Paris, France

Hotel Bienvenue

Rates from (ex tax)$89.90

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR85.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Haussmannien hideaway

Setting

Elegant 9th arrondissement

Pretend you’re lucky locals at Hotel Bienvenue in Paris, which invites guests to treat it like their own perfectly poised apartment. The Chloé Nègre styling – we’re talking floral wallpaper, warm colours and statement floor tiles, notably on the tempting patio – is pretty dreamy – as is that South Pigalle setting. Rooms may veer on the petite side – this is Paris after all, dahling – but Privilege Rooms offer more space and a hamman-toting bathroom. You’ll share the hood with an impressive line-up of grand boulevards, boutiques and gastronomic destinations; dig in.

Smith Extra

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Chocolates from À la Mère de Famille, the oldest chocolate factory in Paris

Facilities

Photos Hotel Bienvenue facilities

Need to know

Rooms

37, including one suite.

Check–Out

Before noon; earliest check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $89.90 (€77), excluding tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.65 per person per night on check-out.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (EUR77.27), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually exclude buffet breakfast (€16 each, daily).

Also

Interiors come courtesy of acclaimed designer and scenographer Chloé Nègre, who also hails from Paris. This is her first hotel project, but you wouldn’t know it.

At the hotel

Pretty patio; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV, minibar, Bonne Nouvelle bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Opt for one of the Privilege Rooms and you’ll get more space for your euros – and a hammam-toting bathroom; only book a Single Room if you’re on the teeny side and/or like to pack light. Rooms are split across two buildings, Town and Countryside: if you like pretty pastels, opt for the former; if you prefer floral prints, go with Countryside.

Packing tips

Leave lashings of room in your case for French acquisitions, whether flea-market finds or plunder from the city’s stash of high-end boutiques.

Also

Two double rooms on the ground floor are suited to wheelchair-users.

Children

Little Smiths aged one and above can come too. Baby cots are free and under-12s can kip in their parents’ room, free of charge. Don’t expect family-frills a-go-go, though – this hotel is definitely designed for adults.

Food and Drink

Photos Hotel Bienvenue food and drink

Top Table

The usual rules apply: by the window if it’s chilly; outside if it’s not.

Dress Code

Honour the local heros with Chanel, Thierry Mugler, Christian Dior and Paco Rabanne (or a less wallet-wrecking approximation).

Hotel restaurant

Hotel Bienvenue is still firming up its foodie offering, but when we visited, the lovely chef rustled up delicious Asian fusion food for lunch (curries, spring rolls, spicy chicken salads and so on). For dinner, expect sociable shared platters and light dishes such as fish carpaccio, croque monsieur, beef tartare, ricotta raviolis and the ilk. Flour-power baker Anaïs Olmer has been recruited to rustle up delicious pastries and cakes on-site, so be sure to save room for dessert.

Hotel bar

Join the locals sipping luscious natural wine in the bar section of the restaurant, or take a tot or two on the peaceful patio. Clever waiter – and wine-buff – Leon will talk you through the choices.

Last orders

Breakfast is served daily from 7am until 10am. Lunch is served till 2.30pm and dinner till 10.30pm, except for Sundays and Mondays, when the restaurant is closed.

Location

Photos Hotel Bienvenue location
Address
Hotel Bienvenue
23, Rue Buffault
Paris
75009
France

Planes

Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly airports are both around 30 kilometres away (an hour’s drive); Smith24 can help organise your transfers.

Trains

Gare du Nord station is only three kilometres away, with speedy Eurostar and reliable SNCF rail services connecting to other French and European cities. The closest Métro station is Cadet, on Line 7, a two-minute stroll away.

Automobiles

There’s a car park five minutes away; drop your luggage off at the hotel first. (Parking costs €35 daily, mind.)

Worth getting out of bed for

Relax on the patio with a copy of Madame Bovary and a glass of wine. If you’ve followed our advice and booked a Privilege Room, make the most of that hammam-toting bathroom. Visit Le Musée de la Vie Romantique (+33 1 55 31 95 67) on Rue Chaptal, which showcases numerous mementos that once belonged to the romantic literary hero, George Sand. The museum also has a collection of Romantic canvases, sculptures and objets d'art. Wander around Le Marché Saint-Pierre, the largest collection of fabric-centric stores in Paris, on Rue Charles Nodier. For more retail thrills, hit up the city’s shopping Titans, including Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Back at boutique basecamp, have a cake-making class with whimsical baker Anaïs Olmer.

Local restaurants

Le Pantruche (+33 1 48 78 55 60) on Rue Victor Massé has charming staff and even more charming dishes: the fairly-priced set menus include treats such as black-truffle risotto and a moreish Grand Marnier soufflé. Head to Abri Soba (+33 1 45 23 51 68) on Rue Saulnier for faultless soba noodles dished up by Japanese maestro Katsuaki Okiyama; we’re still dreaming about our fish-and-egg-graced tsukimi soba. Le Richer (+33 9 67 29 18 43) on Rue Richer woos with more local flavours: the artful concoctions include a surprisingly tasty fig-and-parsnip tart. It’s a darn good-looking space, too…

Reviews

Photos Hotel Bienvenue reviews
Martin Dickie

Anonymous review

Paris, that grand old dame with a dark humour, loves to play tricks on tourists. Little do they realise she’s too classy to hang out on the Champs-Elysées or at the Eiffel Tower. You might, though, catch a glimpse of her in Pigalle. Situated across the Boulevard de Clichy from Sacre Coeur and Montmartre, this former red light district – home to the Grand Guignol theatre and the Moulin Rouge and once the haunt of Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh – is now a purlieu for French and other (often British) hipsters. Especially to the south, which has taken on an anglicised moniker: ‘South Pigalle’ or ‘SoPi’.

It’s among this confection of quaint cafés, boutiques, bars and boulangeries that Mrs Smith and I found Hotel Bienvenue late one evening on a relatively quiet side street opposite a church. Through its cast-iron art deco entrance we stepped into a marble hallway flanked by crimson banquettes with floral cushions. A handsome reception desk was manned by a baudelairian type who had to shake himself from a poetic reverie to retrieve our key. The restaurant was closed, he absently declared, until the new year.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more Parisian, we decamped to our fifth-floor privilege room by taking turns in the one-person antique elevator that skewers this supermodel-thin townhouse. Those averse to tight spaces might opt for the spiral staircase which snakes helter-skelter-like around the ornate lift shaft.

The room was similarly compact and clever: the deco-inspired bedhead and lamps; the window opening onto a jigsaw of rooftops; the elegantly tiled bathroom with twin sinks and a tub were all a little neater than we’d anticipated for this relatively budget option. But what sets this room apart from those on the lower floors is the shower cubicle that doubles as a hammam. Much like with the elevator, a turn-of-the-century contraption kept up-to-date with 21st-century controls, we had to applaud the engineering that went into installing a hi-tech miniature steam room on the fifth floor of a hundred-years-old building.

Giggling like extras in a Carry On film, Mrs Smith and I shed our clothes and piled in, eager to ratchet up the heat controlled digitally from the LCD screen on the wall inside. The next hour evaporated in a steamy blur until we emerged, pink as lobsters, to ready ourselves for a night out in Pigalle.

The midweek action seemed to centre around the streets branching star-like off place Gabriel Kaspereit, especially rue Henry Monnier and rue Frochot. We dined first on dreamy coq au vin and carotte râpée in atmospheric Buvette before swinging north around the Grand Pigalle Hotel (which looked an excellent shout for cocktails by the way) past a neon-red ‘sex shop’ sign to Dirty Dick, an upcycled tiki bar that couples a voodoo-inspired menu of cocktails served in coconuts or skulls with kitsch tropical decor. ‘Calm Before the Storm’ was the appropriately titled cocktail for how our night progressed.

We awoke nursing rum-stricken heads; but it was nothing a blast in the hammam and a continental breakfast couldn’t shift. Fresh cheese, cold meats and buttery croissants were très délicieux (everything at this point had become très). The morning also shed light on areas of the hotel we hadn’t seen – namely the leafy, kaleidoscopic courtyard, which we imagined comes into its own in the summer.

We wondered, too, how South Pigalle would look in the daytime. From the hotel you’re a block east from the apex of rue Notre Dame de Florette and rue des Martyrs, two endearingly Parisian streets with such a high concentration of cool cafes, shops and bars that they occupied us for the entire day. Sacre Coeur is on a hill, after all.

There was Emmanuelle Zysman, the punk jewellery shop; Le Comptoir Belge, specialising in Belgian waffles like you’ve never tasted; Chez Michou, the half-century-old transvestite cabaret; Mademoiselle Madeleines, selling exquisite madeleine cakes and nothing else; Sébastien Gaudard, the expert pastry maker; a Scandinavian toy shop; a haberdashery; a Japanese kimono shop; an anarchic bookstore; and, on place St. Georges, a streetside brasserie opposite a small theatre in what is probably the cutest cobbled square in all of Paris.

Feeling a little guilty after testing our third café (but feeling fairly caffeinated), we thought we’d clear our conscience with something cultural. The Louvre was only a stroll away, but two blocks east of rue Notre Dame de Florette is the Musée National Gustave Moreau. The modest first floor – the painter’s living quarters – doesn’t quite prepare you for the upper levels: two high-ceilinged halls hung with reams of almost embarrassingly ambitious art. Only a tortured Parisian, we agreed, would have the testicules to tackle Alexander the Great’s conquest of India, the head-severing Salome, Oedipus and the Sphinx, Ulysses’ return from the Odyssey, a portrait of King David (why not?), and the life (and death) of Jesus H Christ. These aren’t your regular baroque pieces, either: each masterwork is caked in absurd symbolism (we loved the unicorns with dead black eyes). It was well worth a coffee-fueled hour or two.

Culture out of the way, it was back to the booze. We caught the Metro into town for a stroll around Notre Dame, then stumbled into a cosy Corsican bar for a glass of Grand Marnier. The only seats were at the bar, manned by your typically enormous Corsican barkeep and a bedraggled, one-eyed drunk who payed us no mind whatsoever as they sang Corsican ballads with heartfelt earnest.

It was bitterly cold on our return leg, which made the low-lit foyer at Hotel Bienvenue all the more inviting. The receptionist, who’d earlier abandoned his notebook to attend to our probably quite irritating whims (‘Where’s the nearest flea market?’ ‘Can we borrow some scissors?’), bid us goodnight. He was as accommodating as the rest of the staff; all of them unwaveringly professional in the face of our boozed, English-speaking ignorance.

The following morning, over breakfast, we assessed our stay. At no point had we looked in at the Louvre, sailed the Seine, or even spotted the Eiffel Tower. But how many tourists seek that Paris, returning home with only a string of sightseeing fails, aching feet and an empty wallet to show for it? We’d spent two nights in Paris a la Pigalle, and she turned out to be a riot. Merci beaucoup Hotel Bienvenue. Or, as Mrs Smith put it: ‘Merci beaucoup very much’.

 

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