) -- One of the most fashionable neighborhoods along Paris' Right Bank, Montmartre has long been a bohemian enclave for artists like Camille Pissarro and Claude Monet.
But the area retreated into a Parisian version of Hollywood Boulevard, more famous for its brassy nightclubs and nearby red-light district. But, now, Montmartre is back, with a renewed, stylish spirit revived by a spate of recent movies that have brought investment as well as tourists.
Where to check-in:
Along one of those perfect Paris streets where you fight back thoughts of running away from your American life, a secret passageway of overgrown shrubbery conceals a grand three-story Haussmann-style mansion formerly owned by the Hermes family now known as
. Free of Paris virgins, the lobby maintains the feel of a private home but with in-the-know guests with the hottest restaurants on speed dial who often stay weeks at a time.
The Hotel Particulier was formerly a townhouse owned by the Hermes family.
The oh-la-la lobby dazzles with wide-plank hardwood floors topped with exotic animal skins and pinstriped trim, lending a modern tone along with mid-century furnishings like the Arne Jacobsen egg chair. Suites feature one-of-a-kind wallpaper with period light fixtures, tufted-leather headboards and dramatic bathrooms lined in marble tiles with soaking tubs and glass walls. Hedonists should check into the loft-suite sequestered in the attic with spiral staircase and open-floor architecture accented with freestanding claw-foot tub and gallery-worthy artwork.
Different kind of shopping spree:
Along the same fashion pedigree as London's Dover Street Market or Berlin's Departmentstore Quartier 206,
is the renegade Paris cousin developed by fashion designer Roberta Oprandi and art director Bruno Hadjadj. Together, the two collaborate on one of the city's top fashion stops, containing a micro-department store of furniture, art gallery and fashion.
Located in a sparse shopping space that would make Le Corbusier proud, the quirky fashion boutique stocks headliner labels like Lagerfeld, Comme des Garcons, Marc Jacobs, Maison Martin Margiela and APC. An on-site gallery attracts blue-blood collectors that frequent the rotating exhibits by local painters, photographers and sketchers at various levels of their career. Home furnishings are a socialist's delight and include affordable retro pieces that are a find for under 300 euros to more pricey items like vintage tables by Knoll and Vandermeeren.
Dinner at 9 p.m.:
Montmartrois love a late dinner -- anything earlier than 8 p.m. is considered lunch. Rather than scurrying off to the Marais or to another showy meal with Joel or Alain, hit nearby La Famille (41 rue des Trois Freres) where a family-style dining room offers a menu of five appetizers, entrees and desserts that dazzles with homemade terrines, provincial duck and meaty specialties that change with the local market seasons. A popular social romp for fashion photographers and Saatchi artists, the space is a leftover of '20s bohemia. Perky bartenders pour Kir Royals and Mojitos while chatting about Bruni or the latest round of U.N. political maneuvers while bumping elbows with amateur DJs spinning '60s French lounge music.
Shake your derriere:
Grab your dressiest hoodie and shiniest pair of patent-leather sneakers -- it's time to take advantage of Montmartre nightlife. You'll want to stay clear of the theaters and nudie revue of the central village and instead hit the area's hotspots. While last year the scene was all about Chez Moune, another newcomer has been the epicenter of the action.
opened in 2008, offering a derelict but sexy following of edgy musicians with model girlfriends in tow as well as celebrities like Beth Ditto and Kanye West. Its interiors are a rocker symphony of black complete with painted concrete floors and black brick walls accented by neon lights and small stage area. The perfect venue for a satanic ritual, the venue becomes busier than the Sacre Coeur on Christmas after 2 a.m. when the coolest Parisians show up and stoke the action until the 6 a.m. closing.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.