Paris may be the city of romance but, like any major metropolis, it is not spared the urban frenzy that is bound to wear down even Cupid, which is why the discreet Grands Boulevards Hotel is such a gem. Occupying a pre-Revolution building in the capital’s 2nd arrondissement, the quaint establishment is set beyond a courtyard that is accessed only through a hidden entry off Boulevard Poissonniere.
Designed by French interior designer Dorothee Meilichzon for the Experimental Group, the interiors of the 50-room boutique hotel are a pastiche of 18th century Neoclassical elements and touches of country ruggedness. Nods to the Louis XVI style are subtly expressed in the coral marble bathroom walls, canopy beds and Meilichzon’s interpretation of the Parquet Versailles pattern for the carpets, that was invented for the Palace of Versailles. A lighthanded opulence is deliberate since a dominant rustic atmosphere is the idea, partly inspired by Marie Antoinette’s farm and also to honour the former gardens of the hotel’s site. Strongly intimating that peasant aesthetic is the olive wood stools, which replace bedside tables, and vintage linen for the bed canopies.
Conceived in collaboration with chef Giovanni Passerini, the Grand Restaurant in the hotel features a kiosk in the centre, which was designed and handmade by Meilichzon. Lining the floors are terra cotta tiles that were made in an old Etrusco oven in the south of Italy, which give the place a warmth and certain patina. Guests can expect a hearty French-Italian country menu.
Bronze sconces, marble accents and mid-century furniture may be de rigueur among hotels everywhere now, but the Grand Boulevards does its with a twist. At least romance is saved in this corner of Paris.
Good to know
The hotel is located only a few metres from the Poissonniere metro.
Dorothee Meilichzon designed the kiosk where the main bar is.
Dig into French Italian fare like this haddock brandade with sweet potato, croutons and orange, at the Grand Restaurant.
Bronze bunny trinkets inject some fun into the establishment.
Warm incandescent lights and midcentury Eugenio Gerli chairs make the Shell bar ideal for lounging in.
A balance of polished and pastoral vibes characterises the hotel’s overall aesthetic.
All rooms feature vintage olive wood stools.
text ISABELLE TOW photos KAREL BALAS