and low brass edged coffee tables plus useful amenities like usb sockets at the side of your bed.
The rooms are spacious, certainly by Paris standards and the beds are exceedingly comfortable with puffed feathered pillows and crisp white linen. Bathrooms are sparkling white marble and offer complimentary Le Labo products. Some come with free standing baths too. Every room comes with an in room I-pad offering the room service menu, local recommendations and a 24 online chat with your concierge should you need anything.
The in room bar whilst offering all the usual suspects is complete with crystal glassware and Alice in Wonderland-esque wax sealed bottles of house made negronis and old fashioned’s which I must say were very good indeed! We may or may not have cracked into two bottles before heading out to supper.
Food & Drink
I must confess that I did not eat much during my one night stay at Le Pigalle. We ordered breakfast to the room which did not disappoint –very good almond cappuccinos, freshly squeezed juice, fresh croissants which the hotel receive daily from Bakery Le Pétrin Médiéval, and house made apple conserve that was lick the spoon worthy.
That said I did and do eat a lot of wonderful food when in Paris so thought I’d mention a few of my favourites. Seb’on is a wonderful evening eatery offering small refined plates and natural wines. It is but a five minute walk away from the hotel. Pink Mamma, also very close is a much hyped, many times instagrammed pizzeria with well lit interiors and a very pretty staircase. Whilst the service is questionable here the pizza is good and the generous portions of stracciatella with fresh baked baguette are rather good too.
If like me you enjoy a city walk, le Marais is a pleasant hour stroll away. It is home to my favorite Parisian restaurants - Septime, Carbon, Les Fulgurances, all places I believe everyone should visit at least once and preferably more than once. They are most definitely worth the walk but be sure to book as they get busy. Each offer elegant small menus pairing both classic and new techniques with seasonal produce and all of them have excellent wine lists. Les Fulgurances hosts a different chef every few months so the experience is always something new.
A little further away and perhaps obvious but equally lovely is a coffee and tarte aux fraises at Café de Flore. Stay and people watch on Saint-Germain-des-Près for a few hours before heading over to Braserie Lipp for a plate of steak frites. We often pack light when travelling to Paris so walking around with a backpack (elegant faux leather, Mat and Natt mind you) is no problem. This time I packed an extra pair of shoes so fully deserved my second pastry of the day – a pistachio escargot from Du Pain Et Des Idees.
Note. If you’re taking the Eurostar and plan to walk to the hotel make Du Pain et Des Idees your first stop. It is a warm buttery welcome to Paris and worth making the number one priority as their pastry often runs out by 11.00.