Hotel des Academies et des Arts

Montparnasse, Paris, France Book from Book from £130 per night

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 five 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 last revisited 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.

Highs

  • 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 one of four 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, five 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

Lows

  • 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
Foodie
Spa
  • 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
Room:

Rooms

The 20 rooms are divided into three categories according to their size. This is Paris so don’t expect oodles of space (13-18 sq.m), but rooms are cleverly designed with curtained cupboards and nifty sliding doors. The hotel’s quiet side-street location virtually guarantees a good night’s sleep, and for a quintessential view across the Parisian rooftops, request a room on the top floor.

Classic Rooms are best employed for short stays, due to their diminutive dimensions and lack of bathtubs. During our visit we found ourselves in a Superior Room styled to reflect the Man Ray ‘ambiance’ - a genuinely cosseting retreat (particularly after a long day on foot). For optimum comfort, book a Deluxe Room; you’ll get increased square footage, pleasant street views and the added bonus of in-room bathrobes and slippers.

Of the other three room 'ambiances', Ruhlmann echoes the Art Deco period and Comédienne is a fun nod to the actresses of the nearby theatre district, Gaîté Montparnasse, with plush velvet headboards. Parisienne is a twist of classic and contemporary and has an extra walk-in wardrobe for your shopping.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Breakfast is continental and room service is available. You have a choice of three distinctive rooms: the petit bistrot has cute tables for two, the bibliothèque sports a red velvet Chesterfield, daily newspapers and a range of art books, and the salon home cinema surprises you with art videos of Jérôme at work.

This is not the cheapest breakfast around, but it's beautifully presented and high-quality. Think freshly pressed juice, warm breads, croissants and homemade jams, all washed down with Palais des Thés teas and Illy espressos. Later in the day (2-6pm), the petit bistrot becomes a decadent tea room serving incredible macaroons. A comprehensive room service menu is available in the evening (5pm-2am).

Montparnasse is no place for dieters with a plethora of good restaurants. The reception team has a list of excellent recommendations (all within a five-minute walk) and are happy to book tables on your behalf. For bustling Art Deco surroundings try La Rotonde, while Le Wadja, just across the road from the hotel, serves delicious French fare for a reasonable price. Le Timbre, on rue Sainte Beuve, is popular with the locals but make sure you book ahead as it can only takes 24 covers.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Amble through the Jardin du Luxembourg for an afternoon of Parisian style-contemplation or wander through the Cimetière de Montparnasse (celebrated ‘inhabitants’ include poet Baudelaire, playwright Samuel Beckett, and lovers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre)

  • Explore the popular Fondation Cartier, a contemporary art gallery founded by Cartier. A woodland floor with trees adorns the interior while the exterior is transparent glass, designed by architect Jean Nouvel. The hotel is also happy to arrange visits to local artists’ studios

  • Avoid the crowds of the Eiffel Tower and, instead, take a trip up the Tour Montparnasse to get a 360-degree view of Paris

  • For shopping, head towards lèche-vitrine at Bon Marché (possibly the best department store in Paris) and replenish at St Germain des Pré with a leisurely café lunch. Alternatively, the hotel can arrange for a personal shopper

  • Relax with a massage back at the hotel, or practice pilates and yoga across the street at Element Paris. If you golf, the hotel organises golf days, which include a round with a professional

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

Kids

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

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:

Location

Hotel des Academies et des Arts is situated in Montparnasse, in the south of Paris. It's near Metro stop Vavin and the RER (line B) is five minutes away at Port Royal.

By Air
Fly into Paris Charles de Gaulle (15km) or Paris Orly. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

From the Airport
Both airports are well connected to the hotel via the RER (line B). From Port Royal, the hotel is a five-minute walk away. Alternatively you could take a taxi (journey time depends on traffic).

By Train
Eurostar takes just 2 hours 15 mins from London Pancras to Paris Gare de Nord. From there, it's an easy 20-minute metro ride to Vavin.

By Car
Although the hotel has an agreement with the public car park opposite, we really don’t advise driving - it’s expensive to park, and you just don’t need a car in Paris. If you do want to hire one though,see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Paris and getting around

Airports:

  • Charles de Gaulle 15.0 km CDG
  • Orly 0.0 km ORY

Other:

  • Beach 150.0 km
  • Shops 0.2 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

6/10
Room
7/10
Food
9/10
Service
6/10
Value
7/10
Overall

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