Madame Rêve isn’t one to make a fuss. The hotel opened quietly at the end of 2021 in what used to be Paris’s only 24-hour post office.
On a discreet corner, without any flashy signs or flags to direct you into its entrance, you either know where it is or don’t (we had to ask a friendly shop owner). The ‘lobby’ is simply a desk, rather than a grand waiting space, in a low-lit, elegantly-fragranced room. Following a swift check-in, guests are whisked into the lift and led along a dark, swerving corridor to the bedrooms, then left alone to explore the labyrinth-like building or to lie back on the enormous double bed and gaze out over the city.
With a 10,000-square-foot rooftop, a Japanese-inspired restaurant and unparalleled views of the city from a variety of chic rooms, this elegant boutique is a hot spot for well-heeled travellers and locals alike.
WHAT TO PACK
It’s all about the mood at Madame Rêve. Soft golden lighting and a colour palette of burnt orange, caramel, walnut and bronze create a cosy, sultry atmosphere. It smells good too: perfumer Olivier Jacobetti has created a heady fragrance of rose and cedar that drifts throughout the rooms. Bespoke carpets woven with stamp and telegram motifs and an 800-piece collection of mail art, bought from a private collector, pay homage to the building’s history – though it’s hard to imagine this temple of calm was home to France’s largest post office for more than two centuries. The monumental building was sold in 2014 and is being gradually reimagined by architect Dominque Perrault. Madame Rêve (founded by the French entrepreneur Laurent Taieb) is just one part of a project that will eventually include a police station, offices, shops and a branch of the original post office.
The 82 rooms and suites offer a contemporary take on the bohemian Parisian loft. Windows built into sloping ceilings offer sweeping views with blackout blinds that descend at the push of a button. All rooms are located on the third floor (handily the same floor as the restaurant) but each offer different vistas, depending on their orientation. Ours – a ‘Paris View’ room – brought us eye-level with the city’s famous rooftops; ‘Exceptional View’ rooms look out at the medieval church of Saint Eustache; ‘Garden View’ rooms look into the internal courtyard gardens; and no prizes for guessing the view from the hotel’s ‘Eiffel Tower View’ rooms.
For a relatively modest-sized room in terms of floor space, our room felt light and airy. A large double bed forms the centrepiece and is set against a wood-panelled wall, with a writing desk, a mid-century style cabinet housing the mini bar, and a pink and gold-tiled bathroom with a rainforest shower. Everything has been stylishly and elegantly designed, though we did question the decision to place the toilet by the entrance, and the wash basin in the main bathroom, on the opposite side of the room.
The Food + Drink
The hotel’s restaurant La Plume serves ‘Japanese-style cuisine with French flavours’ for lunch and dinner (as well as a separate breakfast menu for guests), in a setting that falls somewhere between the Shard in London and a laid-back island bar. The main dining room is clad in the same warm colour palette as the rooms, with a swirling ceiling mural by the Chilean artist Maria Jose Benvenuto. Here, the vast windows take in the dome of the Bourse du Commerce and Saint Eustache. Or, you can choose to dine beneath the stars in the conjoining garden courtyard surrounded by tumbling walls of plants.
The menu has been masterminded by Benjamin Six (from Zuma in London and Dubai) with a strong focus on seafood – think black cod and prawn gyozas, lobster buns and sticky, sweet salmon tempura with pickled cucumber. The stand-out dishes were the rich and creamy miso aubergine and the sole tempura; lightly battered bite-sized pieces served with nori seaweed and tentsuyu sauce.
The enormous rooftop serves Japanese finger food including maki rolls, sashimi and grilled skewers from 7PM to 10.30PM every night, but even if you decide not to eat here it’s worth stopping by for a drink and the truly panoramic views of just about every famous landmark including the Notre Dame. The cocktails are especially good – try the Summer Garden, a deliciously fresh blend of Hendrick’s gin, Saint Germain, Prosecco and plant caviar.
If that weren’t enough, there’s also a café – think of it as another restaurant – on the ground floor. While it’s currently closed for the summer, we had a quick peak inside the grand wooden-clad dining room and were told to expect an all-day dining Mediterranean cuisine experience.
The Little Extras
There’s a small wellness area with a gym, sauna and two treatment rooms – the salted and sweet scrubs sound particularly tempting and there’s also a 60-minute pregnancy massage for mums-to-be. There are Madame Rêve bikes for guests to use to explore the city, but if you plan on taking things at a more leisurely pace (and the sun is shining), head up to the rooftop to bag a sun bed.
The To-Do List
Paris is a great walking city and the hotel’s location in the first arrondissement means it is within easy reach of many of the Right Bank’s most popular spots: the Pinault Collection in the Bourse de Commerce is just around the corner; the Louvre is a 10-minute walk away; and the newly restored Samaritaine shopping mall is also close by, as is the historic covered market, Les Halles. Try one of the many bistros or patisseries along the bustling market street of Montoguiel or hop on the metro to explore further afield. Beyond the usual suspects, the Palais de Tokyo is a must for art (and architecture) lovers – and it’s handily open until 10PM. For us, no trip to Paris would be complete without a quick visit to Shakespeare and Company, an English language bookshop on the edge of the Seine, opposite the Notre Dame. If that wasn’t enough, Madame Rêve also offers a unique immersion inside a selection of works of dream-focused artwork in the collections of the Musée du Louvre.
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