Paris is a city built on intimate moments: known for romance, it’s a city that begs to be explored à deux, with an overwhelming romantic vibe due in large part to the city’s vivid history. Haussmann’s architecture is a canvas for historical fantasy, and it’s not too hard to imagine the courtesans of the past entertaining wealthy lovers in true bacchanalian style. Luckily for us, the Hôtel de JoBo aims to bring that fantasy to life.
A recent addition to the many boutique hotels in the Marais, Hôtel de JoBo is situated in the creative heartland of Paris. However, JoBo is an outlier: in an AirBnb age, this four-star hotel makes a strong design statement to remind us just how unique a hotel stay can be. “JoBo” refers to the legendary wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, Joséphine, and the hotel honours this iconic figure with an interior dominated by Joséphine’s other true loves – leopard print and roses – that span the hotel as design motifs from top to toe.
If minimalism is the modern aesthetic then Hotel de JoBo stands as a monument to the past. Luxe in both concept and execution, this hotel is a feast for the eyes. Designer Bambi Sloan’s interior dominates, setting a tone of historical love and decadence. The carpets and heavy fabrics are custom-made: a sumptuous visual feast of clashing bold prints. If you favour Scandi-style minimalism and pattern isn’t your thing, look away now… There’s a headiness to the atmosphere chez JoBo, and I would strongly urge you to ensure that your travel companion is someone who you plan on taking to bed (even if they don’t know it yet).
A word of warning: this is a couple’s hotel. The 24 bedrooms and suites – there isn’t much communal space in this bijou former monastery – are the star of the show. Ours was a vision in leopard print: from the walls to the curtains, with only a turquoise accent to snap you out of a spotted daze. You don’t have to love leopard to enjoy the benefits of the strong design here: despite what you might think, such an onslaught of pattern is strangely relaxing, and the cool monochrome of the bathroom offers a contrast to the boldness of the bedroom (I particularly loved the carpet: cut and laid in the style of parquet floor). And if leopard really isn’t your thing, then take your pick from three other room themes that capture the revolutionary mood in a design-led but slightly more demure fashion. Facilities-wise, expect Maison Fragonard toiletries, luxe bedding, bathrobes and a minibar – and free wifi, bien sur.
Breakfast is served in an opulent – if compact – dining area, and is a simple but French affair: more coffee and croissants than the full shebang. If you fancy something a little less continental, there are eggs available to order. Just as French is the oasis-like terrasse where you can quaff champagne and smoke to your heart’s content (if you can’t smoke in Paris, where can you?) Champagne on arrival? Pourquoi pas…
For those heeding my advice and heading to JoBo in a twosome, you really might not leave the Marais at all (if you can bear to leave your room, that is). The hotel is in a perfect spot to explore the local galleries (Musée Picasso is a must-see) and is a stone’s throw from bistros and cafes to make your mouth water (picture postcard pretty and thoroughly delicious Au Bistrot de la Place is practically next door on the stunning Place du Marché Sainte-Catherine). Hire a bike and explore on two wheels – Paris’s Vélib bicycle network means that you’re never more than twenty paces from your next ride.
Rooms at Hôtel de JoBo start from 180€ room only – breakfast is priced at 18€. The Eurostar makes any Paris trip a breeze (from £39/return) and the Gare du Nord is just a short Uber ride from the hotel (or use the always-efficient Métro and jump off at Saint-Paul). For more information and to book, see the hotel’s website.