In Paris, a room off the beaten path

By Marie Godfrain

Posted today at 8:00 a.m.

When he returned from Egypt in 1798, Napoleon decided to pay homage to the land of the pharaohs by renaming the arteries of the Sentier district, in the heart of Paris, with Egyptian names: rue d’Alexandrie, rue d’Aboukir, place du Nile… On this one stands today a Haussmannian building whose facade, listed, adorned with three large sculpted faces representing the goddess Hathor and numerous friezes of hieroglyphics, is supported by columns whose chiseled capitals evoke the lotus.

Long neglected, this building was transformed into a hotel in January. The 30 spacious rooms (a luxury in Paris!), Bright and sober, have large bay windows revealing stone rosettes. If it does not have such wide openings, the 601 has two major advantages. First, its small windows: they offer several openings on Paris, including a bird’s eye view of the Cairo Passage – the oldest, the longest (370 meters) and the narrowest in Paris -, recently renovated and which s’ illuminates in the evening.

Room 601 at the Hôtel du Sentier, in Paris.

But the 601 of the Hôtel du Sentier is also worth a detour for its private roof terrace. The spiral staircase from the bedroom, in vintage ironwork, leads to a small hanging garden of grasses, with two tables and surrounded by zinc roofs. In the morning, you can linger there to listen to the sparrows, or go down to the square for breakfast while enjoying the spectacle of the waking city.

Hôtel du Sentier, from 170 to 512 € in high season (for room 601). 2, place du Caire, Paris 2e.

90 meters away: feast on chocolate

At the Plaq chocolate factory in Paris.

In the rue du Nil, dedicated to food shops and awakened by Greg Marchand and his Frenchie restaurants, the Plaq chocolate factory can be seen from afar by the sweet aroma of cocoa that escapes from it. Here, the beans were selected by the owners Sandra Mielenhausen and Nicolas Rozier-Chabert, then roasted in the oven, crushed and cooked on site. The chocolate is then offered in bars, hot drinks or cookies, cakes and small jars of cream.

Plaq, 4, rue du Nil.
Article reserved for our subscribers Read also “Bean to bar”, the phenomenon that melts the chocolate planet

100 meters away: contemplate the walls

At the corner of rue d'Aboukir and des Petits-Carreaux, a work by street artist Combo dialogues with the green wall by botanist Patrick Blanc.

The vibrant heart of the district is the intersection of rue d’Aboukir and rue des Petits-Carreaux, which forms a pedestrian square. Two famous Parisian walls face it: on one side, a huge fresco representing Tintin and Haddock kissing languidly – produced in July 2018 by the street-artist Combo -, on the other, a green wall imagined by Patrick White almost ten years ago but still so green: 7,600 plants from 250 species bring their share of freshness.

You have 35.68% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.