Hotelier Adrien Gloaguen set his sights on netting the more stylish species of Eurostar traveler with his 2012 transformation of what had been one of many banal establishments built in the 19th and 20th centuries to catch the flood of train arrivals at the Gare du Nord. Gloaguen signed on Dorothee Meilichzon, the thirtysomething designer behind the neighborhood’s vegan-friendly dining hot spot Café Pinson, to create a hybrid modern-retro hotel using repurposed Vuitton trunks, industrial ironwork, painted glass fonts, mid 20th-century Scandinavian furniture, wallpaper hand-painted with storks or birds of paradise, cleverly placed mirrors, and floating marble desks.
The rooms may feel small by American standards, but the large lobby doubles as a convivial workspace and library. Two metro stops are within a five-minute walk, and the Palais Garnier and Grand Boulevards department stores (such as Galeries Lafayette) are 20 minutes away on foot.
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St-Denis’s immigrant and working-class origins are present in the still-functioning tannery and tailoring industry wholesalers that are rapidly being replaced by trendy bars, concept stores, and organic grocers. The hotel sits on a gentrified stretch of the Rue des Petites Écuries, where young chefs have opened wine bars and bistros such as Richer (2 Rue de Richer). A few doors down, Lieu 37 (37 Rue des Petites Écuries) offers pop-up space for monthly artist, fashion, and culinary exhibitions. Fashion addicts go to Les Voltigeuses (45 Rue des Petites Écuries) for small-label pieces curated by the owners, two cousins. Among the neighborhood's many inexpensive ethnic eateries, Asian street food concept bar W for Wok (12 Rue des Petites Écuries) serves the city’s first ramen burger. Nightlife Rex Club (5 Boulevard Poissoniere) pulls in techno dancehounds.
Need to Know
Rooms: 38 rooms. From $110. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The hotel offers a Continental breakfast (€12), but there is no on-site restaurant and rooms have no minibars. Right around the corner are some of the city’s most eclectic restaurants, from the historic Brasserie Flo to modish organic wine bars and ethnic restaurants representing the pantheon of the Paris émigré community. Spa and gym details: There is no gym or spa. The hotel is near several Chinese medicine/massage joints.
Who’s it for: Savvy, design-inspired travelers arriving by train at the Gare du Nord. Our favorite rooms: The top-floor Suite Paradis has views over the rooftops to Montmartre. The building narrows as it rises, so the highest ceilings and largest windows are on the first floor. Take a room on a high floor facing the rear if you are bothered by street noise. Local bargain: Vivant Table, an elegant modern French bistro, offers a weekday lunch menu with the same dishes as dinner but half the price.