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6 Things To Know Before Staying at Le Pigalle in Paris [Marriott’s Design Hotels]

Victoria M. Walker's image
Victoria M. Walker
Victoria M. Walker's image

Victoria M. Walker

Senior Content Contributor

595 Published Articles 1 Edited Article

Countries Visited: 26U.S. States Visited: 27

Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria...
Edited by: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

News Managing Editor

101 Published Articles 710 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 25U.S. States Visited: 22

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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If you’re planning a trip to Paris, you have no shortage of high-end hotels, especially when using points. But sometimes, luxury isn’t what you need. Sometimes, you want to feel part of the fabric of a neighborhood or like a hotel is your home away from home.

I recently spent a 2-night stay at Le Pigalle, a member of Marriott’s Design Hotels, which is one of those hotels. The 40-room Le Pigalle, which Marriott converted from an apartment, was as jocular as it was charming. It’s raunchy and brash, and, somehow, it’s 1 of the better hotels I’ve stayed at in Paris.

Given the hotel’s affordable cash and points rates and its easy accessibility to transit and activities, Le Pigalle is undoubtedly 1 of the better hotels in Paris that you’ve probably never heard of. But before you book your stay, here’s everything you should know about Le Pigalle.

1. The Guest Rooms Are Tiny

Struggling to fit my suitcase, and then myself, through the door to Room 56 was my first indication that the rooms at Le Pigalle, a Member of Design Hotels, would be petite. In fact, petite might be an understatement: the room is tiny. 

Le Pigalle has just 40 guest rooms, and according to the hotel, they are “more like a friend’s bedroom than a cookie-cutter hotel room.”

Indeed, the hotel offers several room types, with amenities ranging from a clawfoot tub to an in-room record player. My room certainly didn’t have a clawfoot tub — I’m not sure one would have even fit. Every room is unique — with different artwork and unique vibes — which is signature to the Design Hotels’ brand

Le Pigalle room
Welcome to Room 56.

My room category, Pigalle 17, measured just 182 square feet. It featured a queen bed, an in-room iPad to play music, and a mirror. There was a very small table and a chair, which I used to store my luggage, and bedside tables on both sides of the bed.

The toilet is separate from the (very) small bathroom, which features a stall shower, sink, and hamper to discard used towels. The hotel used Le Labo bath products, which originated in France.

My room on the hotel’s fifth floor was nothing fancy, as it had views from the back of the property. However, the views of nearby buildings made me feel like I was in my own little Parisian hideaway.

The room was tastefully designed and felt very Parisian. However, in a nod to Pigalle’s former reputation as a Red Light District, several photos in the room and bathroom feature naked women. Bottom line: It’s not a family-friendly hotel.

2. The Neighborhood Used to Be a Red Light District

Remember when I said that the hotel wasn’t family-friendly? Well, if you needed a reminder, you’d only need to look around the neighborhood. Pigalle, located between Paris’ 9th and 18th arrondissements, has an eclectic and sordid history.

Named after the French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, the neighborhood was infamous in the 19th century for its burlesque clubs, illegal activities, and neon lights that dotted the neighborhood.

Pigalle is far tamer today, though some remnants of its exciting history remain — it’s not the 1st arrondissement, that’s for sure.

Le Pigalle sign
The hotel is named after French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle.

However, I actually enjoyed being far away from tourist traps like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. To be clear, Pigalle is a tourist trap in and of itself — throngs of tourists held up traffic and stopped along the sidewalks to catch a glimpse at the Moulin Rouge — but it felt raw and real in a way other parts of Paris do not.

Still, if you want to be close enough to the action and aren’t intimidated by public transit, Pigalle is a fantastic neighborhood to base yourself in while visiting Paris. The eponymous Pigalle stop serves the neighborhood, which is served by lines 2 and 12 of the Paris Métro. Le Pigalle is approximately an hour away by Metro from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) or Paris-Orly Airport (ORY). The hotel is just a block away from the Métro station.

There are pharmacies and supermarkets, all within a block of the hotel. You’ll find countless bars, museums (adult and non-adult alike), and restaurants steps away from the hotel, so you won’t run out of things to do in the neighborhood. Taxis and Ubers are numerous, and I had no trouble hailing a taxi, even with my limited French.

Hot Tip:

The neighborhood is a jump-off point to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. The hotel is a few short blocks from the funicular service that takes you to the Montmartre if you want to avoid hiking the stairs up to the top.

3. It’s Affordable With Cash or Points…

Hotels in Paris — especially those that are 4 stars or above — can be pretty pricey. This is particularly true for major hotel chains.

But I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable Le Pigalle was, especially considering I reserved my room just a few hours before check-in. The other Marriott properties I considered were either unavailable or out of my price range.

Le Pigalle earnings
I earned a decent amount of points from my stay. Image Credit: Marriott Bonvoy

The cash rate for my 2-night stay at Le Pigalle was just $244 nightly. This price was incredibly competitive for a last-minute booking, especially at a Marriott hotel. Luckily, low cash rates seem to be a staple here, and you’ll find affordable cash rates throughout the year.

Award rates for my dates were around 85,000 points nightly, though award nights can be as high as 95,000 points per night. As a traveler who primarily stays at Hyatt properties, I didn’t have enough points to cover the total stay. Ultimately, I opted for the cash rate, which seemed reasonable for a 2-night stay in a popular neighborhood.

As a Marriott Gold Elite member, I earned a total of 6,385 points for my stay. This included a base earning of 4,708 points, a 1,177 elite bonus, and 500 extra points. According to our most recent valuations of Marriott Bonvoy points, this haul is worth around $45.

4. …But There Aren’t Many Marriott Elite Benefits

There isn’t a typical check-in desk at Le Pigalle, my first indication that this wouldn’t be my typical hotel. A concierge sitting near the entrance checked me in using a laptop, thanked me for Marriott Gold Elite status, and offered recommendations on what I should do during my visit.

Pigalle
One of the more tamer views of Pigalle.

You won’t find many Marriott Bonvoy-specific perks here, such as a welcome drink. I did receive a 2 p.m. checkout, as well as a 25% bonus for my booking. However, no room upgrades were available, likely due to the hotel’s small size and my last-minute reservation.

And as a boutique hotel, non-Bonvoy amenities at Le Pigalle are scant. You won’t find a fitness center or pool. But you will find communal spaces beloved by guests and locals alike.

5. It Doubles As a Club at Night

I was informed that a DJ would be playing in the lobby that evening, which was exciting. After dropping off my luggage and taking a quick nap, I decided to venture downstairs to check out the scene.

Upon exiting the elevator, 1 thing was clear to me: the lobby at Le Pigalle was the place to be on weekends. Groups of friends gathered at communal tables, a birthday party taking place, and several what appeared to be first dates.

The main space, the lobby, serves several functions: cafe, restaurant, coworking space, and, on certain days, a dance floor. On my first night at the hotel, I settled in with a gin cocktail from the bar (the menu changes monthly), which cost around $16. Coming from New York, I felt the drink prices to be pretty reasonable.

Pigalle DJ
The lobby space functions as a club on some nights.

As promised, the DJ spun for much of the evening, playing a mix of Afrobeats, U.S. R&B, French rap, and house music. The vibe was upbeat, and the lobby was large enough not to feel like you risked stepping on a person’s shoes or spilling a drink on them. I enjoyed the evening’s entertainment, and it was nice not to have to stumble back to the hotel after a night on the town as the party was right below on the first floor.

While Le Pigalle is certainly not a hostel, the vibe here is more community-oriented than most hotels. Several tourists commented how easy it was to make friends in a more low-key setting than at an uptight 5-star hotel. At night, the lobby can feel like more of a club than a hotel, so I’d avoid staying here (or in Pigalle, generally) if you’re looking for a quieter vibe. That said, if you’re looking to dance and let loose, I’d strongly recommend staying here. 

The main dining area is a coffee shop by day, and I took a few hours after checking out to catch up on emails and work. I ordered a coffee — americano, of course — an orange juice, and a croissant, which came out to around $15.

I had a few hours of downtime before I checked into the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, so I worked for a few hours and then explored the neighborhood. The concierge was happy to store my luggage until I returned.

6. It is Part of the Design Hotels Brand

Le Pigalle is a Design Hotels property, coming under the Marriott umbrella after a major refurbishment back in 2015.

Design Hotels might be one of Marriott’s most eclectic, diverse brands. Founded in 1993 in Berlin, Design Hotels was acquired by Starwood Hotels Group, which Marriott merged with in 2016.

Le Pigalle decor
This was my first stay at a Design Hotels property.

Design Hotels is known for curating hotels that are social hubs, whether in big cities or off-the-beaten path. The typical Design Hotels property is renowned for its design and architecture choices and steeped in history and culture.

Bottom Line:

Today, there are more than 300 privately owned and operated Design Hotels worldwide, and a handful participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Final Thoughts

My stay at Le Pigalle, a Member of Design Hotels, was surprisingly pleasant, even with its quirky location.

The price was competitive, and it had everything I needed for a short stay: a convenient location, bar and restaurant offerings, and friendly service. While the rooms are tiny and wouldn’t work for more than 2 travelers, the hotel is set up nicely for solo travelers looking to mingle with others.

Overall, I really enjoyed my short and eclectic stay at Le Pigalle. If I returned to Paris, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again.

Victoria M. Walker's image

About Victoria M. Walker

Victoria holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the Howard University School of Communications and is an award-winning journalist, travel reporter, and the founder of the “Carrying On with Victoria M. Walker” newsletter.

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