There is something incredibly special about Paris. After all, there is a reason that it ranks right up there in terms of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. For me personally, it holds a special place in my heart as it was the first proper holiday I went on with my husband back in 2008.
In the eleven years since that very first trip, I have now been more times than I care to count, either for business or pleasure. Trips for different purposes require different types of hotels, and if it’s for pleasure, I can be a little more adventurous is my search. I began my hunt for a small luxury hotel in Paris and soon came across Maison Souquet.
A Luxury Hotel Near Moulin Rouge
It occurred to me that in all of my stays, I had never actually considered staying in the artsy and seductive area of Montmartre; famous for its artists, bohemian vibes, sin and secrets. Infamous characters such as Dali, Picasso and Van Gogh all resided there at some point. Yet when I think about luxury hotels, this is not the area that comes to mind, and yet this is in fact where La Maison Souquet is situated. In the up and coming area of South Pigalle, bordering Montmartre and Pigalle, and just a three-minute walk or so from Moulin Rouge.
South Pigalle (or SoPi as it is known) has changed over the years from secretive residential town bordering the red-light district to a trendy and vibrant location for locals and travellers alike. All that said, this is does not apply to Maison Souquet – a deliciously opulent hotel that has retained the intrigue and seduction of the old Pigalle, wrapped in 5-star luxury. This article will open the doors to possibly the most intriguing and enticing small luxury hotel in Paris that I have ever come across.
Maison Souquet: What You Need to Know Before Booking
|Hotel Star Rating||*****|
|Address||10 rue de Bruxelles, Paris|
|Location||South Pigalle, bordering with Montmartre and Pigalle. Situated on a quiet side street just off Boulevard de Clichy|
|Closest Underground Station/Metro/Subway||Blanche Station (160m)|
|Other Transport Links||Bus: there are 4 bus stops surrounding Blanche station, most display waiting times, not all are sheltered|
Car: Taxis can be hailed in the street. Uber is also fully operational in Paris.
|Nearby Attractions||Moulin Rouge, Montmartre village, Sacre Coeur Basilica, the red light district (had to throw this one in)|
|Distance from Airports||Orly: 40 minutes to 1 hour by car|
Charles de Gaulle: 40 minutes to 1 hour by car
|Suitable for Families?||Families are welcome, but you may have to have some awkward conversations with your kids on the back of it. Ideal for romantic getaways.|
|Hotel Parking?||No, however public parking is available closeby.|
|Smoking Rooms?||No – all guestrooms are non-smoking|
|Contact Information||Phone: +33 1 4878 5555 |
A Place to Explore in Paris
I’ll start by painting a picture of the area that Maison Souquet calls home. Located just on the border of Montmartre, it will take you 20 minutes to walk to an area that, in my opinion, is one of the most interesting parts of Paris. Just north of Paris’s city centre, Montmartre was initially a rural village surrounded by vineyards and countryside.
Its location at the top of a hill made the area popular amongst local artists at the time. As Paris’s city limits expanded, Montmartre became an inexpensive area for the working class to reside in the second half of the nineteenth century. It became renowned for its underground culture and liberalism, encouraging bohemian writers, poets, artists and musicians to flock to the area in the early 1880s. The area soon became populated with its famous cabarets, cafes and dancing halls, all surrounded by a hazy, and somewhat debaucherous, atmosphere of Parisians searching for entertainment, escape and pleasure.
Maison Souquet embodies this entirely. Situated on Rue de Bruxelles, just opposite the famous Moulin Rouge, Maison Souquet is an opulent yet discreet boutique hotel perfect for the curious traveller. It has one major unique selling point that makes it incredibly alluring. What makes this unlike any other small luxury hotel in Paris, and what most do not know, is that this very house was previously a pleasure house during the Belle Epoque era. The facade gives nothing away.
Other than its two red lanterns outside, you would never be able to tell that this facade is the entrance to a building that once housed so many secrets, and is now an exquisite hotel with so many pleasures to unfold once you walk through the door. The very same entrance that was used by clientele when it was once a brothel.
Maison Souquet Bar and Lobby
As soon as you walk through the hotel entrance, you are submersed into this opulent, elaborate and very seductive lobby. The lighting is dim and the hotel is scented with its own blend of rose, jasmine and tobacco, and you can smell this throughout the building. The friendly staff were kind enough to give a tour of the hotel, explaining the purpose of each room back when it was initially built in around 1905 to 1907.
It was within this gold and intricate lobby that clientele of the pleasure house would gather for a drink, and chat and smoke amongst themselves whilst waiting to meet their courtesans. Times have changed a little, and it is now an area where you can relax with a cocktail and breathe in the intoxicating scent of the candles that are burning.
The lobby then leads you to the main bar area, decorated in the style of a reading room. Reading, however, was not the primary objective – we are just by the red light district after all. The bar is in fact the second waiting area, where Paris’s pleasure-seekers waited for the courtesans to escort them to the upper floors. Look closely, and you might notice the faces of 82 men carved into the furniture throughout the room.
The decor suggests that the men were not the ones in control here – look up and see the ten courtesans overlooking all the visitors on the grand chandelier. Between the red velvet, the scent and the delicious cocktails offered at the bar, you could soon forget which century you are in.
Maison Souquet Bedrooms
At some point, you will leave the bar and head upstairs to your bedroom, where each of the 20 rooms, 6 suites and 2 apartments (effectively 2-bedroom suites) are named after Parisian courtesans. They each have their own theme and decor, unique wallpaper on the wall and luscious padded headboards behind the bed. The rooms are dark and mysterious – so mysterious that you might have to look for your bathroom, which may be hidden in the wall like it was in my room.
Each of the rooms either look out onto the street, or into the hotel’s interior courtyard. Complete with Hermès amenities, 24-hour room service and a personal butler, the hotel definitely lives up to its five stars. There is no restaurant at the hotel, but you can order breakfast straight to your room in the morning or enjoy it at the hotel’s interior courtyard off the main bar.
A Hotel in Paris with A Secret Pool
The cherry on this exuberant cake is the secret spa and swimming pool located below ground, only available to hotel guests. It is somewhat unusual for small hotels like this to have a pool inside the building, especially not hidden away below ground and especially not in Paris. The ceiling is decorated in a celestial pattern that brings a real dream-like and ethereal vibe to the pool area.
The spa is so secluded, that only one room can access the spa at any given time, and the hotel was kind enough to open up at 7am so that I could start my day with a steam and swim. In addition to the 10m pool, it also offers a steam room and treatment room where guests are able to book the usual spa treatments if booked in advance. It is worth noting that the spa does not offer a gym or fitness centre.
And so if you do find yourself in Paris for a quick trip, try something different. Have a wander around the streets of Montmartre and all the entertainment it has to offer. Stay at La Maison Souquet, the finest small luxury hotel in Paris and enjoy it’s newfound pleasures of opulence and intrigue. It won’t disappoint.
BOOK MAISON SOUQUET
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