‘Flamboyant’. ‘Ostentatious’. ‘Camp’. These are all words that could be used to describe the Hôtel du Petit Moulin Paris. And yet the word ‘understated’ springs to mind, too.
For sure, the textured surfaces, animal print motifs and crazy wallpaper will be too much for some. But if you give into it, it’s intoxicating.
Truly, that’s Parisian style for you. Risks are taken, quirks are embraced, and it’s never boring. But balance is restored. Because exquisite taste always prevails in the French capital.
The same could be said for the wildly eclectic color scheme. Flashes of hot pink and neon blue are undercut by deliciously rich shades of purple, red and green. Then there’s the exposed wood, the grand curtains, the modern furniture, the florals. Something about the end result just works.
It helps that the man behind the decor is acclaimed French fashion design icon Christian Lacroix. Having traveled the world 10 times over, he probably knows better than most that there’s nothing worse than a drab, soulless-looking hotel.
Compelling interior design is also the order of the day in the public spaces: it says a lot when you actively want to sit and hang out in the dining room and reception of a hotel. Also, with only 17 rooms, footfall is light. It always feels chilled out.
Plus, each room has its own unique personality – particularly the bedrooms. Mine is the one pictured at the top of the article – almost absurdly glamorous and luxurious, and so much fun. My stay here felt akin to falling down a rabbit hole, or walking straight into Lacroix’s vibrant imagination.
You quickly acclimatise to the richness of detail and begin to relax. What’s more, I had one of the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had at a hotel here, partly because the streets outside are pretty quiet.
It’s actually located in a hushed corner Le Marais, Paris’ gay district, and owned by a charming straight couple who were incredibly welcoming to me, and I’m sure, all LGBTI visitors.
Similarly, the area is known for its amazing shopping. Tiny designer outlets, independent shops and thrift stores are dotted around the district, some a stone’s throw from the hotel’s doorstep.
Guests at Petit Moulin can even enjoy personalized fashion tours of the area and beyond, in collaboration with Localers. We embarked on one and ventured into the city center, and, thanks largely thanks to the guide’s knowledge of local vintage stores, came back with a secondhand suede coat in perfect condition for under €20 (£17, $21). By and large, we were very happy with our yield!
(On a tangent, we found the vintage clothing in Paris generally much cheaper than, for example, London. Also, the shops aren’t crammed full of disgusting, moth-eaten rubbish – rather, each piece is handpicked for quality, and presented neatly and tidily.)
My entire stay was near-perfect. My only criticisms would be a slightly cold man on reception one evening, plus the limited, simple breakfast options. That said, the coffee, juice, bread and pastries were all wonderfully fresh, and did the job. Fitting, given the building is a former bakery. In addition, the young woman serving was delightfully cheery.
All in all, this is an exquisite gem of a hotel that could exist nowhere but Paris. Indeed, Lacroix has also done some interior work for The Mandeville in London, which I also adored, although the Absolutely Fabulous comparisons came quick and fast there.
Here, the style icon’s sense of style feels perfectly contexutlized. It’s a gorgeous space and I hope it never changes.
For more information, visit HotelPetitMoulinParis.com/en.