La Fantaisie hotel is the work of two luxury superstars — chef Dominique Crenn and Swedish designer Martin Brudnizki — and it's transforming Paris's Faubourg-Montmartre neighborhood into a culinary and cocktail destination.
Over the past few years, the hottest new properties in Paris have all borne designer names, leaving a gap in the market for something that couldn’t be more French: boutique hotels. As we’re counting down the days until the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, an influx of new design-driven properties is redefining what it means for a hotel to be Parisian.
Gone are the gilded frescoes and marble-clad everything. At new arrivals like La Fantaisie, dominating the corner of the ninth arrondissement’s Rue Cadet, neutral raffia walls are contrasted against an explosion of prints, fabrics, and Palm Springs–reminiscent furniture. No space — not even the ceiling — is free of London-based Swedish designer Martin Brudnizki’s theatrical touch.
The history of the street ties back to the eponymous Cadet brothers, 16th-century master gardeners who supplied the court with produce. “When we first started this project, we wanted to honor the location — it felt important to translate the rich horticultural history of the area into the design,” Brudnizki said. “Each floor of the hotel is presented like unfurling flowers, from seedlings in the basement spa right up to the rooftop terrace, which is the pinnacle of a blooming garden, literally overflowing with foliage and color.”
As a travel journalist who has spent the past five years based in Paris and the five before that covering the city’s hotels while living in the South of France, I’ve had cocktails on plenty of rooftop terraces where the view claims to be one of the best in town. There aren’t too many bad views in the central parts of Paris, but La Fantaisie’s is one that truly does live up to the hype.
La Fantaisie, Paris
The centerpiece courtyard garden with its mix of intimate nooks and outdoor terrace seating is an unexpected oasis of green that’s a welcome break from the bustle of Paris.
The Martin Brudnizki–designed 73 rooms and suites take a detour from typical Parisian decor but still very much reflect the character of the neighborhood through bespoke wall fabrics, carpets, and rugs by Pierre Frey, plus a curated collection of artwork.
Three bars and restaurants offer around-the-clock dining everywhere from the sidewalk café and rooftop bar terrace overlooking the Sacré-Cœur to the signature, Dominique Crenn-helmed restaurant, Golden Poppy.
Sitting on the corner of Rue Cadet, the area has a village feel — meaning you won’t be pressed shoulder-to-shoulder in a throng of tourists — but is encased by nightlife and entertainment like the Moulin Rouge and Opéra Garnier.
After dinner at Dominique Crenn’s Golden Poppy, I rode the elevator (and was surprised at first by the soundtrack of chirping birds) up to the seventh-floor Bar Sur Le Toit. What struck me wasn’t the Eiffel Tower hovering in the distance — it was the secret garden-like terrace with tables placed around olive trees, branches sprouting upward toward the sky. Inside, seated on checkered bar stools, my friend and I sipped Champagne while taking in the mélange of design elements, which, as Brudnizki noted, “is fun and energetic and reflects today’s modern traveler without feeling like a pastiche.” He added: “The design doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
Abstract paintings and black-and-white photos hang on the pink-and-green striped walls layered with crisscrossing rose garlands. This type of decor often photographs beautifully yet in person can come off as kitsch. But this reminded me more of a Baz Luhrmann movie come to life — as sultry as a Prohition-era speakeasy but as comfortable as a stylish friend’s penthouse.
A French journalist who has been living nearby for nearly 40 years told me, “It’s odd they chose this location — only Parisians know it.” And I agree — it’s one a transplant like myself hadn’t truly explored until visiting La Fantaisie. But sometimes living like a local just means getting out of your neighborhood and discovering a new one. During my stay, I found a new favorite caviste (wine merchant) and continued popping into the same boulangerie even though the croissants at La Fantaisie were just as fresh.
Read on for everything you need to know about the hotel in my full review of the new La Fantaisie.
La Fantaisie’s 63 rooms and 10 suites overlook the courtyard garden or Rue Cadet, and even entry-level Comfort Rooms sport small luxuries like Juliet balconies. Brudnizki’s color palette draws inspiration from the gardens — with pistachio green, sunflower yellow, and coral splashed throughout. The Junior Suite Terrace is the most sought-after for its private patio suspended over the garden, but the slightly larger Grande Junior Suite makes up for its lack of outdoor space through an expansive bathroom with a standing tub and spacious walk-in closet. The 506-square-foot Suite Terrace on the sixth floor is the largest of the 10 and sits on the street-facing side of the hotel. My Deluxe Garden-view Room, however, offered more than enough space for a solo traveler like myself to spread out — and couples won’t feel cramped, either.
Rooms are luxurious without being too precious. “It feels glamorous and is deeply comfortable, which is the most important aspect of any design,” said Brudnizki, who expertly contrasted natural, raffia-like walls with sculptured ceramic lamps covered in lily pads from Florence-based ND Dolfi and minibar cabinets lined with prints of manicured French gardens. If you’re a Goop fan, you’ll enjoy the amenities as much as I did (think: complimentary Holidermie collagen-infused Nespresso capsules and raw chocolate from female-founded Paris wellness brand Cosmic Dealer).
Food and Drink
With a name like Dominique Crenn behind the signature restaurant, you know it’s going to draw attention — and everyone in Paris has been curious to see what the celebrated French chef would bring to her first international eatery. At the moment, Golden Poppy offers the same menu of shareable plates for lunch and dinner, including pescatarian “California soul” food.
We started with the Parker House rolls, presented in a cast-iron skillet with a trio of sauces, and scone-like banana pancakes topped with a dollop of caviar and drizzled with caramel sauce crafted from banana skins (a nod to the restaurant’s zero-waste philosophy), black tea, and soy sauce. Other highlights were the mushroom tart with Espelette mayonnaise and pickled cucumber and dry-aged tuna tartare served with heart-shaped shiso leaves. The antique greenhouse-inspired space was quiet, since it was a Sunday evening, but when we went to the rooftop Bar Sur Le Toit, nearly every seat was taken — and stylish couples were even bundled up and sitting on the outdoor terrace. Here, herbs from the garden are plucked for Crenn’s signature cocktails and mocktails, like the aptly named fresh garden lemonade with thyme and lemongrass.
Floor-to-ceiling windows frame seventh-floor views of Paris’s sloped mansard roofs, but the rose-wallpapered ceiling and striped walls are the most eye-catching parts of the design — intended to “feel as if you are in a wild garden, but the introduction of the stripes helps to avoid a chintzy feeling,” Brudnizki said. “I enjoy making the most of every surface, and a ceiling is no different.”
Experiences and Amenities
The concierge stand is conveniently placed across from the elevators, if you need dining advice or a taxi (La Fantaisie can also arrange airport transfers). The fitness studio was closed for maintenance when I visited, but you’ll find all the basics — an indoor bike, free weights, bench press — in the small space, where you can also book a private session with a personal trainer. There are also electric bikes you can take for a spin around town for up to three hours. While the spa doesn’t have a salon, the team can arrange hair stylists for on-site appointments. The highlights of the room amenities are the pillow menus (memory foam is a personal favorite) and turndown treats like melatonin-infused gummies and silk eye masks emblazoned with the phrase “bonne nuit.”
La Fantaisie partnered with French holistic vegan beauty brand Holidermie (created by Vogue France alum Mélanie Huynh), which is centered around antioxidant-rich grapes sourced from her family’s vineyard in Bordeaux and other ingredients like wrinkle-reducing calendula flowers and anti-aging maritime pine. Tailored treatments incorporate aspects of traditional Chinese medicine through techniques like gua sha, which I experienced during my 60-minute signature facial that combined a series of Holidermie products with a toning facial massage. Afterward, I let the effects soak in while plunging into the hot tub and floating in the mosaic-lined mineral pool — among the many water options in the subterranean hydrotherapy playground, where you’ll also find a cold plunge, starlit hammam, and infrared sauna.
Accessibility and Sustainability
Three of the hotel’s Deluxe Rooms are ADA-compliant, and the elevator offers easy access to the basement-level spa, rooms, and rooftop bar. Sustainability here is achieved in subtle ways, from Golden Poppy’s meatless menu to the hotel’s zero-plastic and no-waste policies. The restaurant also has an emphasis on sourcing local and seasonal ingredients, in true Dominique Crenn style.
The 10 suites are family-friendly with sofa beds that can accommodate a third adult or two children (free of charge if they’re under 12) — and the Apartment Terrace’s two connecting bedrooms can sleep up to six. If you’re traveling with children under 3 years old, they can stay in cribs or a baby bed in any of the rooms except the entry-level Comfort Rooms, and the concierge can assist with babysitting services if you want a night out on the town.
The hotel is sandwiched between Pigalle and Grands Boulevards, so you’ll be within walking distance of restaurants, theaters, and nightlife (the Folies Bergère, where Josephine Baker and Charlie Chaplin once performed, is a five-minute stroll around the corner) — as well as major department stores like Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. When you step out on Rue Cadet, you’ll have everything you need lining the tiny street (bistros, boulangeries, gourmet food shops), which leads to three covered passages filled with antique shops and boutiques. Métro stop Cadet (line 7) sits catty-corner the hotel and runs directly to major landmarks like Opéra, Palais Royal/Musée du Louvre, and Châtelet, which connects to the RER train running directly to the airport.
Finding the Best Value
La Fantaisie’s nightly rates start at around €550, but you can usually find entry-level rooms (still some of the more spacious in Paris) at a slightly lower price (under €400), and then add on any extras like breakfast or a pet fee. You’ll also be able to see available upgrade options when booking, so you might be able to score a larger room category at a more affordable rate.
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