Though the Pigalle neighborhood has mostly shaken off its red-light reputation, the bon vivant spirit of the area’s past has been elegantly revived at Maison Souquet.The owners gave carte blanche to Jacques Garcia, the venerated French designer with a passion for Belle Epoque interiors, who masterfully reworked the early 1900s design codes to bring to life the space, itself a former pleasure house. As during the heyday of these maison closes, which brought together artists and socialites, Garcia created an intimate, multi-room layout, meant to take guests from one stage of the experience to the next. It begins in the entrance lounge bedecked in Moorish tiles and Cordovan leather, leads into the Salon des Petits Bonheurs (Little Delights), where you’ll find the bar, and ends under the glass canopy of the Jardin d’Hiver (Winter Garden), which also doubles as the breakfast lounge.
Bedrooms, each named after a famous courtesan, vary in style (oriental, Napoleon III velveteen, Empire, Indian), but most are done up in plush drapery, and original artwork. It’s the cunning details, from antique furnishings and heart-shaped lamps designed by Garcia exclusively for each room, that transport guests to an era of boundless joie de vivre. Rooms feel pocket-sized by American standards, but make the most of the stunning public spaces.
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Once known largely as the red-light district, this section south of Montmartre, between Pigalle and Blanche, is now brimming with excellent restaurants and a nightlife scene dominated by creative cocktails. Dirty Dick is the city’s second tiki bar and a lively local hangout, and nearby Carmen is a boudoir-style bar that throws some of the hottest parties in town. For a more theatrical outing, get tickets for a show at the Moulin Rouge, still a bastion of the neighborhood. For dinner, try Buvette Gastrothèque, the Paris outpost of Jody Williams’ much-loved French bistro in New York, or Le Pantruche, the neighborhood’s best in modern bistro dining.
Need to Know
Rooms: 20 rooms, from $327. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The owners handed over the keys to their kitchen to some of their favorite restaurants. Da Rosa, known for its casual bites, provides the bar and room service menu. Dishes range from burrata tapas to minestrone or butternut squash velouté. The dessert menu features the exceptional gelato flavors from Pozzetto. Spa and gym details: No gym, but a Celestial spa with a 10-meter alcove swimming pool is open exclusively to guests for private access, 45 minutes at a time. A hammam and spa room are also available.
Who it’s best for: Couples on a romantic getaway, looking for privacy. Our favorite rooms:While all rooms are spectacular, a few lap the others. There’s the art deco Liane de Pougy room, inspired by Jeanne Lanvin’s apartment (Garcia even reproduced the gantry from the Musée des Arts Décoratifs); the Rita, which has a striking headboard covered in thousands of peacock feathers; and the Rose, whose closet and bathroom are hidden behind secret doors. As a bonus, all junior suites have both tubs and spacious Italian showers. Choice tipples: Though the neighborhood has no shortage of excellent cocktail and wine spots, cozy up in the hotel bar, located in the Salon des Petits Bonheurs reading room, for a cocktail named after a courtesan and prepared by award-winning barman Kevin Ligot. Specify what you like, and he adjusts accordingly. For a taste of Ligot’s signature, you’ll need to go off-menu and order the Secrets of the Unicorn, a cocktail with a base of 12-year-old rum. Craft beers and a solid wine selection are available for the cocktail-fatigued.