Groovy in every way except the kind Austin Powers would approve of, Hôtel Saint-André des Arts in Paris is the psychedelic sixth-arrondissement stay for you if you like your Rive Gauche to be retro. The 20th century’s most swinging decade was the inspiration for this historic hotel’s modern makeover, with antiques sourced to ensure every room has its fair share of flower power tables, tam tam stools, shiny Kartell bedside tables and Verner Panton lights. There’s no restaurant at this bohemian bolthole, but the Rousseau-approved oldest café in Paris is over the road, in a labyrinth that would put Diagon Alley to shame.
Get this when you book through us:
A glass of Taittinger champagne each at the bar (two per booking)
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £165.99 (€189), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €2.88 per person per night on check-out.
Rates usually include breakfast.
The 17th-century building has an art gallery for a next-door neighbour, with plenty more nearby along Rue de Buci and Rue de Seine, too.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: HD TV with Chromecast, Nespresso coffee machine, air-conditioning, laptop-size safe and vegan, organic bath products by Naturals Remedies.
Our favourite rooms
If carpet colour is important to you, choose your floor according to its staircase shade, which changes with every level you ascend. Tall people will appreciate the extra ceiling height in the rooms on the first and second floors, especially roomy room 20. For added sunshine, book room 34 or 35, which both have lots of light in the morning and various shades of yellow.
The hotel has a small wellness centre consisting mostly of a bath tub that’s drained and re-filled for each guest for the bubble-based experience of their choice (there’s a selection of salts, oils and mood goals to pick from). A soak in the ‘Bain des Sens’ is included with Superior Room bookings and above.
Philosophical opinions to debate over an absinthe amid the cobblestoned corners of the Cour de Commerce Saint-André over the road, an appetite for art and antiques, and your finest fit-for-a-flâneur gear.
A spa therapist can be booked to make bathtimes at the mini spa even better with an accompanying treatment. There’s an elevator for disabled access, but no specially adapted rooms.
Extra beds (€60 a night) and cots (free) can be added to Deluxe and Executive Rooms, and some rooms have sofa-beds. There are connecting and adjacent rooms with sealed-off entrances. Highchairs are available and babysitting can be arranged.
Most of the breakfast produce is organic and French, including the jam, cheese and charcuterie. Bath products are vegan and organic, with minimal plastic (even the shower caps and toothbrushes). Coffee cups are compostable, as are the pods.
The antique yellow table by the window is best for admiring stylish Parisians on their way to work, but if you’re planning to tackle the buffet ambitiously, go for the comfortable leather and velvet armchairs.
There’s no restaurant at the hotel, just a breakfast room and bar, but this is Paris and there’s amazing French food on every corner – notable neighbourhood establishments include the oldest restaurant in Paris. And who needs Deliveroo: the staff can arrange for meals from Colvert or Christina to be brought straight to you. The bountiful breakfast produce includes Savoie yoghurt, French (obviously) cheese and homegrown charcuterie, along with fair-trade coffee.
The breakfast room magically swaps croissants for cocktails once it’s an appropriate hour to imbibe alcohol; there’s a selection of organic wines and champagnes, and plates of cheese and charcuterie to soak them up.
Breakfast hours are 7am to 10am, and drinks are available at the bar until midnight.
The hotel’s partnership with local restaurants means easy access to outsourced lunches between 11am and 2pm, and dinners from 6pm to 11pm.
Steps from Saint-Germain and in the lively Latin Quarter, the hotel has the 6th arrondissement – and most of Paris – on its doorstep.
It’s a 40-minute drive to Orly airport and an hour to Charles de Gaulle. Taxis are available at both, with fixed fares (€30 and €55 respectively); or hop on the RER B line from either hub to Saint-Michel station, which is a few minutes’ walk from the hotel.
Eurostar arrivals into the Gare du Nord can travel onwards on the metro line 4 towards Mairie de Montrouge, disembarking at Odéon station for the three-minute walk to the hotel.
Many of the major sights are within walking distance of the hotel and, helpfully, you can stow your wheels away at the Mazarine carpark, 150 metres away from the hotel.
Buses serving most of the city stop right outside the hotel.
Worth getting out of bed for
The 6th arrondissement setting means much of the city is within walking distance – the hotel is conveniently close to the Ile de la Cité, home to Notre Dame, the stained-glass windows of the gothic Sainte-Chapelle chapel and an erstwhile prison with a regal former inmate (Marie-Antoinette spent her final few days imprisoned at La Conciergerie). Stroll the banks and quays of the Seine, settle onto a Saint-Germain terrace to watch the world of quaintrelles and fashionistas go by or be spoiled for choice with all of the galleries and antique bookshops in the neighbourhood – there’s even a gallery next-door. Across the road, an arched time-machine entrance takes you back a few centuries and into the Cour du Commerce Saint-André’s narrow alleys, cobblestones, tiny shops and the oldest bistro in Paris.
Le Procope, which once counted Rousseau as a patron, has been feeding bon vivants and revolutionaries since 1686 – we like to think they’ve nailed the coq au vin by now. Book early for a seat in Yves Camdeborde’s art deco dining room within the Hôtel Le Relais Saint-Germain in Odéon; his elaborate week-night suppers at Le Comptoir are famous for a reason.
You’re never far from patisserie perfection in Paris, but Eric Kayser’s namesake empire of boulangerie branches has gone global – handily, there’s one 50 metres away for your daily almond-brioche fix.
There are lots of bars along the alleys of Saint-Michel and inside Saint-Germain’s covered market, or try Le Hibou for cocktails on its boulevard-facing terrace. Le Préon Rue du Four is another excellent terrace-enhanced option.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in France and unpacked their baguettes and book-store finds, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Hôtel Saint-André des Arts in Paris…
It may seem like a quiet side street at first, but Rue Saint-André des Arts is actually one of the most famous thoroughfares in Paris and it’s not hard to see why: it’s home to the ancient alleys of the Cour de Commerce (which in turn houses the city’s oldest eatery), antique shops and art galleries, and right beside banks and quays of the Seine. There’s been a hotel in this 17th-century building since the Fifties, but its newest incarnation is its most design-driven – the designer searched high and low for iconic Sixties pieces, including tables with flower-shaped legs, mirrored Kartell bedside tables and glossy, globular Verner Panton lights, adding contemporary touches like Pierre Frey curtains and pop-colour bespoke headboards. Even never-on-trend net curtains get an effortlessly stylish Parisian update with pretty crochet blinds that cast dancing patterns on the beds when the sun shines. It’s the swinging Sixties, but Paris style – psychedelic and chic.