Paris’ Coolest New Hotel Is Inspired by the City’s Most Iconic Eras
Hotel des Grands Boulevards mixes old glamour with contemporary elegance.
Updated Oct 11, 2018 12:05 PM
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Bridging the gap between romanticism and modernism, Hotel des Grands Boulevards plays with Parisian design cliches in the most surprising way. Tucked away behind a quiet courtyard, along the picturesque Boulevard Poissonniere, the city’s hottest new hotel (which officially opened its doors this January) serves as a polished nod to the French capital’s dynamic past—and most mischievous characters.
The new hot spot—which spans 50 guestrooms, a ground-floor restaurant, and a rooftop terrace—is the second Paris-based hotel from Experimental Group—the event consultancy and hospitality hub behind London’s famous Experimental Cocktail Club.
“We used a lot of elements popular during the age of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette,” says Dorothée Meilichzon, founder of French design firm Chzon, and creative mind behind Hotel des Grands Boulevards’ romantic aesthetic.
A seductive color palette, charming marble moments, and subtle rustic accents channel the elegance of an era long gone.
Erected during the midst of the French Revolution, the building originally sat on the foundation of an old garden—and three centuries later, a similar secret garden leads to the inn’s unassuming entrance. “That was our main inspiration for this project: the period and the garden,” Meilichzon tells Domino.
Far enough away from tourist traps—but close enough to trendy cafes and the city’s booming theatre district—the hotel offers a nostalgic sanctuary in the always busy city. “A hotel needs to be more than just a bed and a geographical position,” Meilichzon told Domino back in 2016 when she took us inside the equally striking Hotel Bachaumont. “It needs to be an experience, a living place that brings people together.”
And Meilichzon’s signature eye for rich hues and material-driven stories also informed her most recent project.
Alluring textiles and dramatic lines proved to give the hotel the character and story she was searching for. “We bought 2.5 kilometers of fabric for the entire hotel!” recalls Meilichzon. “We have five-meter ceilings on the first floor, so it required a lot of fabric for my full-height baldaquin.”
Impressive canopies grace almost every bedroom—a feature any modern Mary Antoinette would decidedly approve of.
In some dwellings, surprising black walls introduce an air of moodiness, while in others, an exclusively white surround serves as a light counterpoint to vivid headboards.
“The palette had to be natural, but luminous,” says Meilichzon. “So we have some dark blue—close to the colors of Parisian roofs—some forest green, and stone white, but also mint green and bright pink.”
While certainly stylish, the spaces are equally functional—they make the best of their tiny quarters by way of built-in nooks and floating marble shelves. Nostalgic accessories, dried wildflowers, and mid-century table lamps make their way onto space-savvy surfaces. And of course, a personal espresso maker is a must when you’re waking up in Paris.
As the hotel fearlessly blends a number of eras and styles around every corner, guests get a subtle taste of Paris through the ages—something that’s hard to come by if your nose isn’t stuck in a history book.
Soft, recycled wood accents—like the rustic side tables and stools—soften the mood, while also doubling as a nod to Marie Antoinette’s quaint farmhouse retreat, Hameau de la Reine. In other guestrooms, terracotta pots and mock wood ceiling beams help balance the hotel’s glam aesthetic.
While sleek metallic side tables and Jetson-worthy furniture make the hotel feel fresh and new, not-so-obvious nods to France’s past strike almost every surface. Reimagined in wool, the carpet, for instance, recalls the palatial parquet floors of the country’s most iconic residence.
“I designed this pattern as a tribute to the Versaille wooden floor pattern,” explains Meilichzon. “The carpet was made then by EGE.” Mod furnishings and Art Deco-inspired light fixtures recall Paris’ most colorful 20th-century moments, all while still feeling edgy and of-the-moment.
In a similar fashion, the bathrooms play with curvature, contemporary patterns, and whimsical brass details.
Grand Restaurants, conceived in collaboration with Italian-born chef Giovanni Passerini, sits on the ground floor. The light-filled eatery revisits classic French-Italian countryside dishes, while the hotel’s bar—a romantic vision in gold and red—celebrates the splendor of city living.
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