Josephine Price enjoys a stay at a decadent hotel that channels the Belle Époque
Just off one of Pigalle’s main arteries, two discreet red lights flank the doorway of a smart townhouse. This is Maison Souquet’s nod to its past as a maison clos (brothel). Stepping inside, I’m transported back in time. Even the signature scent is inspired by the Belle Epoque, with hints of jasmine, tobacco and rose. Today, it’s less louche and more luxury. Interiors — by designer Jacques Garcia, well known for his restoration of Versailles and Marrakech’s La Mamounia — are decadent beyond belief. The ground-floor salons each have a story to tell; the first, reminiscent of a Moorish palace, was rescued from a private residence in Brussels.
I stay in La Belle Otero Junior Suite, where dark patterned wallpaper and fringed lamps create a relaxed, cosy atmosphere. What at first appears to be a rather small black marble bathroom actually contains both a bath and a large shower, and the Hermes toiletries complete the overall feeling of quality.
The highlight of the hotel is the salon d’eau in the basement. With a swimming pool, treatment room, hammam and a celestial ceiling, it can be booked for private use by guests. Maison Souquet is within walking distance of the Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge and the cobbled streets of Montmartre, yet it’s tempting to stay in my sultry boudoir and enjoy feeling pampered.
Junior Suite from €675 (£575) a night.