Hotel des Academies et des Arts

Montparnasse, Paris, France Book from

Reviewed by Kate Erith
Sleep among corps blancs and other funky artwork at this playful, comfortable hotel in Montparnasse
It’s not every night that you fall asleep with the silhouette of a white body leaping over your head, but stay here and you’ll sample this fairly novel experience. The corps blancs are the chef-d’oeuvre of artist Jérôme Mesnager, who has been painting them on walls around the world (including the Great Wall of China) since the early 80s. These permanent guests appear in various poses in the hotel's 20 bedrooms, and are scattered throughout the communal areas - including a giant that spans 5 floors of an exterior wall. Meanwhile, the internal spiral staircase circles miniature ladders, which are laden with diminutive white bodies; the work of sculptor Sophie de Watrigant.

Set in the chic 6th arrondissement, just around the corner from the Jardin du Luxembourg, it was the quartier’s artistic heritage that inspired owners Laurent and Charlotte to create this unique environment. However, art doesn't overshadow amenity: when we revisited in 2012 we found the hotel to be warm and welcoming, with super-comfy beds, a relaxing atmosphere and a fabulous treatment room. The snug salon, with a flickering fire and soft sofas, exudes a bienvenue that's as friendly as the staff.


  • Come face-to-face with original artwork by renowned artist Jérôme Mesnager, which is incorporated into the building at every turn
  • Not only is the building a living gallery, but each bedroom has been decked out in 1 of 4 art-themed 'ambiances'
  • Exemplary customer service is paramount for owners Laurent and Charlotte - and it shows
  • A great location just a few steps from the métro, 5 minutes from the Jardin du Luxembourg, and a 20-minute saunter from St Germain des Prés
  • Indulging in the area's artistic heritage is great fun; we loved dining in the iconic brasseries and watching local painters at work


  • There's no other outside space, though we managed to console ourselves in the stunning Jardin du Luxembourg (just minutes away)
  • Parisian hotels are known for being compact, and at 13-18 sq.m the bedrooms here are no exception
  • Some of the fittings weren't as slick as we would have liked - a leaking sink for example
  • There's no restaurant and breakfast is a bit pricey, but that's quite normal for Paris and they do offer evening room service

Best time to go

The hotel caters for all seasons; a toasty fire-lit salon for the winter, and air-conditioned bedrooms for the summer. If you’re planning to explore Paris on foot, it may be wise to avoid March, when Paris experiences the French equivalent of April showers. Summers are hot and balmy, requiring increased ice cream consumption, while cold winters offer a great excuse to stop for countless chocolats chauds.

Our top tips

In the evening, turn left down Boulevard du Montparnasse until you reach La Closerie des Lilas. This historic restaurant and piano bar oozes old world glamour, and is famed for its association with the literary and artistic greats of early 20th century. Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Picasso were all regular faces here and it's still a wonderful place to enjoy a late-night cocktail.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Art Hotel
  • 20
  • Breakfast (+ room service)
  • Babies are welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service


The 20 rooms are divided into 3 categories according to their size. This is Paris so don't expect oodles of space (13-18 sq.m), but all rooms have been meticulously thought out, with curtained cupboards and nifty sliding doors. Décor-wise, there are 4 artistic ‘ambiances’ to choose from - Man Ray, Comédienne, Ruhlmann and Parisienne - all of which incorporate Mesnager’s playfully positioned corps blancs.

Classic Rooms are best employed for short stays, due to their diminutive dimensions and lack of bathtubs. During our 2012 revisit, we found ourselves in a Club Room styled to reflect the Man Ray ‘ambiance’. Sheer white blinds and subtle grey walls are punctuated by satin-black curtains and photo frame-like mirrors to create a homage to photography, but also a genuinely cosseting retreat (particularly after a long day on foot). For optimum comfort, book a Superior Room; you’ll get increased square footage, pleasant street views and the added bonus of in-room bathrobes and slippers.

Of the other 3 'ambiances', Ruhlmann harks back to 20s and 30s Art Deco, using café crème colours and an elegant mix of muted metallics and polished wood, warmed by opaque glass uplighters. Comédienne is a fun nod to the actresses of the nearby theatre district Gaîté Montparnasse with plush velvet headboards and sumptuous ruby-red drapes - good for a romantic weekend. Finally, Parisienne is a sophisticated combination of classic and contemporary, with textured wallpaper and rich golden hues. Since an essential part of Parisian life is the shopping, these rooms also have an extra walk-in wardrobe.

Bright, modern bathrooms include porcelain and chrome finishes, fluffy towels, a hairdryer and Pascal Morabito toiletries. All have multi-jet showers, but Club and Superior Rooms also have a bathtub. One of the Superior Rooms is designed for disabled use with a shower but no bathtub.

Queensize duvet-laden beds, efficient double-glazing and the hotel’s quiet side-street location virtually guarantee a good night’s sleep, and for a quintessential view across the Parisian rooftops, request a room on the top floor.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


A continental breakfast can be served in your room, but most people head downstairs. Cute tables for 2 are laid in the petit bistrot, with squashy banquette seating. You can also eat in the bibliothèque, with its red velvet Chesterfield, daily newspapers and a range of art books and in the salon home cinéma where you can watch art videos, including one of Jérôme at work.

This is not the cheapest breakfast around, but it's beautifully presented and every ingredient is high-quality: Palais des Thés teas and Illy espressos, freshly pressed juice and cut fruit, warm breads and croissants, and homemade jams. Later in the day (2-6pm), the petit bistrot becomes a decadent tea room serving the incredible macaroons of master patissier Pierre Herme, and a comprehensive room service menu is available in the evening (5pm until 2am).

A word of warning for weight watchers - Montparnasse has a plethora of good restaurants, and is no place for dieters. The reception team has a list of excellent recommendations (all within a 5-minute walk) and are happy to book tables on your behalf. We tried one of the famous big brasseries, La Rotonde, and enjoyed a fabulous meal of beef Carpaccio and crème brûlée amongst the bustling Art Deco surroundings. Le Dôme and La Coupole are also close by and come highly recommended. If you want something a little more low-key, Le Wadja, a small restaurant just across the road from the hotel, serves delicious French fare efficiently and for a reasonable price. Finally, the nearby Le Timbre on rue Sainte Beuve serves great food, but make sure you book ahead as it can only take 24 covers and is popular with the locals.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service


  • Amble through the Jardin du Luxembourg, set yourself down in one of the famous green chairs, and settle in for an afternoon of people-watching and Parisian-style contemplation

  • Wander through the Cimetière de Montparnasse; it might seem a little melancholic, but is actually an interesting glimpse of the history of Paris. Celebrated ‘inhabitants’ include poet Baudelaire, playwright Samuel Beckett, lovers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, and artist Man Ray

  • Visit the popular Fondation Cartier, a contemporary art gallery founded by jewellery giants Cartier. Its transparent glass exterior was designed by architect Jean Nouvel, and inside it contains gallery spaces, trees and a woodland floor - bizzare!

  • If you don't fancy trudging up the Eiffel Tower with all the other tourists, take a trip to the top of the Tour Montparnasse; zoom up 56 floors in 38 seconds and climb the 3 final flights for a 360-degree view of Paris. And no queues!

  • Head towards St Germain des Prés for a leisurely café lunch, stopping for a spot of lèche-vitrine at Bon Marché - possibly the best department store in Paris

  • The hotel can arrange visits to artists’ studios, including Jérôme Mesnager and Sophie de Watrigant

  • They can also organise a personal shopper, or a golf day, which includes a round of golf with a professional

  • Back at the hotel, have a massage in the treatment room or practice pilates and yoga across the street at Element Paris, with English-speaking teachers

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Art classes
  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Language courses
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being
  • Yoga


Babies are welcome, but the hotel is not suitable children over the age of 2.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

A baby cot can be provided in any room at no extra charge, but we'd recommend opting for a Superior Room for the extra space. It is not possible to add an extra bed for children.

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

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