By Amy Thomas
Updated January 21, 2020
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Romain Ricard

While there’s no shortage of hotel options in the City of Light, most are found in central quartiers, like Saint-Germain-des-Près and l’Opera, which are typically trafficked more by tourists than locals. For a more authentic Parisian experience, it pays to climb into a double-digit arrondissement.

Home to a dynamic African, Indian, and Kurdish population, the 10eme showcases a livelier, quirkier side of Paris. Organic markets sit next to wig shops and textile workshops, while skateboarders cruise by commuters in suits. It’s a genuine blend of ethnicity and artistry, and captures the zeitgeist of the evolving city. And as a spot to call home for a night or two, it’s a welcome change from the tourist-thronged arrondissements in the city's center.

Vibrant Energy at Terminus Nord

When German hotelier 25hours Hotels debuted its first French property, Terminus Nord, directly across from Gare du Nord earlier this year, it leaned into its signature focus on individuality and personality. The design firm, Dreimeta, worked in collaboration with Alex Toledano of Visto Images to infuse the large but discreet hotel with an eclectic mix of African and Asian-inspired elements along with storytelling that reflects the multiethnic community. In the hallways, for example, there are oversized portraits of “neighborhood heroes,” actual mechanics, musicians, train conductors, and other locals who give the 10th Arrondissement its bustling energy.

The 237 rooms range from small with single beds to extra large with balconies and soaking tubs. No matter the size, however, every unit features riotous décor: batik bedspreads, accent walls of patterned wallpaper, and cheeky messages (Let’s spend the night together) scrawled across pillows and placards. Bathrooms feature painted sink basins, rain showers, and Stop the Water While Using Me bath products. Neni, the three-room, powder-pink Mediterranean restaurant, gets its edge from the brightly colored hand-loomed rugs, art, and velvet chairs, while the neighboring Sape Bar is a moodier retreat with snug leather armchairs, bronze-colored mosaic glass, and cocktails inspired by popular bars around Paris. If you’re suitably inspired by your stay, stop by the ground-level kiosk that features products curated from local shops along with magazines and café crème to go.

12 Boulevard de Denain, 75010 Paris, 33 1 42 80 20 00, 25hours-hotels.com

To book: expedia.com

More to explore: Shirts and dresses made with traditional African prints from Maison Chateau Rouge hang in the hotel kiosk, but you can explore the full collection of contemporary designs at their store just over the border in the 18eme (40 rue Myrha). Get a bite of Indo-Pakistani food at Kashmir House (36 rue de Chabrol) or Kurdish sandwiches at Urfa Durum (58 rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis).

Cozy Charms at La Planque Hotel

On the other side of Canal Saint-Martin, but still in the bustling 10eme, the retro-chic La Planque also debuted this past year. Occupying a former sweets shop and apartment building, the 36-room hotel similarly draws inspiration from the quartier, albeit in more subtle, antiquated ways. Design firm Desjeux Delaye added vintage charms to the rooms and common areas (think wall-mounted telephones, antique stained mirrors, and faux-cracked walls), which harken back to the neighborhood’s roots.

Cozy, Superior, and Deluxe rooms are decorated in a blend of muted grays and feminine tones, from cherry red to chartreuse to pink. Padded velvet headboards, space-saving drop-leaf desks, and open hanging rails meld together with thoughtful touches like vintage books, art gathered from local flea markets, and live succulents, creating veritable cocoons of comfort. Bathrooms gleam bright and white, save for pops of tiled color that complement the rooms. The hotel’s reception sits among several communal rooms and nooks that are also decorated like a home with books, plants, and mismatched furniture. Nestled within is a glass-roofed, millennial-pink atrium filled with wrought-iron café tables — a cozy spot for breakfast and tea.

3 rue Arthur Groussier, 75010 Paris, 33 1 88 32 73 15, laplanquehotel.com

To book: hotels.com

More to explore:Go to neighborhood favorite Siseng (82 Quai de Jemmapes) for a bao burger, but for a multiethnic meal on an enchanting terrace surrounded by bamboo, head to Café A (148 rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin).

Cool and Contemporary at Le Grand Quartier

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Hot on the heels of the hyper-cool Hotel des Grands Boulevards (17 Boulevard Poissonnière), Experimental Group, formed as a cocktail club over a decade ago by three French friends and now encompassing more than a dozen international restaurants and hotels, opened the doors to Le Grand Quartier in October. The property is physically centered around a garden courtyard in the increasingly popular Chateau d’Eau enclave, and conceptually channels the neighborhood’s craftspeople and creative types.

Design firm Nicemakers worked to inspire energy and positivity throughout the shared spaces and 83 rooms and three suites by keeping things light and simple. All rooms neatly arrange the necessities within a contemporary minimalist aesthetic. Beds dressed in plush white comforters stand seamlessly against one wall, while long dark wood counters run opposite, outfitted with draft tables for work. Open closets do double duty as coffee stations, with espresso machines and kettles within the shelves, and bathrooms carry the neutral color scheme. Meanwhile, the bright, open café, shop featuring local artisans, and studios that convert into co-working spaces for guests and residents are all intended to bring the community together.

15 rue de Nancy, 75010 Paris, 33 1 76 21 61 61, legrandquartier.com

To book: expedia.com

More to explore: Within the Passage du Prado, Mauritian restaurant Ile aux Cerfs serves island specialties like samosas, curries, and puri. Afterward, catch a foreign flick at indie movie theater Le Brady (39 Boulevard de Strasbourg), which opened its doors in 1956.

This Story Originally Appeared On Travel + Leisure
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