Some things are just meant to be. My attachment to this celebrated boutique hotel has a backstory: many years ago (probably around 2003) an online friend of mine posted a photo of a brilliantly red tiled bathroom featuring a heart mirror. I had no idea where it was from but saved it in a folder. Needless to say, the iconic splendor of that image was permanently burned into my mind. Fast forward to late 2010: That said friend heard of my upcoming Parisian adventures and emailed me a link to the Hotel du Petit Moulin. When I clicked in and saw that very image, everything came together. I knew we had to stay there.
The hotel itself has been constructed inside of a building dating back to the 17th century. Once the location of a bakery in the early 1900s, the original shop sign still resides on the outside! When our cab pulled up outside of the hotel two weeks ago, Gala and I excitedly hopped out and were met by a very courteous concierge as well as Olivier who mans the front desk. Poor poor Olivier! You see, Gala had been mercilessly harassing him for weeks on end in our virgo-driven obsessive quest to locate the perfectly themed hotel room.
See, that’s the beauty of the hotel — no two rooms are alike! Of the design, Christian Lacroix explains that “Each of the 17 rooms corresponds to a way of approaching this area of Paris where you don’t go downstairs by chance but rather because you are drawn by the history and the spirit of the times.” Of the decor, he says, “One of the rooms may be decorated with cornices, consoles and mouldings, while others may be more pop in style, or more rustic.”
Our room was definitely pop. And what a gem it was! Featuring a full-length wall mural of original illustrations done by Christian Lacroix behind the bed, the imagery caused instantaneous excitement upon the first glance. The rest of the walls within our room were an intense lime green, as well as the shag (!!) carpet. But perhaps best of all, our windows swung open to a beautiful view of the Le Marais streets.
We were told that this particular room was the most popular because when it was first finished, many interior design magazines clamored to cover it. And, the hotel is always a work in progress — newly themed rooms are created every year, always overseen by Lacroix!
The wall mural was just the icing on the cake — the true appeal of our room came from the attached bathroom: blood red with black accents, spacious and of course, heart mirrored. THAT MIRROR. The bathroom wasn’t all looks and no substance, though. The toiletries, very light and citrusy (in only a way that the French could master) lined the sink. Fluffy white towels, terry robes and embroidered slippers awaited us. And the shower had awesome water pressure (in case you were wondering).
Of course, the decor of a hotel room isn’t the only thing that makes a hotel worth staying in. Some other elements that added to the perfection of Hotel du Petit Moulin included the most addicting scent of vanilla every time we entered the front doors. In the lobby, stacks of books and guides populated an array of colorful tables which were surrounded by brightly upholstered chairs. The tiny back bar area was quaint and inviting. If all that wasn’t enough, the glossy black elevator doors opened to hallways covered in the most amazing polka dot carpet.
Last but not least, there was not a room card to be seen. Instead, we were handed an oversized gold key. As you can probably imagine, we felt like we had walked into a grandiose Parisian fairy tale.
The pure whimsy of this boutique hotel isn’t by coincidence. Lacroix says, “When I designed l’Hotel du Petit Moulin in Le Marais, I had the impression of rediscovering an erstwhile childhood dream, left by the wayside. A dream of living in a hotel, building a decor, day after day, in the colors of the times, putting ambiences together into volume and space and not only on paper or through fashion collections.”
Colors and textures collide into brilliant combinations and we have Lacroix to thank for bringing this fashionable yet unfussy masterpiece to life in an unassuming corner of Le Marais.