Grand Pigalle Hotel, Paris

Hedonistic, retro, boozy, tiny.  We check into one of the first hotels opened by Parisian hospitality group The Experimental Cocktail Club.

Note: The hotel bar I bang on about in this review is now Frenchie: a small plates / natty wine restaurant. So, no cocktail bar or lounge for guests? This could be a huge oversight. Will pop in when I’m next in Paris to see the changes.


I lived in Pigalle as a student because it was cheap. But it’s super cool now, especially this little enclave of South Pigalle in the 9th arrondissement.  There are lots of vintage shops, coffee shops and cocktail bars. NYC export Buvette is just across the road (go for Brunch).

We arrived late at night and checked in at the compact desk tucked into the corner of an atmospheric little cocktail bar. As one of the first openings by Parisian hospitality group The Experimental Cocktail Club, it’s hardly surprising that the hotel is integrated into the bar, and not the other way around. And the bar is a delight. It’s the kind of place that draws the post-prandial wanders in with its low chatter, first-date lighting and sultry interiors.

The key display behind the check-in desk is old- fashioned and lovely – and being required to leave your key as you leave the hotel adds another little interaction and opportunity for staff to enquire about plans, or offer to assist with reservations or taxis. Plus I love the tactile weight of proper room keys.

There’s a separate negroni menu and a negroni in a stoppered glass bottle in each room. Is Campari a shareholder here? If you like the bitter allure of an Italian cocktail, book a room at Grand Pigalle and sup it up.

The bedrooms are pretty dinky with very little room around the bed. Ours is a king-sized bed, though – and incredibly firm and comfy. They’ve also squeezed in some hanging space and a small desk. There are tea and coffee-making facilities, a safe and a minibar stocked with a ‘love kit’ befitting of Pigalle Boulevard. The design is retro and playful: there’s a brass pineapple door knocker (side note: pamplemousse is one of my favourite French words), a retro phone, cut crystal drink ware, brass hardware and vintage-style radio –which all make the space synonymous with the Experimental Group style.

Leopard print carpet meets geometric floor tiles in the bathroom. Our bathroom was well designed with deep green metro tiles, big walk-in shower, marble vanity unit and big, well-lit mirrors. Toiletries are from cult haircare brand Sachajuan.

Breakfast is a continental buffet and hot options a la carte. Coffee is good and juice freshly squeezed, but there’s also an excellent bakery next door if you’d rather wander with an almond croissant up the Butte Montmartre.

The bar wraps around the ground floor facade of the building. Characterised by dark wood, buttery leather upholstery and antique brass fittings, the place has an atmosphere that evolves from chattery brasserie to sultry cocktail bar through the late afternoon. The menu is Italian and all 200 wines on the list are from Italy.

Service is low-key but efficient. One could assume that the staff are aloof in that cool, extremely Parisian way – but they are simply unobtrusive and happy to make recommendations and help when asked.

The bottom line

Not a destination in itself, but a great option if you want to base yourself in this area.

29 rue Victor Massé, Paris, 75009, France