The former artist’s village of Montmartre still retains its individuality up on its hilltop. Right in the heart of this world apart, the Hôtel Particulier Montmartre hides behind a high black wall. Despite its address, number 23 is not exactly on the Avenue Junot—those in the know leave it to follow a narrow passageway to a giant boulder, then ring at an unmarked gate.
Inside the wall, the place is pure magic (perhaps it really is—that boulder is called le rocher de la sorcière, or witch’s rock). A stately Directoire townhouse presides over a lush private park of ivy-covered trees and bushy rhododendrons. Landscaped by Louis Bénech, who also worked on the Jardin des Tuileries, the garden hides several tiny terraces where guests can breakfast in leafy privacy.
The interior too is enchanting. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the garden indoors to the large salon, furnished with exceptional modern pieces by Mies van der Rohe, Fabricius and Arne Jacobsen. In the cozy library, a leather armchair sits next to a fireplace and shelves of art books.
Dividing the upper floors into five enormous rooms and suites, owner Morgane Rousseau gave carte blanche to five contemporary artists. “I wanted the art to be the real focus of the rooms,” she says, “not just to be used as decoration.” As a result, the rooms are wildly different in style. Two rooms offer king-size beds: the Chambre Vitrine, displaying the sculpture of Philippe Mayaux, and the Chambre Végétale, a tree-house of a room where foliage-patterned wallpaper echoes the leaves outside. Two junior suites have an additional single bed: Poèmes et Chapeaux, where the lampshades are black fedoras; and Arbre à Oreilles, whose splashy wall design was inspired by a Japanese legend. A spiral staircase leads up to the two-bedroom suite de luxe, a sky-lighted loft named Rideau de Cheveux for the huge photos in its mural. It all adds up to one of the most talked-about hotels in town.
23 ave Junot, 18th, 01.53.41.81.40. From €390. website
Originally published in the February 2008 issue of France Today; updated in September 2011