Hotel Ballu — Paris, France
Once a seedy neighbourhood most notable for being one of Paris’ main junctions, Place de Clichy and its adjoining arrondissements have been smartening up their act with a smattering of trendy restaurants and bars. On a surprisingly quiet street, slotted between the crossroads and Pigalle’s cocktail bar stretch, is the 37-room Le Ballu Hôtel.
Tucked inside two buildings, one was the former residence of painter Charles Wislin in 1891, before being turned into the offices of the SACEM (society of authors, composers and publishers of music), followed by an artists’ residency.
In its latest transformation the owners, Julia and Thomas Vidalenc (also the architect behind the hotel), have created a bold, high-polished aesthetic that’s a mix between 1950s Danish and Art Deco influences with a Slavic touch, while nodding to the building’s artistic heritage. And so, works by Polish constructivist artist Tauba Sarnaka sprinkle the interiors alongside furniture sourced from Eastern Europe and banquettes upholstered in cheery fabrics, designed by Vidalenc himself.
Up in the rooms, painted in block colours of petrol blue, garnet red or mustard yellow, distressed rugs and flea-market finds channel a vintage lived-in feel while free-standing bath tubs, faux terrazzo walls, rainfall showers, fluffy bathrobes and private terraces in the bigger rooms, bring a luxurious edge.
The reason locals flock here though, is for the outdoor restaurant, set inside Wislin’s former garden. Here, chef Michaël Riss serves updated twists on traditional dishes like the baked leek doused in his grandmother’s secret dressing.
The small downstairs pool and sauna area, which guests must book in advance, rounds off Le Ballu Hôtel’s refreshingly laid-back atmosphere.§