Opened in the spring of 2015, this smart property in a handsome stone edifice greatly contributes to the rejuvenation of the 9th arrondissement's Pigalle neighborhood, a scruffy district of nightclubs and bohemianism at the foot of Sacre Coeur. It takes the mold of the classic Parisian small hotel—tiny lift, tight staircase, mismatched room sizes—and invests it with the style and high quality level of a boutique. As executed by a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, whose firm oversaw it, its handsome look takes classic French elements like brasswork and antique-form phones and bends those rules with gently irreverent modern twists—the carpeting in the corridors uses a motif of martini and wine glasses, for example, while in the bedrooms (uncluttered, plenty of of light), the carpet is a subtle blue-tone leopard print. Beds are soft, white, and piled decadently with fluffy duvets. Rooms vary in size, but the standard one will do for you, since the added floor space in more expensive units may simply account for a larger entry area. The narrow ground floor has a café-bar that mixes its own bespoke cocktails and pours mostly Italian wines—the owners are experts in both. Don't miss breakfast; in addition to high-end charcuterie, the chef makes her own Nutella out of ground hazelnuts and chocolate, and it's sensational. Across the lane, the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and artist Toulouse-Lautrec both lived behind the gates of the idyllic private lane known as Avenue Frochot; there's a creative history to South Pigalle and places like this are bringing it back, and with a tone that's chic without being off-putting.
- Jason Cochran