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May 30, 2011

One of my favorite discoveries on my trip to Paris earlier this year was the Hotel Jules, a chic and relatively affordable 100-room hotel on Rue La Fayette in the 9th arrondissement—walkable to Montmartre, to the Opera Garnier, to the Champs-Elysées, and to Paris' famous department stores. According to Grace Leo, chairman and C.E.O. of G.L.A Hotels (which operates and manages the Jules): "I wished to create a place that was cool, funky, chic and at the same time did not get an 'attitude,' which is the trap so many fashionable hotels can fall into (especially in this city). The added plus was that this area is becoming a real desirable area for Parisians to live in again after several years of being dormant." The place was renovated by French interior designer Tristan Auer, and the style is a deliberate mix of 70's funkiness and 50's and 60's kitsch. I found the hotel exceedingly comfortable, stylish, and down-to-earth, with surprisingly creative design solutions peppered throughout. Click through the slideshow for details!

Hotel Jules is located in a limestone building that dates from 1860. The exterior is painted a glossy blue-black color—a custom hue that Auer says was inspired by his favorite Prada shirt. The classic rattan bistro tables and chairs are from the local com
Hotel Jules is located in a limestone building that dates from 1860. The exterior is painted a glossy blue-black color—a custom hue that Auer says was inspired by his favorite Prada shirt. The classic rattan bistro tables and chairs are from the local company Drucker, the oldest rattan chair manufacturer in the world, founded in 1885.
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Rue La Fayette is a quintessentially charming Parisian street, with great cafes and shops nearby. Among my favorite discoveries was the no-frills noodle shop Les Pâtes Vivantes at 46 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, where the noodles are handmade, perfectly ch
Rue La Fayette is a quintessentially charming Parisian street, with great cafes and shops nearby. Among my favorite discoveries was the no-frills noodle shop Les Pâtes Vivantes at 46 rue du Faubourg Montmartre, where the noodles are handmade, perfectly chewy, and cheap.
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To give a bit of context, allow me one brief detour down the street from the hotel... to the uber-charming <a href="http://www.lameredefamille.com/#/home/">A La Mere de Famille</a>, one of Paris's oldest candy shops, dating from 1761.
To give a bit of context, allow me one brief detour down the street from the hotel... to the uber-charming A La Mere de Famille, one of Paris's oldest candy shops, dating from 1761.
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Yes, this place is real. A sweet-tooth's fantasyland with amazing original details, including wooden built-ins and tiled floors.
Yes, this place is real. A sweet-tooth's fantasyland with amazing original details, including wooden built-ins and tiled floors.
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OK, back to the hotel. This was my room, a spacious Deluxe. One of my favorite features in the room were the double-glazed OPERABLE windows... so they shut out street noise at bedtime, but could be swung open to let in sounds, scents, and breezes from out
OK, back to the hotel. This was my room, a spacious Deluxe. One of my favorite features in the room were the double-glazed OPERABLE windows... so they shut out street noise at bedtime, but could be swung open to let in sounds, scents, and breezes from outside. Sounds like a minor detail, but well-considered touches like this really make a hotel. Somehow fresh air has become a rare luxury at many hotels...
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Another photo of the room, to give a sense of scale. The guestroom door is on the left at the end of the hallway; the bathroom is on the right. The custom bedside lamp was inspired by a 70's design. The headboard is stained oak, its shape inspired by "a s
Another photo of the room, to give a sense of scale. The guestroom door is on the left at the end of the hallway; the bathroom is on the right. The custom bedside lamp was inspired by a 70's design. The headboard is stained oak, its shape inspired by "a souvenir from my grandfather's countryside house," says Auer. The needlepoint pillows are by Missoni. "This is one of the touches of eccentricity that I like," says Auer. "In a hotel you can try something more creative and crazy than at home." Note the the plaster Dali-style lips, which "bring a touch of sensuality to the room," according to Auer.
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Another simple luxury, and a lovely touch: fresh flowers. The desk was modeled on a 50's design, with a three-way mirror, Formica top, and tapering metal legs.
Another simple luxury, and a lovely touch: fresh flowers. The desk was modeled on a 50's design, with a three-way mirror, Formica top, and tapering metal legs.
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The defining feature in the bathroom was this custom black leather mirror, modeled on a vintage traveling set for safari-goers. All the straps and hardware gave it a vaguely bondage-y look—but it was also quite practical, with a built-in shelf and magneti
The defining feature in the bathroom was this custom black leather mirror, modeled on a vintage traveling set for safari-goers. All the straps and hardware gave it a vaguely bondage-y look—but it was also quite practical, with a built-in shelf and magnetized hand mirror.
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Another clever design move: To create visual interest and texture on the walls in a smart, affordable way, Auer mixed together four standard sizes of basic white bathroom tile, alternating their scales and staggering alignment.
Another clever design move: To create visual interest and texture on the walls in a smart, affordable way, Auer mixed together four standard sizes of basic white bathroom tile, alternating their scales and staggering alignment.
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I liked this framed graphic print on my wall, a print from the 70's. Each room has an original piece of art on the walls.
I liked this framed graphic print on my wall, a print from the 70's. Each room has an original piece of art on the walls.
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The overlapping-decade approach is in full effect in the lobby, where mod wooden tables sculpted from oak, beech, and elm line a white leather banquette. Overhead, playful round chandeliers ("reminiscent of large Camembert cheese of various sizes," accord
The overlapping-decade approach is in full effect in the lobby, where mod wooden tables sculpted from oak, beech, and elm line a white leather banquette. Overhead, playful round chandeliers ("reminiscent of large Camembert cheese of various sizes," according to hotel literature) light the way from the front door to the reception desk.
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Another view of the lobby, on a rainy night.
Another view of the lobby, on a rainy night.
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Check out the designer sleight-of-hand in the basement breakfast room, a long windowless space with low ceilings and little inherent charm. Colorful tables and striped paper placemats add some cheer, and narrow strips of mirror mounted amid the millwork r
Check out the designer sleight-of-hand in the basement breakfast room, a long windowless space with low ceilings and little inherent charm. Colorful tables and striped paper placemats add some cheer, and narrow strips of mirror mounted amid the millwork resemble windows at first glance, bouncing light around and bringing a welcome dose of airiness to the space.
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The bar off the lobby has some theatrical touches, including a wall of antique glass decanters (sourced from nearby antique shops and the main flea market), a plush velvet curtain, and this regal peacock which faces onto the street and gives both the bar
The bar off the lobby has some theatrical touches, including a wall of antique glass decanters (sourced from nearby antique shops and the main flea market), a plush velvet curtain, and this regal peacock which faces onto the street and gives both the bar interior and hotel facade a surreal note. Of the peacock, Auer notes: "It is a true sculpture with very refined details. He looks like a dandy… just like Jules." Auer found the taxidermied bird at the famous 181-year-old shop Deyrolle, which is basically a gigantic walk-in cabinet of curiosities.
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The reception desk is built from wood, laminate, and Fornasetti wallpaper, its piled-up boxy shape inspired by traveling trunks. To make the windowless room feel less claustrophobic, the designer hung a wall of curtains along the back and installed a flor
The reception desk is built from wood, laminate, and Fornasetti wallpaper, its piled-up boxy shape inspired by traveling trunks. To make the windowless room feel less claustrophobic, the designer hung a wall of curtains along the back and installed a florescent light overhead that resembles a skylight.
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Across from the reception desk is this computer station, tucked away in a plastic-and-leather pod like some Atomic-era invention. The hotel 'library' sits behind it, with art and design books arranged in a haphazard but artful way, available for borrowing
Across from the reception desk is this computer station, tucked away in a plastic-and-leather pod like some Atomic-era invention. The hotel 'library' sits behind it, with art and design books arranged in a haphazard but artful way, available for borrowing by guests. Says Auer: "I always loved the comic strip 'Gaston Lagaffe.' The character's books are arranged like this in storage piles forming caves. I took up this idea."

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Hotel Jules is located in a limestone building that dates from 1860. The exterior is painted a glossy blue-black color—a custom hue that Auer says was inspired by his favorite Prada shirt. The classic rattan bistro tables and chairs are from the local com
Hotel Jules is located in a limestone building that dates from 1860. The exterior is painted a glossy blue-black color—a custom hue that Auer says was inspired by his favorite Prada shirt. The classic rattan bistro tables and chairs are from the local company Drucker, the oldest rattan chair manufacturer in the world, founded in 1885.

Hotel Jules: 49 – 51, rue La Fayette 75009 Paris; 33-1/4285-0544; www.hoteljules.com; rooms from 135 euros.

 

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