This New Parisian Hotel Feels Just Like a Pied-à-Terre — Here's Why We Love It

A brutalist former Holiday Inn gets a chic remake in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

<p>Kate Devine</p>

Kate Devine

There is a particular joy for a longtime Paris resident - 17 years and counting! – in returning to the place that so profoundly shaped their Parisian journey.

For me, that place is a specific street: the quiet rue de l’Abbé Grégoire, tucked behind the bustling rue de Rennes, where I once spent six weeks studying at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Five days a week in 2006, I trekked from my residence in the 13th arrondissement to Saint-Germain-des-Prés. I’d ascend from the Saint-Placide metro and come face to face with the espresso drinkers on the terrace of L’Horizon café before turning the corner and catching the familiar green glow of a Holiday Inn sign.

The Holiday Inn’s boxy, brutalist building wasn’t noteworthy save for the fact that it shared a block with my momentous first summer as a Parisian. And for years, I’d find the same reliable sight when I'd return to the area. Seventeen years later, though, that forgettable hotel has been entirely and delightfully transformed into the Hotel des Grands Voyageurs, which opened at the end of 2023. (I was happy to hear that the EQ Group, whose first Paris property, Hotel Dame des Arts, also occupies a reconverted Holiday Inn, kept on the excellent former staff as part of their hospitality team.) That this once sleepy stretch has become a destination in its own right in recent years – for dining, namely at Colorova and Quinsou – made my recent 24-hour staycation all the more compelling.

<p>Kate Devine</p>

Kate Devine

Right from the entryway, I was charmed by the handiwork of Italian interior architect Fabrizio Casiraghi, who turned what he called a “very challenging canvas” into a warm and sophisticated space that recalls the quartier’s historic art scene and the golden age of travel. There’s an unmistakable 1940s Orient Express-meets-luxury liner aesthetic throughout, a subdued residential glam that runs from the ground floor with its mahogany-paneled walls, brass accents, and coffered ceilings to 138 guest rooms.

“The format of the building, with its long corridors upstairs and standardized rooms, pushed me to create something a bit bold right from the entrance,” explained the Milanese designer. “One way to do that was through the design scheme and the use of art." You'll see Osanna Visconti's cast-bronze Foglie leaves on lobby mirrors flanked by Gustav Klimt lithographs, while talented Parisian sculptor François Gilles made the framed bas reliefs above each bed.

That harmonious mix of old-world style and contemporary comforts, on top of soft lighting wherever I went, made it easy to slip into relaxation mode – and that's by design, according to general manager Delphine Bao. “This residential setting creates a more intimate and personalized atmosphere,” Bao said. On top of that, she added, the location offers a different kind of experience, “a glimpse of local life with bustling markets, charming cafés, and a community spirit.”

Going about it as a local (which I am, full-time, but on the right bank) is precisely what my husband and I intended to do.

After freshening up, peering out my 5th-floor window to catch the dusty pink winter sunset, and kicking back with a cup of tea, we strolled the neighborhood. We stopped into Le Visionnaire to try on some sunglasses, took a spin through Le Bon Marché, only a five-minute walk away, and folded into local nightlife with an apéro at Sauvage Cave before posting up for a leisurely, candlelit dinner at the hotel restaurant. The concept of a grand voyage bore out on a transatlantic menu of comforts featuring a Suprême de Volaille with perfectly crisp fries, a New York-style strip steak, and a baked Alaska for dessert. Fully sated, it was time to luxuriate in a hot shower with Diptyque bath products and fall into bed.

Here, a look at what else there is to love about the Hotel des Grands Voyageurs. 

Hotel des Grands Voyageurs

  • Chic, old-world residential design goes a long way toward making this feel like a true pied-à-terre and part of the neighborhood's fabric.

  • A food and beverage program you’ll actually want to try — from the Poppy, a speakeasy cocktail bar, to the ‘transatlantic’ brasserie.

  • The fitness room with state-of-the-art equipment and artistic touches that create design continuity with the rest of the property.

  • A quiet but well-situated location between the Montparnasse train station and the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, putting guests only a short walk from the Bon Marché and top left-bank restaurants.

The Rooms

<p>Kate Devine</p>

Kate Devine

The 138 rooms are divided into five categories, all bearing the same design aesthetic, which is minimalist and extremely comfortable. They all have pleated moldings, wooden headboards, leather-covered bedside tables, framed bas reliefs above the bed, cotton sateen sheets, and Diptyque amenities. Where the ground floor is moody, rooms benefit from a light color palette and excellent natural light.

<p>Kate Devine</p>

Kate Devine

Top category rooms have a few extra flourishes, like a record player and a selection of vinyls. I stayed in a Signature Queen Room, one of the two categories targeted at solo travelers or couples on a short stay. Though no bigger than 183 square feet, the space was smartly laid out — no corner wasted, no superfluous decorative detail, but enough room to slip in a mid-century armchair that made a comfortable perch for window gazing. It’s clear that Casiraghi considered each room's utility and how guests would navigate them — unlike other Parisian properties that have recently opened, they were not a canvas to flex his decorative whims. One disappointment was the lack of a minibar with wine, soft drinks, and snacks (beyond complimentary still and sparkling water). Only Deluxe rooms and Junior Suites have fully-stocked minibars, with snacks sourced from La Grande Epicerie, Le Bon Marché department store’s massive food emporium in the neighborhood.

Food and Drink

<p>Kate Devine</p>

Kate Devine

The on-site restaurant sits within the continuation of the lobby and horseshoe-shaped bar area, with the same plush furnishings, sconce lighting, and sexy moodiness. “Transatlantic” is the abiding theme of the menu — a mix of French and North American bistro classics with a twist. Instead of a blanquette de veau, the chef used cod fish. Mussels take the place of sole with the marinière sauce. And for smaller appetites, the “snacks” (which are plenty generous) are nostalgic American comforts like grilled cheese and tomato soup or a yuzu mayonnaise-dressed lobster roll with fries. With a relatively short menu, it’s not where you’d dine each night of your stay, but it delivers a lovely single meal. (Unfortunately, Poppy, the hotel’s speakeasy bar that looked plucked from the set of Mad Men, wasn’t yet open to the public during my stay but is pitched as a destination for locals — only time will tell.)

<p>Kate Devine</p>

Kate Devine

Activities and Amenities

The fitness area could be called small but mighty — the room houses sleek NOHrD wooden machines and its delightful decorative details like soothing sconce lighting (no ghastly spotlights to be found!), machines laid out on a vintage rug, colorful wall tiles, and two original painted frescoes by the young Italian artist Assia Pallavicino — a kind of tongue-in-cheek depiction of Roman-era athletes that smack of the mosaics inside the Foro Italico swimming complex in Rome. There’s also an infrared sauna that fits two at a time, but no dedicated spa. This shouldn’t feel like a loss, though — guests are here to have a comfortable home base to explore the city.  If desired, however, they can request an in-room massage (for a fee, of course). The hotel can make recommendations or arrange guided tours for activities off-property but does not have a full-service concierge offering.

Family-Friendly Offerings

Several connecting rooms make traveling as a family seamless and comfortable.

Accessibility and Sustainability

One of the benefits of occupying a more modern structure in Paris is greater accessibility. The entrance and all public spaces are accessible, while four guest rooms, accessible by elevator, are adapted for reduced mobility needs. The hotel also limits single-use plastic and sources all kitchen ingredients as locally as possible.


In a quiet stretch between the Montparnasse train station and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the hotel is an ideal home base for exploring and shopping (Le Bon Marché, one of the city’s destination department stores in a short walk away, but indie shops and luxury boutiques abound, in the neighborhood), and dining — all on foot. The Luxembourg Gardens are located within a 10-minute stroll, while the sculpted masterpieces of Rodin are no further than 20. And if you’re staying over a weekend, it’s worth waking up to hit the Raspail organic open-air market on Sunday for picnic provisions; it's just a block away.

How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Stay

The property is part of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts collection which means members can use points to book rooms, benefit from preferential room rates, access upgrades, and priority early check-in. Room rates start from $327 per night.

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