Like assembled Avengers, designer Philippe Starck has teamed with entrepreneur Michel Reybier and vegan pioneer and philosopher Cyril Aouizerate to conceive Mob House, an eco-aware Parisian pad in up-and-coming Saint Ouen that is at once utilitarian and very luxe… and we're delighted to report, it works. Every detail has been pored over: artisanal French tiles, sweeps of marble juxtaposed with concrete, rice-straw headboards, parquet floors (natch) and wall paint mixed from straw and clay. Digital nomads will adore the live/work model at play here, with bedrooms concealed by stylish drapes, work areas and fully functional meeting spaces inside the next-gen industrial suites. Outside, the Marché des Puces, one of the world's finest flea markets, offers you the chance to play interior designer yourself for the day.
12pm, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £144.72 (€167), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €1.88 per person per night on check-out.
Rates include breakfast; load up on all-organic buffet breakfast of fruit salad, pain au chocolat, muesli, freshly squeezed juices, and tea and coffee.
All communal areas are wheelchair accessible, as are five of the standard guest rooms.
At the hotel
Free WiFi, gym with treadmill, elliptical trainer, yoga mats, lifting machine, and weights (private classes available), two rooftop spaces, private garden, welcome snacks of fruit and nuts, plug adaptors, laundry service. In rooms: free WiFi, air conditioning, phone, safe, hair dryer, bathrobe, workspace, selection of books, free bottled water, minibar, le beau thé tea and Malongo organic coffee, glasses, cups and bottle opener, organic Soin de Soi bath products made in Bordeaux, Mob House signature scent of cedar, vanilla and vetiver.
Our favourite rooms
In terms of decor, they’re all a treat for fans of pared-back industrial surrounds, but we were captivated by the MH 43T room. This offers more space with a comfy lounge area and the bedroom neatly tucked away with a mere swish of the stylish drapes. The private terrace is a charming bonus and the ideal spot for a pre-dinner aperitif.
The 20-metre, heated, open-air pool is open from 7am–9pm. It’s surrounded by trees and loungers – a particularly welcome spot during the humid Parisian summer months. Children can use the pool as long as they’re supervised.
A shopping tote with bottomless Mary Poppins capacity for all your flea market swag.
Mob House is an official partner of the Red Star national football team of Saint Ouen, and of its world-famous neighbour, the Marché aux Puces, the largest flea market in the world.
You can book a babysitting service in advance (at least 24 hours) for €40 an hour. Baby bottle heaters, cots and changing mats are all available by request with no additional cost, and the restaurant has high chairs.
Sustainability is at the forefront here, with a focus on natural materials and careful consumption. Wooden key cards activate energy-efficient LED room lights, and there’s a water flow restriction system in the taps plus dual-flush toilets. The hotel has a thorough recycling and composting programme, is a plastic bottle free zone, and rooms are cleaned with nature-kind products. French, eco-friendly toiletries come in large, refillable containers. As for the restaurant, you’ll find a seasonal, organic and largely vegetarian range of dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Along with its neighbouring sister enterprise (Mob Hotel), Mob House has a partnership with a local school, runs a community garden and shared composting facilities for locals, and prioritises residents of the area for employment opportunities.
If the sun’s shining, there’s no better dining spot than a table on the patio.
Glam threads, casual treads.
Star Parisian chef Jérôme Banctel designed the eco-conscious menu for the Feuille de Chou brasserie. There’s room for 150 inside this industrial dining room with a bohemian twist – note the exposed piping overhead and the little busts and trinkets under polished glass cloches. Outside on the bulb-strung patio, there’s seating for 80 more diners to enjoy the flavourful organic French food with healthy intentions. Vegetables are the stars of the show here, with extra love for the once-lowly cabbage, but you’ll find a few chicken, seafood and fish flavours here and there. The Ficelé‘Feuille de chou’, a concoction of seasonal veg roasted, rolled and infused to perfection, is a must.
The glittering gold bar, right next to the restaurant and open from 10am to midnight, is the domain of mixologist Nicolas de Soto. Locals and hotel guests mingle casually here over bar snacks and all-organic cocktails made with infused spirits. Try the Pandaiquiri: coconut-infused rum and lime juice mixed with syrup made from the tropical Pandan plant.
Get your high-end veggie dish orders in by 10.30pm.
Mob House is in the booming Saint Ouen area of Paris, a few streets away from the famous Marché des Puces flea market.
Charles de Gaulle Airport is a 10 to 20-minute drive away, depending on traffic. Hotel transfers start at €70.
Coming from Paris centre, take metro line 14 to Mairie de Saint Ouen and grab a cab or Uber from the station to the hotel.
There’s a private car park with security cameras right under the building. It’s open 24 hours and costs €22 a day.
Worth getting out of bed for
There aren’t many outdoor Parisian pools as nice as the one at Mob House, so be sure to take advantage of the swimming and lounging opportunities. Once you’ve done that, maybe with a coffee or cocktail from the bar, it’ll be time to venture out. You simply can’t stay in Saint Ouen without spending some serious time browsing its famous cluster of markets. If you’ve got a bit of spending power, or are simply an incorrigible aesthete, pay particular attention to Paul Bert Serpette, the largest antiques market in the world, with wares from 350 dealers selling furniture, art, jewellery, vintage luggage and clothing from across the eras. In the autumn, don’t miss the annual night-time market festival giving you access to all the historic Saint Ouen markets after dark, with live musical accompaniment to shop by.
For a market lunch with an upscale feel, check out Starck-designed Ma Cocotte for roast chicken and lentil salad, or just a glass of champagne and a moment to take in the space. For organic Italian fare in a casual-convivial setting, head for the Karlito cantine, located at Mob House’s sibling offering, Mob Hotel. For French plates in a traditional setting (think fois gras, steaks, chocolate fondant), don’t miss the Comptoir des Puces in the Marché Serpette. Alcidia Vulbeau’s Bonne Aventure is another popular stopoff for a well-priced lunch or just a decent verre. The menu’s full of fresh, French, colourful cooking, served in an encouragingly people-packed place.
When I checked into Mob House, I had one clear aim in mind: to give Mr Smith and me an ideal home base for exploring the storied Paris flea – aka Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen – that’s technically just outside of the city to the north.
I knew we’d have good proximity, but pulling up in a cab from Charles de Gaulle, I beamed at just how close we were to the sprawling antique market – which has been officially in operation since 1885, is the largest in the world, and is such a *thing* that Kelly Wearstler said she was spending every weekend there during her month-long stay this summer. We weren’t a nice walk to the flea. We were at the flea.
Entering the hotel, though, I wasn’t met with the hubbub of furniture dealers lunching on baguettes and sausages, and shoppers scoping out 160-piece porcelain dining sets. No. There, next to a field of clover and wildflowers (delighting the pollinators) was a sprawl of outdoor seating in unfussy-but-polished wood and wicker dotted with cream cushions. The scene presented an alternative picture of what a stay here could be. It screamed zen getaway, as much as anything can ‘scream’ zen.
By the time I was up the elevator and into my room, I sensed that Mob House had a choose-your-own-adventure quality that few places could pull off. Need to crank out a big work project, maybe host a full-blown off-site?
Our room was outfitted with a marble table big enough to seat six (six, in a hotel room!) and curtains that could cordon off the bedroom alcove so that you could comfortably host a meeting while maintaining your personal space.
In the lobby restaurant, locals took business lunches in discreet nooks that offered privacy and design books for browsing, and clusters of could-be colleagues grabbed drinks well into the night.
Over breakfast the next morning, we saw a completely different possibility for a weekend stay as we nibbled from a spread of yogurt parfaits and pains au chocolat and watched many a guest pass through a jasmine-covered pergola that led to a 20-meter pool.
It was surrounded by trees, stacks of yellow-and-white striped towels, and cushy loungers that were full by noon (Parisian staycationers, maybe? Chic!). It was a genuine escape from city life and – I have to hope – inboxes.
As tough as it was to pass up a cucumber fizz or glass of rosé on a sunny June day, we had limited time and lots of exploring to do. It was off to the flea.
We started our browsing at Glustin, with its multiple floors of gallery-worthy furniture like an Archizoom Associati fiberglass and leopard fabric modular sofa from 1968, and a butterfly curiosity cabinet that I can only describe as…epic. We wove our way through the Marché Dauphine section, with its record vendors (our scores: Donna Summer and France Gall – because when in France…) and even a thoughtfully curated vintage outdoor-clothing seller, Maison de Quartier.
We bopped around Paul Bert and Paul Bert Serpette, where bouclé fabric, postmodern lamps, and statement desks made a strong showing and you could get a masterclass in what’s trending in interior design in an hour or two.
Of course, by that point in the afternoon, we’d worked up an appetite and had one of the best meals of our trip at Bonne Aventure, almost within sight of the hotel.
There was that glass of wine we’d been eyeing, a lamb dish that was early summer on a plate with its bright peas and tomato jus, beignets that were stuffed with something creamy that my lack of French skills couldn’t navigate – and the fact that we’d managed to score a prime outdoor table at all. We’d stopped by the day before to make a lunch reservation because, phew, otherwise we would have been SOL.
After some early evening reading on our private terrace (me) and lap-swimming (Mr Smith), we set off on a stroll through Montmartre to dinner, and passing by Sacré-Cœur, we were grateful to have the proximity to the sights without being deep in the tourist crush.
Climbing under the crisp covers that night zonked, with perfectly fluffy pillows and the barely-there hum outside, it was like dozing inside a white-noise machine. That was surely the intent: the Mob House founder Cyril Aouizerate is a philosophy professor–turned–hospitality savant who’s also responsible for the Mama Shelter hotel group and who partnered with Philippe Starck to get the design and experience of this spot just right.
There’s an emphasis on natural materials, from concrete to rice straw, and each of the 100 rooms is outfitted with a made-in-France Palace bed. Because no matter what else a trip entails, we all want that good night’s sleep, right?