Walking up the Avenue de l’Opera with the gargantuan Palais Garnier in the distance, it can be hard to imagine that this part of Paris could have small little streets with beauty on a smaller scale. But just around the corner from this storied palace of music is the single block Rue du Helder and an elegant edifice with fanciful ironwork and blue and white striped awnings.
While the hotel opened one year ago, Americans can now visit France for the first time in more than a year and are likely looking to revisit old haunts but also find something new. The Chouchou, with its cheery courtyard foodhall, well-appointed rooms, and convenient location (an easy walk to the Louvre, Sacre-Coeur, and Jardin du Palais-Royal), is well positioned to take advantage.
In fact, on our recent stay, the hotel was nearly full.
One enters the hotel in a side door down a mirrored hallway. The reception is in a small lobby, more of a holding area as the majority of the first floor is taken up by the Bar Ginguette food court (where you can get galettes, charcuterie, and drink in a leafy sun drenched hall). The hotel is also known for its private baths which can be rented by guests or regular customers.
The rooms are broken down into different categories, with the Classic, Superior, and Deluxe being sort of your standard-sized Parisian hotel rooms painted in a rich, dark blue (the Classic starts at 150 square feet) and with amenities ranging from balconies to bathtubs. The Junior Suites are done up in either all black or a sort of tan color and are on the top floor, thus they have slanted ceilings. Unlike many hotels in the States, the hotel is still running full-time cleaning service, so after a day out sightseeing you’ll still come back to find your room remade without having to request it.
The aesthetic is one that actually matches a tourist’s expectation for a boutique Paris hotel. There was a period where many small Paris hotels would decorate in a sort of “rock chic” look with red glass chandeliers, plum-colored velvet, and polycarbonate furniture—a shock no doubt for many upon arrival. At the Chouchou (a cutesy word for darling), visitors will find exactly what they imagined a small Parisian hotel to be.