It’s not like we needed an excuse to visit Paris, ever, but it’s also not every day that the city’s most hotly-anticipated new hotel opens at the beating heart of the French capital’s premier shopping district – just in time for the festive season. Some might call it a miracle, but we call it Hôtel Madame Rêve.
Done your Christmas shopping yet? Neither have we. Not that that’s not a bad thing: we’ve been eyeing departing with our holiday budgets in Paris’ 1st arrondissement this year, where international designers rub shoulders at the recently reopened La Samaritaine, and, a mere 15-minute stroll away, Le Marais boasts upcoming, local brands so hip, not even Emily in Paris has heard of them (ringarde!). Joining the cluster of all things cool at home in the city’s ‘new Golden Triangle’ this season is the five-star and 82-key Hôtel Madame Rêve.
Somewhat amazingly, the city’s latest luxury bolthole has opened in the Louvre’s 19th-century post office building following eight years of planning and construction works – it goes without saying that to grant the move, Parisian authorities must’ve been rather taken by the hotel’s concept. From what we’ve heard, it’s easy to see why they were: this Madame is a thoughtful and considerate one, with an approach to celebrating the rich history of its immediate surroundings by means of what Paris does best… art, culture and design.
It’s no surprise, then, that the hotel features paintings by Olivier Masmonteil, Inès Longevial and María José Benvenuto to name but a few. Mixed media artist Jacques Villeglé, meanwhile, is responsible for a show-stopping fresco in the entrance hall. And to top things off, Hôtel Madame Rêve’s 82 rooms (including 19 suites) boast some 800 works of mail art donated by a private collector in homage to the building’s postal past. If you ask us, it’s the whole package – pun intended.
But there’s more to decode in the chic address’ interiors. Wherever guests look, they can expect to see a modern take on 19th-century Paris; with walnut-panelled walls, velvet curtains, honey-tinged fabrics and golden light fixtures throughout. We also happen to find some architectural and interior elements retro-romantic, evoking a sense of mid-century aesthetics and the joy of a bygone era. But don’t be fooled: Madame Rêve was conceived to represent a new, more modern Paris. Brought to life by restaurateur and art director Laurent Taïeb, the hotel also features a 1,000 square metre rooftop terrace and sky garden with 360-degree views of the capital’s most iconic landmarks – from the nearby Église Saint-Eustache to Sacré-Cœur and, of course, the Eiffel Tower.
Its rooftop is arguably the building’s theatrical epicentre, with some top-floor rooms also offering vistas towards the hotel’s inner courtyard, where a vertical garden adds much-needed chlorophyll to the concrete jungle of the 1st arrondissement. It’s here you’ll find the more contemporary of Madame Rêve’s two restaurants, the Japan-inspired La Plume, set to become Paris’ latest impossibly cool eatery, albeit one that feels less swanky, and more for-those-in-the-know than you might expect (remember the crowd here is more Marais than Ave. Montaigne).
Aside from simply being ‘the new place’, however, what’s remarkable about the top floors, and by extension the entire hotel, is its proposition of a form of exclusivity rooted not in being closed off to non-guests, but in inviting in locals to savour the culinary delights and be inspired by Madame Rêve’s design-focused culture alongside visitors from abroad. There’s an idea here that a community of tastemakers from different parts of the world will join together in celebration of what matters to them – the artistic heritage of the nearby Louvre, the high-end and value-driven retail outlets across the arrondissement, and the fruits of innovation hanging in the shop windows of Le Marais. Not that they made a big song and dance about it – in typical Paris fashion, this Madame is less ‘Grande Dame’ and more ‘femme cool’.