When the volcano in Iceland erupted in the spring of 2010, I was stuck in Paris for 6 days (I know – poor me). Several nights were spent in the Marais at Pavillon de la Reine and ever since, I have become a devotee of this historic neighborhood that is little changed in the past several hundred years. Here is the beautiful Place des Vosges, the old Jewish Quarter on Rue des Rosiers and since last October, the spiffy and newly refurbished Picasso Museum.
Just a short stroll from the Picasso Museum, in a classified historical building, I visited for the first time a small jewel of a hotel (and the sister property to Pavillon de la Reine) – Hotel du Petit Moulin. I will admit – I was not prepared to like the hotel. The photos of Christian Lacroix’s interiors appeared too “out there” for me – a lover of classics – I was afraid the colorful creativity would appear cheap and without quality – too contemporary and cold.
I was wrong. As inventive and fun as his haute couture was, Lacroix let his inspired and creative genius soar in this historic doll house of a hotel. Absolutely perfect for a girls shopping foray in Paris, each of the 16 rooms (and one junior Suite) in the hotel is completely different. From antique mirrors and claw foot tubs, to painting the historic exposed beams turquoise and putting plexi-glass walls to show off a beautiful old stairway, I was impressed with the relaxed quality but very comfortable vibe of the hotel – and the abundant smiles on the guests! Don’t get the small rooms – get the largest your budget can afford and always ask for a tall ceiling for that feeling of space. In the heart of trendy, vintage, chic and fabulous small-shop shopping, Hotel du Petit Moulin is the perfect address in Paris’s great Marais neighborhood and one we highly recommend . . . . for the right traveler with an open mind and appreciation for style.
Located close to the Champs Elysees but tucked back from the street, right across from elegant restaurant Laurent, is the urban mansion hotel of La Reserve with 26 suites and just 14 rooms. Using exquisite quality fabrics (damascene brocade, silk hung walls, taffeta), gorgeous building materials (soft butterscotch marble accented by gilt-trimmed black lacquer doors) and distinctive antiques placed just-so, fabled decorator Jacques Garcia has completely outdone himself in this masterpiece. Sitting rooms and lounges (and there are SO many!) feature lots of comfy seating, lots of red (it IS Jacques Garcia remember), oriental rugs and fireplaces (4!). It feels like your own Parisian Club – I completely loved it.
Bedrooms are extremely spacious and bright with lots of natural light and abundant soft colors. Everything in the room is controlled by your very own iPad – touch to turn off the lights, touch to make the room warmer and if you’re just not sure how to work it, you can chat with the Concierge on the iPad. The bathrooms have heated marble floors and gents get the blue robe, while the ladies have the pink robe. Too delicate to flush the potty? Each room has remote controlled flushing, to use after you’ve washed your hands – apparently created in Japan. If you book the suites – the wine and top shelf bar is complimentary, rooms have to make do with non-alcoholic beverages in the minibar. We’ve got the perfect Jr. Suite # to ask for and be sure to allow time for at least one treatment in the Swiss Nescense spa downstairs, complete with its own huge pool, only for guests of course. If you don’t stay here, at least come have a drink in the bar to start your evening with style.