The Hermès and the Rothschild Families Once Lived Here
Take your cue from Scarlett Johansson and Tom Hanks, and have drinks at Hôtel Particulier, too… or stay a night or two
To find Hôtel Particulier in Montmartre, you have to enter a gate into a private alley paved with stones along beautiful Avenue Junot and the famous Rue Lepic. The alley is called passage de la sourcière (witch’s passage) because in the center of the alley lies a large stone that locals know as the Witch’s Rock. Like how many urban legends start, children have seen a mysterious old lady near the creepy rock ages ago and have deemed her to be a witch. Once your eyes pass the rock, you get a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower from afar and know you’re definitely not in a horror movie.
A low black wall on the left opens to the lush secret garden of Hôtel Particulier. The 900 square meter garden, which doesn’t feel too manicured, is designed by one of France’s greatest living landscape designer Louis Benech, who is also behind the Tuileries Garden and the Bosquet du Théâtre d’Eau at Versailles. Since it is winter, there is no grass on the ground, revealing a stone pathway and gravel. White wrought iron chairs with tables line the path with evergreen shrubs peppered throughout the garden. A large deciduous tree with ivy vines climbing it stands in front of the 3-storied Directoire-style building built in 1871.
This mansion was first home to the Hermès family, then became the home of the Rothschild family. In 2007, Morgane Rousseau (who describes herself as an “Interior Director” - someone who can bring out the stories of a certain space to life) bought the property and turned it into an upscale 5-suite guest house. In 2010, Rousseau’s son Oscar Comtet took charge of the property as General Manager turning it into one of Paris’ best kept secrets.
The lobby of the hotel is covered in lush red carpet (with matching upholstery for the bar stools) and a pink-hued, hand-painted sky on the ceiling. The chairs of the room are covered in soft, coral velvet with fringe falling all around to cover its legs. Maroon square tables have brushed gold bands and the lighting is warm and dim. There is a fireplace to the left where you can imagine the members of the Hermès or Rothschild families gather on colder evenings. The palette of the entire room is soft and feminine with a very thin range of colors that would fit easily inside a Wes Anderson film. This space also doubles as the hotel’s restaurant where hotel guests and locals who want to escape tourists can dine at.
One of Comtet’s first tasks when given the reigns to the hotel was the bar, Le Très Particulier which is located in the basement. This is a more masculine space with black and gold damask carpet, a deep dark green ceiling, and wallpaper of lions and parrots in a forest. Red velvet chairs sit on a gold base and the only lighting in this room are from a couple of sconces on each wall. French doors lead to the sun room which is sectioned with black and white checkered tiles. Large potted palm plants complete the look creating a contrast to the room before it. Scarlett Johansson and Tom Hanks have enjoyed a drink or two here in the past.
To get to the largest suite of the hotel, you can either take the compact swing door elevator or take the red-walled staircase with gold sconces to the third floor. You unlock the door with an old-fashioned key (every detail is meticulously thought of), and take a small spiral staircase to the penthouse. The suite is entitled “Rideaux de Cheveaux” (“Curtain of Hair”) referencing the two large portraits taken by photographer Natacha Lesueur of models with hair in front of their face. The room is also designed by Lesueur who painted quirky doll’s eyes on the attic ceiling and wall near the bathroom.
One of the main attractions of the suite is the panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower from the artist studio skylight. A black Napoleon III style porcelain bath takes center stage. There’s also a more private shower finished with copper ceramic tiles located in the alcove. One thing to learn from this room is how it’s not intimidated by the generous 85 square meterage it has. It cleverly sections several seating areas in one space.
Hôtel Particulier Montmartre is a very experiential choice when staying in Paris. The place maintains its old world charm but updates it with creative cocktails and designer furniture. You’ll feel like you’ve been given an old fashioned key to how it is like to be a local in the know.