For those in thrall to the seductive pull of Paris, a warning; not every love story has a happy ending. For every snatched kiss at the top of the Tower, another is interrupted with an uninvited selfie stick. For each waft of your partner’s Chanel, as you walk hand-in-hand along the Seine, an accompanying punctuation of the river’s own scent. Hell, even the Pont des Arts, Paris’ famous ‘love lock’ bridge, has started to collapse under the expectation of all those happily-ever-afters.
There is one area of Paris though, which seems to retain the city’s romantic magic and mystique. Marais, with its cobbled streets, medieval lanes and cooler than coxa bars and galleries, still sets the scene for many a love undisturbed and unrequited. After a day of exploration and imbibing, you need a place to give you that fairy tale finish. And unlike the film from which the hotel takes its name, Jules & Jim does just that.
A hotel in the city’s hippest area, one which invokes the spirit of care-free, impulsive Paris with its name, sure has a lot to live up to. The bar is set high. You come expecting romance yet privacy, class yet understatement and just the right amount of boutique luxury. You leave with your needs met.
Jules & Jim is in the heart the Marais district, on a street full of leather goods shops. That intoxicating smell permeates the promenade, bringing elegance and gravitas to its surrounds. The streets of Marais have been left to their pre-revolution devices more than any other area of Paris. This, combined with the area’s bohemian vibe and LGBT heavy population leads to an untouched yet welcoming and very trendy feel throughout – just great in a city slowly bending to the will of its millions of visitors.
STYLE & CHARACTER
So, on to Jules & Jim itself. The entrance is funky in more ways than one; with a groovy appearance and strong smell of incense, it’s an arrival which assuages any fears of a hotel in homage to Hollywood. The theme is apparent immediately; stone, brick and wood is all unadorned and standing proudly very much in its naked state. The hotel knows it’s cool and needs no frippery, no displays of ostentation, to accentuate that fact. As their website states, their primary goal is one of ‘care, relaxation, kindness, politeness and simplicity’, and we couldn’t really describe our experience any more aptly than that.
As you move on through the hotel post check-in, you pass a lovely courtyard decorated with log piles; full of residents and visiting young drinkers in the evening. The cheer and chatter is very much in keeping with the bonhomie of the area.
The rooms are compact and well-appointed, which is exactly what one wants from a city-break joint from which to spring from each morning. The ceiling to floor window in the bathroom is a deal-breaker, bringing natural light we feared was lacking in the main room when first flinging open the door. The Molton Brown toiletries are indicative of the team’s thoughtful elegance, an attention to detail which sometimes goes unnoticed in larger, more standardised hotels. This lightness of touch is consistent, symbolic in the presence of two chairs. Yes, two! The solo seat in most hotel rooms is a point we always find slightly strange on our travels. The second is simply a marker of the understanding of comfort.
Speaking of comfort, nothing speaks louder volumes about the quality of the bed than almost missing breakfast. Job done, then.
Paris is a city where you feel compelled to do a lot of walking and as such, a gym isn’t a necessity by any means. Jules & Jim has identified their niche, and which facilities are important to a hotel in the middle of Marais. The bar and shared art space, then, are consistent with the clientele. A hotel bar and gallery aren’t the first destination in mind for a drink with added fashion, but the influx of visitors to soak it all up is testament to Jules & Jim’s quality.
FOOD & DRINK
Breakfast is a spread of fresh fruit, pastries and a good range of juices; a Parisian breakfast, make no mistake. Coffee is pert and assertive (a nod to the sedative effects of that bed, perhaps). There’s also cheese and jam, oats, the rest. When you’ve got strolling planned and need to be light on your feet, it’s ideal. When you’ve got a lunch appointment with stuffing your face at Chartier, it’s a necessity.
Jules & Jim may have ended in death, but with the romance of the area, the sleek sophistication of the hotel, the bar seemingly made with courting in its one-track mind and rooms carefully composed for couples, the only demise you’re in danger of is the petite one.
Address: 11 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris, France
Disclosure: IDEAL stayed as a guest of the hotel