Le Pigalle - Paris, France

In the Parisian neighborhood Pigalle, the vision of French hotelier Valery Grego makes this namesake boutique hotel a social fixture in one of the city’s most eclectic neighborhoods. Grego designed Le Pigalle as a place where locals and visitors could become friends: “At our hotel you come to sleep, have dinner, dance, make love and meet,” he says. Strangers become friends through a setting that is proudly unpretentious: There is no doorman or front desk. Instead a mixed use space with a bar, restaurant, and cafe bustling with locals, and at nights a live DJ, welcomes visitors to the hotel. Velvet sofas, cane-back seats and Chinoiserie prints add to the wildly unique and welcoming atmosphere.

The neighborhood Pigalle has a colorful reputation. It is endeared by hipsters, businessmen, and those with more taboo professions. (The hotel is just steps away from the famous Moulin Rouge). Staying true to its namesake neighborhood means Le Pigalle is unabashedly sexy: photographs of nudes hung in a salon style decorate the bedrooms; cheeky leopard print carpeting inspires naughtiness in a cozy elevator. Le Pigalle is comfortable, fun and very down to earth.

I stayed at Le Pigalle while in Paris for Theaster Gates’ show at Palais de Tokyo. I had never stayed in a hotel-cum-gathering place like this but Le Pigalle proved to be a lively juxtaposition to the seriousness of Gates’ exhibition about race in American history. My parting feeling was what I imagined to be the sentiment of those who have spent long and memorable nights in neighborhood Pigalle - satisfying with no regrets.

Nadia Sesay