Destination Europe: Soho House Paris in the heart of Pigalle
Summer holidays are back. So, to help you plan your itinerary, we’re giving you a recap of everything you need to know about our clubs on the continent. Next up: Paris
Tuesday 14 June 2022 By Anastasiia Fedorova
Ah, the allure of Paris for the weekend. Whether you’re intending to raid the Dior boutique, brush up on your French or find yourself on a fleeting work trip, the city has it all. Moreover, so many stereotypically French things are actually so good – you can’t beat a buttery croissant or a chilled bottle of Champagne. This is a place that endlessly confirms and subverts its own cliches – edgy, seductively bourgeois, and breathtakingly scenic.
The beating heart of Paris is in its social nature: the cafes, the parties, the glances exchanged in bars, and the streets. In the aftermath of the past two years of the pandemic, Parisians are savouring their reclaimed joie de vivre with a particular fervour. It’s a great moment to join them in the quest for the best afternoon of people watching and sipping rosé. Don’t abandon your bucket list – the Louvre is indeed worth visiting – but remember that it’s the small pleasures in life that rule here. And if the Paris syndrome – that disappointing realisation that the Eiffel Tower is smaller than you imagined – ever creeps up on you, find solace at Soho House, where Parisian aristocratic chic meets the vibrant global crowd.
The architecture and interiors
Located in the former red-light district of Pigalle, Soho House Paris occupies a 19th-century apartment building that was once home to the family of French poet, artist and provocateur Jean Cocteau. Taking inspiration from the original building, which also has a 1940s wing, it marries traditional French design with a more contemporary Art Deco twist, using a mix of vintage furniture and bespoke pieces. Influenced by celebrated French designers and Santo Sospir – the villa of Jean Cocteau – curved lines, painted murals, and rattan and bamboo touches are used throughout.
The House is set over five floors, and the original details from the historic building have been retained and restored, including the central staircase, window panes, and reclaimed black and white marble flooring seen on the ground floor.
Outside, the Winter Garden is partially covered by a glass roof. There are painted trellis walls filled with greenery, plus rattan and wicker furniture, and comfortable banquettes mixed with traditional French pieces. On the first floor, the pool terrace has sunloungers next to a small pool overlooking the central courtyard below.
In the basement, the Cabaret Room hosts members’ events, screenings and performances. Inspired by the can-can and the Moulin Rouge, the walls are covered in red velvet and the ceiling is adorned with a gathered silk fabric, making the space feel extra intimate.
The 36 bedrooms, ranging in size from Tiny Attic to Big Boudoir, are set over the top three floors, each one with a unique design to reflect the area of the building it’s housed in.
In the 19th century part of the House, the bedrooms are inspired by French boudoir design and have original wooden wall panelling and fireplaces. Fabric patterns used have been reproduced by French design house Pierre Frey’s archive collection. Some larger Boudoir rooms have aged-glass mirrored walls and freestanding bathtubs. The second-floor bedrooms include one with the original black and gold panelling on the walls, while paint specialists have restored the trompe l’oeil effect of the ceiling using gold leaf and traditional techniques.
In the 1940s wing, there are floor-to-ceiling Art Deco windows, parquet floors, and vintage furniture. Bathrooms have green and white marble showers, bespoke lighting, and marble counter tops.
On the third floor, the smaller Attic bedrooms have rustic low-beam ceilings with rattan furniture and hexagonal French terracotta tiles on the floors. Artist Roberto Ruspoli was commissioned to paint murals inspired by those in Jean Cocteau’s family home in the South of France behind each bed.
The art collection
Soho House art collections are always integral to the storytelling. The Paris collection focuses on painting and the cutting-edge artists working in this medium today, from Jules de Balincourt and Oscar Murillo to Donna Huanca and Laure Provost.
The House also has the first stained glass commission in the global collection, with six glass paintings specially created by Paris-based artists Natsuko Uchino, Mel O’Callaghan and Emmanuel Van der Meulen, plus original pieces in the bedrooms by Antoine Langenieux-Villard, Sara J Beazley, and Elisabeth Lecourt. A real treat for seasoned art lovers.
Destination Europe: Soho House Paris
Soho Health Club
Soho Health Club is located in the basement – a perfect refuge for relaxing and recentering. The bespoke tiled floor is inspired by the original floor that was discovered when the building was acquired. There’s a gym with state-of-the-art equipment, free weights, a Pilates studio, and a cardio room. The space has a slatted ceiling to give it a light, open feel, while the sauna, steam room and hammam offer a restorative antithesis to the pleasures of hedonism.