Hôtel des Académies et des Arts in Paris by Lizée-Hugot.
In the time capsule that is Montparnasse, art can be seen everywhere. On buildings. Inside them. On walls and ceilings and doors and windows. As frescoes and as freestanding displays. And in the case of The Hôtel des Académies et des Arts, in its past, present and future (you see, the building has served as a hotel for well over a century).
The Parisianhotel’s cool new avatar is courtesy of architects Stéphanie Lizée of Lizée-Hugot, an architecture firm she co-founded with Raphael Hugot. Stéphanie remodelled the 20-room hotel to look like a simple, yet characterful artist’s studio. But with its hand-plastered walls, bespoke furniture and potpourri of artworks, the hotel isn’t just a hotel. For the guests who come here, it’s a world where they can draw and paint, attend workshops, and host exhibitions with the renowned Académie de la Grande Chaumiè across the street. It’s a knock-back in time to Montparnasse’s epoch-making ateliers.
Hotel guests can attend live drawing classes across the street at the Academie De La Grande Chaumiere. Photo courtesy of Academie De La Grande Chaumiere.
In the living room, each piece of furniture is just as unique as the nearest painting. From the Bauhaus and Art Deco-style tables and chairs, to the stainless steel lights and brindled mirrors, each element is custom-designed by Lizée-Hugot and brought to life by skilled artisans.
Multifaceted this hotel may be, but manicured it is definitely not. For every pretty ceramic, there’s an unframed painting on the floor; for every high shelf, a sketch perched on a wooden chair. Handmade iron nails imperfectly dot the walls, while paint-speckled stools recall giddy artists feverishly clutching at dripping paintbrushes.
In the lobby and ten of the bedrooms, you must look up to catch the star of the show. Picasso-inspired murals by French artist Franck Lebraly cloak the ceiling in a kicky kaleidoscope of lemons, roosters and fish; mythological figures and feminine silhouettes; and countryside fishing trips that take you back to a simpler time.
The architects, Raphael Hugot and Stephanie Lizeé, of Lizée-Hugot. Photo: Benoit Linero.
Artist Franck Lebraly is behind the hotel’s many murals. Photo: Benoit Linero.
Barring the mellow tones and lime-plastered walls, no two rooms are completely alike. Academic drawings fill one; nudes and vintage photos occupy another; a third brims with tchotchkes and ceramics. So when you enter the black-and-white bathrooms, it’s almost as if the architect decided to mute the aesthetic to make up for the bedrooms’ zaniness.
If you’re looking for a historic hideaway in Paris, there’s no better place to hang up your boots–and pick up an easel–than The Hôtel des Académies et des Arts. Despite the dazzling display of art, the hotel cocoons in a warm, intimate way. Kick back with a drink at the bar, hunker down in the library or join other artists in the lounge-cum-workshop with a canvas and a coffee in tow.