The hotel is in South Pigalle, a once-seedy enclave of the 9th arrondissement now packed with cocktail bars and vintage cafés. Up the hill to the north is Montmartre and its hilltop basilica Sacré-Coeur; downhill to the south are the ‘grand boulevards’.
Charles de Gaulle (www.charlesdegaulleairport.co.uk) is Paris’ main airport for international flights; it’s half an hour away by car (if the traffic behaves itself), and a taxi costs €45 to the hotel. The smaller Orly airport is the same distance in the other direction; cabs also cost €45. To arrange a transfer in advance just ask the hotel.
The closest Metro station is Pigalle, on the main drag, Boulevard de Clichy, two minutes’ walk from the hotel. From the Eurostar terminal (www.eurostar.com) at Gare du Nord the hotel’s less than 10 minutes away by taxi, or take the Metro line 2 from La Chapelle (which is connected to Gare du Nord by a tunnel) to Pigalle.
Driving in Paris is not for the faint-hearted, but if you do arrive by car, there’s a place to park on Rue Mansart, two minutes’ from the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel is fairly close to the red light district, so plan your excursions somewhat carefully if you'd rather not end up somewhere saucier than you'd planned. For boutique shopping, head to SoPi’s fashion street, Rue Clauzel; Troc en Stock at number 6 has vintage and second-hand threads, while at number 9 is L’Oeuf, for cult sweatshirts and much else besides. Climb the cobbled streets through the artists’ quarter of Montmartre, and your reward is a face-to-face encounter with the gleaming-white stone of Sacré-Coeur basilica, and a not-half-bad view across the City of Lights. Once you’re fully enamoured, amble to Le Musée de la Vie Romantique to admire the villa of artist Ary Scheffer and swat up on George Sand (among others), the enigmatic, Romantic (yes, with a capital ‘R’) writer who lived and loved in 19th-century Paris. By night, allow yourself to be seduced by the bright lights of Le Moulin Rouge and enjoy a good old-fashioned knees-up.
Waxed woods and royal-green banquettes give Le Pantruche the cosy feel of a classic Parisian bistro, but kitchen starlet Franck Baranger’s menu is altogether more contemporary – think pot-au-feu fired up with wasabi cream, black-truffle risotto, and gravity-defying grand marnier soufflé. The wines are good in taste and value, and the waiting list can be lengthy, so book well ahead. Les Afranchis is a neighbourhood favourite with hearty and homey dishes including lavender-roasted pigeon and caramel panna cotta with a plum and rosemary jus. For a lazy lunch drop into self-styled ‘gastrothèque’ Buvette, an earthy bistro with mismatched furniture and smash-hit menu imported from its big sister restaurant in New York.
For morning pastries and, well, anytime macarons, pay a visit to boulanger extraordinaire Arnaud Delmontel’s boutique bakery. Family-run and fiercely authentic Sébastien Gaudard is the go-to for homemade chocolates, ice cream and perfectly formed puddings. Mesdemoiselles Madeleines is dedicated to the art of baking the classic French bite-size cake, rethought with myriad gourmet flavourings.
South Pigalle is alive with the sound of cocktail shakers. Light-flooded L'Entrée des Artistes serves them up with a backdrop of white-washed brick walls and an all-vinyl soundtrack; and it’s handily located opposite the Grand Pigalle. The menu at vintage-styled Artisan is divided into those that are shaken and those that are stirred, but in any case the result is an expertly crafted and charmingly presented. To live it up like a local, try Glass for late-night dancing and DJ sets.